Troubleshooting and Repairing RV Electrical Problems for the Beginner

Updated on July 23, 2020
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.

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 MM200 Auto Ranging Multimeter
Klein 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.

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.

Questions & Answers

  • If I feel electricity tingle when under the chassis working on something could that be a bad ground in the shore power coming into the RV? If I unplug the shore power the problem goes away. It only happens if I am grounded and touch the under part of the frame or engine.

    Your symptoms do indicate a grounding problem with your RV. And it could be dangerous. Most of the time, this is having one of your RV ground wires develop an oxidation or corrosion buildup at its connection to the chassis.

    You should check these connections as well ad make sure your external power cable is in good shape and doesn't have oxidation on its contacts. Once you are confident that your end of your electrical system is good, then you should have your campground management send a technician out to check the connections in their campsite power box.

  • I have a 2011 Tiffin Allegro Open Road. I replaced our propane detector. To do so I disconnected the cables on the 12-volt batteries. Now I have no interior lights. Any ideas?

    OK, yes, your symptoms say that you did not reconnect the wires to the batteries properly. If I assume that you only disconnected the positive wire to the Rv and maybe the negative wire to the RV, and nothing else, then you could have blown one of your fuses in your 12-VDC fuse panel? So check these fuses first to see if one is blown.

    If that wasn't the problem, then you can double-check if you wired the propane detector properly.

    After these two things, you may have put the wires back onto the batteries improperly?

  • Why are only half of my 120 outlets working on a 2005 pace arro 37c? I have reset the gfci and breakers

    I assume you have checked your campsite power box and reset its breakers?

    Also, make sure your external power cable is plugged in all of the ways and that the contacts are not corroded and clean any oxidation from then.

  • I'm using an extension cord plugged into a normal household outlet, then connected to my RV power cord plugged into the 30a, 125v inlet on my popup camper. I realize this won't give me much power, but here's the thing: It's giving me no power. Using a simple tester, I read power in the extension cord, and the RV cord plugged into the 30a inlet, but nothing is coming out from the inlet inside the camper. I've switched out the 30a inlet and still nothing. Do you have any ideas?

    Well, first of all, your standard RV 300-Amp input connector is set up for two 110-VAC lines. This way you have 220-VAC for an Air Conditioner for instance.

    Your problem could be as simple as the fact that your extension cord is connected to the wrong side of the 220-VAC connector for your RV.

    Check this as your potential problem. And you should purchase a standard 110-VAC (15-Amp) to 30-Amp adapter as this would probably fix your problem.

  • I plugged in my ninja foodie and the air conditioner was running. Out went the ac and the ac plug receptacles. I checked all the circuit breakers and they seem fine. We are boon docking with the generator running. What else should I check? Also checked the main GFI. It was fine but no power.

    When you're out and running on your generator, and things happen, I always tell people to UNPLUG everything plugged into receptacles.

    This will quickly eliminate them as your culprit.

    From your symptoms, you are saying that your AC and ALL of your receptacles lost power at the same time?

    Well, they both operate on 110-VAC (the generator uses two 110-VAC lines to get 220-VAC). But if your breakers for your generator and the one for the receptacles did not kick out then your problem makes no sense.

    So, just guessing here, but go and check your COACH batteries and make sure they are OK, with water in them, and make sure they are being kept charged by your Converter.

    Your COACH batteries provide 12-VDC to several things in your RV, one of which is your temperature control panel which in turn controls your AC units.

    I hope this helps with your problem.

Comments

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    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      102 minutes ago from Ruskin Florida

      Paul - The engine fuse box would be located where the truck manufacturer had the fuse/relay box for the engine.

      On the newer Class-B+ motorhomes you can normally find the fuse box, relays and control equipment mounted in the cabinets.

      But when it comes to the older ones, this electrical gear could be placed anywhere, sorry to say.

      I would trace the heavy wires from the COACH batteries because the HOT wires would go to the interior fuse panel.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Paul halsted 

      5 hours ago

      We bought a 2007 Dutchman Durango class b plus can’t find the circuit or fuse box

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      25 hours ago from Ruskin Florida

      Chris Knob - OK,Let's tear this one down and get to the root of your problem.

      First, Your slideout and power jacks operate, so your camper batteries have a charge on them.

      But, your interior lights, water pump and electric thermostat do not work, and all of these things operate on the same batteries, via our DC Fuse panel.

      With that said, you say all of the fuses are good but your symptoms say that normally you should have some blown fuses, you could have some wiring that has been torn up.

      I believe you should use a multimeter and measure the voltage in several places; across the battery terminals (must be at least 13.5-VDC (fully charged, up to 14.5-VDC (being charged) and it must not be around 12.5-VDC because this indicates that the converter is not charging the battery.

      Then you should check the voltage going to; the interior lights, the fridge, the water pump and the electric thermostat. Each of these should have the same voltage going to them that you read across the battery.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Chris Knob 

      26 hours ago

      I have a 2015 Springdale Camper Trailer. The interior lights, fridge, water pump and electric thermostat do not work. But the slide out and all power jacks operate just fine. I have had the batteries tested, they tested good, I replaced the convertor with a brand new on. None of the breakers are tripped, I have pulled all the fuses in fuse panel and they are good. There is a 15 amp fuse coming off the battery(its the only one I can find) it was blown but I replaced and it hasn't blown again. When I hook up to our generator, I can get the plugs to work but nothing else. Any ideas??? I appreciate any help I can get . Thank you

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      John - From your symptoms, I have to make a few assumptions, the first of which is are you talking about your DC-VOLTAGE system? I have to ask if you possibly replaced or rewired your COACH batteries in your RV? Because, if they are wired properly, it is impossible to have such a high DC-VOLTAGE from them to your RV DC-Voltage electrical system.

      If you're talking about your AC-VOLtAGE System? Sure, you may have a 50-AMP AC-Voltage system but this has nothing to do with your DC-VOLTAGE system.

      Now, if you're actually talking about your 110-VAC 50-AMP AC-Voltage System and you are only reading 29-VAC then you need to go to your campsite power box and check if you have the proper voltage there.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      John Ramber 

      5 days ago

      im getting 29 volts everywhere in my travel trailer. Its a 50 amp system and even coming in the fuse panel is 29 volts. Can you help please?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Tom - From your symptoms, I am guessing that your COACH battery may not be fully charged. Check it before you do anything else.

      And make sure you used the proper model# LED lamps for replacing your old incandescent lamps.

      Your slide also operates on your COACH battery, and if the fuses are good in your interior 12-VDC fuse panel then you can also make sure you have your AUX Cut-Off switch in the right position.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Tom Plunkett 

      6 days ago

      In the process of replacing 2 old overhead 12v lights (that worked) with LED lights, something happened. There is no longer any voltage at the wires going to the lights and the slide out has stopped working. Fuses are all good.

    • profile image

      Don Bobbitt 

      9 days ago

      Susan Wallace - Your symptoms are sparce, but because you mention that your camper batteries (ie. your COACH batteries) only gt enough power when you run your truck engine does give me a hint about your problem.

      First of all, your TV would be powered by your camper's INVERTER, which converts your 12-VDC from your COACH batteries to 100-VAC for your TV.

      Normally your ENGINE electrical system would be separate from your COACH electrical system, so

      I can speak to your racing your truck engine affecting your Camper power system.

      But you are aware that your RV's batteries are kept charged by the builtin CONVERTER which in turn gets its power from your 110-VAC system, which comes from your external power source like in a campground. So, every few days, you must plug your camper into a 110-VAC source and recharge your COACH batteries.

      I hope this helps?

      DON

    • profile image

      Susan Wallace 

      9 days ago

      My coach is not getting full power off of my batteries. Everything seems to work but my TV sound doesn’t which is an indicator of low battery power. Sound works if I run the truck to put more juice into it. What could be wrong?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      10 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Michael - I believe I understand. You did state that your Converter power indicator light was turning ON and OFF. This is an indication that its 110-VAC input to the Converter is turning ON and OFF. As you know the Converter keeps your COACH batteries charged and it is plugged into a 110-VAC receptacles that is powered by one of your breakers in your breaker box. Admittedly, intrmittent problems can be tough to find the cause, but this is the best I can dfo for you without being there and examining your RV electrical system myself.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      10 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Frank - From your symptoms, it sounds like you need to check our adapter cable that you use between the generator and your camper. Your warning light is telling you that the wiring (HOT and COMMON lines) are reversed and need to be changed.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Michael Rader 

      10 days ago

      Brother I don’t think you’re hearing me. I’m telling you I have three batteries that are fully charged, we have replaced the converter with a brand new one, and we are still losing low-voltage power intermittently. And it now looks like it does it most often when the water heater is turned on. All AC appliances stay on during the intermittent power loss.

    • profile image

      Frank 

      10 days ago

      I just purchased a champion generator inverter for my pull behind camper. I used it and my red light on my plug head came on. They say that means reverse polarity. What do I need to do?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      11 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jordan h - You should have an ON/OFF switch for your Hot Water Heater; as well as a switch for selecting 110-VAC or Propane to operate it. Check that these switches are in the proper positions.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      11 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dennis - With a fifth-wheeler the door entrance light and the step are powered by your AUX (Coach) battery. The step light is also powered by the same battery.

      And, when you turn OFF your CUT-OFF switch, the other DC equipment inside your RV are disonnected, by=ut typically not the step or the entrance light. They are controlled by your switch at the entrance. because you may use the step or the entrance light while traveling and making occasional stops, as well as while in campsites and not hooked up. And, check your Coach battery and that it is fully charged.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      11 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Michael - Your Thermostat, lights and often the stereo all operate on your COACH batteries. Check if they are fully charged before you do anything else.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Jordan h 

      11 days ago

      Hello I just got a 2011 fourseeker And I can’t get hot water ... the stove works but nothing else gets home and where their should be a flame it won’t even light... can anyone help me??? Thanks

    • profile image

      Dennis 

      11 days ago

      I have a 2011 Montana 3150 fifth wheel. All electrical worked well until recently. The over head door light as well as the step light stayed on with switch off and then finally disconnected. Any idea what the problem would be?

    • profile image

      Michael Rader 

      12 days ago

      Don thank you for replying. Our AC power is not going off, only DC. Our residential refrigerator, out TV’s all stay on during the outages. Only logic stuff goes off like thermostat, lights, and stereo.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      12 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Michael - from your symptoms, I suspect that you may have an intermittent 110-VAC power source to your RV or inside it..

      Start at your campsite power box and make sure your external power cord is firmly connected at each end. If you have one, use a multimeter to measure the campsite voltage. Then, reset ALL of your breakers in your breaker panel, in case one is only partially kicked off.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Michael Rader 

      12 days ago

      Thank you for his page! Spent well over an hour going through all of your Q&As but can’t find an answer to my issue. Like others I’m having intermittent 12v power loss. Every once in awhile we lose all lights as the converter goes off for about 60 seconds then back on. I was certain it was the converter because my 2 batteries were only a year old (and filled with water). I replaced the converter with a brand new one and to my dismay we are still having the same issues. I then took both batteries to O’Reillys to have them tested and they both came back as good batteries. I went ahead and bought a third battery and hooked them up. Later that day we lost 12v power again. Very, very frustrating. When the converter resets I see a green LED on the panel turn off then blink on when power is auto-restored. What else could be the issue? Thank you!

