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

  • I had a propane refrigerator in my RV catch on fire, and it did a lot of electrical damage to the bunch of wires located in the refrigerator area. I removed the appliance, and now I can't find the origin or the destination of about fourteen wires. They are mostly 100-volt, with some 12-volts. What do I do?

    Your fridge only has two electrical connections that are not a part of the fridge itself; 110-VAC and 12-VDC.

    All of the other wires are part of the fridge itself.

    I wouldn't try to fix the fridge. If the electrical fire was bad enough to melt the wiring, you probably also have a bad control circuit board which will cost you at least $150 to $200 for the replacement part.

    Also, if you had a propane fire, then the propane "stack" will probably be damaged, and the replacement part cost for this is usually around $800.

    These costs alone are high enough to justify a replacement Fridge.

    But, here's a long shot for you if you insist on trying to repair the fridge yourself; contact the fridge manufacturer and see if they have an electrical diagram of the wiring and maybe that will help you figure out the wiring. You see, most people never need this level of technical information to get their Fridge working.

  • I have a 2018 Forest River KQBTS with no electrical issues as of last year when I bought it. I kept it stored outside and covered during the winter. This year, only the battery works. At first, the microwave clock came on, but then that stopped too. There are no fuse or breaker issues that I can find. Do you have any ideas?

    First of all, if your microwave clock worked, then you must be plugged into 110-VAC?

    So, check that your RV battery has water in it. Then measure the voltage across the battery terminals. It should be around 13.5 VDC if it is fully charged, or around 14.5 VDC if it is not charged, but the RV charger is running.

    Once you have confirmed the battery system is operating OK, then you can check out your AC-Voltage problem.

    I assume you have a 30-Amp service and that you are using a standard RV external power cord. It is important that you use a standard RV power cord and that you have it plugged into a standard 30-Amp power source like what you see in a campsite.

    If you are using some kind of home extension cord and adapter, there can be problems with ground lines, and even the power lines you use. There are standard 30-Amp to 15-Amp adapters available on the web and at Rv parts stores. NEVER use an adapter that does not have the ground pin on it.

  • I have a 1993 Coronado that has 2 switches inside, one to turn the 12-volt power and one for the aux batteries. I can’t get any power going to the dashboard or ignition. I changed the switches still nothing. What should I check to fix the electrical problem with my RV?

    The two switches are actually CUT-OFF switches for disconnecting your COACH (or AUX) and CHASSIS (or MAIN) power from the RV equipment so that the batteries are not drained while the RV is in Storage.

    These switches actually control two high-current solenoids near the batteries which actually do the power switching.

    But, they operate on your 12-VDC power (COACH batteries).

    So, you need these batteries to be in good condition and fully charged.

    You should check the voltage on the COACH batteries, right across the terminals and make sure they are in good condition, they are full of water, and the Converter is keeping them charged.

  • My coach is a 40 ft 2005 Monaco Camelot. I have an EMS Model 760 (00-00894-200). The display does not work sometimes. I have checked the voltage to the display board and it reads 12 volts. I have reset the EMS board at the breaker box. When I turn on the bedroom lights the display works and when I turn a couple of lights in the front room and kitchen the display works. I have also checked the EMS board J5 pins and everything looks good. Would I check for a short in the DC current?

    OK, That EMS board is kind of old especially if it is original equipment. With your description of there being an intermittent operation, I would first look for loose or oxidized wires at the connections.

    Also, always make sure your coach batteries are good and fully charged, as well as that they have water in them. Remember, your 12-VDC at the batteries should be around 14-5 VDC when they are charging, and around 13.5 VDC when they are fully charged, IF they are only at 12.0 to 12.5 VDC then many of your interior circuit boards will not work properly.

    As a side note, you might consider using an external Surge Protector of you can't get your built-in to work properly.

Comments

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    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      11 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Larry - I assume that you mean your COACH batteries because you used the plural.

      As to the location of the main fuse from these batteries, different Rv manufacturers place it in different locations.

      But, on the other hand, because the wires are so large this fuse is usually near the batteries.

      I would also check the large fuses (30-amp each) on your internal 12-VDC fuse panel to make sure one or both of them hasn't blown.

      Also, check your CONVERTER to make sure it doesn't have a blown fuse or "kicked out" breaker on it, considering that it is connected to these batteries and keeps them charged.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Larry Bassham 

      12 days ago

      Have a 2005 Winnebago Vectra. While installing new chasis batteries my wrench hit the frame and sparked. It blew a fuze someware. Where is the main isolation fuze on this coach and how do I reset it. Larry

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      13 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      In a motorhome, you have a CONVERTER which operates on the 110-VAC and charges your COACH batteries.

      If this is not working and the switch you mention is the one on the CONVERTER then you may have a BAD Converter.

      Use a multimeter and check if your COACH battery is shorted by measuring the DC Voltage across the terminals of the battery.

      The most likely problem is a shorted battery.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Calvin Poole 

      2 weeks ago

      I have lost the 12 volts power on my 2015 Jayco Precept, the batteries if fully charger, look like the contractor that supplies power to the 12 volt system is not closing when I push the switch.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kristine - First of all, your 12-VDC cigarette lighter receptacles (called 12-VDC charging plugs now) are powered by your engine battery.

      So if you found and checked the fuse for these receptacles and it was OK, then your problem must be either the receptacle itself or the wire from it to the fuse panel.

      See if you can trace this wire and look for loose connectors or a mashed or broken wire.

      I would go back and make sure that the fuse you checked is the right one???

