# RV Power – Those darned complex terms – Watts, Amps, Volts

I’m going to put them over here. We got volts, we got amps, we got watts; these are the 3 big terms you need to know.

These are the terms that would really come in useful for understanding RV power.

When you run a microwave, it consumes power. The measure of power is watts. Volts, amps, and watts. It turns out that Watt = Volt x Amps. You don’t need to know too much about this except that you can add watts up. If your microwave consumes 1500 watts, you have 5 light bulbs that consume 12 watts . . . and let’s see you have 5 of them, so it’d 5 x 12 = 60 Watts. Then let’s say you have a TV that consumes 500 watts; you can add these up and you end up with, we’ll say . . . let’s just, I don’t even want to deal with that. You end up with 2060 watts.

What this gets important in is this helps you figure out how big of equipment you might need. If I had 2000 watts and I knew that’s how much I to consumed, that tells me how big of a generator to get. Anyway, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Volts x Amps = Watts.

Your equipment consumes watts. If I make volts smaller, I’m going to use more amps. If I make volts bigger I’m going to consume less amps. Now you should know what volts and amps are. I could go into volts, watts, and amps a little bit more. I think I will go into Volts x Amps = Watts. Watts is power; watts is what you consume.

Let’s talk a little bit about volts. Volts is called its potential. It’s not true power but it’s the potential you could have in a system. Amps is the actual flow of electrons. Think of it like this: I have a 2-prong system and I have 1-prong is my + volts and the other prong, we’ll say is 0 volts. The question is . . . let’s say there is 120 volts behind this system.

What this is akin to is a glass of water, maybe a martini glass. This voltage is akin to how high in the air this glass of water is. If I have my glass of water really high in the air and I pour it out, the water will really come down and make a splash. If I had it really low on the ground and I pour it out, it’s not going to do much of anything. It gives you an idea of the power that could be behind that volts, that level.

Amps is actually how big the glass is. If my water is actually the Niagara Falls, lots of amps, and then when that water . . . it’s really high in the air, and when that comes down, the power at the bottom of the falls is really huge. If it’s just a little glass of water, even though it had a lot of potential because it’s high in the sky and I just pour it out; it doesn’t do much on the ground. That’s a way of thinking between volts and amps.

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