How do caravan electrics work?

Its a question that every new caravanner has when picking up their new caravan!

There is no short answer when it comes to caravan electrical set ups, every manufacture has different idea's on what's best, and every caravanner has different needs.

The most basic set up is a no fuss, Charger, fuse box and on/off switch set up, this is very similar to a car.

You have a battery, a battery charger (alternator), fuse box and a main cut off switch (ignition), once the switch is turned on, you have 12 volt power to your caravan to run your 12 volt appliances.

that's basically it in a nutshell

Basic 12v electrical setup

what does the Charger do?

The charger takes the energy from a source,(solar, 240v or 12V) and sends it to a storing device (battery).

What does the battery do?

The battery stores the energy/power ready for use.

What dose the Fuse box do?

A fuse box is a safeguard for electrics in the caravan, if you receive a power surge, the fuse will blow and cut power that application. IE, lights

What does the switch do?

The switch turns on or off the power from the battery.

How do I know what runs off 12 volt in my caravan?

Again, every caravan is different, below is a small list of appliances that could be 12 volt.


Small wall Fans

Water Pump


Roof Fans

What are the appliances that don't run on 12 volt?

The main appliances are,


Although, you can elect to run a Compressor Fridge, designed to run off 12 V


Air conditioner

If you have any other questions regarding this post, or any other questions regarding the operation of your caravan, drop us an email at

1300 720 196

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