Troubleshooting, Repairing, and Replacing an RV Camper Power Converter

Updated on January 24, 2019
Randy Godwin profile image

Randy is a lifelong lover of the outdoors and especially camping. His articles are intended to help the RVer save money and time on repairs.

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Many RVs and camper trailers use a power converter to operate the lights, refrigerator, vent fans, and perhaps the thermostat on the heating system. The converter uses the 110-volt AC power from the local power source and transforms it into the 12-volt DC these items require.

This article is intended to help you troubleshoot many converter problems and to repair or replace the unit if need be. Since there are different makes, types, and sizes of converters, this article will deal with problems common to most models.

Although electrical knowledge is helpful, it is not necessary in order to be able to check the power converter or to repair or replace it.

For more basic information on how the electrical system on your RV works, see this article.

Safety Alert!

Always unplug the RV from the 110-volt power supply before attempting to repair any electrical components of the power converter unit.

Classic Travel Trailers

1959 Serro Scotty Sportsman
1959 Serro Scotty Sportsman | Source
1954 Airstream Globetrotter
1954 Airstream Globetrotter | Source

Types of Converter Problems

In most cases, a malfunctioning converter will just cease to function with the result being the total loss of power to any 12-volt DC fixtures or controls. In other cases, the converter will produce power, but not enough to run the 12-volt DC electrical system.

But until the onboard 12-volt batteries are exhausted of their charge, the problems will not become apparent. The power converter is supposed to maintain a constant charge on these batteries, supplying variable voltage depending on the amount being drawn from the 12-volt DC system.

Remember that the onboard batteries must be in good shape and able to hold a full charge. One bad battery will draw power from the other good batteries and will eventually cause them to fail also.

To check the batteries, it is necessary to fully charge them and then disconnect them from the others to check their recharging abilities. Check them with a multimeter, after they sit awhile, to determine if one or more is losing voltage.

Troubleshooting the RV Power Converter

The first step in determining the problem is to start from the beginning—that is, the point where the 110-volt AC supply enters the RV power converter.

  • With the RV power supply connected, check the voltage at the point it enters the converter. It should be between 108 to 130 volts. Anything in this range is okay!
  • The next order of business is to check the voltage where it connects to the 12 volt DC breaker box. It should be 11-13 volts to operate satisfactorily. Anything less indicates a bad power converter.

Once we know the problem is a malfunctioning RV power converter, we can check the inner components of the unit.

1. Power Converter Fan

RV power converters use a small fan to keep the electrical components cool while the unit is charging. It should be possible to hear the cooling fan running intermittently while the converter is in use (the fan may operate only when the temperature reaches a certain point).

This fan normally uses the 110-volt AC line voltage to operate. If the voltage to the fan is in the correct range, the fan itself is probably malfunctioning. Replacing this fan is normally an easy project, but finding the right fan might be a problem. Note the make, part numbers, voltage, and any other information on the RV power converter fan motor, for use in obtaining a replacement online.

In some cases, a different make and model may be substituted as long as the voltage and amperage are similar and the motor fits in the space. If the voltage is not getting to the cooling fan from the thermostat, a replacement thermostat is needed. These can be found online as well.

A thermal sensor is used to switch the cooling fan on and off, depending on the operating temperature of the converter components. Make sure the current is getting past this sensor and to the cooling fan before buying a new fan.

If the fan itself, as opposed to the sensor, is not malfunctioning, you should be able to jump the sensor and cause the fan to operate. If this is the case, replace the sensor with one of equal temperature rating.

2. Resistors and Circuit Board

Some power converters rely on a resistor to control the voltage to the onboard batteries and the 12-volt DC system. In some models, the resistor is riveted to the converter box. When checked with the multimeter, the resistor should read from 3 to 13 volts, depending on the present charge of the battery, and which onboard 12-volt lights, fans, and other accessories are being used. If your batteries are not being fully charged, the resistor is often the culprit.