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      12 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kurtis - Remember that you have a COACH battery in your camper that provides the power for all of your camper's lights, among other things.

      Always make sure your battery has water in it and is fully charged. This battery is kept charged by your camper's Converter which is in thrun powered by your camper's external power source.

      A Coach battery that is not fully charged is the leading cause of interior lights not operating.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kurtis 

      12 days ago

      I have a 2019 Forest River Stealth toy hauler and recently, my bedroom lights , one on a switch and one push button stopped working. I also notice my outside light by the hitch doesn't work either. All of the nonfunctioning lights are in the front of the trailer. Checked all switches, fuses, breakers which are all good. Swapped out a couple of the lights with ones that are working - not the lights. I'm thinking a wire nut or connection has vibrated loose. How should I approach troubleshooting this?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      CompleteNewbie - Yep, almost all motorhomes require that the Parking Brake be on before the slides will work.

      Have a Great day,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Complete Newbie - Welcome to the world of RV travel. First, on an older Rv, you must always keep the AUX batteries fully charged. They are kept charged by your RVs Converter and sometimes, it will be able to power some of your interior electrical devices. So, check that the battery(s) is not old (5 or more years) and that is has plenty of water(distilled) in it. SO, from your symptoms, I do suspect your AUX battery (s).

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      gblues45 - Your Fridge control circuit board is powered by your 12-VDC AUX battery. The other wire that you say powers your Awning and interior lights? Well, the interior lights are powered by the same 12-VDC battery in your RV. With a motorhome the awning would normally be powered by your Engine battery, but having a 5th wheel, it looks like they just spliced into the wire you mention to get to the AUX batteries.

      So, the first thing you do is check that fuse and see if it is what the Rv electrical system is designed for. If it is, then you should check that the awning isn't drawing too much current. BUT, if you are not qualified to get into current measurements, please stay away from this problem. remember, ELECTRICITY CAN KILL YOU. The design engineer would not have normally loaded up a fuse to right at the fuses limit, so I am guessing the awning motor is drawing too much current, or the they ties something else to the wire that feeds the awning???

      Goo Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      CompleteNewbie 

      2 weeks ago

      We're such idiots. Just read on a forum that we should make sure the parking brake is engaged because some models won't extend until the brake is on.

      Apparently ours is one of those models. Thanks again for the great article. I'm saving it for a resource in the future.

    • profile image

      CompleteNewbie 

      2 weeks ago

      First of all, Thank you Don for a very informative beginner article.

      My husband and I just purchased a 2001 Thor Four Winds 23J Class C motorhome and we're completely overwhelmed. Perhaps we're not made for all this!

      We took the RV to a repair shop for tires and to repair the traffic blinkers, but when we got it home after the repairs, the slide would not work. (Everything worked perfectly before.)

      The battery power switch is on, we've run the generator successfully and all the other electric works (AC, water pump, water heater), and we have checked the fuses which all look good.

      The only thing we have not done is to plug it into shore power. The battery reads at the highest level on the test level lights. Could the battery still be low charge?

      Also, there is no whirring or any sound at all when we push the extend button. Just nothing.

    • profile image

      gblues45 

      2 weeks ago

      I have a 2018 Grand Design 5th wheel. The fuse for the refrigerator, some lights and a small awning kept blowing. On the back of the Fridge are some junction boxes and connections. The original wiring has two wires that were connected to make a single wire and then connected into the 12v connections on the back of the fridge. I ran separate wires from the main fuse box in the rv to fridge and got the fridge working (both hot and neutral) However, the small awning and several lights still don't work. I tried connecting them into my temporary wire like the original wiring and the fuse blew again. I am thinking I have a short in some of the wiring for the awning and lights. I checked the awning motor and it works when connected directly to a 12 volt battery. How do I find a short in these wires that run willy nilly with different color wires? Any thoughts or advise would be appreciated.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ian - On most motorhomes, the entrance light switch is only for the ceiling light nearest the door. Considering you have no other problems, and that the light affected operates with its manual switch, I would go to my DC Fuse panel cnd check for a blown fuse.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Ian Couzens 

      2 weeks ago

      I have a 2006 tifften allegro bay and all the lights work from there swiches but not the swich as you enter the rv. tested the swich and the swich is good

      I have a black wire and a yellow wire.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Margie - Your camper should have a built-in battery that must be kept charged. It powers these lights and other interior electrical equipment that operates on 12-VDC. Also, make sure that the LED lamps you used are direct replacements for your old incandescent bulbs.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Richard, Typically on motorhomes, the exterior light over your entrance door is powered by your Engine (or Main ) battery. In trailers, it is powered by your COACH (or AUX) battery. Either way, if the switch is not functioning, check that it has 12-VDC voltage on each side of the switch.

      DON

    • profile image

      MARGIEJAZ 

      2 weeks ago

      We just acquired a 2002 kiwi 21c. The outside auxillary lights dont work. I replaced fuses, check breaker, replaced lights with led ones, checked wires and connections. And still not working. Can you advise?

    • profile image

      benjamin lamb 

      2 weeks ago

      RV house batteries are new and 13.5vdc. the input house dc power at the front fuse panel is 10.6vdc. what is causing this voltage drop?

