This 55lb metal box above the batteries inverts direct current from the batteries to alternating current for a few pieces of equipment in the van.
Because of the energy that passes through the inverter, overheating is a concern. With this in mind, the inverter is elevated and exposed on all sides. In the video the inverter is supported by wood strips. Before I permanently mount the inverter I will replace the strips with more resilient metal that can handle the impact of the road.
The van needs alternating current for the refrigerator, air conditioner, TV, water heater, and a few open outlets around the van.
You may be more familiar with this concept than you might think.
Both laptops and cellphones run on direct current (power provided by batteries like the ones provided in my van). However, because homes almost exclusively utilize alternating current, battery powered eletronics like laptops and cell phones incorporate a converter into their wall plug. The converter is that little box or brick in the power line. The converter transforms alternating current from the power outlet to usable direct current for the device.
So why is my inverter so big compared to what you're familiar with? A typical cellphone might consume 6 Watts while charging. My inverter, capable of supporting multiple pieces of equipment at once can support up to 2800 Watts continuously.
What's next? At some point on my lunch break today I will drop off my van with some capable guy who will mount the propane tank to the frame of the van. We're not sure yet how long that will take. Stay tuned.