Should I Turn Off My RV's Converter When It's Plugged Into Electric?

by Bonnie J
(Yuma, AZ)

Pictured Above Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power 9200 Series 60 Amp Converter/Charger with Built-in Charge Wizard

I am living in my parked RV for the next 6 months to 1 year and hooked up to shore power, water & sewer. I have 2 sealed Sears DH Platinum batteries that are about 1 year old.

I have disconnected the batteries and I dont think that anything in my 1989 Lazy Daze class C motorhome runs off 12 volt only. I replaced the converter/inverter about 3 years ago.

So much for background: I hear the converter running frequently, Should I disconnect the converter to save wear and tear on it?

ANSWER: Hi Bonnie thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page

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First a little background information so everyone will understand my answer to your question. When your RV is not hooked up to electricity (Shore Power); the RV's house batteries supply the power to all of your RV's 12 volt DC appliances and accessories.

When your RV is hooked up to shore power, the house batteries are bypassed and the RV's Converter takes over the job of providing 12 volt DC power to your RV and in most cases the converter also includes a battery charger that charges the RV's house batteries when the RV is hooked up to shore power.

The fact that you have disconnected the house batteries from the system is not a problem, in fact depending on the type of battery charging system
that your converter uses it has the potential of damaging your RV's house batteries if they are left connected long term. Unless the battery charger on your converter has a float charging mode (battery maintenance mode). You can leave your house batteries disconnected until a couple of days before you plan to hit the road again or you can purchase a separate float charger and leave your batteries connected to it so they will constantly be receiving a maintenance charge.

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OK (drum roll) the answer to your main question is do not mess with the converter and attempt to turn it off as your RV does indeed have some appliances and accessories that need 12 volt DC power even when plugged into shore power. Listed below is some of the items in your RV that require 12 Volt DC power to operate.

* Interior Lights
* Furnace (for blower motor and thermostat)
*·Bathroom fan
* Kitchen fan
* Refrigerator (circuit board)
* Slide-out motor (if equipped)
* Propane leak detector

Do not worry about any excessive wear and tear on your RV's Converter as they are designed for constant operation.

I hope this helps.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Comments for Should I Turn Off My RV's Converter When It's Plugged Into Electric?

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RV Systems needing 12-volt power
by: DougJames65

You missed one major item you use when hooked up to shore power, your air conditioners also require a constant 12-volt power source to operate.

Living in 5th wheel
by: Anonymouslisa

Thank you for this information. I have a 5th wheel RV full time plugged into 50 amp I didn't know what I needed. One tech says inverter another one says converter only I had new battery and charger and he said plug and fuses good so that's all I needed after trying to educate myself. I picked 2nd

Coleman 2017 yr. Model 3015 bunkhouse.
by: Wx9dx

This 2017 camper is still on its 1st battery. But it does need the specific gravity checked on the battery cells several times a season while snowbirding in Florida. So I had to buy a hydrometer to check this. Just adding distilled water is not always the answer. Sometimes adding acid is to some of the cells of the battery. Next time I buy a battery for this camper it will have to be a maintenance-free AGM battery. As Coleman installed a charger that does overdue when charging. I also thought of installing a #47 lamp in series with the battery lead with a switch to short out the lamp. This would allow a low amperage charge from their charger. Then when the switch is turned on it would allow full charge to the battery when the camper is plugged into the mains.

by: BOB C

If you use one inverter for emergency power to a single outlet the external inverter is always on do I need to leave the charger on Thanks Bob C

I say yes to the battrry
by: Anonymous

It depends on the inverter some do not but out enough to run your 12v equipment they only keep the battery charged. I first learned this on my fathers RV none of the 12v would run until a battery was installed

Exposed batteries.
by: Frank

If you are in a freezing climate over thee winter you must at least move your house batteries to a non freezing place. Attaching to a trickle charger will also work. Freezing will destroy batteries. In a class C they may be protected from freeze but in most towables are not. Also newer converters tend to have a device to limit the charge to house batteries which protects them from freezing in towable rvs.

RV convertor
by: judy S

Ok so I am living in my 25ft travel trailer 2008 Dutchman Rainier.. I am in an RV Park with full hookups. Unfortunately I kngow very little but I'm learning. My question is... the fan on the 3 way convertor use to come on and off..then about 3 mths ago it stared running continually and was pretty noisy.. I just moved to another spot in the park and noticed that the fan doesn't come on at all anymore... everything is working fine. Fridge, lights, micro wave, furnace... I'm just not sure if I have a problem or not.. just seems weird that it doesn't come on anymore...

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