    • profile image

      Richard Wolf 

      2 weeks ago

      Light switch which controls outside lights stays on as well as the lights outside. Will not turn off.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Good, but you could still have either loose connections or bad oxidation where the wires inside the RV are tied to the body, as I mentioned.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Rarejul - First of all, remember that your lights operate on your AUX battery(s) in yoyr camper, so make sure they have water in them and that they are fully charged. This is the most common cause of your problem.

      Next, you should check that your campsite power box is providing the proper power to your RV; 1- check that your external power cable is fully plugged in on both ends and 2- that the pins on the connectors are not oxidized and in need of cleaning.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Richard Tucker 

      2 weeks ago

      thanks,ill try that,the cord thats on it is the cord built into the rv that you pull out of the side of camper

    • profile image

      Rarejul 

      2 weeks ago

      Question, I took my 20013 fun finder out and plugged into shore power at campground. Turned on my light over the sink and realized I had a blown fuse. Replaced fuse and the lights work. Problem is that the fuse panel starts to light and I get dimming and fluctuation with the light on, or using the GFI outlet on this circuit. Any ideas where I should start looking.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Richard - As you know, a GFCI will kick if it detects any minor current leakage between the COMMON wires and GROUND.

      And, many older portable generators do not have a GFCI protected output.

      As to your camper trailer, it is wired with a solid ground to the chassis.

      The next thing to consider is that your cable from the RV to the generator may be too long because it could have some induced current between the common and ground wires that a new more sensitive GFCI could detect.

      TRy grounding your generator and purchasing a cable with larger wires in it to reduce any potential current losses from it

      Also, 1-disconect the RV and see if just having the cable connected works, then 2- turn OFF all of your AC-Viltage breakers, including the MAIN, and then try to run the gen with the RV connected.

      then 3-chek inside the RV, near the external power connector and examine where the GROUND and COMMON are connected to the chassis.

      Good Luck,

      'DON

    • profile image

      Richard Tucker 

      3 weeks ago

      i had my trailer running on ac at home with everything fine.took the trailer 4hrs to site,no electric on site.plugged rv to brand new briggs 6500 watt gen. and it instantly stapped gfi receptical on gen,tried over and over and it did it every time.i have run it on a different gen before with no prob.i dont ground the gen. but i never have,didnt know what might cause this.woudering if the was a short somewhere from travel

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Brenda - With a Lightning hit you never can tell just how much it was damaged without a thorough physical inspection of the interior wiring before you try anything.

      If it is new, you should contact the manufacturer and check what they tell you is how they recommend it be covered under their warranty. And you should also contct your insurance company about what they recommend.

      The problem for you is how potentially dangerous using it might be before it is used again without a professional going over it for you.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Brenda 

      3 weeks ago

      Our son's new 5th wheel with slide outs was indirectly hit by lightning on the ground near it.

      My question is will the be 5th wheel be repairable? Or are the electrical wires fried?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Gordon - You have a number of power modules in your RV for controlling different electrical equipment.

      You hae a breaker panel in your Rv that has breakers that turn ON/OFF 120-VAC to a number of electrical equipment in your RV.

      So, as to your Air units, they are controlled (on/off, temperature, etc.) by your temperature control panel, which is powered by your RV's 12-VDC battery(s)

      I recommend that you check this battery voltage and that it has water in it. The battery must be fully charged for a number of electrical equipment to function properly, so check that your Converter is functioning properly and has your batteries fully charged. This is the top problem for most RV's with interior electrical equipment. Of course, your AC units run on 220-VAC, but they are controlled by this panel that operates on 12-VDC.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Gordon Cachola 

      4 weeks ago

      I have a 2011 Montana with 2 AC units that have trip the brakers and not able to reset, I have a code that stated: loss of 120 VAC power to all power module boards on the system. Are these module boards within the AC units of is there an external power distribution penal for these units? One AC unit is factory install and the other was installed 6 years ago that is not controlled by the thermostat.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Robin - No Problem. I love helping my fellow Campers.

      Have a Great day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Robin 

      4 weeks ago

      Thank you.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ray - Let me first say that with your electric leveling jacks you should first check the fuse in your fuse panel that should have blown and protected your wiring.

      Each jack is essentially a sliding center rod that is driven up and down by your Jack control panel. One problem that occurs often is that the jack can become jammed. When this happens, the electric motor for each jack can draw too much current and thus possibly melt your wiring, if the fuse does not blow.

      I recommend that you take pictures of the wiring and contact the THOR customer service and demand that they fix this problem. If the fuse in the fuse holder is the proper value then the it would have blown and this would not have happened.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Rey 

      4 weeks ago

      We have a 2019 THOR Quantum that has two rear electrical stabilizing jacks. The Right side works, the Left doesnt. I looked at the wiring to the main header for the jacks and noticed one of the wiring connections (yellow wire) was burnt and melted the snap connect fitting. This is the reason behind the Left side not working I'm sure even though I'm not an electrician or claim to be one. Is this something that I should attempt to fix or should I take it to an RV shop and have them fix it as I'm wondering why it burnt out and is it a fire hazzard concern as the other wires and connection is looking like it too is starting to discolor the red wiring to the other wire fitting. Thanks and any advise is greatly appreciated. Rey in Colorado

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      francesca - your rv has a standard RV external power cord. And any external receptacle you use for power should be able to match the connection on that power cord. I suspect that your household 30-amp cord is not wired the same as is required for an RV, so you should get the wiring done properly at the house and with your cord. PS. a 100-foot cord would have a lot of current loss, unless it was wired with very large wire.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      francesca plotino-graves 

      4 weeks ago

      We have just had a dedicated 30 AMP receptacle added to our garage so we can use shore power when we are getting ready to go on a trip. We also bought the BEST we could find, 30 AMP extension cord @ 100 FT.

