Getting Turned On: Mobile Power For Your RV

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Getting Turned On: Mobile Options to Power Your RV
A modern RV is a wonderful thing to behold.  Power recliners, air conditioners, big screen televisions, surround sound and so many wonderful technologies designed to make your home away from home as comfortable as your brick and mortar residence you left behind.   But all these luxury appointments share a common need.  Electrical power and sometimes lots of it.  So that is not an issue at all when you are a campground with “shore power” and you are plugged into as many amps as you need. Most campgrounds will have a 30 amp connection and that will run most RVs just fine.  Microwave, A/C, coffee makers and other options will have enough power to run perfectly.  RVs with more than one air conditioners will need a 50 amp connection to run all the appliances at once.   But what about when you would like to be off the grid?  There might be a beautiful place to “boondock” on a friend’s farm or on crown land or a beach in Florida that is too perfect to pass up.  In this article we will look at the options we have to have power while in a remote location.

  1. Gas Generator.  This is most owners go to solution for remote power.  There are many makes and varieties of gas powered generators.  The model that we use at Can Am quite frequently is the Honda 2000.  It is light weight, quiet, affordable and can fit on the A-frame of an Airstream trailer right behind the propane tanks.  If required we can hard wire it to your trailer so that power off the grid is merely a pull of the starter cord away.  This model does not produce enough amperage to run your A/C but you will have everything else running fine. The downside of the generator is the fact that you will have to re-fill the fuel tank every few hours and that although it is quiet for a gas engine, there is still a decibel level that not everyone will find acceptable.  The other complaint is that because many people do not use their generators with regularity they sometimes fail to start because of stale gasoline or gummed up carburetors. This is really best to run for a few hours to re-charge your RV batteries and then shut it down.
  2. Solar Power.  Solar power is a great renewable resource that is green and quiet and easy to use.  Although you will not produce the amperage in most cases that the generator will make, solar can keep your batteries charged and an onboard inverter will give you power for small 110 volt AC appliances and electronics.  Of course, with solar the limitation is the sun itself and if you have a few days of cloudy weather or a shady campsite you will likely not be able to keep up with demand.  In my own situation I mounted my 160 watt solar panels on the top of my tow vehicle and installed the storage battery there.  Now my panel is getting full sun almost all of the time.  I have a 25 ft cord to reach the RV and can park the vehicle in the sun out of the shade.  This also gives me the benefit of providing solar power to any trailer I have in tow.  There are an abundance of installation options available and here at Can Am we are quite pleased with the products from Go Power. See the complete catalogue of products at
  3. The Car Generator.  This is a relatively new product on the market that we are excited about.  The car generator is a specialized invertor system that uses the power of your car or tow vehicle to produce the power you would expect from a traditional generator.  After all when you think about it, a generator is essentially an engine driving the electronics to produce power.  With the car generator your car or tow vehicle is the engine and the car generator hangs on the front of the vehicle in its weatherproof 16 lb housing and can provide quiet power for days at a time running off of your idling engine.  And unlike a generator, the emissions are cleaner, the car is quieter than a generator and now you do not have to transport extra fuel for the generator.  For the less frequent boondocker this would seem to be the best option.  What I like about this option is that I can also use it to power my home during a power outage.  The company offers a connection kit to tie into your furnace power quickly and easily so you will have heat during the worst winter storm.  I can disconnect from the furnace and re-cool my fridge and freezer at regular intervals.  This is all running from the connection to my car, idling in the driveway.  It is a really neat piece of technology and I own one myself.   Because this is a new solution to an age old problem I would recommend watching the following videos.