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kristine 

      4 weeks ago

      Both of my cigarette lighter recepticals on my dash went out on my last trip. I was driving, had my tire monitor in one and a cellphone in the other. This is the first time I have had this issue. I have a 2012 Ford Fleetwood Terra. The panel lights and the radio are working fine. I checked the fuse and it seems fine (not split when I viewed it). I'm not sue what the issue can be. Would it be common that both recepticals need to be replaced at the same time? I have googled it, watched YouTube videos and can't figure out what to check next. If anyone has advice I would love the help. I already purchased a one new receptical but it doesn't arrive for a couple days.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kirsteinem - Your microwave operates on 110-VAC from your AC Power panel, while your lights operate on 120VDC from your COACH battery.

      With this being the case, I would check my AC Power panel for a breaker that has "kicked out". If all Breakers are OK, I would then go to my campsite power box and check if the breakers in it are OK.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      kirsteinm 

      4 weeks ago

      our convention oven-microwave and EMS panel dont work.all lights work

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Hartley - You r symptom of only having half of the power on your transfer switch indicates that you have a problem at your campsite power panel.

      First, check the panel for a kicked breaker. Next use a multimeter and check that you have both sides of the power at the connector that you plug your power cable into. If it's OK there, then you should suspect your exterior power cable itself or it's connectors.

      Have a nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      HARTLEY JONES 

      4 weeks ago

      i have a 2002 damon ultrasport lost power to one side of 30 amp breaker for transfer switch

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Lisa - Check your COACH battery in your RV. Many people ignore it until it goes bad. Check the water and that it is taking and holding a charge. This 12-VDC battery powers a number of things in your RV including lights and your power control panel, your temperature control panel, and your 2-way Fridge circuit board.

      Have a Great Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lisa Kline 

      4 weeks ago

      I have a 2001 Gulf Stream Innsbruck camper the only thing works is the microwave the outlets and 3 push button lights what could be the problem.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Mike - The first thing you should do is go through the recommended cleaning process for your propane furnace, especially the jet orifice and the the pilot. You can find Youtube videos on how to do this service.

      Then, you need to make sure your COACH battery is good and is holding a charge because the furnace control board and the camper temperature control panel and your 2-way Fridge control board all operate on the 12-VDC supplied by the COACH battery, which in turn is kept charged by your Converter which operates on your 110-VAC.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Mike 

      5 weeks ago

      I bought a Cobra Sanpiper. 91" the heater didnt work. Came to conclusiun the circuit board was shot. Just happened i found a few in the cabinet. Actually 2 plus a used blower motor. So obviously its been a on going problem. Changed the circuit board. And sure enough had heat. But it only lasted about 20 minutes. Once i packed tools up felt it again and no heat. Time for a new furnace? Or is it some kind of ground thing.?? Apreciate your feed back.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Barry O - Your GFCI receptacle detects slight current leaks between the COMMON and GROUND wires of the circuit plugged into them.

      It seems your circuit is on that borderline where it could be enough to trip the GFCI or not.

      One thing you can check is possible oxidation on your power cord contacts. This could possible cause some slight current loss.

      Another thing is that some of these GFCI relays will "age" and not be as efficient as they once were, and you cold change your house GFCI master receptacle.

      Try these things first.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Barry O 

      5 weeks ago

      Hi Don, when I plug the RV into the 115v GRCI receptacle on the house and it keeps tripping, but not always right away. I have used this for 5 years and started only acting up this summer. None of the breakers in the RV trip. I can plug in and turn on just the Main and then one more on it its fine.

      Then slowly turn all on one at a time could be fine for a while or not and the GRCI at the house trips , any ideas please. when I plug in the 30amp plug to the garage outlet no problem. thank you Barry

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      DUSTY - Your GFCI main receptacle has several "slave" receptacles that operate in the main receptacles reset switch.

      When it "kicks off" that means there is a current leak between the COMMON wire line and the GROUND WIRE line to the main receptacle.

      This current leakage can be very slight and still kick the switch.

      So, normally I would tell you to unplug anything plugged into all of the GFCI receptacles to find which one is the cause of your problem.

      If nothing is plugged into your GFCI receptcles then your problem must be the main GFCI receptacle.

      Because your camper is a brand new one, you should get the dealer to fix this for you.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dusty 

      6 weeks ago

      I have a brand new 2019 Rockford travel trailer.

      I am plugged into shore power and the indicator light shows that I am receiving power but I recently tripped the GFCI outlet and it still will not reset.

      I have unplugged every appliance and there are no tripped circuits are breakers.

      I’m pretty new to the travel trailer scene and I am currently living in this trailer following work so I really need this to work.

      as far as the shore power my mother and stepdad had their RV parked their plugged into the same outlet on our family property and never had any issues so I’m confused as to why I am having this issue.

      Thanks

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Edward E - Did you have a Surge Protector inline with your power cord? If not, you could have had damage to your camper's electrical system.

      So, reset all of your AC-Voltage breakers first and hope everything starts to work properly.

      If that doesn't do it, make sure the external power cable isn't damaged. Look for burned wires and carbon buildup on the cable contacts. Once you are confident that the cabling is OK then you can concentrate on your AC-Voltage breakers and turn them ON one by one then check if what they control power for will operate.

