Troubleshooting and Repairing RV Electrical Problems for the Beginner

Updated on February 19, 2018
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don is a retired engineer and long-time motorhome owner who enjoys helping readers deal with the increasingly complex technology of RVs.

A typical pair of coach batteries that you might find on an RV, and their connections. Two 6-volt DC batteries, connected in series, provide the 12-volt power that powers many lights and controls.
A typical pair of coach batteries that you might find on an RV, and their connections. Two 6-volt DC batteries, connected in series, provide the 12-volt power that powers many lights and controls. | Source

Electrical Problems in RVs: For the Novice

Electrical problems in an RV or camper are very common, and often RV owners don’t know where to start when they deal with them.

This article provides some basic information for the RV owner to help diagnose and repair electrical problems efficiently and safely. I'd like you to:

  • Understand your RV electrical system in general.
  • Learn how to do some very basic troubleshooting on your RV.

First: Know the Difference Between a Major and a Minor Electrical Problem

If you own or rent an RV, you will want to know enough to at least make a walk-around inspection before you go on the road, especially of the electrical system. Even a novice can learn how to inspect for problems, and determine if the problem is major or minor.

A major problem, for example, may be present when a refrigerator stops working, and you wonder if you should look into the wiring and propane-management circuitry on the back of the fridge or not. For the electrical novice, the answer is no; stay away from such repairs yourself. They are too dangerous, especially when they involve AC power or propane. You should always contact a qualified service tech for resolving such problems.

But a minor problem, one you could address on your own, could be something as simple as re-setting a breaker or GFI that has "kicked out," replacing a blown fuse that is easily accessible, taking an educated guess as to what caused the breaker or fuse to shut off, or checking the water in your battery.

So how do you tell? Before you start with any hands-on troubleshooting, keep in mind that safety comes first.

Electricity Can Kill!

Please remember this when using the information below!

Before you start opening panels and messing around with electrical systems, in an RV or camper or at home, observe these warnings.

WARNING 1: If you do not know what you are doing, do not touch anything, and call your RV manufacturer, or RV Roadside Assistance company, or if at home, your local certified electrician. Remember, again, ELECTRICITY CAN KILL!

WARNING 2: If replacing a blown fuse or resetting a kicked breaker doesn’t fix the problem, you should seriously consider backing off and calling your RV manufacturer's Service Center for advice before doing anything else.

Now—with these warnings in mind—here are some minor problems that you may be able to fix, and some diagnostics that you can run yourself.

Troubleshooting Your RV's Electrical Problems

Every problem is different, but before or after you read the discussion just below of the basics of your system, check the four sections further below on troubleshooting common problems:

  1. Fuses and breakers
  2. The 12-volt system
  3. The power source
  4. Appliance current draws

Plus I include a section on terms and abbreviations that you may run across while doing your electrical investigation.

Some Basic Electrical Information for the RV Owner

A modern RV contains a lot of built-in electrical devices. And along with these devices comes complicated electrical control and protection circuitry designed to protect the RV and its occupants.

Starting with the absolute basics, your RV's appliances can be powered in three different ways. Appliances may use any of these three power sources, individually or in combination.

▪The AC (alternating current) electrical system (generally 115 volts), which runs the air conditioner and some other devices.

▪ The DC (direct current) system (12 volts), which runs the lights, switches, slides, and thermostats.

▪ In addition, refrigerators and some appliances run on propane fuel.

AC power comes into the RV from your generator, or from the campground or other outlet you plug it into: a 20-amp, 30-amp, or 50-amp supply. The AC power control panel distributes this power to the appliances and outlets that use AC power, for example the air conditioner. The campground supplies AC power on two different wires: a 240-volt supply is split into two "legs" of 115 volts or so.

Your DC power comes from a battery or batteries (like in the picture above). Whenever the power stored in the batteries gets low, the converter charges it up. The converter uses the higher-voltage AC power that comes in from the campground or generator through the 115-volt AC breaker panel and converts it to 12-volt DC.

The converter that charges your 12-volt batteries is often called an "inverter." "Inverter" is actually the name for another device most RVs have that changes 12-volt DC power to 115-volt AC for use in televisions and such.

The 12-volt output of your converter likely goes through two 30-amp fuses that feed your 12-volt fuse panel. The 12-volt DC power goes to the lights, switches, and slides, and to the controls of many appliances including the heater/air conditioner and refrigerator.

Both electrical systems can develop weakness in many places, especially when being hauled around on trips. Any RV or towed vehicle vibrates in transit. And these vibrations will, at times, shake electrical connections loose, in addition to the wear and tear that wires and appliances go through in normal use. If a wire has its insulation rubbed off, or something inside an appliance shakes loose or burns out, then current can stop flowing in your 12-volt or 115-volt system. Or it can flow into a place where it is not supposed to flow, causing a “short,” and this excessive flow of current can burn out wires and appliances, or in the worst case cause a fire or injury.

Because of these risks, the RV will have breakers or fuses to shut off power if anything goes wrong:

  • a set of AC fuses or breakers to interrupt the 115-volt AC power coming from outside the RV if anything goes wrong in the 115-volt system.
  • a set of DC fuses or breakers to interrupt the DC power if anything goes wrong in the 12-volt system,
  • and also, in many 110-volt receptacles, mini-breakers called GFIs or GFCBs (Ground Fault Indicators or Ground Fault Circuit Breakers), which shut off power to appliances if a wire or circuit is creating a short.

1. Troubleshooting Fuses and Breakers

Troubleshooting often begins, and may well end, with resetting a breaker, replacing a fuse, or resetting a Ground Fault Indicator, and then seeing what happens. Older RVs tend to have fuses; newer ones, breakers.

The fuses and breakers were placed in the system for two major reasons:

  1. To protect the RV and you the owner from harm if an appliance or other electrical device or an electrical line fails and draws too much current.
  2. To protect your RV and its electrical appliances and other devices if you plug your RV into an electrical service that is not regulated properly and you get electrical voltages that are too low or too high for your RV and its equipment.

So a breaker or fuse going off is often a sign that something else is wrong: a symptom, not a cause of your problem. The problem may be easy to fix or it may not be. Many appliances have sensors on their mechanical parts that will kick a breaker or blow a fuse rather than allow the appliance to continue running in an unsafe mode.

Note that breakers can go bad themselves; if they trip too many times, they can suffer mechanical stress and lose their ability to stay closed at the current they were designed for.

Ground Fault Indicators

A GFI or Ground Fault Indicator (also called GFCB) is a receptacle with a RESET button on it. It is designed, like a regular circuit breaker, to "throw" itself off when the current through it exceeds its designed current limit. Additionally, a GFI will throw itself if even a small amount of current is detected between the "hot" lead and the ground lead of the circuit breaker. These specialty circuit breakers are required in areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and garages, places where the user of an appliance could possibly be physically touching ground through plumbing, metal, or flooring and using an appliance that is not insulated properly. They are life-savers.

If you find that several AC appliances at once stop working, or if AC appliances quit working but the air conditioner keeps going, suspect a Ground Fault Indicator. If the GFI detects a problem, the GFI-equipped receptacle will shut itself off, often along with several other "slave" receptacles. Push the RESET button and see if that fixes the problem; if not, disconnect all appliances and plug them back in one by one. The problem may be a single faulty appliance or something else entirely. It's possible (though not the most likely thing) that the GFI receptacle itself is bad and needs replacing.

