How to watch tv in RV without using generator

How to watch tv in RV without using generator

Last Updated on :

Generator in a rv can be of much help. When you are camping at sites without electricity hookup, its the generator that comes to your help. Having a generator is so much necessary, but at times people just avoid buying it because of various reasons like extra cost, weight or they just don’t feel the need of it.

A generator also helps in running entertainment systems lie music, television etc. In this post, lets see how one can enjoy television when generator is missing on your rv.

1. Get an inverter to power the TV in RV

Using inverter to power the television in your rv is the most common and practical way to go. An inverter converts the 12 v from the house batteries in your RV to the 110 V AC. It produces the sine wave in 110 V. A television will mostly run using a 110 V ac input and in that case, you either connect the television to a direct electric supply, or a generator. And, in absence of both of these, the way to go is to use an inverter.

What about 12V TV : Not all televisions run on 110 V AC, you will also find televisions that work on 12V DC and in which case, you will not need an inverter. So, if you can have 12V dc battery operated televisions then why even go for 110 V running tv’s. Well, the 12v battery run televisions may not be that efficient, and they also tend to draw a lot of power and thus, using them too much may mean your batteries are drying.

Inverter makes sense : Also, you will need to run tv not only during boondocking, but also while you are connected to hook ups. And, that time having a good 32 inc lcd may be a good thing to do. Also, with inverter prices coming down and efficiency going on higher side, it makes good sense to go for this option.

What all things you need to consider while choosing a inverter for your RV

You can either get a modified sine wave inverter or a pure sine wave inverter for your RV. Pure sine wave is more efficient, and is a good option for running tv. A modified sine wave may not be good for your TV and can get damaged.

In fact, some of the sensitive devices wont even run on modified sine wave inverter. A pure sine wave inverter is basically almost similar to what you would get through a direct hook up. And, that’s the way to go, if you want it to be perfect for you.

How many watts inverter to get for my tv

If you think, you will only be running tv with your inverter then let me tell you one thing. You may be wrong. You just need to think twice and figure out your exact requirements. This is important because, once you set the watts requirements, you wont be able to change it.

Watts consumption : A good sized inverter can come handy for you, but also you need to go more than your max requirements. A small flat screen television may need around 120-200 watts for running. A tube television consumes more and can draw upto 300 watts.

A good flat lcd may draw much less around 120 watts. So, on an average you can assume it to be not more than 400 watts. So, if you would say “i will only run my tv with the inverter” then 400-500 watts inverter is enough for you. But, considering other things that you may want to put on inverter, a better thing to do; is just add all those watts and buy a sufficient wattage inverter for your rv.

How much will the RV inverter cost me

Buying a inverter depends on what your requirements are, that is; how many watts do you want. A good 1500-2000 watts inverter that produces a pure sine way should come at a price range of around $180-$300. Where as a modified sine wave inverter with a 2000 watts rating should cost you around $140-$250 on an average.

You will get lots of brands for buying inverters and with many features. You need to check on all these things before going ahead with buying. Make sure you decide on the watts rating after careful calculations. Check price of this pure sine wave inverter by techON on amazon. Its reliable and perfect for your RV.

2. Buy a 12V TV and you wont need a geny

RV’s do come with built in televisions and in such cases you wont be in much worry. In such a case, you need to understand what kind of supply it uses. You can also have televisions that run off 12 V DC. Replacing an old tube tv with a 12 V DC can be a good option.

Check out this supersonic LED widescreen TV on amazon its highly rated.

Those old tv’s are bulky and consume a lot and thus, there’s no point keeping them. Enjoying tv inside your rv is one of the things many people like to do. Using those local tv antenna and receive the signals for entertainment is amazing.

