That’s the burning question for many RVers. The answer typically falls into one of two categories: solar power or inverters.
Let’s take a closer look at each, shall we?
You can indeed watch TV without running your generator using only the power created by the sun.
As we’ve already mentioned, the amount of electricity needed to run most TVs and other appliances requires a pretty decent-sized system – unless you plan on low-power viewing.
There are several components to an RV solar power system.
First, you’ll need to decide what type of panels you want – flexible or rigid; mono-crystalline or multi-crystalline; framed or frameless.
Panels come in about 100 watts, 125 watt and 150-watt sizes.
The more watts you use, the faster you will deplete your batteries. A smaller panel can be used for trickle charging (keeping the battery topped off), but it won’t power most TVs. For that, you’ll need at least 2-3 panels (more if you want to power larger appliances like microwaves or air conditioners).
Which Things to Consider for watching tv in RV without generator?
- Solar panels
- Charge controller
- Battery bank
A charge controller is included with most solar kits, but it’s an important component that you need to check before making your purchase.
The charge controller prevents the batteries from being overcharged or drained too low by regulating how much power flows between the panels and the battery bank.
It does this by breaking the circuit between storage batteries and solar panels when there’s no longer sufficient voltage coming from the sun.
Related Article: Best Generator For Mobile Home
Here are some things to consider:
1) Do you want a simple, basic kit for charging batteries on cloudy days only? Or do you prefer one that will automatically turn on when the battery voltage falls below a preset level?
2) The more solar panels you have, the greater the likelihood of overcharging.
A good charge controller will sense when there’s no longer enough sun to keep up with demand and cut off the flow. It may even turn off your converter in favour of solar power when available, so you can run appliances without draining your battery bank too low.
3) Check what kind of batteries are supported by the system you’re looking at. Not all controllers are capable of running all types of batteries.
Also consider how much juice you need for big peaks in consumption, like running the microwave or air conditioner on hot days.
Look for one that can handle larger loads without being overwhelmed (this is true for all components in your system).
Be sure to read this next section on solar panels and power inversion, even if you think you won’t be using an inverter.
A pure sine wave inverter is preferable for use with items like TVs, microwaves, computers, DVD players, stereos systems and more.
If it plugs into a wall outlet on either side of the ocean…it will probably work with your inverter.
If you’re ok with lowering the quality on some of those items (that’s what happens when you take DC power and convert it to AC), then generally speaking any old household inverter will do the job.
Just don’t expect them all to perform equally well or have the same features.
How do I run appliances with a direct current without an inverter?
If you want to use your air conditioner or microwave, then you will need an inverter.
How much power they draw is what determines the size of the inverter as well as which type of batteries and solar panels are required for your particular set-up.
This is where things start to get complicated if you’re trying to build it on a budget because those two appliances make up almost half of what many RVs use in terms of electrical power.
That’s why we recommend that first-time RVers skip out on those until they know more about how their system works and what it can handle.
Running an air conditioner on battery power isn’t impossible, but you need a lot of batteries and/or solar panels and sometimes even both.
There’s also the matter of finding or building a system that will properly distribute the power coming from your batteries to your appliances. Usually, this calls for separate switches for different circuits (to prevent voltage drops) and heavy-duty wire (10-gauge minimum) between everything.
For vented units, you’ll also need to add large fans to provide adequate cooling when there’s no 12-volt power available. For instance, if you’re parked under a shady tree during the hottest hours of the day, or in a crowded campground with no open 50-amp sites.
If you don’t need to run it long enough for that, then you can plug in the A/C unit via an extension cord right into your house batteries (although this is not recommended for extended periods).
There are many ways to achieve this, including adding extra deep cycle batteries and/or installing a secondary battery bank beside or inside your camper. You can also use solar panels wired in parallel, which eliminates the voltage drop issue when there’s no power available at the campground pedestal.
Parallel wiring allows each solar panel to step down its voltage while distributing current together as one strong stream going toward the batteries.
You could do something similar with wind turbines, but you’d need a great deal of wind to make that happen and tall towers to position them high above average tree cover.
And what if I want to boondock for weeks at a time, only hooking up when necessary?
If you’re planning on living off-grid (with no shore power available whatsoever) then the first thing we recommend is limiting your electrical consumption as much as possible.
After all, the less you use the less battery capacity and solar panel size you’ll need.
This also means using 12-volt appliances (they draw much less power than standard 120-volt versions). We use everything from rechargeable flashlights, to clothes washing machines, irons, coffee makers, etc.
There’s also the matter of powering larger appliances like microwaves and air conditioners, for which you may need to spend more on batteries and solar panels than you would for an average RV with shore power.
You’ll also need a smart battery charger to do its job well (which is why we use the Sterling Battery to Solar Charger ), but this will bring your batteries back up much faster than leaving it plugged into 110-volt electricity alone.
If you’re a fan of watching your favourite TV shows while on the road, then this article is for you. RVers have been asking us how to watch tv without their generator running and we’ve got some answers that may help!
First off, let’s talk about why generators are so important when travelling in an RV – they provide power for all those fun things like cooking dinner or washing up after a long day out exploring nature.
But what if it rains? Or there’s no place nearby with electricity?
That’s where our answer comes in… What do I do if my generator won’t start due to wet conditions?
Simple- find yourself one of these bad boys (or gals). They come equipped with solar panels which collect power even when it’s raining.
You can also use this to charge up batteries for your laptop!