It may be necessary to disassemble the converter box to access this resistor. Be careful if the circuit board requires removal, or you may damage it. Drill out the rivet and replace with the correct replacement resistor.

If the exact replacement part is difficult to locate, you may find a satisfactory replacement at an auto supply store because this type of resistor is used in many automotive applications. As long as the values are the same, almost any 12-volt DC resistor should work. Once this resistor is replaced, the onboard batteries should stay charged with the proper amount of voltage.

3. Replacement

Sometimes it’s just better to bite the bullet and buy a new converter, especially if you aren’t the DIY type of person or just don’t have the time to chase down parts. But actually, it isn’t all that costly to install a new power converter. Installation is very easy too.

Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power converters are fan-cooled and deliver clean, dependable 12-volt DC power to the lights and other appliances in your motorhome or camping trailer. Choose from 45-, 60-, and 80-amp models to fit your particular RV power requirements.

If you’re thinking of replacing the 12-volt DC breaker panel, or updating an older motorhome or travel trailer, the Parallax 7345 Power Center combines the power converter with a reliable breaker system for dependable, clean 12-volt DC power to supply your RV. (For more on breaker systems in RVs, see this article). Parallax also provides 45- and 55- amp converters and breaker panels separately.

A good 12-volt converter system can make or break a camping trip. Learning to repair and understand how the system works will eventually pay off on one of these occasions. Good luck!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 days ago from Southern Georgia

      Kath. check to be sure the main ground for the 12 volt system is clean and tight. This ground is the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper.

      You should be getting a reading of 13+ volts DC ath the batteries if the converter is operating properly.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Kathsf64@aol.com 

      3 days ago

      I have a 6300 - 6345 converter not getting any power in camper and hearing a humming noise , can you help

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 days ago from Southern Georgia

      Ken, the converter may be overcharging the battery and if so, the converter may be bad.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Ken 

      8 days ago

      I had 2 blown fuses on my converter, which I replaced. The trailer was plugged in to 50amp service. Today I was doing some work inside because of the rain. I just moved out the 2slides on the rear of trailer and when done closed it up. Later while walking past the trailer and smelled cooking battery. It was a gel battery and it was really hot and juicy. Could this be caused by a faulty converter?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      12 days ago from Southern Georgia

      Joseph. check the negative battery cable where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper first. This is the main ground point for the 12 volt system and it must be clean and tight in order for the 12 volt items to operate correctly.

      Randy

    • profile image

      joseph14426 

      12 days ago

      Randy, I've got good voltage coming out of the converter and fuse box. However, when I test the connections to my battery I have no voltage and if I am understanding correctly no charging. Any thoughts of where I am losing power? Thanks

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Norma, this shouldn't make a difference. Check the main ground. This is the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Normalinda 

      2 weeks ago

      I replace the converter. But now my lights seem to be turning brown at the tip of the bulb and plastic end. Not sure why. Maybe i put a larger converter??

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Loren, as long as you're not using a converter with lesser amps than the old one, it should be fine.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Loren 

      3 weeks ago

      I have a WFCO - WF88-35 (35 Amp) that is only putting out about 9.5 volts. Can I replace with a Progressive dynamics Intellipower 9260 (60 amp)?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Susan, the converter is normally near, or sometimes, part of the 12 volt DC power panel. Be sure ad be sure the main 12 volt DC ground is clean and tight. This is usually the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper.

      If this doesn't help, then turn off the converter breaker and connect at least a 20 amp charger to the batteries. If this solves the problem, then a new converter is probably in your future.

      Randy

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Craig, do you mean the shore connection? If so, you may need to check the battery negative cable end where it attaches to the frame of the camper as this is the main ground for the 12 volt system.

      It may also be a bad converter. Try connecting a good battery charger and see if that makes a difference.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Susan Barlow 

      3 weeks ago

      We bought a 93 thor columbus a few months ago and it appears there is no coonverter box and cannot get our dc power charged via our shore power. Can someone tell me where to find the power converter so we know what to replace it with?