Don't Upgrade Your Fuses

Don’t try to fix your problems by replacing your fuse or breaker with a higher-rated one. Your camper or RV was designed by professionals with your safety in mind, as well as your convenience. Each electrical device was installed on an electrical line that could safely handle the load.

Putting in a higher-rated fuse or breaker does not fix any problems. If you have a blown fuse, replace it with a fuse of the same rating, NEVER a higher-rated fuse. Because:

  1. You could cause an electrical fire and destroy your RV.
  2. You could permanently damage the equipment that is supplied by that fuse.

Always remember, the fuse was designed for a normal operational load. And if it blew, something has changed.

With these warnings in mind, below is a table of fuse colors and what ratings they indicate, in case you go shopping for replacement fuses.

Standard automotive fuses are color-coded according to their current rating; below is a short list for your reference.

Color
Amperage rating (amps)
black
1
gray
2
violet
3
pink
4
gold
5
brown
7.5
red
10
blue
15
yellow
20
clear
25
green
30
The color of a DC fuse shows its amp rating.

2. Troubleshooting 12-Volt System Problems

A bad connection in the 12-volt system can cause failures of various appliances, including slides and lights which run on 12-volt power. A 12-volt problem can cause failure of other appliances and systems if they have 12-volt power to their controls. The refrigerator and air conditioner, even running in propane-fueled mode or on AC power, require DC voltage for their logic circuits, and so may fail to operate when there is a DC system problem. Problems in the DC system can also cause lights or appliances to go on and off.

You can so some simple investigation of the 12-volt system yourself, for example:

  • Check whether the fuse or breaker is tripped or not.
  • Check whether the fuse is loose.
  • Check whether the connections to the fuse or breaker box are loose.
  • Check whether the connections to the DC batteries are loose (see initial photo).
  • Check whether the batteries have enough water. This is the most common easy-to-fix problem. When your battery is overworked or overheated the water tends to evaporate. Add distilled water only.
  • Check whether the batteries are charged enough. A multimeter (see below) should show the voltage between the battery terminals between 13.4 and 14.5 volts DC; if not, the battery may be worn out and need replacement, or it may be low on water, or the converter may not be giving it any power.
  • Check whether the connections to the converter are loose.
  • Check the fuse on the converter. The converter itself has a fuse or two, often on the front.

If you can find nothing wrong here, you may have a bad converter that needs to be replaced; this is a job for the service center, though the adventurous can read a little more in this other article about troubleshooting converters.

Another article of mine has more information about troubleshooting and maintaining your RV's batteries.

Using a Multimeter

A multimeter can measure potential (DC volts, AC volts), electric current (amps), and resistance (ohms).

This device is very useful in the hands of a trained individual, but the novice should not attempt to use all of its functions until they understand what they are trying to measure as well as any dangers involved in making the measurements.

Klein Tools MM200 Auto Ranging Multimeter
Klein Tools MM200 Auto Ranging Multimeter

When my old multimeter died, I selected this one for its functions, ruggedness and ease of use.

 

3. Troubleshooting Problems Coming From the Outside Power Supply

The power supply that your parked RV is plugged into can cause problems if it is supplying too much or too little power, fluctuates, is not grounded correctly, or its connector is corroded. Too much current can cause appliances or lights to fail or blow out, and even melt wires or plugs; too little (in an overpopulated campground with an overloaded supply, for example) can cause lamps to dim. Your campground management should be providing safe power at the level they advertise, whether 30 amps or 50 amps; that is their responsibility. You may ask management to investigate, or check with your campground neighbors to see what they are experiencing.

If half your appliances along with your air conditioner are out, one possibility is that half the AC supply from the campground is missing (another possibility is a GFI going off; see part 1 above).

Your on-board or portable generator can also be the cause of problems; it may stop running if your vehicle's gas tank is less than 1/4 full.

Most RVs have a master switch for disconnecting your RV's power during storage. It is a small switch, often near the door on the inside. It will need to be on for you to get power.

Surge Protector, Yes or No?

Everyone in campgrounds seems to be purchasing surge protectors these days. I don't have one. If you buy one, make sure you are purchasing a GOOD one.

Your RV already has surge protection devices: your main AC breaker plus the individual appliance and equipment breakers in your main breaker panel. Like surge protectors, they kick out if the input voltage goes too high.

The only real difference between breakers and a commercial "surge protection" device is that standard breakers are slow to react to voltage changes. A good surge protector should react faster than a breaker to voltage increases and kick out if the voltage exceeds the safe limit of your electrical equipment. Because low input voltages can also harm electrical devices or make them run erratically, most surge protectors will also turn the power off when the voltage is too low.

Now the problem with surge protection devices is that there are no real requirements or specifications for their design. You could purchase one that does not react fast enough to protect your RV equipment. Many of my fellow campers who had surge protectors experienced damage that "fried" their breakers without the surge protector helping at all.

Anyone who buys one of these devices should make sure they get one that has a relatively fast response time, though it's difficult for a camper to tell how fast one surge protector is relative to others.

4. Troubleshooting AC Current Draws

Once again, I recommend that you NOT mess with your RV's 115-volt power system unless you really know what you are doing.

But if your AC breakers or fuses are going off, you can certainly investigate whether your appliances, singly or in combination, are drawing more AC power than you want them to.

Remember that problems with your AC appliances may not come from your 115-volt system at all but from your 12-volt system, because the controls for your fridge and your air conditioner and heater—and other switches here and there—are likely 12-volt.

How Much Current Do Your Appliances Draw?

It's good to know which of your appliances use a lot of current, even when they are working properly. That way you can decide when and where to use your appliances so that the flow of electricity stays within the bounds your system can handle.

The table below lists the approximate MAXIMUM current drawn by common appliances in your RV. Most appliances draw a lot of current during a short period of intense use and less current at other times. These current figures are not exact and vary by manufacturer and model.

Appliance
Current
Notes
Air conditioner (rated 13,500 to 15,000 Btu)
12-14 amps
Peak use when starting up
Air conditioner
5-8 amps
Normal rate after it gets going
Coffee pot (maximum use, while perking coffee)
8-10 amps
Once the coffee is brewed, the hot plate under the pot uses much less power, especially if you turn its temperature down.
Hair dryer
8-15 amps
Less powerful hair dryers might be better for RV use.
Crock pot
1-2 amps
Crock pots are useful for cooking in RVs.
Food processor
3-5 amps
 
Electric frying pan
7-11 amps
 
Hand vacuum (small)
2 amps
 
Iron
8-10 amps
 
Microwave oven
8-13 amps
 
TV (digital)
1.5 to 5
Depending on the size, the manufacturer, and the technology.
Water heater (in 120-volt AC mode)
11-13 amps
 

Estimating Maximum Current

If you are unsure what current an appliance draws, use this simple method to calculate the maximum current it will draw when working.

  1. Look for the appliance's power rating in watts. You may find it on a label on the appliance, or in the owner's manual, or you can contact the manufacturer or look online.
  2. Divide the number of watts by 120 (the AC voltage), and the result, in amps, is the maximum rating of the appliance for current.

Or you can measure the current an appliance uses with the simple tool below.

P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor
P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor

If you suspect an appliance of drawing too much current, use this handy meter and monitor what it actually uses. This is a valuable tool for your toolbox.

