Can You Use a Car Battery to Power a TV?

Using a car battery to power a TV is quite possible. However, you may need a few things to set up the circuit. It’s not always as easy as plugging the TV into your car’s lighter socket – unless of course you must have a small TV that plugs into that socket.

The point is, you don’t have invest in expensive generators to enjoy a little TV time while camping.

Most TVs are AC powered (yes, we know that technically the TV’s power supply converts the AC to DC for the rest of the circuitry) while your car’s electrical system is all DC.

Therefore, in order for you to use the car battery to power up your TV, you will need a power inverter.

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The big plus is that you don’t have to worry about electrical wiring and installing an inverter. As for the negative, these TVs are limited in size, but you plug them into the lighter socket or another accessory outlet in the RV and not worry about power.


Choosing the Right Inverter

There are two things to consider when buying an inverter: the power requirement of your TV and your preferred connection method. If you want to go the route of the lighter socket connection, you will need a small power inverter which can plug into it. That’s not going to work for bigger TVs.

If you want to connect the TV directly to a car battery, you may need a different kind of power inverter – a full-size rig that can be clamped onto the battery terminals. The inverter should also feature an outlet which you can use to plug the TV in.

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Can you use a car battery to power a TV and other appliances or gadgets by way of an inverter? Yes, as long as it’s big enough.

The inverter will have to put out enough power to match the power requirements of everything you connect to it. You’ll be able to find the power requirement on a label near the serial number of your TV and other electrical items.

An Alternative for RVs

As you should know by now, RVs usually come with 12-volt outlets. So, if you want to skip the power inverter, getting a 12-volt TV may be a good idea.

For an RV, skipping the inverter is sometimes a good idea, or at least cost-effective. Just keep in mind that 12-volt TVs that you plug into the RV outlets may drain your battery faster than a regular TV run through an inverter.

Should You Always Have an Inverter Lying Around?

It really depends on your budget. This will allow you to convert 12V DC into 110V AC and essentially turn the car battery into a mini power station.

You can use it to watch some shows or power up smaller appliances during a power outage. You can also use it to make quick repairs with power tools when the power is down.

Just keep in mind that most car and RV batteries won’t last forever if you don’t recharge them. When you’re driving and the battery is continuously charging, you can easily run your 12-volt TV.

Power Inverter vs. 12-Volt TV – The Definitive Answer

So, can you use a car battery to power a TV? Yes, but how you’re going to use it is another matter. Using a power inverter is perhaps the best choice.

Even with an inverter, the drain on your battery can still be quite massive if you’re not driving. 

But, at the same time, with a power inverter clamped to your RV battery, you can also power other devices that may not have a 12-volt alternative.

Last Updated on September 6, 2019

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