      We plugged this in for the first time today and we have no power. so we turned on inverter and now the Air conditioner (only thing we're running) keeps going on and off.

      We're newbies to this 2013 27N Vista Winnebago as well as the RV world.

      What are we missing or not doing correctly?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jack - Each of the lights you mention are powered by the engine electrical system.

      You should first check that the engine batery(s) is fully charged, and then go to your fuse panel under your hood. Check that all of th fuses are good and if they are, then you should get a multimeter and measure that you have voltage to the fuse panel and also out of each fuse.

      Cold you have a ground problem? well, in most rv's, just like in your automobile,each type of accessory is usually tied to the nearest ground point on the chassis.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      jack 

      4 weeks ago

      my headlights, dash lights and turn signals do not work on my 2002 Ambassador motorhome. I changed the headlight switch and now the dash lights work but my headlights and turn signals still do not work. I'm thinking it might be the ground wire? If so where would the ground wire be located for my Ambassador?

    • profile image

      Christopher 

      5 weeks ago

      2001 Aerolite Cub had the inverter system fail and no longer charged the battery -- purchased a replacement DC inverter/AC breaker assembly and carefully duplicated the wiring hookups from the original.

      In the old setup, the AC panel and the refrigerator were both hooked into the same breaker. Now, if the breaker is switched off, the AC panel works- lights turn on, etc- but the fridge doesn't work. If the breaker is switched on the fridge works, but the AC panel doesn't.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dave - You must hae your COACH batteries in your Rv and they must be kept fully charged. These batteries power such things as; your interior lights, your 2-Way Fridge control ciruit board, your alarms, your tenperature control panel, and your power management panel. The batteries are kept charged by your Converter and it is powered by your 110-VAC Rv power.

      Get those batteries operating properly and your problems will likely go away.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dave Hasler 

      5 weeks ago

      We recently purchased a 1996 Fleetwood Prowler. We had it plugged into our home, (No batteries are connected). Everything worked great for a few weeks, and now nothing EXCEPT the microwave runs. There IS power to breakers, and fuses. GFCI is not tripped. Any ideas?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Robin - boiling batteries is never a good thing, and fixing this should be your first priority.

      From your symptoms you mention that you recently changed your batteries. I suggest that you go back and check that you took care to check that you wired the batteries back EXACTLY like they were before. Not wiring the new batteries properly is a top problem for the uninitiated RV owner.

      Your RV has a Converter which is designed to keep your batteries charged, but NOT to apply so much voltage that a bettry would boil.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      robin talbot 

      6 weeks ago

      hi don ,have a 2008 astoria 38 feet 6.7liter engine , Electrical problem ,when connected on shore power rv power goes out intermitted ,blackout completely, indicates E5 OL on board inside rv ,batteries are new . Lost my marker lights outside too . noticed that batteries on inverter seem to be boiling is this normal thanks

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Stephen - When contractors rewire an RV for Solar Power, asn your symptoms indicate has been done to your RV, they do some custom wiring that I cannot see.

      But, speaking generally the number one problem with batteries is that Rv owners do not wire them back the same as they were when they change to new batteries. The number two problems is that people do not maintain their batteries and they become low on water.

      SO, I would recommend that you go back and make sure you have everything wired exactly as they were.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Stephen Leech 

      6 weeks ago

      I have a Challenger Mageo Rv 2.3. 2 leisure batteries in the back and a starter battery underneath the drivers seat. I recently renewed all 3 batteries but now the control panel will not register the starter battery only when electricity is hitched up.

      I have tried disconnecting and reconnecting all 3 batteries alternately, checked every fuse with a multi meter including the 2 bolted down 50 volt fuses and the 70 volt and also the 32 volt...all registering OK. I have tried every fuse on the control panel...all good and the fuses that the mechanics added for the 2 solar panels on the roof.

      There is no reset button on the control panel but everything else is working fine including registering the leisure batteries, water pump etc and as I said the starter battery when hitched up to electricity.

      Im at my wits end with this one

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Roger - As you know your Fleetwood motorhome has either;

      1-two 6-VDC batteries for the engine, and two 6-VDC batteries for the COACH compartment electronics.

      Or, 2- it has two 12-VDC batteries for each function.

      Of course, the wiring would be different in the battery compartment depending or which battery type was used.

      But as I think about your symptoms, I cannot imagine a way you could have wired the batteries into the RV that would cause the ignition to stay on (ie. engaged starter), unless the ignition switch was "fried" or the ignition solenoid is stuck ON.

      I would disconnect the wires from the solenoid and see if the solenoid "drops out".

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Roger Pletan 

      6 weeks ago

      I recently purchased a 1999 Fleetwood RV. The engine batteries were low so I took them out and charged them up. I made an error in reinstalling them. I have now got everything working except the ignition stays on without the key on. Can you help.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kyle - Your COACH batteries power a number of 12-VDC items in your camper, and they are kept charged by your Converter.

      If you do not keep good fully charged batteries in your Rv then things will have to run on the Converter alone. Your problem will be that your Converter is not designed to run all of your 12-VDC appliances, so you will have times when certain equipment will not operate.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kyle 

      7 weeks ago

      Both of my batteries are bad in my camper but i am plugged into the house where i am staying. Am i hurting anything by not having batteries or is it ok to run my camper this way?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Sherri - Check those battery connections again.