 

Useful Electrical Terms, Abbreviations, and Data

Here is a list of electrical terms and abbreviations, along with a list of color codes for resistors. This information should help the novice be more comfortable with what they are doing when an electrical problem does occur.

Term
Abbreviation
Meaning
Tips
Alternating current
AC
Alternating current reverses polarity and flows alternately in both directions in a circuit.
The voltage in your home is AC voltage, in the US typically 115V AC.
Ampere
Amp
The measure of electrical current
 
Capacitor
 
An electrical component that stores electrical energy, with a specific storage capacity
A capacitor often has a polarity and must be installed properly. The polarity is generally indicated by a stripe at one end of the part.
Circuit breaker
 
A device that opens up or "throws" itself to break a circuit when the current through it exceeds its designed limit. Unlike a fuse, a circuit breaker can be reset when it throws.
 
Direct current
DC
Direct current flows constantly in one direction, commonly from a positive lead to a negative lead.
 
Diode
 
An electrical component that allows current flow in one direction and impedes current flow in the opposite direction.
Current flows from the cathode to the anode. The cathode end is usually marked by a stripe.
Fuse
 
A device that is designed to destroy itself or "blow" when the current that passes through it exceeds its designed current limit.
A safety device used to protect electrical devices under adverse conditions. When replacing a fuse, always use one with the same current and voltage rating.
Ground Fault Circuit Breaker
GFCB
Like a regular circuit breaker, the GFCB "throws" itself off when the current through it exceeds its designed current limit.
 
Ground Fault Indicator
GFI
Same as above
 
Ohm
 
The measure of resistance to current flow.
The resistance can be calculated using the formula: R=V/I, or resistance equals voltage divided by current.
Watt
W
The measure of electrical power.
DC power can be calculated using the formula: W=V x I.
Wire gauge
 
The size of a wire chosen in designing electrical circuits, which determines the current it can handle with minimal resistance.
Standard wire sizes or gauges go from 0 to larger numbers. The larger the gauge number, the smaller the wire size.

One-Letter Electrical Abbreviations

Letter
Meaning
F (upper case)
Farad, the measure of the value of a capacitor. For example, 1 uF means 1 micro-farad.
l (upper case)
Electrical current, measured in amperes. Current can be calculated using the formula I = V/R, that is, current equals voltage divided by resistance.
K (upper case)
One thousand. Example: 1 KW means one kilowatt, one thousand watts.
m (lower case)
One one-thousandth, 0.001. Example: 1 mW means one milliwatt, a thousandth of a watt.
M (upper case)
One million. Example: 1 MW means one megawatt, a million watts.
n (lower case)
One billionth, 0.000000001. Example: 1 nF means one nanofarad, a billionth of a farad.
p (lower case)
One trillionth, 0.000000000001. Example: 1 pF means one picofarad, a trillionth of a farad.
u (lower case)
One millionth, 0.000001. For example: 1 uF means one micro-farad, a millionth of a farad.
V (upper case)
Volt, the measure of electrical potential. Voltage can be calculated using the formula: V = I x R.
W (upper case)
Watt, the measure of electrical power.

Resistor Values and Colors

Color
Value
Black
1
Brown
2
Red
3
Orange
4
Yellow
5
Green
6
Blue
7
Violet
8
Gray
9
White
0
Gold (as the fourth band)
1% tolerance on the value
Silver (as the fourth band)
5% tolerance on the value
No color (as the fourth band)
10% tolerance on the value
In a resistor with four bands, the first three colored bands "spell out" a three-digit value for resistance in ohms, and the fourth band (if any) indicates the tolerance.

Good Luck Now

The hundreds of comments below have explored just about everything that can go wrong with an RV's electrical system. Add your own questions and comments. But please, again, do not mess with any wiring unless you are sure of what you are doing. Electricity can kill.

Questions & Answers

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    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 7 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Glad I could help, Chris.

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 7 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Nobby Toledo - It look pretty cut-and-dried if the fuse is good. Unless the fuel pump is using its case for ground there should be a ground wire on the fule pump that is connected to ground. Check that. If it is connected and is not loose, then your problem is most likely a bad fuel pump. Get the model off of the fuel pump and look on Amazon for a replacement.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Chris 8 days ago

      Thanks Don, You gave me the courage to jump in. Batts were good but discovered the ground going to the circuit board in the front hatch (by the batts) was not good. I ran a separate wire from the ground on the Batt to the board and all works great. I discovered that these things were built to sell not to be worked on. I found dividing my mean spirited comments between the engineer who designed the wiring and the guy who installed the hatchless panels was a great stress relief. Thanks again. Chris

    • profile image

      Nobby Toledo 8 days ago

      Help. My fuel pump quit working so I check fuse and it was fine 20amp. the switches were all working so with my meter I started checking the other fuses on the fuse panel and they all worked all but the fuel pump I even put in a new fuse but still nothing no power to just that one only.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 12 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Gail - Is your Rig a Diesel? Only Diesels have a "wait ti start". The reasoning on a Diesel is that the "Glow-Plugs" need time to heat the engine cylinder walls so that the fuel has a better chance to compress and "fire".

      So, what a mechanic would probably do under this situation is check that they had voltage on the hot wire of the starter itself when the key is turned to start. Which is something an owner would not normally do.

      On the other hand, you probably have several fuse boxes for your engine equipment, One would be under the hood, and there is often another one under the dash for the dash and other accessories. Check ALL of these fuses.

      DON

    • profile image

      Allan Munroe 13 days ago

      This is Gail. Thanks for the speedy response Dan. I believe that the generator starts from the chassis battery and my husband and I also think that both the chassis battery and house batteries are fully charged. We did try the AUX switch but motor did not crank at all. The engine does not turn over at all, but ignition lights come on and “

      wait to start light.” Similar to what would be the case. if you tried to start the rig with slides or step out. Wondering if it might be a faulty sensor or relay switch? Or faulty starter? So frustrating.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 13 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Gmunroe - Try to start your Generator, and let it run for a half-hour or so to get the Coach batteries fully charged. Then use your AUX switch on your dash to parallel both DC systems and then see if your motor will crank.

      Otherwise you might need a jump.

      Cold weather camping requires that you do a lot of prep of your RV to make sure you have minimal air leaks and will conserve your interior heat.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Gmunroe 13 days ago

      HELP! We are stuck in a Walmart lot in frigid temps with our 2005 Tiffin Allegro Motorhome that will not start. When you turn ignition, nothing happens except “ Wait to start” light comes on, no cranking of engine at all. Slides and steps are completely in, new batteries with good charge, lots of gas, generator works fine. Lots of rain, wind and freezing temps last night but we did not have slides out. Recent issue with GFI tripping somehow connected with water pump, but suspect this as nothing to do with strarting issues? Has anyone got any advice to offer? Really appreciate it.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Steve - OK, just a reminder but you do know that your Inverter uses 12-VDC to generate some 110-VAC, usually only for a couple of appliances such as your TV's.

      Also, you do know that most motorhomes have a SHUT OFF swith that is use to trun OFF the use of your batteries when your rig is in storage?

      So, now we're down to your AC-voltage problem excluively. Yhe fact that your GFi will not reset, not even the new one, indicates that you need to unplug every appliance from all of the GFI receptacles. If it still does not reset, then you have a serious wiring problem in that circuit. So, I have to ask, did you change any of your Rv's internal wiring? A GFI indicates when even a slight current flow between the Rv ground and Common wiring exists.

