Part 6 – Power Converters, Battery Chargers, and Transfer Switches

In RV applications, the terms ‘power converter’ and ‘battery charger’ are used interchangeably. The converter takes AC power (from shore power or a generator), converts it to DC, and uses it to charge the RV batteries.

Good converter/chargers provide high throughput and will dramatically shorten the time it takes to charge the batteries — kind of like filling your pool with a fire hose instead of a garden hose. A converter charger will provide savings in generator fuel and shore power charges, and minimizing your generator run times is likely to make you more popular in the RV park.

Transfer switches provide both safety and convenience—who wants to be manually transferring power sources at night or in the middle of a storm?

Transfer switches automatically switch between two sources of incoming AC power. It’s critical that different AC power sources are kept separate from each other—failing to do so can result in damaged electrical equipment or even fire.

Once the different AC power sources are attached to the transfer switch, the switch will select the appropriate power source to use based on your preferences. For example, it can send power to your RV refrigerator when you’re driving, allowing you to turn off the fridge’s propane source (a safety issue when on the road).