      You should make sure your CONVERTER is operating and charging your COACH battery, because without a fully charged 120VDC battery a number of your control panels and other devices may not operate.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Edward E 

      6 weeks ago

      Hi,

      I have a 2002 Hymer and recently the power supply from the camperpark tripped the main breaker. I have reset the breaker, checked the external power cables are drawing power and checked the wiring for visible faults, all fine. The campground power supply is fine. I still have no power in the camper except for the 12volt. Could the fuses in the breaker have blown? Any ideas?

      Thank you!

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Stacey - With this kind of incident, you just have to take things one step at a time.

      You mentioned that you replaced your COACH battery, but did you check out your CONVERTER which runs on your internal 110-VAC and keeps your COACH battery charged. Here are a few things for you to consider;

      1- you say that everything; interior lights, appliances, etcetera works when you are on Shore power? Well, this means your interior power systems are working good on Shore power. This is a good thing!

      2- Your Rv has several interior receptacles which are GFCI (Ground Fault) and operate off of one main receptacle that has a RESET and TEST button. You should make sure it has not "Kicked" Off.

      3- I think you're saying you cannot start your generator??? That's another issue to fix. You should understand that your generator starts with the 12-VDC from your COACH battery that you said you replaced. If the 12-VDC from this battery is not high enough, your generator will not start properly, and your Air Cond. units will not work properly, nor your 2-way fridge or interior lights.

      This confuses some people because even with a weak battery, the converter will often provide enough power for some of these items, but it will not have enough to start your generator.

      Just take a deep breath and dive in, is the best advice I can give you. Keep me posted.

      DON

    • profile image

      Stacey 

      7 weeks ago

      We have a 1998 Jayco Designer motorhome. We were caught in a flood on our last trip and since then it seems that we get little to no power unless we are plugged in to a campground or to our home.

      When we got caught in these high waters we had to find a place to stop as all at once we lost power steering, power brakes and our engine light came on as we were overheating. (Not a banner journey...)

      The power steering and power brakes recovered... the engine light is still on. (I realize I am probably dealing with more than one issue... but I want to give you all the facts)

      Since that event, my interior lights, appliances, etc... only work while plugged in.

      I took my coach battery to be tested - it had a bad interior cell - so I purchased and installed a new battery. This was not the miracle cure. I flipped all the breakers in the inverter box and replaced the fuses in the 12 v fuse box on the exterior.

      I am an engineering mental midget - make no mistake - but I was hoping you may be able to point me in the right direction. Even if that direction is straight to the trained professionals...

      I should probably add that I read a lot of your suggestions and you have mentioned “reset” buttons repeatedly. I have no idea where to locate one. I have looked in the most obvious places... nada, zip.

      Also - due to some sort of power problem the mechanic had rewired my “power” button inside. I do believe I am constantly powered on from a battery in the chassis.

      I am trying to avoid costly repairs because this RV (affectionately referred to as “Charlotte”) is old and has very little time left.

      Any suggestions?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Lori - I'm so glad you found your problem. And I'm so glad you told me about this problem specific to these Chinook models.

      Your response mens I can maybe help someone else if they run into this same problem.

      Have a Great Day,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Diana - I assume you are plugged into your Shore Power at a campsite somewhere? You didn't say.

      Your symptoms are very cryptic but I assume everything else works OK?

      If so then with ONLY your receptacles not working, I would check my GFCO master receptacle (usually in your bathroom) and reset it to se if this is your problem.

      Then, just so you know, your Southwind typically uses fuses for 12-VDC distribution and you should have a breaker box that includes your MAIN 110-VAC breaker and several others, at least one of which should be for your 110-VAC receptacles. Make sure these breakers are not "kicked" out.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lori 

      7 weeks ago

      Hi Don,

      Just wanted to update you on my issue from 3 weeks ago on my 2003 Chinook Glacier 2500 where some of the overhead lights would randomly turn off and on.

      Turns out there are two 12V-DC fuse boxes. One over the couch and one over the table.

      The one over the table has a short in it somewhere. I found that when the lights go out, I can push on the wall around the fuses and they will come back on.

      Seems this is an issue with this model Chinook.

      Hope to dig into it to see where the loose wiring is in the next few weeks.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Well, I suspect the receptacles in this old classic camper is a low=profile one, due to the thin outer walls of the camper.

      Of course, you replace the receptacle with NO POWER applied to your Camper. Then you pull the receptacle )remove the cover screws and the 2 mounting screws. Then you should take the old receptacle to your local electrical supply store and see if they have a matching replacement.

      If they do have a direct replacement then you just take it to your camper and install the new one.

      BUT, if the receptacle is a unique design that has no standard replacement then you may need to contact one of the used camper parts stores on the web for a replacement. These places are costly, so I hope yours is a standard design.\Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Bobby fox 

      8 weeks ago

      How do I replace a electric outlet on a 1977 free spirit camper

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Aaron - Actually, most RV generators run best with at least a 25% load.

      And, by the way, your camper uses that 12-VDC from the battery for your; interior lights, alarms, Temperature control panel and 2-way Fridge control panel; so it must be kept charged. Your camper has a Converter that keeps the battery charged and it runs on 110-VAC from either your exterior power or your generator power.

      In fact, the Power Control panel in your camper operates on 12-VDC to sense which is running, normally your exterior power is ON and if you turn ON your generator, this is sensed by the power control panel and it switches the camper's 110-VAC system over to your generator.