      SO, you are now in the position of needing to go back and get your AC wiring checked more closely.

      BTW, you should have a few AC receptacles that are not on your GFI circuit. If they work when the Rv is plugged in, then you are only dealing with a GFI problem, if they also do not work, forget the GFI for the moment and get back tou your campsite AC voltage so

      urce as a potential problem, or, as I said, your regular AC voltage wiring.

      Keep me posted,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      NO! The batteries are your 12-VDC source, you need to make sure your 110-VAC is turned OFF. Unplug your Rv from campground power AND turn OFF your MAIn Breaker. AND, do not turn on your generator. THEN you may be safe.

      DON

    • profile image

      Dennis Price 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Don,

      I neglected to say I tried resetting the GFI but it wouldn't reset which makes me think it's not working. If I disconnect the batteries and then change out the GFI isn't that safe?

      Thank you,

      Dennis

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dennis Price - Changing out a receptacle requires some electrical skills and cam be dangerous..

      First of all, unplug everything in all of your outlets and then reset the GFI!. Then plug in ONE small appliance into thae main GFI receptacle and see if it operates. If so then your GFI is OK, If the RESET and TEST buttons on your GFI do notwork then you can suspect the GFI/

      As to some things still operating, remember your camper lights, fridge, temperature control panel, and alarm panels still work on 12-VDC. So Be bery careful when truing to repair any electricals in your Camper.

      DON

    • profile image

      Dennis Price 2 weeks ago

      Newbie On Board,

      We just got a small travel trailer. None of the electrical outlets work and I suspect it's the GFI in the bath. Changing a GFI is easy, but I can't tell if the battery power is always on even when not connected to shore electrical. Unlike our home, when I turned off the trailer main breaker some electrical things still have power. How do I disconnect power so I can change out the GFI? I guess I could disconnect the batteries...?

      Thanks

      Denny

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Keith Winch - OK, if you only have around 12.5-VDC across your battery terminals, then it is not charged. A charged battery should show around 13.5-VDC. Your camper should have a built-in converter (charger) which ri=uns on 110-VAC. It keeps your camper battery charged.

      Check this out.

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Chris - It looks like your COACH battery(s) are not fully charged??

      So, first you should check them to make suer they have enough water in them,

      Next, check that your Built-in converter(charger) is putting the right voltage onto your coach batteries. The charger runs on 110-VAC when your RV is plugged into campsite power.

      Good luck,

      'DON

    • profile image

      KEITH WINCH 2 weeks ago

      I have a 2012 27' Heartland travel trailer with a brand new and charged rv/marine battery. Multimeter shows (dial type) between 12 and 13 DC volts on the battery and where it connects going into the framework of the camper. All fuses are good yet no power. When I hook my truck up, I have full power. All connections seem secure. There is no switch to turn to change from AC to DC. Sure could use your immediate thoughts. Thank you

    • profile image

      Chris 2 weeks ago

      Hi Don

      I have a keystone cougar and the slides and jacks have gotten very slow and weak. When I bypass with straight 12 volt they run solid and fast. Ideas?

      Chris in AZ

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Loretta - I would immediately get the campground maintenance people to check your campsite power to make sure that your 220-VAC wiring at the campsite power panel is wired properly. And tell them that something is melting the insulation on your wiring. That is very serious and dangerous.

      If they check and say everything on their side is OK, then get an electrician to check out your RV's AC wiring at your power panle.

      Good Luck,

      'DON

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
      Author

      Don Bobbitt 2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Lou, first of all make sure you have your main power switch turned ON. This is the switch you use when you put your RV in storage so the accessories don't drain the batteries.

      The Awning generally operates on your Engine battery.

      I assume you have a separate bettry for your COACH accessories, such as; the AC, the Furnace, and the interior lights which typically run on 12-VDC from the COACH battery. The Coach attery is kept charged with your built-in converter (charger) which runs on your campground 110-VAC.

      Check the se things first.

      DON

    • profile image

      Loretta 2 weeks ago

      Hi Don,

      The wiring in my control panel is overheating and melting. It started with using the hot water heater on ac power. We had been using it on that current for sometime with no problems. Now we use the hot water heater on propane setting. With the weather getting warmer here in AZ I've just started using the AC unit which on course is on ac power. Today I smelled burnt wiring and shut it off. So what could be causing this?

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      If the voltage across your Coach batteries is 14.5 VDC for a few miutes then that's OK. But, if the Converter is good then that voltage will drop after a while as a set ot Good batteries are charged. If it doesn't drop, then the batteries are not taking a charge! You should not suspect the converter uless the voltage is far in excess of 14.5 or far lower than 12.5.

      DON

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      Chase 3 weeks ago

      Okay Don, I turned my engine on for less than a minute and my coach batteries are registering14.6. So I am assuming it has to be the converter, correct?

      If this is the case, how hard would it be for me to order a converter and replace it myself (I’m not very familiar with electrical components)?

      If I have someone replace it, what is a ballpark number I would be looking at spending?

      Thanks again for helping the newbie,

      Chase

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      Don Bobbitt 3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      CHASE - As I mentioned before, your Furnace runs on your 12-VDC Coach battery (s), and that fan you plugged into a 110-VAC receptacle.

      AND, your generator also starts using your 12-VDC battery (s).

      Get that COACH battery in working condition, and then, check the converter (charger).

      DON

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      Chase Kaczmarek 3 weeks ago

      Hey Don, thanks for the reply. I will check the water levels today but if they are full then wouldn’t it be a problem with the converter?

      One extra piece to the puzzle-We are full-timers and last night once again the furnace shutoff at some point during the night however we woke up and our plug in electrical fan was still running. I went to turn the generator on and it would not turn over. I’m not sure if there is any correlation but the Generator ended up starting only after I had the car engine running for a few minutes.

      Thanks,

      Chase

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      Don Bobbitt 3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Chase - First of all, your RV lights, fridge control circuit board and AC circuit board as well as your alarms run on 12-VDC from your COACH battery(s).

      Your CHASSIS battery is under your hood and is only for the engine, and some dash accessories, as well as most exterior lights. They do not power interior things.

      You will have a small INVERTER which will run on 12-VDC to generate a limited amount of 110-VAC, and it is usually only for your TV and maybe one receptacle for for a PC or whatever.

      On the other hand, you should have a builtin charger (Converter) which runs on shore power to generate 12-VDC to keep your COACH batteries charged. Check your Coach batteries for water, and check the voltage level across the terminals to assure the batteries are being charged (about 14.5 VDC, or are idling (about 13,5 VDC) If the voltage is 12.5VDC then your battery is not bein charged and many of your interior lights and some 12-VDC accessories will not operate.

      Keep me posted.

      DON

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      Don Bobbitt 3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      SpencerClark - First of all, Your Inverter runs on 12-VDC and is used exclusively to generate 110-VDC, usually just for a TV or a receptacle for a computer.

      Second, your Chassis batteries, are only used for the engine and dash accessories.

      Third, the interior lights, fridge control circuit board and AC control circuit board operate on your COACH batteries which are kept charged by a built-in charger (converter).

      And, the charger does not work if your RV is not plugged into 110-VAC at a campsite, etc.