    • profile image

      craig 

      3 weeks ago

      when i plug in my power cord it shows my battery as dead. DO you think this is the power cord issue?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Peter, you should be getting at least 13 volts from the converter. Check the negative battery ground where it connects to the frame of the camper. This is the main ground for the 12 volt dc system.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Peter 

      4 weeks ago

      My converter is only putting out 7.6 volts dc. Does my WFCO 8935 have a separate panel and converter or is it one part. I think it is only converting one side of the AC. Your thoughts please.

      Peter

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Rob, check the battery negative cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper. This is the main ground for the 12 volt system and if it isn't clean and tight all sorts of weir electrical problems may happen. Let me know if this doesn't help.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Rob 

      4 weeks ago

      I have 12v at breaker panel but no 12v system works. but when I hook power from my truck or plug it into land line everything works, ANY IDEAS?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      fboot, try turning the converter breaker off and connecting a good charger to the batteries. See if the clicking stops and the lights work properly. If so, a new converter may be in your near future.

      Randy

    • profile image

      fboot58 

      4 weeks ago

      Hi. My RV fridge seemed to be making unusual click noises. (But it could be the Power Converter underneath it.) (the click is not from the pilot ignighter) My RV lights HUM. I turn diff ones on/off until it stops.

      Last night the click noises wouldn’t stop unless I left a light on.

      What should I do? Some say Converter HUM will come and go.

      I’m concerned about that other repetitive click.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Joy, yes just be sure to check it occasionally to be sure it doesn't overcharge.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Joyvaughn 

      5 weeks ago

      While waiting on my new power converter to arrive can I leave the battery charger on the battery so everything will work. Or will it over charge things

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Jim, check the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper. Make sure this connection is clean and tight, otherwise the batteries won't operate the lights and other 12 volt dc items properly.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jim sherlock 

      5 weeks ago

      I have a 1992 5th wheel and when i unplug the 120 it doesn't switch to 12v, is there a seitch to change over or is it suppose to do that automatically, there is a tag that says the inverter has been retrofitted

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Susan, is the 12 volt system not working or is it the 12 and 120 volt altogether?

      Randy

    • profile image

      Susan 

      5 weeks ago

      My pop up trailer power shut off suddenly on my last camping trip. The main power cord looked a little burnt so I replaced the male main plug and there is still no power. The fuses are all good and I put the main breaker on and off, where should I look next?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Codabird, first check the battery cable end where it connects to the steel frame of the camper. This is main grond point for the 12 volt system. If this connection is clean and tight, then connect a good battery charger and turn off the converter breaker.

      If this gets your 12 volt system working, then a new converter is needed.

      Randy

    • profile image

      codabird 

      5 weeks ago

      i have a 2014 coachman catalina we just replaced the battery and the lights and ac wont turn on but the outlets work any ideas?

    • profile image

      Andy 

      5 weeks ago

      Thanks for the help

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Andy, Connect a good battery charger and trun the converter breaker off. If everything works normally then the converter is probably bad.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Andy 

      5 weeks ago

      The other day my 2013 Salem Hemisphere lost power to fridge radio, tv, microwave,etc.. about half the trailer was not working. Found a loose wire on battery. Hooked it up and everything working again. Then battery died after 2 days.Replaced the battery. The new battery lasted 4 days and then died. I charged the battery and hooked it back up. As soon as I touched the wire to the battery terminal the fan on the converter comes on for about three seconds and then stops. Seems it never comes on again. Is the converter not charging my battery??

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Bill, try turning off the converter breaker/fuse and connecting at least a 20 amp charger to the batteries. If the fridge and everything work normally, then need a new converter.

      Randy

    • profile image

      bill.hjelholt@gmail.com 

      6 weeks ago

      Recently our fridge started crapping out, and coincident, the power supply fan started coming on more often. The 12V lights work fine. The fridge starts up okay, generates cooling for a while, and then goes into fault. Battery is nearly new. Is it possible the converter is pushing like barely 11 volts, the lights don't care but the fridge can't cope?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Chrissy, check the battery, negative cable end where it connects to the steel frame of the camper. If this connection is loose or corroded, then all sorts of weird problems may occur.

