How an RV Electrical System Works

Do you ever wonder how I get power in my RV? How do I turn on the fan and get air? There’s three forms of power on my RV. Now I want you to understand that this area up here, this is called the chassis, so in my RV this is where I’m going to actually be able to drive and then this part of my RV is called the coach. So this is the house and they’re separate the battery for the chassis. There’s one up there and then there’s a battery back here for the coach. So I have two batteries.

Now, batteries, power, things like these lights or the batteries can power this fan that I have going right now. The batteries can also power my TV if I want to turn on my TV and some other small electronics. The other cool thing about my unit is that my fridge, this fridge right here is actually powered by batteries. It’s called a 12 volt fridge, so it’s powered by batteries as well. Now when I mentioned 12 volt, let me explain that. So the RV has the batteries. Let’s just stay on the batteries. Okay. What I want to use my battery power in the RV and I’m not plugged up to some type of external power source either at an RV park or into a house. Some type of electrical unit. I actually have to use what’s on board here, so I either have my batteries, which the way that I use my batteries, they’re connected in here or I have to use this little device called an inverter which I just unplugged. So you heard the fan go off, here’s what’s up. I have this inverter. This is like a 12 volt car charger plug and what I do is I plug it in to here. Okay. Fan is plugged into this inverter. Then I plug this and up here and for mine it has this little button on it. So I just turned that button on. You can see it, go off. Do you see it? So the button goes off I’m one handing this but the button goes off. But once that’s on I can turn my fan on. Now that’s all being done off my batteries.

I do want to show you, I actually have normal plugs in here as well. So if you come down here, you can see there’s a regular plug, this is what’s like your 120volt and 110 volt plugs and I actually have something plugged into it so you can see that our plug that in and that goes to my toothbrush. So I can still use these 120 volt plugs. But the problem is if I want to power those I have to either be hooked up to an RV park power or a house and have external power coming into the RV or I have to turn on my generator and let me show you where that’s at. My generator is underneath and that’s how I would power this if I wasn’t actually hooking up to this electrical source. So I’m going to show you where my generator’s underneath. It’s not something I could really easily get to. So if you can see that green box right there. Now you see if I have my generator turned on, which I have a problem right now. My RV generator won’t turn on. I’m going to show you the panels were I check all this in just a second. So I can turn on the generator and power the electrical outlets in here and some things that are going to take more power like this air condition unit. If I want to turn on my air condition unit or this microwave back here, If I want to turn on this microwave, I have to have my generator or external power, so things that take a lot of power. They have to come from a generator or an external source.

Things that take a little bit of power like lights and things like that. They don’t require as much. The fan — I could run that off the battery. Power = generator, batteries and then if I want to cook on my stove here you can see I use it for other things and I have a stove and I can actually cook on my stove. But to do that, that would require me to have gas and propane. And then the other thing is if I’m not hooked up to an electrical source to heat my water for the sink. So if I want to wash my hands with hot water or if I want to take a shower, you know, shower it up and have hot water, I need to have a way to heat it. So the only other way that I can heat it is from propane. So that’s gas, propane, you actually fill that up. Either at the RV parks. So have it, the dealerships will normally have it or you can pull up to like truck stops,things like that and you can get it. And then they also make these things called propane extenders. So all of mine are actually stored on board here underneath the RV. There’s tons of compartments and tanks and all kinds of stuff. So I use Batteries to power the lights and small electronics. Generator to power. Big things like the air condition, the microwave.

If I want to cook on the stove or if I want to get hot water, I use my propane unless, I’m plugged up to a power source. I can get my hot water via electric. So essentially from here to here, is my power. because this unit is equipped like that. But the propane, either way, if I want to cook on that grill, I have to have propane so I have to have propane and to do that and propane powers my generator underneath. So if I want to turn all my generator, I have to have propane to power my generator, my air conditioner, my microwave. So those are things that I have to pay for propane. Water is usually kind of free if you get into the RV park while you’re there. And then my batteries, those are technically on board now the catch my batteries that’s really cool is that they’re charged via solar power. So my batteries actually work in a really cool way that they would normally die if you just kept using your battery. So right now the fridge was on and the fan is on and this light or say I wanted to open this fan. It’s all powered off the batteries. We’ll they can only go for so long and then they die. If you’re driving in the chassis, it will cycle the battery power and keep it powered.

