Do my 240V sockets run from my leisure battery?
Running 240V sockets when not plugged in can be desirable in most conversions, for laptops etc., however the equipment required to do this well is often a lot more extensive that first thought.
Some of our kits are supplied with an optional extra power inverter, which will take the 12V DC power stored in the leisure battery and convert it to 240V AC for you to use off grid. (see do I need an inverter? for more detail).
When you have an inverter installed, they have their own stand alone 3 pin plug sockets on the front, so this is what you would need to plug into when you're not hooked up to use your leisure battery power to run 240V items.
Above: our 400W pure sine wave inverter with a single 3 pin socket and USB outlet.
The reason it's not safe to wire into the same sockets as the mains, without a controller, is that the mains will back-feed into the front of the inverter. This is against current regulations as the plug can become live, and most inverters will be irreversibly damaged by this back-feed.
Some people might chose to add a fly lead from the inverter, with a 3 pin plug one end and a 240V socket the other end so that they have a dedicated socket for inverter only use somewhere different in the van to the inverter itself.
This is a great idea as long as it's clearly marked with "Inverter power max wattage...."
It's also important to turn off most inverters when you're not using them as they do use a small amount of power when in standby mode and leaving them on all the time can shorten their longevity. Some more premium inverters have optional remotes which can be wired in to turn the inverter off from an external switch, otherwise you would need to access the inverter itself and turn the red on/off switch.
It is possible to get the inverter to run the same set of sockets as the mains using intelligent controllers. We would achieve this using either the Victron Filax 2 or by using a Multiplus inverter/charger as they have an integrated uninterrupted power supply function. These methods are great, but only generally suitable for larger conversions. We will go into more detail in our "How to run 240V sockets both off and on grid" article.
I hope this helps answer any questions you may have on your off-grid system, please contact us to design your bespoke package.