      If you check the connection and still have the issue, then feel free to let me know and we'll try something else.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Chrissy039 

      6 weeks ago

      We have a 2003 wanderer light hybrid, on a recent camping trip the lights were dim and flickered a bit. We began changing out lift fixtures. First light all was well and nice and bright, second light was good but moving from main living/kitchen area of coach to bathroom we lost lights to 1/2 of the coach the first light and front part of trailer works fine as do the tank gauges. The hot water heater will not turn on at the switch. Refrigerator works as well. There is 120 come from converter and 12 volts at the fuse box (all fuses are good) hoping for good news and not the doom of a costly rewiring fix???

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Allen, if so then you may have a bad converter.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Allen 

      6 weeks ago

      thanks for the quick reply. that was one of the first things I did was clean the ground(s) connections to the frame

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      6 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Allen, check the negative battery cable end where it connects to the steel frame of the camper. A loose or corroded connection will cause all sorts of strange problems with the 12 volt DC system.

      Let me know if this doesn't solve the problem.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Allen 

      6 weeks ago

      Hello, I need help....

      I think I have a bad converter but not real sure. I tested a few things but the outcome did not make sense. The converter is an elixer-25. It's my daughters pop-up she just purchased used. Everything was working(AC&DC) until I took the battery out and gave it a good charge. When I hooked the battery back to the camper the DC lights would not come on. Nothing with DC current works. She is plug into shore power and the air conditioning and everything else on the AC circuits work but no lights. After checking all the fuses, ground connections, etc, I decided to start looking at the converter itself. The red wire coming out the back of the converter is connected with a wire nut to the positive battery lead. I stuck my voltmeter into the wire nut connection and no power or 0 volts. I took off the wire nut and pulled the red wires apart. I checked the voltage from the battery lead and it is around 13v. I connected the battery lead and converter positive lead back together and the voltage was back to 0. I disconnected the battery lead and converter positive lead back apart then took my battery charger and connected it directly to the ground and positive lead on the converter and low and behold all the DC circuits began to work whether I was plugged into shore power or not. I do not understand why I would have 0 volts when I connect the battery lead to the positive converter lead but when I disconnect the leads I get 13v on the battery lead and 0 volts on the positive converter lead. Thanks for any help

    • profile image

      ced3girls 

      7 weeks ago

      Yes it is

    • profile image

      Ced3girls 

      7 weeks ago

      Yes it is

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Ced, if the GFIC is showing a bad connection, I suspect a bad ground somewhere. I'm reluctant to advise you if the camper is still under warranty.

      Randy

    • profile image

      ced3girls 

      7 weeks ago

      the GFI breaker tripped and started blinking red and yellow, than the converter starts smoking and blows microwave, as the day progress our camper lights go dim and we have to plug to battery charger to the batteries to keep the A/C and the lights running while we camping this has happen twice and we have been at 2 different campgrounds. we have taken it back to camping world the first time the replaced the converter and the microwave and 3 days later it happens again we went camping again.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      ced3girls, I get many questions a day, so could you elucidate on your problem?

      Randy

    • profile image

      ced3girls 

      7 weeks ago

      We are having the same issue as Jennifer in our 2018 sierra 379flok. we had it 2 years. we just replaced the batteries at the beginning of the season this year and w just now blew out our 2 converter and microwave that forest river as replaced. we have taken it forest river based on still under warranty but they have no idea. and we need our camper back to going camping in a week

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Kenneth, normal voltage from the converter will be 13+ volts DC. If the converter is working you are getting voltage to the converter breaker in some manner as it operates on 110-120 volts.