      So, you would NOT have any 110-VAC power if you're not plugged in to shore power.

      But, your COACH battery(s) should power the other things I mentioned. So, first check that your batteries have water in them, Then check that you have at least 13-5 VDC across the battery terminals, if they are charged. If they are charging, they could have as much as 14.5 VDC across the from the charger.

      Good luck,

      DON

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      Gene montpelier 3 weeks ago

      As of last week i lost all power in my RV my fuse box under my dash board had gotten wet during the winter I own a 1990 Chevrolet escaper camper I tried to clean the fuse box and still have no power could you please help with some advice to correct this problem ?

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      Chase 3 weeks ago

      Hi Don, I just bought a Class A ‘02 RV (50 amp). My wife and I are having problems with the shore power. Each night we start to lose power even though we are hooked up to shore power. I made a beginners mistake by not connecting the converter to the RV outlet because I did not see the outlet as it was tucked away overhead. Last night I plugged the converter into the RV and all connections are good now yet every time I want power I have to turn on the car engine and then we get everything working great?

      Is there a certain step by step process I need to go through now that everything is hooked up properly (i.e. flip switches in a particular order)?

      We get power when engine is on but when it’s off we eventually lose power later in the night?

      And just FYI we do have the use/storage switch on.

      Thanks

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      SpencerClark 3 weeks ago

      Hello! I have a ‘76 Dodge Sportsman and I don’t seem to have any in-house power (lights, fridge, etc.) at all unless we are plugged into shore power. Both the house and engine batteries are brand new. No circuit breakers were tripped and the fuses all look good (were also replaced in the last year). I disconnected and reconnected both batteries and that didn’t help ether.. there is an inverter that works but only when plugged in now just like everything else... both batteries are nearly fully charged as well. The engine will start and the headlights / taillights work as well. Any ideas I could try out?? The problem has only been happening about 3-5 days but not sure as we have been plugged into shore power mostly. One more thing - I don’t believe there is a battery disconnect switch on this old rig or at least we could not locate it after extensively searching.. thanks so much in advance for any advice!!!

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Val Hopkins - First of all, most motorhomes and larger campers will have two 120VDC systems. One is usually referred to as the CHASSIS system and the other is referred to as the COACH system.

      You should have a cut-off switch somewhere inside your RV for each. So, make sure each is ON when needed, and OFF when not needed, like storage.

      Most RV's will have the porch light and awning wired to the CHASSIS switch.

      So make sure these are set the way you need them.

      Now to your COACH battery(s). They must be good batteries; they must be connected in your RV, or most chargers will not operate properly. Your 12-VDC actually runs on your batteries, and the charger is meant to keep them charged, not run your Rv accessories.

      The fuses will often blow when a battery is missing or dead because the charger will try to push too high a voltage as it tries to charge the battery. Get these things taken care of before you do anything else.

      DON

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      DougCrites 4 weeks ago

      Good morning Don,

      Glad to report an electrician isn't needed. It's a newbie error...

      To get the generator power to the converter, I have to plug the shore power cable into an outlet hidden up high in a cubby. Did that last night and everything was working fine! Also, and don't see inverter listed anywhere so that would explain why I don't get any AC power from battery alone. Ordering a new battery today and should be good to go for next week!

      Thanks Don!

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      Val Hopkins 4 weeks ago

      This is embarrassing to write, as (a) I’m not a beginner; i’ve Been full timing since i was 29, am now 50, and have been doing all of my own troubleshooting and rv-specific repairs myself, and (b) I actually have a background in electronics (sigh). In my defense, I have had 3 separate diagnoses of traumatic brain injuries, so I’m hoping that’s why i can figure out my problem.

      My first rig was a ‘76 Dodge Brougham, my 2nd and 3rd rigs were both Lazy Daze - an 81 and an 87, and i just recently purchased a 2005 Sandpiper Sport toyhauler, and this is where my problem lies.

      There are six 15 amp fuses, all for various lights. Only one of those fuses is blowing, and i dont have working 12v lights in the very front of the toyhauler (the dinette) or in the single slide out. Tomorrow i plan on removing all of the light fixtures, and will test each of the wires with my volt meter. Today when i was checking the fuses, i had disconnected the land line (30 amp, grounded, all voltage in looks perfect). I also disconnected the single 12v house battery, which i know needs to e replaced. It was low on water when i bought the rig, so i added distilled water in hopes that that would help but the previous owner left it without water for too long. I’d like to set up two 6 volt batteries, but as I’m awaiting approval for disability and bought this with my small accident settlement, I’m now broke, so it’ll just be a single 12v i’ll Be installing hopefully tomorrow as well.

      So the plan is to check out each of the individual lights to see if the wiring is ok. If that doesn’t pan out, i think i might need to check and see if the former owner screwed into an electrical wire somewhere. I would think that if the inverter was bad, more than one 15 amp fuse would be blowing. In my Lazy Daze, I’ve switched out bad breakers, but I’ve never experienced a bad inverter in my 25+ years of full timing, mostly boon docking, up until my back was broken in a 2010 hit and run that totaled the first lazy daze.

      If anyone has any other suggestions other than the afore-mentioned plan for tomorrow, I’d greatly appreciate it, as i really want to get this figured out. Oh, also, my porch light doesn’t work, so i can only assume it’s tied into that one 15 amp fuse, as no other fuses have blown. If anyone has the same model toyhauler i have (2005 Forest River Sandpiper Sport....separate garage, bumper pull, single slide out, i’d Appreciate some feedback or better yet - a copy of the owners manual, as I haven’t been able to find one online. Apparently mine is a rare model. I bought it for the layout, even though Forest River’s workmanship leaves a LOT to be desired, as can be witnessed with their brand new models at rv shows.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Joel Williams - First of all, your INVERTER (usually only takes your 12-VDC and changes it over to 110-VAC which is only used by a couple of appliances like your TV and maybe a receptacle up front for you to operate a computer.

      On the other hand, your converter (110-VAC to 12-VDC charger). And, it looks like you need to check your COACH battery(s), and make sure they have water (the most common problem with batteries) and that they have voltage acros their terminals.

      Keep me posted,

      DON

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      Don Bobbitt 4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      DougCrites - Sounds good! And, yes, your Fridge control board, your Temperature control board, and your alarms all run on your COACH battery, so keep it charged.

      Good luck,

      DON

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      DougCrites 4 weeks ago

      Hello again Don. I was operating under false pretense, thinking 2.1 volts per cell (12.6) was a good battery. After your comment I did some Googling and realized I was way off! So for starters, I'm going to get a new battery. I'm thinking of going with the VMAX857 AGM battery. I want to check with them about my charging system too before shelling out too much money. But given how integral a good battery is, I don't want to go cheap.

      Also, I did some more digging around for info on my generator and found out that it does NOT charge the battery. The 3.6Kw (50 Hz) version does, the 4.0Kw (60 Hz) does not... So that would at least explain why I was seeing nothing at the battery when it was running.

      Do you think the battery being bad could affect whether or not the system would be able to recognize the generator running? Looks like a bad battery can cause all sorts of problems, hoping this is one of them...

      On a positive note, I took it out for a drive today. Tried the fridge and it's working fine (then again, it's not hot here right now...). Once I get the battery/genny situation figured out we'll be ready to hit the road!