      Your COACH batteries are kept charged by your CONVERTER, which in turn operates on your 110-VAC. From your symptoms, you may not have your batteries connected properly and are operating on your Converter when your Rv is plugged into external power.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Sherri 

      7 weeks ago

      We have a 2018 Thor chateau. We took it out of storage and connected the 2 batteries and we have no power. The main switch does not have any lights. Checked batteries and both have over 12 volts. Checked the 2 40 amp fuses and both are fine. However, we have power when we plug it into the house. Help?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ginny - Did you install the new AC or did the dealer? Your symptoms state that the old AC worked but was no longer cooling. So, I would suspect the installation.

      Go back and check that all of the wiring was done properly. The thermostat wiring to the AC should be the same as with the Zone-1 AC unit, so you can use it as a guide, but BE CAREFUL! If you get into the AC unit there is AC-VOLTAGE in the unit and you could be hurt, or worse.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Ginny Upton 

      7 weeks ago

      We purchased a new heat pump for zone 2. The old wasn't cooling. We could set temp etc and actually could use zone 2. Now, after installing new, we have no zone 2. We have 12 volts when the power is off at the thermostat but 6 when it's on. Thermostat doesn't recognize zone 2. 2007 Coachman Sportscoach. Duo Therm Heat pump changed to Penguin Heat pump.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      8 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Pat - This often raises red flags for me because so many people make their own external power cables and adapters and quite often, they do not wire them properly for an RV. But you said that everything worked normally for you for quite a while, so I would discount this as being your problem.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      8 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Pat - The first thing you need to keep in mind about your RV is the fact that you have a number of appliances, lights, alarms and other devices that operate on your 12-VDC COACH batteries. So, you need to keep it (them?) in good condition, full of distilled water and fully charged.

      If you have a multimeter then you should check the voltge directly across the terminals of the COACH battery. Typically, if you read around 14.5-VDC then your Converter is running and trying to charge the battery, If you read around 13.5-VDC then the battery is fully charged, and if you read around 12.5-VDC the battery is not fully charged and the converter is not charging it.

      Your Converter runs on your 110-VAC so it could be your problem if the battery voltage is low.

      These were the easy things to check that are the more common problems, now to your breaker.

      If you have a breaker that will not reset, then you either have a bad breaker, or you have something on that circuit that is drawing lot of current.

      Your Fridge is called a 2way Fridge and it will operate on either 110-VAC or Propane, and it has a control panel that operates on your 12-VDC. So check if it will switch over to propane, and if not then you may have a battery voltage problem. If it does operate on propane then the 110-VAC is most likely missing.

      Your Tank Level display also operates on 12-VDC which indicate th battery or Converter?

      GFCI receptacles are commonly found in your bathroom and kitchen areas because these areas are where you may get shocked by touching metal appliances with electrical problems. Your bedroom and living area receptacles are typically just regular receptacles.

      With all of this being said, I ope you can deduce what your real problem is.

      From your symptoms, I would unplug everything that is plugged into all of your receptacles and see if the breaker resets. If not then you may have a bad breaker that needs replafing.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      8 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Larry - Before you go any further, make sure your RV's COACH battery is fully charged because your temperature control panel is powered by your 12-VDC. If your battery is not fully charged then the thermostat can do some strange things.

      You may want to read my article on HubPages "How to Service Your RV Furnace" and go through the steps to see what might be bad.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Pat Smith 

      8 weeks ago

      I need to add my motorhome is plugged into a dedicated RV 50 amp, complete hookups here at the house. Thanks again.

    • profile image

      Pat Smith 

      8 weeks ago

      Hi Don, Don't laugh at me but I am an older gal that just bought a beautiful 2002 Fleetwood Discovery 37U and I don't know a lot or even the correct words to ask my question but here goes. Everything worked perfectly fine until today. My refrigerator does not work and the front panel at the entry where it tells me water levels, tank levels won't light up. I have a GFI receptacle in the bathroom and another in the bedroom. The one in the bathroom is fine and not tripped. The one in the bedroom does not work and I can't reset it, it is just dead and nothing works if plugged into it. I checked the breaker box and I have a double switch and one side is 20 amp and the other side 15 amp. All the breakers are on except that 15 amp and I can't reset it. I tried to move it and it wont go into place at all. So, I am assuming it is responsible for the refrigerator, the display panel and the GFI receptacle in the bedroom since all of these worked yesterday just fine. I can't check the LP for the refrigerator since it is electric ignition and I am sure hoping for an easy fix. I read all the posts and batteries are good, no reset on GFI in bath needed and the one in the bedroom does not work. It did not actually trip but the reset buttons won't test at all and I confirmed it is not operational by plugging an item into it. Tell me what to do ( with a big smile on my face) Since the display panel in the front of the coach is not working along with the refrigerator, I am hoping maybe changing the breaker with a new one might be it. I will await your genius!

    • profile image

      Larry 

      8 weeks ago

      I have a 2008 Keystone Cougar. Unfortunately, while it was parked for the winter last year, mice got in. Everything is fine except of course the smell and now my furnance will not turn on. I removed it and had a dealership check and there are no issues with it. We thought it might be the the thermostat and I purchased a new one and put it in. Still does not work.

      I'm thinking that the mice might have eaten a wire between the thermostat and the furnance. I know there are two blue wires on the furnance and if you connect them together the unit will start and light. Thus I'm assuming these two blue wires run to the the thermo stat. Is this correct? If I run 2 new wires from the heater to the thermostat where do aI connect them in the thermostat? My thermostat is a Duo-Therm by Dometic.

      Any help you can give me would be appreciated.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jose - Most RV slides can be "hand cranked". The manufacturers have a "bolt-head" on the end of the shaft that you can use to crank the slide out, using a wrench or power drill.

      But, you have to crawl under the slide and find the bolthead.

      One other thing though; your rv hould have a "Cut-Off" switch that you can use to turn OFF the power to the an RV when you put it in storage. Make sure this switch is in the right position so that your slide and other DC-Voltage powered devices have power to them.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Jose 

      2 months ago

      I have a leyton 1994 rv model 3611. Yesterday i tried to extend the slide but nothing happen when i press the switch. Battery is charged but nothing. Fuses are ok. Someone told i can crank it manually. Where supposed to be this part to do it. Is a reset button? Where? Where is the motor?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      William - Actually this happens quite often with RVs after they get older.

      Most likely you have a ground wire at your external power receptacle and inside the RV that has either developed a buildup of corrosion or has oxidized.

      Most Rv owners will clean the wire contact area and the bolt on the chassis to eliminate this "current leakage".

      Just make sure your external power cable is unplugged while you do this, and make sure you securely tighten the nut on the connection after you clean everything.

      Have a Great day,

      DON,

    • profile image

      William Patterson 

      2 months ago

      I have a 2005 four winds on a chevy express 3500 chassis. When working under the chassis and the rig is plugged into shore power I get a tingle feeling as if there is electricity running between the chassis through me to ground. I unplugged the shore power and it stops.

      Where do I start to find the problem?

      I understand electricity and have a multi-meter to test with.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dwan - Your 2-way Fridge operates on either 110-VAC or Propane, but a lot of people don't realize that the Control Circuit board on the bck of the Fridge operates on your 12-VDC from your COACH batteries.

      So, your Coach batteries are kept charged by your Converter which is in turned powered by your 110-VAC, from either your external power source or our generator.

      What you call the "Kill Switch" is actually a shutoff switch for your COACH battery when you put your RV in storage.

      Your symptoms indicate that your COCH batteries are not fully charged, so check the water level and that it is being charged properly by your Converter.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ray - Your 2-way Frige actually operates on either 110-VAC or on Propane. What a lot of people do not realize is that the Control Circuit board on the back of the fridge actually operates on your 12-VDC from your COACH (House) battery.

      Your Converter operates on your exterior 110-VAC and it keeps your COACH battery charged when your RV is plugged into external 110-VAC power.

      And, your Converter is not designed to handle your RV's full load of 12-VDC devices, only to keep your COACH battery charged, when plugged up, and with a full charge these COACH batterie should handle everything for several days of normal travel and use.

      Your Engine battery, by the way is part of the "Truck's" electrical system and not the Coach equipment.

      From your symptoms, your Fridge not working when you plug into external 110-VAC would indicate that your COACH battery is not fully charged so check it for adequate water levels, and that it is taking a charge.

      Your Ignition switch should have NO effect on the Converter.

      Motorhomes do have a switch that is labeled AUX, and when it is pressed, the COACH battery is connected in parallel to the Engine battery if it does not have enough juice to start your engine.

      Realizing all of this, you should then re-evaluate what is and isn't functioning properly again.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dwan 

      3 months ago

      Hi! I have a 93 coachman class a rear diesel pusher I just bought and the frig won’t run unless I have the generator on. I replaced the kill switch next to the door and cleaned some very oxidated wires next to the transfer switch but I still can’t get it to run on propane. I can do mechanics but electrical terrifies me and I’m a loner female with no money. Thanks for your help!

    • profile image

      Ray 

      3 months ago

      Hi Don. I really appreciate the fact that you are so willing to help others, like you do.

      I have an old 1983 Lindy Class C RV on a Chevy van that has an electrical problem: When I plug the RV into 110VAC from our home, the lights in the RV come on and everything in the interior of the RV work fine...except the fridge.

      I discovered that the voltage converter (an old B-W 3230-UL model) doesn't show any output from the battery charging circuit (which also seems to supply the fridge), if plugged into the house with the ignition switch off. So my immediate suspicion was that the converter was bad; however, if you turn the ignition switch on, everything works fine, including the fridge.

      To repeat, the output from the converter that supplies the interior circuit (lights, etc.) works fine, no matter if the ignition switch is on or off, so that part seems ok.

      Here is what I have since found, using my VOM:

      1. I know there is an overload protector real close to the battery, so I checked it (it's good).

      2. Under the hood, there is a button labeled 'Auxiliary Battery, Press to Reset' so I checked it for continuity and voltage on both sides (good), and in series with that, there is a fused relay that I suspect is an ignition relay of some sort (the fuse is good). When I switch the ignition on & off, it activates with a loud 'click,' and there is 12 VDC on both sides (good).

      Obviously, there must be a wire from the ignition, somewhere, although I don't know which one it is or where it goes. However, it must be okay, if things work when the ignition is turned on, right?

      So that's where I'm at. I first discovered the problem when I went out to see if the fridge was working after sitting all winter, only to discover that the house battery was dead and the fridge wouldn't fire up.

      According to the fridge manual, the fridge requires a fully charged house battery to work, even if it is being used on 110VAC. So, I then thought that simply charging the house battery would cure the problem; however, after bringing it up to full charge, the fridge still wouldn't come on, unless, as stated, the ignition is turned on.