      Can you explain a bit more

      Randy

    • profile image

      Kenneth Guy 

      7 weeks ago

      Having problems with my power to my 2006 Everest 5th wheel. I have power coming in from my main breaker box which is a 30amp. I have a 50 to 30 cord and know not to use both ac's at the same time. I am just wanting to get the feel of how it all operates since i just purchased. Anyway no power to main breaker in the camper so i replaced the converter. My batteries are showing more than 12 volts and the line from the converter to the main panel are at 12v. Im still not getting power to main breaker

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Michael, yes the converter you mentioned will be fine. All converters have overcharge protection to prevent an issue but your old converter may had a bad circuit and failed to prevent overcharging the batteries.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Michael Sheehe 

      7 weeks ago

      So I’m unclear with your answer. Will the larger converter work better and would you go with the features of the one i listed so the batteries don’t over charge and boile away.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Should do the job, Mike!

      Randy

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Michael, the converter also controls the thermostat in the AC if you have a wall mount stat. The new converter should do the trick.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Michael Sheehe 

      7 weeks ago

      Randy the unit I’m thinking about replacing it with is a power max pm4

    • profile image

      Michael Sheehe 

      7 weeks ago

      Randy Thank you. i researched on line after leaving you the message and the converter i have is a WFCO 75 AMP MODEL NO WF 9875. The problem I also have is if I leave it on the converter boils the batteries. I found one that is made by the same company that is a 4 step converter they say wont over charges the batteries. Is this a good idea and is it better to step it up to a 100amp verses staying with a 75 amp.

      Also will this cause problems with the ac. That seems to be acting up as well now.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Michael, this does indeed sound like a converter problem. Connect at least a 20 amp charger to the batteries and turn the converter breaker off. If everything works normally then you need a new converter.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Michael Sheehe 

      7 weeks ago

      Hi i have a 2010 keystone Everest 5th wheel camper and we are camping for the first time this year. Last night after being plugged in all day by evening the camper lights started to dime and then get brighter. Also my batteries weren’t fulling charged even after being plugged in for about 10 hours. We are only about two hours from home and the camper was plugged in there. It does seem that the converter is making more noise and the fan is louder more.

      For the past few years my batteries haven’t been charging well when we dry camp and use a generator as well plus in the last few years it has been tripping the 30 amp circuit on the generator often. I did an amp draw on the camper plugged in and wears able to start and run most of the 120 volt appliances. Do you have an idea what it could be. I believe that the converter is starting to go but hasn’t completely failed.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Brandon, first check the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the campers the main ground point for the 12 volt dc system. This should be clean and tight.

      If this doesn't solve the problem, then connect a good battery charger--at least 20 amps--and if everything works normally then the converter is bad.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Brandon France 

      7 weeks ago

      I've lost all ac power in my keystone passport 3320bh. I have 110 to the camper but nothing inside. DC power is still working but the batteries are not recharging. Have checked all breakers and have verified 110 to the camper. Any thoughts?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Jenifer, apparently you have a dead short or excessive voltage for some reason. Check the voltage at the converter breaker and at the converter.

      Obviously there's a problem because you're going through so many converters.

      Let me know what you find out.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jenifer 

      7 weeks ago

      I have a 2017 coachmen freedom express.the converter fan has stopped working and I have replaced the entire converter twice. It popped this morning and I could smell electrical smoke. Most everything stopped working so I went and picked up another one. Brought it home and hooked it up. It ran for about an hour and did the same thing. Fan is t working but everything in my camper is working right now. What could be causing this?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Amanda, check the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper. This is the main ground for the 12 volt DC system. If this connection is corroded or loose, the entire system won't operate properly.

      Also, check for a fuse/relay on the positive cable leading to the converter or 12 volt fuse/breaker block. If you have one it should be near the battery box.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Amanda Holman 

      7 weeks ago

      So the power went out on my 2001 Crossroads travel trailer. We checked all the fuses and breakers, all seem fine. We get power to all the outlets and the ceiling fan and microwave but not to the lights, the fridge, the thermostat, the AC, or the slideouts! We replaced the converter but for some reason no power is getting to that either. Any suggestions? We are stumped!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Brandon, I'm sorry I didn't ask you about the fuse. My mistake. Hopefully it saved the electronics from the power surge.