      So, make sure that battery is good and is taking a charge. I suspect this will get your power system back to functioning properly.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Aaron 

      2 months ago

      I purchased a 2016 coachmen clipper and a champion 3500 dual fuel generator. After 30 hrs of normal use the generator will now stall under any load when hooked up to my camper. Yes everything is off before presenting a load. When taken in for repair the tech says the generator is fine. The battery on the camper will not hold a charge but I thought nothing of it as I don’t plan on using it. Any thoughts about where to start looking for issues? Any ideas greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Lori - Your Fridge is a 2-way design that can run on 110-VAC or Propane.

      but, the control circuit board operates on your 12-VDC camper (COACH) battery. Your symptoms imply that your battery is low and not fully charged.

      So, check the battery for water and that it is being charged by our camper's built-in Converter.

      Many people do not monitor their camper's battery until there's a problem, and this is one of the most common causes of a 2-way Fridge not operating properly.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lori 

      2 months ago

      I purchased a 2019 Grand Design Imagine and the fridge keeps turning off. I have to take the fuse out and Put it back in for it to turn on, but only stays on for about 5 minutes. What couldn't the problem be?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Nancy - As your AC units age, they tend to draw higher currents when the Compressor cycles. You mention that it's very hot so both of them are probably working very hard and cycling often.

      And because you say it's the MAIN breaker that's kicking out and not the AC Breakers I suspect your overall current load might be right at your 50-AMP input's limit;

      So, try implementing some power saving tricks such as;

      1- set your thermostat a couple of degrees higher so the AC unit will cycle less often.

      2- unplug unnecessary appliances and only plug them in when you use them.

      3- Close the shades on the Sunny side of your RV.

      4- Open your roof vents when you are cooking to get rid of that excess heat.

      5- You have a 2-zone Heating/Cooling system in your Journey, so if you spend most of your time during the day in the living area, then set the bedroom zone temperature to a couple of degrees above what you have the Living Area Zone set at.

      The options are numerous for saving energy; Cook outside more, Cook dishes that are large enough for several meals. Run Washer/Dryer at night. etc.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Nancy 

      2 months ago

      So our Main breaker in our 2004 Winnebago Journey Motorhome keeps switching off on us which include our AC. We are in Southern Texas and it is HOT and humid. Sometimes it stays on for 48 hrs. and other times it is on for only 15 mins. R

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      James - Your Main Battery switch controls the power from your engine battery to certain accessories like; your power steps, your power awning, your porch light and a few other things.

      Your Aux switch controls the power to most of your internal coach 12-Volt accessories, such as; your alarms, your interior lights, your fridge and temperature control boards, and more.

      Your Coach battery is kept charged by your Converter. Obviously either your switch is in the wrong position, OR your Coach battery is not being kept charged by your Converter.

      The best for you to do is first check out your Coach battery and make sure it has water and is taking a charge from the Converter.

      You cna check this with a multimeter and measure the voltage across the battery terminals. IF it is around 14.5-VDC then the battery is being charged, IF it is around 13.5-VDC then the battery is fully charged, but if it is around 12,5-VDC then the battery is not taking a charge, or your Converter could be bad.

      As to your engine battery being dead, this is not normal if your battery is good. Are you operating the steps, awning, exterior light often? If so, and you do not have a solar trickle charger on your RV for this battery then you could be draining that battery and you may need to just run your engine once a week while you're camping.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      James 

      2 months ago

      I have a 2004 Bounder 35R. My lights, carbon monoxide detector, LP leak detector and fridge are not turning on. At first I would lose power to them intermittently and now they won’t turn on at all. No breaker trips, and my aux and main batteries are dead. When I open the breaker to that circuit I have a light ON and it flashes before dying. However with the breaker closed in the PWR light is off. I have had a few mice in here so I’m wondering if that had anything to do with it... Any ideas? Thanks for taking the time to read this.

      P.S. I do have an electrical background and work with code books however I don’t have any schematics or diagrams for my RV.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Lori - An Inverter uses your 12-VDC Voltage to generate 110-VAC for certain receptacles, TV's etc. Your CONVERTER uses your 110-VAC to keep your COACH batteries (not your Chassis battery) charged.

      If your interior lights are not operating properly, as I have said, you should check your CONVERTER. I don't know if it's the case with your RV, but some people have older incandescent lamps in some of their light fixtures and other fixtures will have LED lamps ij them. The reason I mention this is the fact that LED lamps (different model #'s) can turn ON and OFF at slightly different voltage levels, Because of this i would even try swapping a couple fo your lamps around just to see if the problem follows the lamp.

      On the other hand, I would borrow someone's multimeter and check the voltage across the terminals of your COACH batteries to confirm the Converter is operating properly.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lori 

      2 months ago

      Yes, two new deep cycle batteries and a new xantrax pro xm 1800 inverter. It's odd that when this happens 5 overhead lights work, but the other 4 and the ac display/thermostat does not.The lights that do work are not in line. Door works, 1st hall doesn't, 2nd hall does, 3 & 4 hall doesn't. Couch, table, kitchen does, bath doesn't.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Lori - When you said "new batteries" did you mean the COACH battery also? Because your symptoms sound like a classic case of a Coach Battery not taking a charge or a Converter not keeping the COACH battery charged,

      I would first check the condition of the COACH battery itself to make sure it; is not old, has water in it, and is taking a charge. If the battery is OK then you need to get your Converter checked because if the battery is good then it sounds like the Converter is not operating properly and keeping the battery charged.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lori 

      2 months ago

      2003 Chinook Glacier 2500. New batteries, new inverter, new GFCI. Breakers checked and many torqued/tightened. Fuse wiring not loose. All fuses okay - no lights showing bad fuse.

