An inverter takes the 12 volt Direct Current (DC) from the camper van house battery and turns it into 120 Volt Alternating Current (AC) household power. This allows you to use regular household power to run things like toaster ovens, microwaves or hair dryers.

A shore power charger takes 120 VAC from the campground power socket turns it into 12 Volt DC current to charge your house battery. So, when you camp in a campground that has plugins, you can charge up your house battery overnight.

A lot of camper vans include both an inverter and a charger as separate units in the van. They operate independently of each other just as described above.

Some manufacturers combine and inverter and a charger into a single unit – it is then called an inverter/charger.

So, you have a choice on your van of going with a separate inverter and charger, or with a combined inverter/charger. Here are some of the pros and cons for each approach:




Separate Inverter and Charger



Either of the two approaches works fine – just pick the one that appeals most to you.

My only caution would be to make sure that you handle the need to change the neutral to ground bonding point correctly. In the systems we describe, the inverter/charger version handles the transfer automatically, and in the version with a separate inverter and charger the problem is handled by just having separate AC outlets for when you are on shore power and when you are on inverter power – you just plug your appliance into the appropriate outlet.

In our set of electrical systems this is the one using and inverter/charger…

And, this is the one that uses an inverter…, and a separate shore power charger…

On my own van electric systems, I’ve always gone with an inverter/charger, but its always been a close decision.

Gary 8/21/22

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *