From the Road: How Many Circuits Does an RV Inverter Power?

Hello there! In my Questions From the Road column, I take a crack at answering real questions from real RVers, just like you. You might find your question here! If not, please send me an email!

When a pusher coach has a 2,000-watt inverter, the inverter more than likely will go to a separate panel, where it will only feed 120VAC to a limited number of circuits?


I see what you’re thinking, Bill. 2,000 watts is not much power compared to a standard 50A hookup (12,000 watts), so how could an inverter possibly supply full power to all the circuits?

The trick is that an inverter may be installed in many different ways. Some are installed before the main transfer switch; some, afterwards. Some are installed like a separate subpanel. Generally, the smaller the inverter, the fewer circuits it controls.

So your onboard inverter will probably deliver power to some, but not all, of your circuits. Yes, it’s probably installed like a sub panel, where a single 20-amp AC breaker is wired to the inverter’s incoming AC power. In your case, the 2,000-watt inverter is probably just supplying a limited number of AC circuits in a pass-through capacity.

If your inverter is rated for 2,000 watts peak, then it can probably only handle about 1,500-1,600 watts continuously. That’s not enough juice to run most air conditioners, and it’s barely enough for many countertop appliances. It’s good for powering your outlets and maybe the refrigerator, not for fully self-contained dry camping.

Unfortunately, I can’t say much else because inverter installations vary so widely by manufacturer. Time to view the schematic!

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