      Problem is that everything works great on shore power for hours or even days, sometimes the whole week. But then half of the overhead interior lights and the AC controller lose power.

      They will be off for a few minutes or several hours then just come back on and start working.

      When they go off, no breakers are tripped and no fuses are blown. They just mysteriously lose power and then start back on their own.

      Any idea what this might be?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Milt - From your symptoms, with the Cut-Off switch ON, your battery drains in 5-7 hours, and with it OFF your battery drains in 6-7 hours with no 12-VDC equipment turned ON other than your 2-way fridge?

      Well normally, your fridge uses relatively little 12-VDC, and that's by the control circuit board. And 6-7 hours of Fridge function could be good if you are using a lower current rated battery. You could improve this time by purchasing a higher current rated battery.

      As to the battery going dead quickly?? 6-7 hours with the Cut-Off switch in OFF, well, this is close to the same load with the load ON, it seems.

      Here are some tips for using less propane and 12-VDC with a 2-way fridge; Keep the door closed, make sure the door seals are seated properly and air is not leaking out, make sure your propane jet has a steady blue flame and make sure the "stack" is not blocked with ash, as this will make it cycle more often to keep the Fridge cold.

      Again, from your symptoms, I would recommend a higher current battery and a good overall service check of your 2-way fridge first.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Milt Fredenburg 

      2 months ago

      I have a 2012 16 fot 1575 lance camper. I am assuming I have a short? My problem is that my battery drains to dead very quickly 5-7 hours with no lights or other equipment running. Recently I drove approximately 6hrs with a battery purchased that day from Schwabb with the only power on being the propane fridge and when I arrived home the battery was totally dead. A local rv repair told me before I left on the trip that the converter was working. If I turn on the kill switch it seems to drain much slower if at all so based on that I am assuming its not the electric jack that is drawing the power. If I put a fully charged battery in the camper and turn the kill switch off so there is power going to the camper but no equipment running the battery runs down in 6-7 hours. Everything in the camper appears to work. I have AC and a microwave but almost never a place where power is available. Any thoughts on where I might start or any recommendations on were to go for help in Sacramento area? thx

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dave - First of all, all of the campers I know of utilize the 12-VDC battery for the internal lights.

      Secondly, the campers usually have a Converter that keeps this battery charged.

      Your internal electrical equipment that operates on 12-VDC can normally run on the Converter, even with a dead battery, but if it goes bad, then you have nothing.

      You need to check your Converter out, but I wouldn't do this until I put a good battery in the camper so it can keep the load on the Converter level.

      Let me know what you find after you add the battery.

      DON

    • profile image

      Dave Hicks 

      2 months ago

      I have a problem with my 12 volt overhead lights, they won t stay on at all anymore. Checked breaker n its not off but makes a. Buzzing noise. Ive never had a 12 volt battery in it since i bought bought camper.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jack - I don't understand your comment. Please let me know what kind of Rv you have,, what relays you are talking about, and any other information you might be able to give me.

      thanks,

      DON

    • profile image

      JACK LAKE 

      2 months ago

      when i first try to bring the main slide my relays keep breaking

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Bobb - I'm Sorry, but you don't give very much information for me to respond to. Do you mean you just plugged your exterior powr cable into your camper? Or did you connect some kind of cabling that had 220-VAC on it into your camper?

      Please give me more details.

      DON

    • profile image

      Bobb 

      2 months ago

      I hooked up 220 to camper and every thing got brute now ac and heater don’t work how can I fix this

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Bill - Thanks for the update.

      i really do suspect your home power source wiring as not being to standard for RV's.

      And if both voltages are present, your problem simply must have something to do with the GROUND and COMMON not being right and causing your power control panel to not sense things properly.

      I have had the same problem with my RV in the past, and it was a low current leakage between my Ground and Common, but my home receptacle was a GFCI and it would kick out on me.

      One other time, mine would show 50-Amp was present, but the "green Lights' would not cycle up. and I searched around my Rv and I am embarrassed to say that my CUT-OFF switch was still ON.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      bill faughnan 

      3 months ago

      I will double check all of this I just put the new outside connection from my garage 50 amp breaker I did not check it to see if it had 110 on each side I assumed that it did but we just got back from camping at another camp ground and it did not work there either we checked the service there and it had 115 on one side and like 118 on the other and showed that I was hooked up to 50 amps but still didn't work . none of the green lights came on for the ac or hot water only when I run it off of the generator does everything work all the lights on the meter inside come on and everything works fine I just had the generator repaired needed a new fuel pump but they didn't do anything with any of the wiring but I thought that it was funny that was when everything stopped working thanks for getting back to me I appreciate it

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Bill - I would immediately suspect your external power source. Is it a campsite, or something wired up special at your home maybe?

      If your Power Control Pane is indicating that you do have 50-AMP service, and you have checked that you do have both 110-VAC lines coming into your AC breaker panel, and you have no lights (12-VDC) or functioning Water Heater (110-VAC), then check whether your 2 Cut-Off switches are turned OFF so that you have AC-voltage into your camper?

      Next, if your exterior power is not wired properly with good ground and common connections then your Power Control Panel will not work properly.

      And, your power transfer is controlled by your Power Control Panel which must have good fully charged 12-VDC COACH power batteries. Are your batteries GOOD, do they have water, and are they being charged from your Converter.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      bill faughnan 

      3 months ago

      when I hook my camper up to my land line ac the meter in the motorhome doesn't work other than it says its hooked up to 50 amps but none of the other lights come on and the ac and the hot water doesn't work when I run it off the generator everything works good the voltage coming into the motorhome is good could it be the automatic transfer relay station that isn't working that's causing this problem

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Your symptoms are that your jack burned up and now you do not have voltage from your battery to your 120VDC fuse panel?