      Thanks again for your time and insight!

      Doug

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      Joel Williams 4 weeks ago

      Set up camper with my 12 volt jacks without being plug in everything work okay had 12 volt lights on my camper is 50 amp. Plug plugged in to camping ground about two hours all appliances worked well lights started dimming inverter not working so plug my 30 amp. Pig tail in to the 30 amp. Plug and inverter started ???

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jim Zim - Wow! OK, if the fusable link was blown, you may also have to get a garage tech to check out your engines computer, and maybe reset it.I'm assuming its a Ford V10 engine, so call the nearest Ford Service Center and talk to someone in the know.

      DON

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      jim zim 4 weeks ago

      Jumped my rv opposite polarity blew fusable link outside was able to start coach but have no power in side, checked all fuses that I could find with no luck.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      DougCrites - First, your house batteries should never be as low as 12.6 volts.

      Second, Your Power Control Panel should ALWAYS sense when the generator is running and switch the RV over to that AC power source.

      Third, I assume your main COACH power switch is turned ON?

      If your generator is running and you do not have power to your RV receptacles, then sad to say, you may need an electrician.

      Sorry!

      DON

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      DougCrites 4 weeks ago

      Hi Don, could've sworn I replied earlier but it isn't showing. I've done some more checking. House battery shows 12.6 volts for starters. When I run the engine it slowly rises. When it's on shore power, it goes to about 13.5. When the generator is on, it doesn't add anything.

      Ive checked all outlets I can find, even the hidden one behind the fridge. 6 outlets in total and all work when on shore power, but none will work any other time.

      It seems to me like the system doesn't recognize when the generator is running. I have a PPC 7300 series converter and an Onan microquiet 4000 generator. Any ideas how I can check to see if the system recognizes the generator is on? Any other ideas?

      Thanks again for your time!

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Doug - Most motorhomes do have an Inverter.

      BUT, it is not a large high power one. In fact, your inverter will only be connected to one or two special receptacles in your motorhome and they are placed strategically to power your TV, or a computer receptacle.

      If you want to power your whole motorhome then you'll have to use your built-in generator which typically will be a 3KW or 5KW power source.

      Your Power Control Panle should automatically switch over to the generator from shore power whenever it senses that the generator is running and providing AC power.

      Keep me posted,

      DON

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      DougCrites 4 weeks ago

      Great article Don! I'm new to RVing and wonder if you can help me out... I bought a 2003 Forest River Class C RV last fall. Getting it ready to take out soon and I had some battery issues. Light was left on and drained the batteries. I plugged it into shore power for awhile and nothing helped. Found out my son turned off the battery switch when we got out one day. Now know about that little feature too.

      I went ahead and checked and added water, then charged the battery outside the RV. Once it was done, I put it back in and checked the charger while plugged in to shore power. Showing about 13.4 volts, so I believe it's working fine. I also ran the generator today and it seems fine as well.

      My problem is that my AC outlets will only work when I'm attached to shore power. Nothing will work from batteries through inverter or from the generator. I checked the control panel and there was only 1 DC fuse blown (for the tank heaters), AC breakers are fine. Do you have any suggestions for what I should look at next to see about getting the AC outlets to have power when not plugged into shore power? Could it running the battery down so far have caused something else to trip keeping it from feeding AC now?

      I've also checked the GFCI just in case everything was ran in series, but no help.

      Thanks!

      Doug

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      Don Bobbitt 5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Paulette - OK, First of all, your outlets are 110-VAC, so does your microwave or TV work, they operate on 110-VAC also. Often the fridge (2-way design) and AC control panel and interior lights all work on 12-VDC. So if they don't work, check your Rv battery to make sure it is charged.

      Good Luck,

      DON

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      Paulette Boyd 5 weeks ago

      My outlets work in my camper but nothing else is working. What could be causing this problem? It is a Hartland pull behind camper.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Josie - Strange! I would first check all of my 12-VDC fuses for one that has blown because it is unlikely that your wring harness has a problem. DON

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      Josie 5 weeks ago

      I should have said all the lights on the slide out wont work inside even if it is plugged in.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Linda Jennings - OK lets start with the fact that both the furnace and the fridge use your 12-VDC from your COACH batteries, and not the engine battery.

      With that said, your coach batteries are kept charged by your RV's charger (converter) when the RV is plugged into campground power, and if you measure them, they should be at roughly 13.5-VDC. If you measure 12,5-VDC or less, the charger is not working properly. IF you measure over 14.5-VDC then the charger could damage your control circuit boards. (PS, the fridge circuit board has a fuse mounted on it also that you should check.)

      You should isolate the problem by removing the fuse to the furnace and concentrate on your fridge first.

      Keep me posted.

      DON

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      Linda Jennings 5 weeks ago

      I have a 1989 Winnebago Itasca Sunflyer and I lost power to,both,my,refrigerator and heater my fridge is a norcold 3-way 600 series and my heater is a surburban NT34BW we replaced the,main circuit,boards on both,but still,have,nothing the blower does not start at,all,on the heater and no,lights show up,on my fridge at all,on the eyebrow, the batteries are new and we checked to see if we had electricity coming out,of both,and we do, but don't understand what's going on if anyone can give us advise as to where to,go from here would greatly appreciate it, because they,don't even sell,my type,of furance anymore! Please help? Oh yea before we replaced the main circuit boards on them, the fuse,on the fridge use to,blow every time we tried,to start it, but only,on the fridge, but now it no longer does it! Please help?

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Josie - I am assuming that those long tube lights are fluorescent bulbs. And, even though all of our interior RV lights operate on 12-VDC, the typical fluorescent bulb must have the full voltage applied to "kick" on the starter transformer. So, check that your 12-VDC system actually has at least 13.6 volts at the battery which must be fully charged by the RV's converter. If the voltage at the battery is high enough, then check the voltage at the bulb terminals.

      Good Luck, DON

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      Josie 7 weeks ago

      Hey, I have a 2015 Puma and all the lights above the couch went out. All the fuses are good. The bulbs are long tubes, Could all 4 have gone out at the same time?

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      John Ford - Well, with this being the case, and your RV lights worked without the battery hooked up, then you are down to having a problem with your converter. 1- check for a blown fuse on the converter. 2- check for a DC voltage output from the converter to the battery connectors, with the lights turned ON.

      My suspicions are now on your Converter.

      Good luck,

      DON

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      John Ford 7 weeks ago

      My lights always worked before when hooked to shoreline. I don't know why they don't know. I'm a little confused. ~J~

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      John Ford - Yeah, if everything works OK when you connect the battery then your system would probably be OK. BUT, the converter will not operate properly if it doesn't have a battery connected as a load on the converter.

      THEN, if it doesn't keep the battery charged you may have a converter problem.

      Good Luck,

      DON

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      John Ford 8 weeks ago

      Don, my 12 volt stuff does not work when plugged to shore power. Everything works as it should when I hook the battery up. I keep my battery inside with a monthly charge. I'm thinking the converter in my power center has gone bad...

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 8 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      John Ford - This looks like the common problem of having a bad RV battery. The battery must be full of water and it must be fully charged. Normally, when hooked to external power, the RV charger will charge the battery and provide the voltage needed for the RV accessories. If the battery is bad, then these accessories, including the lights, fridge, and such will not work without either the battery or the charger operating.

