By Chuck Woodbury
A small power inverter like the one pictured can provide some household power needs without the use of a generator or a utility hookup. Most of my electric needs while traveling in my motorhome are minor — to power my laptop computer (and its portable printer and scanner on occasion), and to charge batteries of my other electronic devices — iPhone and camera batteries for the most part. For RVs without a built-in inverter, a device like mine comes in very handy, and saves money.
While my motorhome’s onboard 12-volt power system powers the lights of my coach, its water pump and heater fan, it isn’t good for much more. And that’s where my nifty little $30 power inverter saves the day. All I need to do is insert it into my RV’s 12-volt plug (be careful if you use the “cigarette lighter” in the cab as you can run the automotive battery down), and then plug whatever I need to power or charge into the inverter. The inverter converts the 12-volt power into regular household current. There is absolutely no noise (or maintenance) like a generator and no need to find an RV park just for the hookups.
Granted, it will not power a microwave or air conditioner — not nearly enough juice. But it will do just fine with items that require small amounts of power.
My first portable power inverter changed my life as an RVer by allowing me to have household power when shore power was not available. It has saved me thousands of dollars through the years in hookup fees and generator costs. These small devices can typically be purchased for $30 or less at any big box store. Here’s one at Amazon.com for under $30.