      The first thing I would do is check that the wire from the battery as well as the ground wire are undamaged and firmly connected.

      If these wires are OK, then from what you did by running a jumper from the battery to the fuse panel indicates that you do have a wiring problem to the fuse panel.

      But, you should also make sure that you still have a good GROUND wire in place.

      If it turns out that your main HOT wire is the problem, then yes it will need replacement. As to your other question, NO RV manufacturers normally do NOT place an inline fuse in this line to the fuse panel.

      Motorhomes will have a CUT-OFF switch that controls a relay that shuts off the voltage to the camper so the battery will not be drained while in storage. It's a long shot, but check if you have a CUT-OFF switch on your trailer???

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dennis Fryer 

      3 months ago

      Hi Don: I sent a question earlier but not sure it went through. I have a 1999 trail lite travel trailer. The electric tounge jack went out (it was binding and grinding) and now I don't have any 12v in the trailer. I put in a new battery today, checked the connections but when I check for voltage at the terminal coming from the battery on the DC fuse panel it is zero. Also zero in a J box under the tounge that feeds the jack. Both are approx 6 gauge wires so I am thinking they are feeders from the battery. I ran a jumper from the + on the battery in a window to the input of the dc fuse panel and lights and fan came on. So I am wondering if there is an inline fuse somewhere in the line coming from the battery? Unfortunately the underbelly is completely enclosed with panels that would be a bear to get into. Could the load from the jack burning up have melted something underneath? What am i missing?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      David - By landline did you mean a 110-VAC receptacle on your house or whatever?

      The word landline usually refers to a telephone line.

      So, assuming you mean a 110-VAC receptacle that was wired wrong, and your GFCI receptacle in the Rv will not reset, then you have melted or burned some of the insulation between your Common line and Ground line.

      This could hae happened in your external power cable, or in the wiring to your breaker panel.

      The first thing I would do is borrow someone elses power cord to make sure its not the problem.

      Then I would turn OFF ALL of my breakers, and check which of my 110-VAC equipments operated properly. Then I would turn each of my breakers ON, one at a time, and make sure everything on each circuit worked.

      Hopefully, you can just have a burned up GFCI receptacle.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      David 

      3 months ago

      If I plugged into a landline that was wired wrong what all with that burned up and not let the GFI to reset

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Making a few assumptions here due to the sparce information you provided, but my first question to you would be; are you using a standard RV power cable to connect to the campsite power panel?

      If all is standard then your cable and trailer would not be the cause of such a problem. If your cable is not wired right, this would be your most likely cause of your problem.

      Again though, if your cable is a standard one you need to contact the campground office and get them to fix their campsite power panel wiring, ASAP, and get them to pay you for the damage to your cable.

      Have a nice Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      New Travel Trailer Owner 

      3 months ago

      I just had a Electrical box melt my plug at the Trailer Park Meter box. What could it be

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      If your headlights and running lights do not work, but the engine starts and is running then I would suspect that you have a blown fuse in the fuse/relay panel under your hood, or with some RV's, a blown fuse in the fuse panel under your dash somewhere.

      Also, check for a loose wire on the light control switch in your dash.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      First, if your Battery disconnect is ON then the battery is disconnected from your Trailer system.

      Next, your truck battery does not power your trailer's internal 12-VDC equipment.

      Your trailer battery is what powers your jacks and the slides, as you said, but if your Cut-off switch is in the wrong position then that would be your problem.

      If thats not the problem then check if there's 12-VDC going to your fuse panel inside your trailer with a multimeter. If your trailer is a newer model it should have a Converter which would keep your trailer battery charged, so if there is no voltage at the fuse panel, check directly across your battery terminals, the voltage should be greater than 13-VDC is your batteries are charged. if they are lower then they are not fully charged.

      DON

    • profile image

      doug 

      3 months ago

      i have a 1981 coachman the running light and head light dont work. help!!!

    • profile image

      palmatiert 

      3 months ago

      Had RV in storage. Went to get it and even plugged in to the truck, it wouldn't raise the jacks (lights would come on so it was getting some power). BTW, I ensured the battery disconnect was set to On. Took batteries out and charged them up. Same results. Got brand new batteries, same results. There's clearly power going to the rig but not enough to retract the jacks or move the slides. What am I doing wrong?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Adrian - Normally that would be a standard 30-Amp service.

      I think everyone I know only turns their Water Heater ON when they need it and then turn of OFF, just so they are not loading their AC-Voltage system down.

      As to your lights? Well, you should check your trailer's battery and make sure it is OK. Is it full of water, and how old is it?

      Your battery powers your lights, of course, but it is j=kept charged by your CONVERTER, which operates on 110-VAC. So, if your lights are flickering, your battery may not be charging properly and you may be actually running on your Converter itself.

      Check this out first,

      DON

    • profile image

      Adrian McClelland 

      3 months ago

      I have a 2006 Travel Trailer with 35 amp service. I leave my water heater breaker off except for the fifteen minutes that it takes to heat the water for my shower at night. When I am done heating the water I turn it off. Recently the lights will flicker and go out after I turn off the water heater breaker. Why would that happen? I am I in danger of having a fire? Do I need to change out the power center?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Joanne - WOW! That's a lot of information for one question, but let's go over a few things about your RV Power systems;

      1- Get that wiring fixed and get rid of the Mice, immediately.