      Good Luck,

      DON

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      John Ford 8 weeks ago

      I have a 2013 Shyline Nomad that the lights quit working and everything else does. Th 15 anp side of my EATON BD3015 breaker is my general appliance circuit. For whatever reason it gets power to the poll but no lights, water pump, or fridge. Replacing the breaker did not help as I thought it wouldn't. All fuses are good. When I turn the 15 amp breaker back on (it was not off or snapped off), the lights come on for just a few seconds before going out again. What is interesting is when my battery is hooked up, it completes the circuit and everything works. I'm used to having everything work when plugged into my house (30amp). Any ideas as to my next move? I'm going to the dealer next and would like an idea as to what the solution is before I do.

      Thanks in advance.

      ~J~

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 8 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      VIN - Sorry, but with A '76 RV, you most likeyy have an intermittent connection in the 12-VDC wiring, or even worse, an repair in the wiring, that has oxidized. Ether way, your problem will most likely be a time consumer for you.

      Good Luck

      DON

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      Don Bobbitt 2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      RVV - Well, first of all, there will ba a "master" GFI receptacle with the reset button, the others are just slaves to that one GFI.

      And.a kicked GFi is probably the most common reason for lost voltage on several receptacles. Check this first.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Steve, I am going to assume that the brass case of the bulb is making contact between the lamp fixture case and the center connector when you try to insert the new bulb. Use a flashlight to check for loose metal inside the socket, and make sure the lamp holder doesn't doesn't spin.

      Good luck,

      DON

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      Don Bobbitt 2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Gina, This is dangerour. Your thermostat/controller board only used 12-VDC and of the insides are smoking, then you have a short circuit on one of the sensor lines from your furnace or one of your Roof AC units, This problem needs a qualified electrician.

      Good Luck.

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      missouridye 2 months ago

      Howdy...hope you might have a direction for me. 2013 Zinger bumper pull, I go to replace a 1076 bulb (which was an adventure just getting it out) in the fixture above the dining table. Upon replacing, no light...and I notice that a light is on the panel and shows a 15 amp fuse is out. ( 3 lights and the Carbon monoxide monitor is out) I replace the 15 amp fuse with another, power it up and when I put another bulb in, the fuse zaps out. Eventually, leaving the bulbs out, the CM monitor has electric...so, it must be the fixtures and some type of short. No other electrical problems anywhere. Any suggestions for me how to track this down?

      (note; I am very respectful of electricity...but willing to use a multi-meter)

      Steve

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      Vin 2 months ago

      I have a very strange problem with my 1976 Chevy Cobra RV. All of the lights in the back work but the bathroom,main overhead and upper lights at top do not. BUT. I was walking through the RV and caused a little static electricity and BAM they came back on. But they went back out a short time later. This has happened twice but now they are out and i cannot recreate the incident. Any thoughts?

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      RVini Vidi Vicci 2 months ago

      Hi forum, the ac outlets along one side of my camper have stopped functioning. I found and replaced a 20 amp fuse marked as "General" circuit on the cabin panel but the problem persists.

      I have no visible gfi breakers on any of the 3 ac outlets that are no longer receiving /providing power. I suspect a wiring short but don't know where to start. Any help?

      2008 24A Fleetwood Pulse

      Sprinter / Mercedes 3.0 liter diesel

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Shawn - It sounds like you need to have a tech come by and service your furnace. The air filter could be dirty and the fuel filter could also need replacement,

      Good luck,

      DON

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      Gina 2 months ago

      My thermostat keeps Burning Up. What Could Be the problem

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      Shawn 2 months ago

      Hey, I am sorry to bother you I have a quick question regarding my furnace. I live in my camper year round and have noticed my furnace igniting oddly. It kicks on normal but then after a few seconds it looses power blowing softer then back to normal. It doesn’t this back and forth until my igniter kicks in then it run normally. Sometimes tho when it starts it itbvery weak as well until it has time to kick in full power. Any ideas? I changed fuses and nothing seems to help

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Sean - SO, your converter (charger has 13.75 volts at it's output, but the battery is only reading 12-VDC? And the Fridge is blinking? Well, the fridge uses the DC-voltage to power its control circuit board. So, I would check that my battery has water in it first, and if it does, then i would suspect the battery itself as being bad. This is the most common problem in campers with their 12-volt power system. Keep me posted,

      DON

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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Steve Miller - From what you have said, the first thing that comes to mind is do your Air Conditioners work? They run on 220-VAC and if one side of your power input is missing then your AC's will not work. If your AC's do work then you are getting 220-VAC into your Rig. If your AC's do not operate, then from what you have said, I would suspect the campground power panel as your culprit. Keep me posted.

      DON

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      Sean 3 months ago

      Converter is buzzing off and on when lights are off. Turn a light on the buzz sometimes stops but very dim lighting. Tested the converter it was at 13.75. battery tested 12??. The refrigerator is blinking check. I'm lost can't figure out what wrong.

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      Steve Miller 3 months ago

      About half the 110V power is out on our fifth wheel. Checked all: GFIs; main 50A breaker; replaced main 50A power cord; reset all breakers. Fireplace & heater, Microwave, various outlets all on left side of RV not working.

      Any suggestions?

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dustin - The most likely problem is the fact that your kitchen receptacles (and others are on a GFI iurcuit. Look for the receptacle that has a couple of buttons on it, and press the reset button. This should fix your problem.

      Good luck

      DON

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      Dustin 3 months ago

      Outlets in kitchen are out. All other electrical seems fine. Checked fuses, look fine, most of the wiring is hidden in the walls, so I can’t see if there are any issues with wiring immediately. Now I’m at the end of my non-expertise as to the next step in problem solving. Any suggestions?

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Joe - Bad move but what's done is done. First of all, if your appliances, like your microwave work, then your AC-voltage is OK. But, your camper lights operate on 12-VDC, and it looks like you blew a fuse. First check the main DC fuse on your Rv fuse panel (usually 30-Amp). If its OK, then check the converter fuse which is most probably blown.

      Have a good day,

      DON

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      Joe 3 months ago

      Accidentally touched black and red wires while disconnecting converter housing lights went out now only have power to the outlets but no lights

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ronald - Do you mean the propane furnace or are you using a portable heater?? BTW it is never recommended to use a propane heater in a camper. Too dangerous. Get rid of that thing and use a ceramic electric heater. Anyway a portable heater using 110-VAC shouldn't draw so much current just running a fan. The top problem with camper when the lights in a camper dim, its usually the battery, either being low on water, or not being charged properly.

      Keep me posted.

      DON

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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kenny R Williams - No, but your Power control panel on your RV does sense of there is a steady power source, and if it is not, then it will reset itself and start its scan process over.

      DON

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      Ronald 3 months ago

      2010 Salem villa tagalong , while propane heater on board is in operation the lights in the cabin are surging as well as the fan on the heater, I am puzzled, any suggestions ?

    • Don Bobbitt profile image
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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kenny - Great! This is probably the most ignored maintenance thing that RV owners forget. I'm glad it worked out for you.

      DON

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      Kenny 3 months ago

      Thanks a million added water to the battery. It was very low no more issues

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      Kenny R Williams 3 months ago

      Thanks for the advice I disconnect the battery and the dc power still works when the ac power goes off is there a safety switch that could be kicking on if there is not enough power coming through the shore line?