      I get so many questions via my articles here and online I sometimes get in a hurry.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Brandon Jenkins 

      8 weeks ago

      Randy,

      I did a little more troubleshooting. I tested the continuity on the capacitors and the fuze on the motherboard of the converter. The fuse on the board is blown. I am going to replace the fuse to see if it solves the issue. I did some more poking around and did not see any burnt components and tested the continuity on several diodes as well as some other components. I believe the fuse did its job and saved the board. I will get back to you with the results so other readers can be informed in the event my issues could help them solve their problems as well.

    • profile image

      Brandon Jenkins 

      8 weeks ago

      Thank you very much, Randy. I cannot express how grateful I am for your prompt response and advice for this temporary fix.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Brandon, more than likely the converter is toast. Leave the converter breaker off and connect at least a 20 amp battery charger up to the batteries. If everything works properly, the converter needs replacing.

      In the meanwhile, the charger should keep you from having to get up and run the vehicle.

      Hope this helps!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Brandon Jenkins 

      8 weeks ago

      Mr. Randy, I live in central Texas. My unit s a 2017 Rockwood Mini Lite. We have had a series of bad storms and my power post was struck twice in a 3 week period by lightning. Yesterday my 12v system stopped working. I'm assuming I had a power surge and my converter got overloaded. It could have also just kicked the bucket. The 120v system works fine. I will provide a list of issues as well as what I did to try to troubleshoot them.

      1) My AC stopped working and made a humming noise (assumed it was a capacitor) I check the voltage at the poll. It was propper. I left some lights on, then left and when I came back with my new capacitor, the lights where dim. Soon realized the other 12V systems went out. The fault on the refrigerator came on, my lights went off completely, my slide wouldn't work, my awning didn't extend, and my carbon monoxide sensor started going off.

      2) I went out to test my battery with my Fluke multimeter. It read 6V. I hooked up my tuck to the Trailor and low and behold everything worked. I left it to charge for a while. Tested it again and it read 12V. To rule out a battery issue, I disconnected it and took it to have it tested. It read 12V but the cold cranking amps where a bit low. Cold cranking amps are supposed to be 500-600 ish. It read 421. Given that it didn't have a proper charge I determined the battery to be good. I checked the water levels and they were a bit low, I added water to them (don't worry I didn't overfill) I reconnected the battery.

      3) I Took myself to the breaker box and measured the voltage going into the converter. It read 120V . I opened the circuit on the breaker and it went down to millivolts as expected. I determined the breaker was in good shape. After all, it didn't trip in the first place. I checked all the fuses and they were all intact. In an effort to not let the battery drain to fat again I connected it to my truck and left it to charge.

      4) Since I know nothing about converters I left it alone and put everything back. With the converter breaker off, everything else functions as normal.

      5) Next step is to check the converter or check for other voltage leaks, however, even with leaks, the converter should compensate because I live in the thing full time.

      I was wondering if connecting a solar panel to the unit would help in the meantime? I had to wake up at 5 this morning to hook back up to my truck for a charge. I turned off every DC drawing system I could and turned the AC to 80 so it wasn't kicking on too much. Still drained the battery. It is equipped with a connection for solar, however, it wants you to use a specific brand of panel. not sure if another brand would connect.

      I would like to thank you for your time reading this and any advice you could give me.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Clark, I don't understand what the outside switch controls. Do you have any 12 volt items which work when the switch is off? Or does the switch control all of the 12 volt items?

      Randy

    • profile image

      Clark Griswald 

      2 months ago

      Hi Randy, I have a 2016 Keystone, on DC power only, with a fully charged battery, everytime I turn the outside switch that allows power from the battery to the camper I blow my 40 amp fuses on the inverter. Any thoughts as to why? While plugged into 110v power everything works fine but I have to keep that outside battery switch off to prevent the fuses from blowing again. Thanks

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Luisa, I have had other campers complain about different RV parks having low voltage/ amperage during the heat of the summer when the demand is greatest.