      2- Once your damaged wiring has been brought back to standard, you can fix any other problems you might have.

      3- Your Microwave runs on 110-VAC which is one half of your 220-VAC input to your RV. So, if your microwave is not operating intermittently then you have a problem with your RV AC-Voltage wiring.

      4- Your Air Cond. runs on 220-VAC and if one half of this is missing, then your Air Cond. will not run properly.

      5- Your EMS controls the Air Cond. but it, along with your internal lights, your alarms, your Fridge control board all run on your COACH 12-VDC from your batteries. These batteries are kept charged by your Converter (charger) which also runs on one of your 110-VAC lines.

      So, after reading all of this, you can see that your base problem is your 110-VAC and most likely a wiring problem, which could be either the hot line or the Common line.

      How do you find the bad wiring? Well, you need a competent electrician to trace and then replace the defective 110-VAC wiring in your RV; which sad to say could be anywhere after your external power connector. I suspect though, that because you have intermittent problems with three things; 1-Air Cond. units, 2-Lights (Converter) and 3-Microwave you either have a lot more wires damaged by mice or you have damaged wiring before your breaker panel.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Douglas Boucher - I am assuming you have a built-in Surge protector in your RV?? And I assume your generator is also built-in and not an external unit??

      Anyway, a reverse polarity indication mens that there is a wiring error between the rv and your power source, either the generator or your house. So, hopefully you are using a standard eternal power able designed for RV's and the wiring error would be at your house receptacle.

      You need to check the wiring in your external cable as well as that of your source.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      I often complain about not getting enough information, but you have outdone most of your peers, LOL!

      SO, the first thing I need to explains is that your Rv has a Converter (Charger) that charges your COACH batteries. By the way, you have checked that you batteries have water in them and that all of the wires on the connectors are mounted tightly.

      When your Converter is charging, you should read around 14.5-VDC across the battery terminals. When the battery is fully charged you should read around 13.5-VDC across the terminals.

      Your generator uses your COACH battery to start, but it is cycling for one of several reasons; 1- the fuel filter or fuel jet is "gummed up" and not letting enough fuel get to the engine, or 2- these generators do not run smoothly with no load on them, so, turn ON one of your Air Conditioning units for a decent load and then it should run smoothly. As to your batteries; being 6-volt, you should have 2 that are wired in series to give you 12-VDC for your COACH regardless of where they are mounted.

      Your interior lights, alarms, Temperature control panel, 2-way Fridge control panel and other things run on those Coach batteries and without using the generator, the voltage from the Converter (which would be powered by the external power when the generator is OFF and across those batteries the voltage should be steady whatever it might be and it should not cycle at all.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Douglas Boucher 

      3 months ago

      Why when I plug my trailer into house or my generator my surge protector says I have a reverse polarity issue please help thanks

    • profile image

      Kevin@rving.website 

      3 months ago

      All the RV shops are four weeks out and I'm in my first year as a Fulltimer with a 2010 jayco eagle 5er. So while I sit in Idaho and wait my turn for the professionals I try to narrow this down. My batteries (2 sets in parallel of 4 new 6 volts, 2 in the battery compartment and 2 right next to the generator in the front compartment) are not charging past 12.4 by the new Onan 5500 generator (60 hours use fine until now) or when connected to shore power. Plugged into shore or with the generator running, the 12v appliances seem fine although the batteries still do not charge. When I run the generator or plugged in I have a clicking noise that can be heard in the one battery compartment that house 2 of the batteries. While running the generator, it cycles from about 10 seconds of running smooth to about 2 seconds of running bogged down as if a load too great is being placed on it. That coincides with the clicking and when I check battery voltage with the generator running it peaks at 12.4 with the cycle dropping and batteries go back to 12.0 when they generator is running smooth. Also, with the generator running, the microwave will follow this cycle, with the light and power to it noticably dipping when the generator cycles down and the batteries are peaking at 12.4. I've checked voltage across the transfer switch which shows 120, water level, fuses on the converter, and all I feel competent enough to check without blowing something up, like myself. Would there be another breaker or circuit outside the inline fuse I see in the battery compartment that is a 30a and not blown. The only other thing I see is a black cube the size of my thumb that since ground wire run to in the battery compartment. Sound like the clicking actually comes from behind that though. Also when the generator is turned off you can see all 12v lights doom and go out and not come back on until the generator takes its last breath. Any ideas?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Tabitha - All indications are that your COACH battery is not charged. the electric lift runs on the power from this battery and it must be kept charged by your internal Converter which runs on 110-VAC.

      Check the water in your battery and then make sure it is fully charged. This is a common problem with trailers; the owners forget to keep their batteries serviced.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Tabitha 

      3 months ago

      I have a 2014 Kodiak and my electric tv lift stopped working suddenly as the tv was lowering yesterday. I managed to factor out that the switch box and electric lift are still working properly when I take them out of the cabinet and connect to a different power source. The fuses are all in good condition as well. I did note however that one of my wires connecting to the electric lift has no power coming to it. What can I do to fix this and would could have possibly caused this to suddenly happen?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      David - These symptoms indicate your wiring was done improperly, obviously.

      The first thing I would do is get the person who installed this radio to come back and remove it.

      Then ask if they did anything to the other wiring in the RV.

      Also, once the radio wiring is removed, your problems just may disappear.

