To the modern day adventurer, inverters have become an essential travel companion. They allow us to use our 240 Volt devices without ever having to plug into mains power.
We four-wheel drivers are taking more creature comforts on our trips, from fridges & freezers, LED camp lighting and even coffee machines (for the record, I don’t carry a coffee machine).
Luckily, most of the equipment we carry runs on 12-volt power but the higher draw items like coffee machines, laptop chargers, or basically anything with a heating element will require 240-Volt power.
What is an Inverter?
For those new to the touring game, we use a device called an inverter to transform the 12-volt power stored in our batteries into 240-Volt power.
This magic box of unicorns does get more complicated but we will cover that in more detail in a separate article.
What you need to consider when buying an inverter is, “how much power do I require?”
I’ve got the Redarc 350 Watt inverter installed in my camper trailer. This is the smallest of the Redarc inverter range but it easily powers everything that I require.
As the name suggests, it will produce 350 Watts of 240-Volt power. This is more than enough to charge my laptop, camera batteries, drone batteries and power tool batteries.
If you want to power some higher draw items, such as coffee machines or microwaves you will require a much larger inverter. Possibly up to 3000 Watt, depending on your devices requirements.
Ease of Use
It couldn’t really get much easier. You simply plug-in the device you wish to use and hit the switch, much like a wall socket at home.
The Redarc inverter will then beep to alert you it has been activated and show a green LED while it is operating.
As inverters usually draw quite a few amps from your batteries (depending on the load), remember to turn it off when you have finished using your 240 Volt device.
If you prefer to mount your inverter out of sight in your caravan for example, there is a remote activation switch. This can be installed to allow you to activate the inverter remotely without accessing it.
Typical of any Redarc product, the build quality is very good. After all, they are manufactured in South Australia for our tough conditions.
I’ve had the inverter mounted in my camper trailer for over nine months on the road and it hasn’t missed a beat.
It’s survived countless kilometres of violent corrugations, extreme heat, (it’s currently 42C here in the Pilbara) and cold (sub-zero in the Blue Mountains), not to mention daily use keeping all my devices charged.
All of Redarc’s inverters are Pure Sine Wave inverters. This means that the power they output is essentially the same as the power in your house. It is perfectly safe for sensitive electronics and devices with lithium batteries (which includes laptops, phones, power tools etc).
Cheaper inverters are often Modified Sine Wave inverters. Without going into too much detail, these inverters do not produce the same “quality” of power as their pure sine wave cousins. They are not safe for sensitive electronics and may damage your devices. You have been warned.
Long story short, when you’re shopping for an inverter for your touring setup, you want a pure sine wave inverter.
All Redarc inverters also include protection against overload, short-circuit, over temperature and include a load-controlled cooling fan which automatically activates when the inverter produces a certain amount of power.
These protections are great news and will help protect not only the inverter but also the devices you connect to it.
The Redarc 350W inverter is an excellent choice for installing into your 4WD or camper trailer. It’s compact, light and provides more than enough power to keep laptops, cameras and drones charged up.
The 350W output is very efficient and keeps the strain on my batteries to a minimum. Remember, the more power your inverter outputs, the more Amps will be consumed from your batteries.
For my needs, this inverter is ideal, but if you wanted to run products with a higher wattage requirement or charge a lot of equipment at the same time, you may require an inverter with a larger output capacity. Luckily, Redarc has a range of inverters which span from 350 Watt all the way up to a 3000 Watt monster.
As always, get in touch if you have any specific questions regarding this review.
Take it easy,
Disclaimer – This is not a paid or sponsored review. The opinions expressed in this article are my own.