      But it could also be the particular RVs you mentioned experiencing converter or other electrical problems.

      I'd call the power company first because they should want to check the voltage at your park anyway. This should tell you if the power is weak or it's just the few campers with problems.

      Hope this helps! :)

      Randy

    • profile image

      Luisa 

      2 months ago

      Hi Randy I manage an RV Park in Texas the weather is getting pretty hot here, a have 2 tenants complaining about the electricity is not working the same in the RVS, it seems a little weak I was wondering if is the converter they are using or is the actual electric box outside, do you think I should call an Electrician or tle the Electric company

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Brian, if you leave the converter breaker off, do your other 110 volt outlets work as usual? If so, try connecting a good battery charger up to see if the converter is indeed the problem.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Brian 

      2 months ago

      Randy, great article! Kind of in a crunch. Camper worked two weeks ago. Plugged it in to get ready last night and a it kicked my GFCI. To trouble shoot I shut all breakers off and turned them on 1 by 1. (Top to bottom) Main, Microwave, AC, water heater. None of those appliances are on, when I flip the converter cb, the gfci pops every time. Bad converter? I tried an different circuit in house with same result. I was actually able to run microwave yesterday, but as the night wore

      On, that also popped the gfci. Unfortunately local shop can’t get to it for 2 weeks and I leave tomorrow. Arg!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Ronnie, which power works for a few seconds? The 12 volt system or the 110? Try turning the converter breaker off and see if this makes a difference. If so. this may be a converter problem.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Ronnie 

      2 months ago

      Have always plugged my 30 amp fifth wheel with a 15 amp pigtail into my garage. Everything would work in trailer, but the ac. Now I can't get any power to trailer. When I plug in it comes on for a few seconds to goes out. Is this a converter problem or a main power plug problem. No problems before

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Octoson, this voltage isn't unusual as the converter normally puts out over 13 volts.

      Unless there's a power surge, I can't help you unless you want to install a voltage regulator of some sort.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Octoson 

      2 months ago

      Hi Randy, I find my porch light doesn't last very long. Then my vent fan died. Thought I had inferior parts. Recently the front fan died. Contacted the fan mfg and they asked me to check voltage. 13.66 V at both fans....assuming it's this way at the porch light as well. Fan mfg suggested it's a little high and probably what ended the fans life early. How would I reduce this? 2018 Winnebago Vista LX

      Thanks much!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Kristina, try turning off all the breakers except the main, then turn on the breakers one at a time until you find the breaker causing the problem. Let me know which one it is and we'll go from there.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Kristina W 

      3 months ago

      Hello Randy so we have a 97 Skyline Nomad Bunkhouse and when we bought it last September it was completely functioning everything was working great we got it home and plugged it in everything came on it trip the breaker few times and then stop tripping breaker we went to step on the stairs and got shocked call the camper guy he came out charge $200 said we had a bad converter. So we just purchased the brand new exact fit Parallax converter and everything is wired properly weave double triple checked it and yet you plug it in and it trips the breaker and we have no power to the camper. We have also replace the cord and cord end that plugs in turn the camper to a power source. Do you have any ideas as to what's wrong or what we can do? We're supposed to leave for the campground on Friday for Memorial Day weekend.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      No problem, Nathan. Good luck!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Nathan Brown 

      3 months ago

      Thanks randy!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Nathan, check the battery ground cable where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper first. This is the main ground for the 12 volt DC system and if this connection isn't clean and tight, then all sorts of weird 12 volt issues may appear.

      If this doesn't solve the problem, then connect at least a 20 amp battery charger up to the battery(s) and if everything works properly, then the converter is probably toast.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Nathan Brown 

      3 months ago

      When plugged in to ac power I have 120 going to my breaker box. All recepticales and the microwave work fine. Everything else lights, fridge and ac do not work. Can this be my converter? Im new to campers and dont understand how the electrical works exactly. An uth help would be greatly appreviated!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Chad, first check the negative battery cable where it connects to the steel frame of the camper. This is the main ground for the 12 volt DC system.

