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Old 05-09-2012, 10:11 PM   #1
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Invertor, convertor, transformer??

I am new here and just acquired a 1991 36 ft Country Coach Sedona, Cat 3208T on Gillig chassis. I am going through the owner's, Gillig and Cat manuals. SO much to learn. This is my first diesel pusher.

Can someone explain the Invertor, converter and transformer functions or direct me to other threads that have the info? Are they 3 separate units? Which do I use while going down the road, parked, stored and plugged in?


John & Sharon Cockrill
1991 Country Coach, Sedona, Cat 3208T on Gillig
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:21 AM   #2
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A Converter changes 110v AC into 12v DC. It gets used when you plug your rig into the power pole at the campground.

An Inverter changes 12v DC into 110v AC. This runs off your "house batteries" and gets used when you aren't plugged into the power pole, as in "boondocking". It allows you to use your 110v appliances without being plugged in.

A transformer converts AC voltage from low to high or high to low voltage AC. Your Converter would have one of these built in to convert 110v AC to approx. 12 v AC. It would then get converted to 12v DC inside the converter.


2004 Tiffin Allegro 27.5 ft. P32 18,000 lb GVW. 8.1 liter. Workhorse chassis built May 2002. 21,000 miles. 2012 Jeep Liberty Toad. RVi2 brake unit.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:59 AM   #3
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Converter: is a device that CONVERTS 120vac shore power to 12vdc for battery charging and operation of 12 volt lights, water pump and stuff inside the motor home (NOTE: 12 volts is not the exact voltage but that's what we call it)

INVERTER: does the INVERSE.. that is converts 12vdc to 120vac for your televison, radio, Microwave (If big enough) and such.

Transformer: Well, this gets a bit technicial so I simplify by talking only about one kind (Voltage) a Transfrormer transforms one voltage to another, otherwise not changing anyting.. Example 100 VAC to 115 VAC.. Or 24vac (Door bell transformer in house).

AUTOFORMER: (TM) is a device that is designed to monitor shore power voltage and IF NEEDED engage a transformer to boost a low voltage up a bit for your RV, (Some of them will also transform a high voltage down)

The word Autoformer is used here to describe all such buck/boost units even if they are not the proper make (kind of like Band Aid to describe a self adheasive bandage)


This is a single box that combines the functions of both an Inverter and a Converter, it has AC-IN, and AC-OUT, usually it monitors the incoming power (if any) and switches over to INVERTER mode when needed.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:01 PM   #4
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Read this.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:26 PM   #5
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Watch out for some "converters". There are some cheap ones out there for running US stuff on European 240V. They work by cutting off the negative half of the power's sine wave, reducing the RMS voltage by 50%.

They will destroy anything other than resitance aplliances (hair curlers, electric heaters without fans, soldering irons, clothes irons). If there's a motor in the device, it will be killed.
Frank Damp -Anacortes, WA,(DW- Eileen)
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:51 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your replies/explanations.
Eddie Foy- I printed out the info and added it to my ever increasing folder of information.

John & Sharon Cockrill
1991 Country Coach, Sedona, Cat 3208T on Gillig
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