      Thanks

      Kenny

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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kenny - This is unusual. The normal cause would be your campground power, so have them check your source where you connect to campsite power.

      You see, if you were drawing too much current on a circuit inside your camper it would kick out a breaker.

      I assume that you know your; camper lights, 2-way fridge, AC control panel all use 12-VDC and this comes from your Camper battery, which is on a built-in charger. If your battery was not handling the load it could be the problem. Check to make sure it has plenty of water and is not a very old battery.

      Good Luck,

      DON

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      Kenny 3 months ago

      We have a 2016 kougar tow behind all the ac electrical goes off for no reason it will then come back on by itself this is becoming more frequently we are living in the camper full time. I have checked all connections and breakers?

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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      David - Most RV vehicles are wired so that the TV does not work when the vehicle is in motion. This is the law in some states to avoid there being distractions for the driver. Your conversion may have been wired this way also. They usually control this by plugging the TV into a special 110-VAC receptacle that is turned off when the vehicle is started. Check if the TV is plugged into a receptacle with special markings on it, and move it to one that has power which I assume is provided by an Inverter.

      Good luck, DON

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      david ditoppa 3 months ago

      Helloo. I have a 2006 E-150 with a Rengency conversion kit. For some reason when the kids are watching the T.V. in the back and I turn on the wipers or other electronics in the front of the vehicle the T.V. shuts off. I would appreciate any ideas that you have on what is causing the issue... Thank you for your time and effort.. David...

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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ty - I am assuming that your heater is 120-VAC and not DC??

      The most common 12-Voltage problem is a dry battery, so check the water level, and then check the date on the battery.

      If the battery is OK, then you should suspect either the charger for the battery or the campsite power being intermittent.

      Let me know,

      DON

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      Ty 3 months ago

      I'm experiencing what seems to be a entermittent voltage drop that is effecting my 12 volt system causing lights to dim and heater to slow a bit. What could be the problem. 2009 KZ Spree

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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      OK then! assumed lights you mentioned were RV lights. SO, with what you have said, the most likely problem (and the most common) is your shore power from the campsite being intermittent or, and this is a long shot, your RV power management system thinks it is sensing load variations and is reacting by turning certain circuits on and off. But this is unlikely. I would make sure my Surge Protector is a good one and it isn't your actual problem, if the campground checks their power and confirms it is OK.

      Let me know, DON

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      GBEBEE 3 months ago

      Double checked the batteries and they are fine. Don't understand the focus on the 12 volt. When the tv and lamps flash any 12 volt lights that are on do not flash.

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      Don Bobbitt 3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      GBEBEE - OK, the transfer switch is controlled by your power control panel. If voltage is sensed on the generator output, then the transfer switch "switches" over to it as the power source and off of the cmapsite power. These should never be connected at the same time and the transfer switch makes sure of this.

      As to the flashing of your cabin lights? Well, you need to put a digital multimeter across your "Coach" batteries. The voltage must be steady. If not then your RV charger is probably cycling for some reason, which would usually means your "Coach" batteries are drawing far too much current and the charger cannot handle the heavy load, and alternately turns OFF its output and then turns itself back on.

      You do have water in your "Coach" batteries, right? And they're not boiling water, Right? And the battery body does not feel hot, Right?

      Keep me posted, DON

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      GBEBEE 3 months ago

      Thanks Don for your suggestions but I didn't explain about the switch very well. The switch this person was talking about is not one that can be turned on or off. If I understood correctly it is an automatic switch pertaining to shore power versus generator power. Also, the symptoms of our problem have changed a bit. Now our tv and lamps "flash" at random times other than when an air conditioner kicks on. About 30 minutes ago the tv when off while the air conditioner was already running. Our biggest problem is that we are full-timers and can't pop into the nearest service center. Your help is greatly appreciated!

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      Don Bobbitt 4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      First, reset your site power breaker in hopes i=one side has kicked out, If not, then check and reset your RV breakers with the same hope. The oven should be on its own breaker, but the TV could be on a GFI, so look for your master GFI and reset it.

      If none of these work, the campground could have experienced a power surge that took out the 2 appliances. As your neighbors if they have had any problems. If none of these are the problem then you might want to invest in a Surge protector for your RV.

      Good Luck,

      DON

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      Don Bobbitt 4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      GBEEBEE - OK then, motorhomes will have two switches for controlling 12-VDC in the RV. One is usually labeled and it controls the engine voltage that is usually called MAIN and is used for the door step, power awning, etc. the other is usually called AUX and is used to turn OFF 12-VDC from the COACH batteries to the internal 12-VDC accessories such as; fridge, lights, temperature control panel, etc. The AUX should be ON except when the Rv is in storage.

      DON

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      Sarah 4 months ago

      While I was out Today my microwave/convec oven and a tv in the outside compartment both quit. They seem to be broken. We have been plugged in here in this spot for a while now...is this an coincidental appliance problem or an electrical issue?? Both outlets seem to be operating fine. No blown breakers. We tow a 2012 Dutchman Komfort

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      GBEBEE 4 months ago

      It's a 2013 so not that old. My wife was talking to someone who mentioned a transfer switch?

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      Don Bobbitt 4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      GBEBEE - Your Air Cond. runs on 220VAC, and when one cycles (starts) it draws a lot more current than when it is just running. As they get older, they draw more and more current. I am assuming more of your "other" 110V AC appliances are running on one leg of the 220 VAC than the other and is drawing just enough at the start to bring the voltage down low enough to make the TB=V turn OFF.

      I would suggest that if your RV is an older unit, you may have to purchase an new one or at least have an electrician check it out.

      Good Luck,

      DON

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      GBEBEE 4 months ago

      What would cause power interrupt to 110 items such as lamps and tvs when the air conditioner kicks on? The interrupts happen in the blink of the eye but tv has to go through its start up afterwards. This doesn't happen every time but a lot more frequent when more 110 items are on than just the tv.

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      Don Bobbitt 4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Tommy - OK, First of all, your Rv microwave and Tv works on standard AC-Voltage. Those outlets that don't work are probably on your GFI circuit, so find the master GFI outlet and press the reset button. As to your Fridge and lights, they are 12-VDC, and you should check the COACH battery to make sure it has water in it. It provides your 12-VDC and is kept charged by your Rv charger.

      Have a nice day.

      DON

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      Tommy 4 months ago

      Hi Don,

      I have a 2004 Fleetwood wilderness 320DBHS and recently all my interior lights, some 120 outlets and fridge/freezer went out, but the tv and microwave still operates. It’s wired for 12v. I checked all fuses and breakers were not kicked. Any suggestions?

      Thanks,

      Tommy

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      Don Bobbitt 4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Frederic - The fan runs on DC Voltage, and is probably on the same circuit as the bedroom lights. I would suspect that you blew the fuse for that circuit. Check your fuse panel for a bad fuse first. I assume it uses automotive fuses, and you can see when the wire inside is open.

      DON

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      Frederic Dominioni 4 months ago

      Hi Don.

      I ordered a new fan for the shower in my airstream (2005 model CCD). I install the unit and connected the wires with the blue electrical connector. Pinched them with pliers. Unfortunately, the fan (new unit) now does not work, not only that but the lights above the bed area are all out now... :/

      Frustrating. I check the fuse box which looks fine...I tried rewiring, still nothing! What can I do at this point? Thank you

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