A 12 V dc powered television can be a good solution, they tend to be good for RV use. They also produce good pictures and the power consumption also can be lesser as compared to through inverter. If you see, with inverter its a dual conversion. First you need a 12 v battery then it is converted to 110 v and within television the 110 is then converted into 12 V DC for tv. With this conversion the inverter losses can be upto 10-15% more as compared to directly using 12 V DC. One other reason to opt for this 12 V system television, is because most people wouldn’t have the pure sine wave inverter or they just don’t want to go for it, as it tends to be more costly.

Cost of 12 V TV and weight comparison with inverter – A 120 V AC supplied television can also be heavier, may not be much difference, but still 50 pounds addition can be more, considering how much you are normally concerned about weight in rv. One thing with such 12 V Dc televisions is that, you may not get good quality sound, that could be an issue. But otherwise, picture quality should be perfectly fine for usage. Jensen, supersonic are some of the common names of 12 V tv brands for RV. On an average you can get such televisions (15-24 inches) within prices in between $100 to $160. Bigger 12 V Dc televisions of around 28-40 inches can be in the range of around $280 to $580.

Summarizing this point, i would say a 12 V battery run television is a better option if you are trying to accommodate a medium sized inverter. But yes, if you have other requirements for inverter and planning to buy better/bigger inverter, then there is no point of having a 12v DC television. Just go for the normal and bigger television with inverter.

3. Use solar panels to power the tv in RV

Solar energy is the cleanest form of energy you could use in your RV. It comes at no cost, other than initial installation cost. With technology advances, the solar power has been tapped in a better way then ever before. Using a solar panel in rv, to power a TV can be viable and good option to go to. Check out my complete guide for understanding the solar basics for rv.

There are more people using solar panel these days and why not? Better efficiency and reduced costs makes them usable. I myself haven’t tried solar panels on rv, but yes i do have experienced such solar energy consumptions elsewhere.

Definitely there are many disadvantages with using solar panels but it can be an alternate solution for your RV. At least for running television you should be okay. How many watts does a tv would need, its hardly 150-200 watts, solar panels can definitely be enough for this.

Better to Use : Using solar panel for powering appliances can be noise free, quite and easy to use. Also, you save on day to day costs, its just one time installation cost. Even though it saves money for you and is most green energy, it has lots of disadvantages too.

Read : Charging RV Battery using solar

Dependent on Sun : Its is also dependent on sun, you need to place your RV in sun. Also, during winter season the sun may not come out as much as you want it to be. And, if you are planning for solar panel, the weight of the panel need to be considered.

Weight and cost of solar panels – Generally you would get them in terms 100 watts panels. Depending on the need, the panels will increase and so will weight. A solar panel system will produce the dc voltage which can be either used directly for your tv or you again need inverter to turn it into 110V for your TV.

A solar panel of 100 watts can cost you around $200-$500, there is lot of variance in the price and it depends on the brand you are opting for. One such solar kit available on amazon is Renogy 100-watt 12-volt Mono-crystalline Solar Starter Kit. Its really impressive and a real value for the money.

Having such a solar source on your RV is a real advantage for sure. If you opt for solar panels system full kit then it can also include inverter, where in the cost will be little more.

4. Use UPS in your camper to power the television

This is another great option to power you tv in rv. A smaller ups can be a great option to run a smaller television for couple of hours or even more, if you have good battery in it. This can be a good option if you are a couple or solo camper and you need it only for few hours like for watching a movie at night time or so. If you have larger UPS then that can be good enough for longer hours. Have seen people who use 1000 watts or more ups to run television and other smaller appliances for long hours.

It also depends on what kind of tv you have. A LED tv will draw much less as compared to lcd or other old televisions. This is an option that definitely not for people who go often boondocking . If you have that ups lying at home then you can just put it in camper, just in case you may need it. One other thing to be cautious here is the weight of ups, they can be heavy depending on the type of battery.

Conclusion :

Using any of these sources you can run the television. But, if you see; most of these options are for those who may not be rving often or may not be using television in rv that often. Having a generator in rv is always going to be great, if you go boondocking often. There’s no different say on this. Whatever source you use for your tv, enjoy the camping.

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
Close Menu