Linear Actuators for Recreational Vehicles

RV Applications of Linear Actuators

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
PA Engineer

Gone are the days where recreational vehicles (RVs) were crammed with a bed, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Thanks to the rapid development of technology, modern RVs are packed with high-tech equipment and smart storage solutions, such as movable coach units using RV slide-out actuators, allowing for a more spacious interior.

Linear actuators have become quite popular in RV’s and serve many different applications. In some cases, a higher force from a linear actuator is needed, but small linear actuators are also used around RV’s, such as opening windows, vent lids, and sometimes even toilet lids. Other applications of linear actuators include automated TV units, plug socket strips, and the RVs awning.

At Progressive Automations, we offer top-quality linear actuators of varying strengths to cater to these applications within an RV. Whether you’re looking for a new replacement actuator or you’d like to use a linear actuator for a new application within your RV, we’ve got you covered. We will discuss, in more detail, the most prominent applications for linear actuators in an RV.

RV Slide Out Actuators

Space is always a concern in RV’s. How does one store everything (e.g. a bed, a kitchen, TV units, and so on) in such a confined space? Thankfully, a slide-out actuator for an RV exists where it attaches to a portion of the coach and extends it outward, allowing for a significant increase in the amount of living space. The more expensive RVs have multiple linear actuators that allow for both sides to slide out and can feel like they’re turning an RV into a portable mansion.

Linear Actuators for Recreational Vehicles

The linear actuators required to move these heavy units along a slider will probably be the strongest actuators you’d find in an RV. Although, RVs also have some powerful self-levelling actuators. On that note, it is important to ensure the linear actuator that is being used has enough force to carry out its intended task without a problem.

Progressive Automation’s PA-13 High Force Industrial Actuator would be an excellent fit for these operations as it has a force rating of 3000 lbs – more than enough to handle these tasks. Moreover, the actuator is IP66 rated, meaning it is water and dust resistant and can withstand a wide range of operating temperatures. These actuator specifications make it perfect for RV applications.

RV solar actuator

RV Roof Solar Actuator

RVs generally have a few power sources, namely, a 12-volt DC system and a 120-volt AC system. When the RV is stationary, it can be externally powered from a nearby 120-volt AC electrical outlet. The 120-volt system is required when powering the heavy power-consuming electronics (air-conditioners, refrigerators, and microwaves).

A portion of the 120-volt AC is converted to 12-volt DC for other items in the RV that runoff that voltage, such as lights and vent fans. When a 120-volt AC source is not available, the 12-volt system can still be used by having a battery storage setup. These batteries can be recharged when external power is available again or by using a roof solar panel.

This is where linear actuators for an RV solar panel tilt mount come in handy. The linear actuator can be used to automatically tilt the solar panel towards the sun for optimal solar radiation to contact the panel. Once the batteries are fully charged, the solar panel can automatically tilt back down to its resting position to avoid pulling off when driving.

Our research has highlighted more benefits for using a linear actuator for solar panel tracking, including increasing the electrical conversion efficiency by 25% to 40% – a substantial benefit.  

A common piece of equipment is a roof vent that is used to increase airflow in an RV and keep the air fresh. An RV vent lid actuator is another application worth noting as it can be opened with a simple push of a button when better airflow is needed, which means that you don’t have to pull over to open the hatch manually.

RV Bed Lift Actuator

Although some RVs have units that can slide out to create more space inside, space is still a concern when on the road and those units need to be slid back to make the vehicle roadworthy. This concern is why many RV manufacturers have implemented various smart storage solutions, one of which is allowing beds to be lifted and stored on there side. Electric linear actuators are sometimes used for this process, but also for adjusting the position of the bed in the manner required, much like a hospital bed.

The bed can be divided into two or three segments with a bed actuator for each segment, allowing for customized comfort. Moreover, another actuator would be used to pivot the entire bed into a stored position. In order to control the precise positioning of the actuators, a bed actuator with a remote is usually attached to the control unit.

Our PA-12-T is the ideal actuator for RV automation that doesn't require much force - click to find out more!

The Verdict

Progressive Automations offer small linear actuators, such as the PA-12-T, perfect for applications that do not require a huge amount of force. Moreover, as previously mentioned, larger linear actuators are available for more demanding tasks. It is also worth noting that all actuators in an RV can be controlled from a central box. More than one control box may be needed for each set of actuators using a specific voltage.

RV toilet actuators, RV frameless window actuators, and TV lift actuators are yet another few uses in an RV. The applications for linear actuators are endless, with new, innovative uses being discovered each year. Linear actuators are also becoming more advanced with smart circuitry preventing the motor from overheating and stalling. Additionally, other feedback sensors allow for the smooth stroke of an actuator to specific locations. These advances will push the boundaries of what applications are possible in an RV.