No matter what power source you use, 30a shore power, generator or inverter/battery power, you should better understand power management. Your Oliver camper was designed with the 30amp power in mind so your factory installed components are designed to work within the constraints of 30 amps. The inverter option that we currently offer can provide about 15amps of power to the 120v receptacles before it will max out and shut down. Generators can vary based on their rating but they will be constrained to the 30amp max that the camper is designed for.
Campground Camping with 30a Shore Power
What happens if you go over the 30amps? The breaker will kick, just like at home if you turn to many appliances on in a single room. This situation typically will only occur when you are plugging in high power demanding appliances or devices in the camper. Every appliance that you want to add to your camper should first be checked to see how many amps are required to power it. Many hair dryers can pull 1800 watts of power which will immediately take up about half of your available power. Add in a space heater and it may just put you over the limit. What this means is that you must be conscientious of what is plugged in and pulling power. The worst thing that could happen is it would kick the breaker and you would simply reset it and turn some things off that aren’t being used at the moment.
Voltage drop can occur when using an extension cord that is either too long and/or too small gauge to carry the necessary current required.
Boondocking with Generator Power
When you are connected to a generator power source you are limited within the 30amps but also the max amp that the generator will put out. A typical 2000-watt generator will only supply 15-16 amps of power so this means the max power is limited to the generator and if you are demanding more than the generator can supply it will kick the breaker on the generator. The generator may continue to run but will not be supplying power into the camper. Some of the components in the camper like the Dometic Penguin II A/C will demand much of this power especially when the compressor engages (Start Phase). The optional MicroAir Easy Start does help to contain this short fast burst of power to about 11 amps but that is about 75% of what the 2000-watt generator supplies. Once the compressor moves into the run phase it requires less power and drops to about 9 amps. The compressor will continue to run until the cabin temperature reaches the requested temperature on the thermostat. The compressor will then disengage or shut down. Once the cabin temperature drops below a certain threshold the compressor will once again enter the starting phase which requires 11 amps of power. This is where you may run into an issue that is normal. You may have a coffee maker running or a laptop plugged in or a combination of any other type of added appliance that under the compressor running stage falls just under the max 15-16 amps provided by the generator but when the compressor re-enters the starting phase it can cause it to jump over the max long enough to kick the breaker on the generator. No worries, all you need to do is practice power management and unplug something temporarily and reset the breaker.
TIP: When using a generator, the surge protector may see it as an ungrounded power supply and stop all power from entering the camper. The best resolution for this is to plug in a neutral ground plug into the 120v receptacle on the generator.
Boondocking with the Inverter
The optional inverter is a 2000-watt Xantrex inverter but it actually only supplies about 1800 watts of power. If you remember from earlier, we mentioned that many hair dryers require 1800 watts of power. Power hungry appliances they are! This means you are even more limited to what you can use at the same time or even by itself. The inverter is connected to the 120v receptacles and also the microwave. The microwave by itself will pull most of the power supplied by the inverter so when running the microwave on inverter power be sure not to have other things plugged in and running. Also keep in mind that the inverter is dependent on battery power. The inverter pulls battery power and converts it into 120v power. So, with this option you must manage both the available battery power and inverter power. For instance, the microwave under 120v power uses 12 amps but the converted rate from 12v battery to 120v through the inverter actually means you are using about 135 amps. Has this gotten a bit confusing yet? Putting it simply, you manage the 12 amps required by the microwave from 120v to the available amps of 15 amps provided by the inverter. With the 135 amps you simply need to know that this is draining the batteries at a much faster rate as they cannot sustain that rate of power consumption for too long before loss of 12v power would occur. However, the inverter will shut down before total power loss from the 12v battery system will occur as it requires at least 10.5v for it to operate. The good news is that the microwave is usually only used for short periods of time. You would however want to apply this way of thinking to other appliances that you may want to use while on inverter power so that you better manage the available power.