How to Install an AC Inverter in My Trailer

by Valerie Berta

Most travel trailers are self-enclosed and let you enjoy the great outdoors with all the amenities of home, thanks in part to a an electrical system designed to work on battery power. All travel trailers work on 12-volt electricity, or DC power, which is converted from 110-volt city power, or AC power, and come with what is called a power converter. The inverter, on the other hand, converts DC power to AC power. If you want to be completely self-contained and not have to plug into an electrical hookup or run a generator to have AC power in your trailer and run those appliances that need AC power, like microwave ovens or computers, an inverter will come in handy. Here are a few simple steps to install an inverter in your travel trailer.


Check your trailer manufacturer's manual to see whether your trailer runs on 30 or 50 amps, and select the appropriate inverter.


Unplug your trailer from outside power and turn off breaker box.


Locate a smaller AC breaker box next to your trailer's original breaker box. This smaller box should have at least one circuit breaker.


Disconnect both your trailer's generator/outside wires and the converter wires from the original breaker box and connect them to the smaller AC breaker box. The converter AC cords go to a plug, from which wires run to the original breaker box. These are the wires that you will need to disconnect from the original box and reconnect to the smaller box. There are three of them, a black, a white and a green one, generally encased in a white coating, and they need to be connected following this color code. The generator/outside power AC cord is the same: its cord is made up of the same three wires.


Plug the inverter into the original breaker box where the generator/outside power cord was connected with an AC cord. Again you will need to wire the three wires coming inside the AC cord, as indicated in Step 4.


Connect another AC cord from the inverter to the new breaker box and another one from the inverter to the original box. Follow the same directions as in Step 4.


Connect the inverter to the trailer's batteries as well, so that when outside power is cut off, the inverter may use battery power to generate AC power.

Items you will need

About the Author

Valérie Berta has been a writer and photojournalist since 1994. She has worked for "The Jacksonville Journal-Courier," "Riverside Press-Enterprise" and "Agence France-Presse." Berta earned master's degrees in both English and journalism.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images