      If the connection is okay, then connect a good battery charger--not a trickle type-of at least 20 amps and if everything operates fine, then a new converter may be in your near future.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Chad 

      3 months ago

      Randy when I unplug from a power source my 12 volt system doesn’t function is there a switch I need to hit? 1979 gmc c class unit. Thanks chad

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Ed, leave the converter breaker off and connect a good battery charger up instead. If everything works as it should, then a new converter is probably needed.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Ed 

      3 months ago

      Connect to power source when I turn the breaker on for converter, the main breaker keeps blowing?

    • profile image

      Brian 

      3 months ago

      When I have my camper plugged in, all my outlets work but the lights and the air conditioner is running on the battery still when the battery dies the lite and air conditioning quit working

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Judy, could be, but check the battery ground cable where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper. If this connection is corroded or loose it can cause all sorts of issues with the 12 volt DC system.

      If this doesn't help, then connect a good battery charger--not a trickle type--with at least 20 amps and see if the problem goes away. If so, then yes the converter may indeed be at fault.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Judy barrow 

      3 months ago

      Our lights are very dim.we just had a new battery put in.would that be the converter

    • profile image

      vbrodeur 

      3 months ago

      Thank you so much for your quick reply :)

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      vbrodeur, check the negative battery ground cable where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper. This connection is the main ground for the 12 volt system and it should be clean and tight.

      Randy

    • profile image

      vbrodeur 

      3 months ago

      plugged into shoreline 120v -batteries will not charge through converter and my furnace blower will only run off DC will not convert to AC? Just replaced old converter with new converter

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Sherry, the converter only powers certain 12 volt items such as some lights, the AC and H/W heater thermostats, etc.

      When the camper is not connected to a power source the AC, outlets, or none of the items using 110 volts will work.

      And the fan will only operate when the converter is charging the batteries up to their fullest pointand then the fan will stop.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Sherry Gjonnes 

      4 months ago

      My converter inverter box has two 40A fuses. I replaced them and the fan starts but won't keep going. When plugged into electricity everything works. Unplugged the receptacles, microwave, air conditioning won't work. Replaced the inverter converter box and both house batteries a few now. Ago. Replacedtruck battery a week ago. 2015 coachman leprechaun 31' class C motorhome. Batteries are 12.6 charge. Help.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Amie, no benefit unless you're adding more 12 volt items to your camper.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Amie Nelsen 

      4 months ago

      Thanks Randy! Is there any benefit to going higher than 45 amps? The panel is wired for 40 amps but I am still trying grasp conversions, amps, volts, AC/DC (not the band!) I am also trying to keep my power use under control as power fees where I live are very high and so is the cost of propane (yes I live in Canada!!) I have done the propane regulator and hose replacement myself but the converter is a little past my knowledge at this point. Thanks!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Amie, yes a 45 amp converter will work fine. As long as the replacement converter provides as many or more amps than the original, you're good to go!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Amie Nelsen 

      4 months ago

      I have a 1991 Terry Resort and the converter is very loud. I am doing some updates so though I would replace the converter but I can't find the same one (I am sure its the original) and I know very little about updating at this point, learning fast! It has a MagneTek 40amp 120V AC 12V DC 40 amps max, and apparently it is not made anymore. What can I replace it with? Can I go up to 45amp 110V? I do not plan on plugging every appliance known to man in the unit, and I am installing a 100W solar panel as well. What is my best option? Thanks!!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Angela, check the main 12 volt ground where the negative battery cable connects to the steel frame of the camper. This connection should be clean and tight or all sorts of 12 volt problems may occur.

      Also, try connecting a good battery charger up if the ground isn't the problem. If this works then the converter may be the issue,

      Randy

    • profile image

      Angela Cordova 

      4 months ago

      We have a 35 foot 2000 south wind . When trying to use slider in back it started to go out and then stoped and then all lights went out . We just bought it and can not figure out how to fix.

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