Serving Our Country!
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Manor, TX
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Most trailers I have seen have a battery charger, not an inverter. The difference is the battery charger is just to charge the batteries from and AC source such as shore power or a AC generator. An inverter may be more common in the newer trailers, but from what I have seen is either aftermarket or part of an expensive package.
A good inverter can double as a battery charger. Either way, your 12v loads still run off the battery. AC loads will run off shore power, generator or battery via inverter. Don't plan on running a air conditioner off a battery via inverter it's cost prohibitive and the weight of the batteries required make it impracticable.
What you may have seen is some generators have a built in inverter. I think it's Honda that makes them. The difference in these generators is that the generators are producing DC, or possibly rectified AC, and inverting it to 110/220V AC. The advantage with this kind of generator is the output tends to be cleaner. Generators can do weird things, especially if their RPM starts to wonder from what the generator head is designed for.
With a traditional generator, for the US, you are outputting 60 cycles or 60Hz AC. This is important for things like old alarm clocks that keep time by counting the cycles and inductive loads like the motor in a refrigerator. (note most campers use a heating element rather than a motor) If a generator starts to vary it's RPM causing a change in the number of cycles per second, a clock could count fast or slow and a motor could burn out or trip the breaker.
A generator with an inverter creates it's own sign wave electronically and is less susceptible to a varying frequency. You will most likely be fine with either type of generator. The majority of generators do not use a inverter and have less components to go bad.