      Any ideas? I realize that there are probably many different wiring configurations for all of the years, makes, and models of RV's, and I don't have a wiring diagram for this old beast, so I know it's a long shot to think that you could, hopefully, be able to figure it out, but, at this point, I'm out of ideas as to what to do, so you're my only hope.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Frazer - If your COACH batteries are fully charged but none of your 12-VDC electrical equipment is working (ie. Interior Lights) then you may not have your Power Control Switches turned ON. These switches disconnect your 12-VDC batteries (AUX) and your 12-V-Engine battery (MAIN) when you are not using your RV, such as when in storage so that the batteries do not discharge quickly.

      These switches are often located over or near the entrance door and they actually operate a pair of relays that switch the higher current lines.

      BTW, if the engine doesn't crank, then you should check the battery under the hood that is for the engine and make sure it is also charged. Remember the MAIn switch controls the power to the engine and the AUX switch controls the power to the interior equipment.

      I hope this helps!

      Have a Great day,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Doozy - Yes, Your CONVERTER operates on your RV's 110-VAC power. It "converts" this to 12-VDC for keeping your COACH batteries fully charged. When you pull out, you do not have 110-VAC in your RV unless you have a built-in Generator that you can run when you are camping in the wild or are on the road.

      Have a Good day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Frazer 

      3 months ago

      Great article Don- I have a 2003 Fleetwood Southwind 32v (30amp service) I am able to get the 12 volt system (lights etc) to work when i'm connected to shore power but wont work when unplugged. My batteries are nearly new and have 13.4 volts when tested, I have changed out the power converter and checked this is sending power to the batteries. I have also checked all the 12 volt fuses and main breakers and found nothing wrong with them- I cant even start the generator (the motorhome "salemen" switches are also turned on)- any advice or guidance would be very helpful- many thanks!!

    • profile image

      Doozy 

      3 months ago

      Does Power converter have to have 110 voltage at start engine startup Also where does converter get It’s in the shop hour to start

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ric - You didn't give much information about what kind of RV we are talking about, but with newer RVs there are built-in computers that monitor that everything is functioning properly.

      This Error implies that you possibly have a connector that is loose and the system is not operating properly. I would check under the dash for cables that look like they may not be fully plugged together. Often, these connectors can vibrate loose when you are traveling and might need to be reconnected.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Ric 

      3 months ago

      I have a message on my control panel saying com fault check wiring ( HELP )

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kris - If your camper is a motorhome then our Exterior lights; signals, brakes, etcetera are powered by your engine battery, and if you have a travel trailer then they are powered by your towing vehicle, via your tow cable that you connect between the two,

      So, you should make sure your cable is fully plugged in at both ends. Also, your lines are fused inside the travel trailer, so check them.

      From your symptoms, I would suggest that you make sure you have good ground connections at both ends of your tow cable.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kris 

      3 months ago

      My camper is getting power to the outside lights but none of them work. The running lights, indicators and brake lights? I tested power coming to them but when I put bulbs in....nothing

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      David Ayers - Often these fold up beds have a contact switch that opens the power line to the mechanisms motor when the bed is fully down or up. These depend on the proper alignment of the bed to the switch, so you should check this.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      david ayres 

      5 months ago

      the motor that operates the rear bed in my toy hauler will not shut off

      how do i fix

      thank you

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      David Boci - Your RV's interior lights operate off of your 12-VDC COACH battery(s). If they are the older incandescent bulbs, then they will just im down as our battery voltage gets low.

      BUT, If they are LED then they will operate down to a certain voltage and then they go OFF, there's no dimming with LED bulbs.

      And often, the bathroom lights are at the end of your light wiring harness and the voltage to these could be just a little lower voltage at these sockets. that those closer to your battery source. Maybe!

      So, I sugest that you check that your COACH battery is fully charged first, then maybe the light bulb type?

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      David Boci 

      6 months ago

      The lights in my fithwheel RV bathroom stopped working yesterday. Everything else works fine. I have checked the circuit breakers and fuses everything is fine. Is there any way I can troubleshoot this problem?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jeanine - First, your stove ignitors are electrostatic and require no power. So, you should get spark, if you look closely you should see it.

      As to your Furnace, you should check two things. 1- Do you have Propane in your tank, and is it turned ON? 2- If you can smell propane when you open the control for a burner on your stove then turn it OFF and check that your COACH battery is fully charged. It power your Temperature Control panle as well as a number of other devices in your RV, but if the charge on the battery is LOW then your thermostat may not work properly.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Jeanine 

      6 months ago

      The gas stove top electric ignitors and the gas furnace are not working

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Tom Schmidt - Before yu go into anything else, check your COACH (or house) battery. It must be fully charged to power those slides, so check the water level in the battery, and then check that it is fully charged by your Converter.

      A low battery is the most common problem for slides not operating properly, so once you are confident that your battery is fully charged and if the slides are still not operating properly, with some RVs you can swap the control modules between slides. I would recommend this if the other slide is operating properly.

      That click sound is usually the switch applying power to a solenoid that actually applies the higher current needed to move that heavy slide.

      So, from your symptoms, and after confirming that your motor does operate properly and moves the slide, i go back to the battery being your most likely problem.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Tom Schmidt 

      6 months ago

      I have an Alpenlite Ridgewood 30RK. The Main slide quite working after deploying about 2 feet. Reversing the lever on the slide motor allowed me to disengage so I could manually retract the slide. After testing the motor from my battery directly, the motor works and is not the problem. Toggling the slide switch in the unit, I get a faint click sound behind the wall or probably in the storage area directly behind and below. What is the clicking telling me? How do I resolve the issue?

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