One of the more often confused RV terminology things encountered is 'converter' and 'inverter'. Hopefully this thread will be able to simply explain what both are and their functions in a RV without getting too technical.
Most RV's will have two distinct electrical systems. One will be a 120 volt AC (Alternating Current) system like you are acquainted with using in a regular house. The other will be a 12 volt DC (Direct Current) system that you are familiar with in a vehicle with a battery. Your RV will have a combination of the two, with some things that only work off of 120 volt AC while other things that only work off of 12 volt DC.
1. When you are connected to some form of shore power (like at the campground power pedestal) or a generator that provides 120 volt AC, then you can use the items in your RV that work off of 120 volts AC. Usually this will be your air conditioner, microwave, television, water heater if equipped and utilizing an electric heating element, refrigerator if the type that can use 120 volt AC as an option or mode, and any of the 120 volt AC normal outlets in the RV that you would plug something into
. When you are camping/boondocking without a form of shore power/generator, then you normally will not be able to use any of the aforementioned items/modes. 120 volt AC items in your RV will be protected by circuit breakers like in a house. (see pic below)
2. Now the 12 volt DC electrical system of your RV normally allows you to use your lights, furnace, thermostat, fans, radio, CO detector, slides if equipped, power jacks/stabilizers, propane mode of a water heater, and propane mode of a refrigerator if equipped. This system will allow you to camp/boondock and use most of the necessity items in the RV except for those things listed in part 1. All you need is a charged battery (or batteries) to provide the 12 volt DC power. 12 volt DC items in your RV will be protected by fuses, like you see in a vehicle. (see pic below)
Next we will discuss what a converter does and it's function in your RV.