I’m going to show you the control panels. So you can see where I do all this here in just a second to monitor these things, but this is how you live in here. So if you want to take your power with you and not be connected, you have your generator your battery. Propane. I actually forgot to tell you. So the one other thing that my propane does, if I’m not connected to electric cars, I can heat my coach off of electric, but it’ll heat the water in my RV to heat the coach. So propane, my coach is heated by water throughout. Not all RVs are like that. I use a system called Truma. and, my Truma system does this. There’s another one called Aldi that I used to have, but these are really interesting features about my RV that will heat the RV. So what happens is water goes around this shell that we’re in and it heats the walls and kind of like travels throughout. I don’t know, it’s kind of weird how it works, but it’s pretty cool. They either way. I have to have either electricity or propane to use it. If I’m actually traveling, then I have to use it on propane or boondocking to.

If you haven’t checked out that video, make sure to check out the description below this video where I did a video about boondocking and what that is, but I would have to have propane to heat the coach if I was boondocking heavily. Hopefully, I explained that right. If you have questions, make sure to put a comment below this video so I can answer those and you might be in another video of mine, but make sure and check the link in the descriptions below these videos because I’ve got tons of tutorials, tips, tricks, my downloads, things like that. They’re going to help you in this whole RVing process. And, you might want to check that out because I’ve done a lot of dumb things and spent a lot of money on stupid things. Batteries are powered off the solar panels and my solar panel. I don’t know how lived without it. I used to have a trailer and no solar panel. People go without the solar panels. But, I have two installed and they power by battery, so when my battery starts to die,it’s constantly charging off the solar panel. If it’s cloudy outside, it won’t be charging. Let me show you how I monitor some of this stuff because this is what you have to keep a check on in your RV is like how many volts are coming out because some things you can’t power out of these 12 volt outlets and you have to have bigger power for it. So let me show you my gauges and hopefully this will all make sense. So this is my panel for pretty much everything in the RV, but I’m just going to show you like if I wanted to go to my lights.

I have my lights in here, that’s the cab light, trunk light. These are the different lights. And then, the main thing that I care about are my levels. So these are like my tank levels and battery levels. So this is my fresh water and it tells me how much clean water I have in the RV. And then this is my grey tank. So it tells me where all the soapy water from the shower and sink is that and if I need to empty it,. This is for my toilet, my black tank. So if my black tank ends up being full, I will have to empty that. That is your toilet water. So you have a fresh tank for clean water, a gray tank for soapy water and then a black tank for poopy water. And then these are my batteries. So I have my coach and this is in the back where the house is at and it tells me where it’s at. And then I have my chassis. The chassis battery is for the front where I drive and then this is my gas monitor so I can tell how much propane I have to be able to heat my water with and cook with. And then if you come over here it’s hard to see. But this is my solar controller and there’s not really much I do on here except just try to monitor. I’m trying to get you a little light in here. It’s kinda dark, but I try to monitor my levels and this charging my batteries right now so it just keeps my batteries charged. And that’s what the solar panels, do.

So the solar panels convert electricity into my battery over here. So the solar panel — this solar panel converts electricity to store in my batteries — and helps to keep my battery charged. And this is my generator but I told you that will not start. And then I have some other panels by really never used them but have like a fuse box down here. So if I need to go to my fuses I can check those down here. And then I haven’t, I’ve never actually had to go down there for any god given reason thankfully. And then this is like my circuit breaker so you can see even though it looks like I have a lot of room in here, I do. But then some of these drawers are covered up by other stuff. This is my other panel and this is for my gas or propane to heat my water and also to actually like heat my coach if I want to get hot air in my coach. So this is just like, this is if I want to heat my coach, or to get hot water and there’s some different features on here. And then I actually have to turn my propane on if I’m going to use it. But, I usually just turn this off so it doesn’t do anything. Those are some of the major components of how I monitor the power and electricity and things in here. So now you know how I get electricity in the RV and how it works. Finally I leave you with a link to RV solar kits on Amazon – RV Solar Links