Especially for newcomers, the aspect of power supply in the mobile home is a big mystery. Where does the electricity come from? Is there a battery in the vehicle, or does it have to be tapped into via a power cable? Our guide has put together all the important information regarding electricity use in a motorhome so that you know what to look for on your next camping trip with a caravan or motorhome.
Overview of the electrical system in the camper vehicle
Each mobile home has an electrical system that guarantees the power supply. This system includes one or two body batteries and a charger to charge these batteries with shore power. So that the devices can also be operated in the caravan, the electrical system is also equipped with a 230V installation. The energy stored in the batteries can be used, for example, for the lighting in the mobile home, for operating the refrigerator, for using a satellite system or a television. The energy is also suitable for charging electrical devices such as telephones, laptops or cameras.
The difference between the onboard battery and the starter battery
In addition to the starter battery, a camper also contains onboard batteries that ensure the power supply in the camper. The starter battery can also be found in any other vehicle, but the supply battery cannot. The starter battery is used to operate the starter and, when the engine is switched off, the lighting system, air conditioning, radio and auxiliary heating, for example. In contrast to the supply battery, the starter battery emits high currents quickly. However, it cannot slowly discharge and emit lower currents. This means that the starter battery cannot supply the devices in the caravan and mobile home with electricity. The onboard batteries responsible for this are designed to deliver low currents slowly. In addition, they tolerate a deep discharge, which should be avoided with the starter battery if possible.
The right battery for the camper
To ensure that devices such as the refrigerator or television in the caravan can be operated without problems, the batteries that supply the devices must withstand deep discharges and high currents. GEL and AGM batteries, in particular, are installed as onboard batteries in camping vehicles. Lithium-ion or lithium RV batteries, lighter and more compact than most supply batteries, are still relatively new on the market. The LiFePO4 batteries for mobile homes are particularly durable and light.
Inverter: 12v becomes 230v
Inverters are part of the additional equipment in caravans. These allow the coffee machine to run properly or dry your hair with a hair dryer. What is an inverter? The inverter converts the electricity from 12 V to 230 V AC, just like at home from the socket. The voltage of 12 V is not enough for most devices, so this essential component should not be missing in your circuit design，Besides, you can get detailed information about rv inverter with a thorough guidebook here.
Stationary battery charging with shore power
Almost every mobile home has a socket on the outside, also known as a CEE connection socket. You can find these under a cover at the rear of the caravan or on the side wall. This socket can connect the WoMo to an existing 230V power source. On many campsites, it is common that there is a connection to the shore power per pitch. If the caravan or mobile home is supplied with shore power, the devices in the caravan run on this circuit, and the integrated charger charges the body batteries. Of course, you can also supply the caravan with energy or charge the batteries at home via this external socket.
Suitable Power Cable And Adapter For Stationary Charging
If you want to draw static electricity on a campsite or your pitch, you need a power cable or a cable reel with a CEE adapter. If you are unsure whether the cable can be used as a camper power cable, you should pay attention to the following features: On the one hand, the cable may only be 25 meters long. Furthermore, only rubber hose lines with the designation H07RN-F and a cable cross-section of at least 2.5 mm² are permitted. The CEE adapter also has certain important features. On the one hand, this should at least correspond to protection class IP44. So you are guaranteed an adapter that is also suitable outdoors and can get wet. The adapter is also recommended to be firmly attached to the power cable.
Safety Tips For Using Shore Power
Consider a few important points when using the electricity at your pitch via cable. Power cords are unsuitable for permanent outdoor use. Because even if the power cable and the adapter correspond to protection class IP44, this does not mean that they can lie in a puddle of water, for example. This can lead to electric shocks or short circuits. So if it’s raining, you shouldn’t leave the connector on the ground. You should also always make sure that the insulation is intact. To protect other people from accidents, you should remember that this is not a tripping hazard when laying the cable. It also doesn’t do the cable any good if caravans or other vehicles always drive over it.
Independent Power Supply In The Mobile Home?
It is also possible to operate the power supply in the mobile home independently. The most common solution is a solar system on the camper’s roof, but you can also become independent of shore power with a generator, a fuel cell and a wind generator. Whichever solution you choose, you will likely have to expand your battery capacity to supply your motorhome with energy independently. The practical thing about a self-sufficient supply is that you are more independent and can stay almost anywhere – regardless of whether there is enough electricity.
The solar system is the most commonly used self-sufficient power source for a camper van. Many new vehicles already have portable solar panels for camping as standard equipment. It consists of solar modules attached to the roof and a charge controller. On the other hand, generators can also produce electricity but are usually very loud, which can be perceived as annoying. The goal is to stand with the camper in the great outdoors with a self-sufficient power source. The volume of the generator can be very annoying. Your camping neighbours won’t be the envy of your generator.
A fuel cell is more convenient than an energy supplier. Fuel cells were difficult to come by a few years ago, but things are different today. As a ready-to-sell product, especially for mobile homes, it is quickly installed and, like the off grid solar system, produces electricity silently.
The power supply in a mobile home with a wind turbine is completely unusual but possible. There are only a few offers on the market, but the investment could be worthwhile in windy regions, especially if you have a permanent parking space.