      As to Certified RV Service Centers, their hourly rates are really high, so I would consider them a last resort if money is tight, like it is with so many people today. I.m a Senior, so I know!

      Have a good day,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Brent - Your Temperature Control panle as well as a number of other things in you rRV operate on your 12-VDC from those batteries. So, I suspect that either you have an error in your connections, or a connection is loose or the batteries are low on water, or they are not fully charged.

      Just as a check, do your interior lights work? They operate on those batteries also.

      DON

    • profile image

      Brent bacher 

      3 months ago

      Just installed 4 6 volt batteries into the rv and now the ac/heat thermostat is not working- it’s an Rv comfort zc thermostat with error code 00. Any guess what the cause & solution may be?

      Thank you

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Cindy - Your slide lights, like all of your interior lights run on DC voltage and not on 110-VAC. As to your receptacles, check if they are on your GFCI circuit by reseting your Master GFCI receptacle. If they are not GFCI receptacles then they will be on one of your generic 110-VAC breakers.

      If neither of these are the case, then the next thing to check would be bad wiring connections in the wiring harness to the slide; BUT this is highly unlikely. The vast majority of the times I see this symptom is when the receptacles are on the GFCI circuit.

      Have a nice Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      cindy 

      4 months ago

      All electrical in my slide out is not working (lights and plugs). AC and DC power is good, fuses and breakers are good. Where else can I check?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      KamperKen - Sorry to tell you this Ken, but if all you get from your COACH batteries/Converter, is 12.64 volts then your batteries are not charged and they are not being charged by the Converter. You should read around 13.5 VDC if the batteries are fully charged and if they are being charged then they should read around 14.5-VDC. And, you said things work when you are plugged into shore power you should realize that the Converter runs on your 110-VAC when you are plugged in. SO, the Converter is probably working OK. And your generator gets it's starting voltage from your Coach batteries also.

      All of this being said, I suspect your COACH batteries are OLD and cannot take a charge anymore.

      Have a Nice Day!

      DON

    • profile image

      KamperKen 

      4 months ago

      Don - I have a 2007 31W Tiago Class C unit made by Fleetwood. 9000 miles - remarkable condition. Just bought it. It seemed to be working fine when I brought it home, but now I have no 12v power to the living compartment. Engine starts and runs fine, everything works when plugging up the shore cable, but my generator seems to not have enough "juice" to start. I removed the house batteries, checked the levels (they were fine), cleaned all cables and terminals, charged them, had them checked at a local auto parts store, pulled the ground cable off the frame and ground it down to bare metal, and reinstalled everything. I get a solid 12.64 volts going into the fuse panel and solenoid but nothing inside. I cannot find any disconnect switch anywhere and have tested all the fuses and breakers. Any thoughts?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Richard - In an RV there is a Power Control Panel. Also, there is a high current Solenoid that has the output of the Shore Power on one connection and the output of the RV generator on the other connection. The output connection goes to the main power panel.

      In the normal mode the Shore power goes through this solenoid to the main power panel.

      If the Power Panel senses that the generator is providing power, it switches the solenoid to the generator input.

      This is a safety feature to assure that the Rv is not getting two potentially opposing power inputs.

      If the generator is turned OFF then the solenoid drops out and the solenoid connects back to the Shore power and the normal mode.

      It sounds like you do not have this solenoid system wired into your Tiny House.

      You need to consider getting your Tiny house wired for this function.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Richard Wertenberger 

      4 months ago

      I have a WFCO 8955 series panel that I have installed in a tiny home. Everything went well during the install but for some reason I am bypassing the main CB.

      What I have found is that I have 120AC going in through the CB and 13.6DC on my circuits (which is correct) But for some reason the CB is "hotwired" and not allowing me to turn power off unless I unplug my shore power.

      I have the shore power wired to the AC breaker and the hot for the converter is tied to that as well.

      I have swapped out 3 breakers thinking maybe they were bad but it is still doing the same.

      any ideas?

      Richard

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Steven Holland - Do you have power to your receptacles?

      Your Camper Trailer has a Power Cutoff switch that is used when you put your trailer in storage. I suspect that this switch is ON.

      Many people forget about this switch. So, Flip this switch and then check if your appliances are functioning.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      steven holland 

      4 months ago

      i have a new 2018 mallard travel trailer and when i plug it in all i have power to is the microwave but the lights fridge oven and pump works ofd battery its a brand new trailer never been used before so im not sure why its like that any help would be liked thank you

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      I tell everyone that one of the most neglected items in an RV are the COACH batteries. So, check these things; 1- Is your battery over 3-5 years old, 2- Does your battery have water in it, 3- When you check the voltage across the battery terminals is it at least 13.50VDC (charged) or is it around 14.5-VDC (charging). And if it is in the 12-VDC range, it is not being charged by your Converter (charger).

      Check these things before you get into your slide power system.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Bill Reaves 

      4 months ago

      I have a good one for anyone 2002 prowler lynx I replaced the Charger because the voltage was droping under 11 volts light would dim yet everything work and then the slide went out on a trip and when I was getting everything ready the slide wouldnt go in I got nothing i checked fuses power on it all so after about an hour trying to get the thing in I didnt have any batteries so I hooked up the jumper cables to the wires that would normally have the batteries hook to and what do you know the slide work just fine so like i said I replaced the charger but the slide still will not work with out being hooked to the battery does anyone have any idea I did locate in a storage compartment while tracing wiring a cluster of relays and a couple of sealed breakers on a circut board that says power Gear the same thing the slide motor is do you think the board might have took a dive it has a fuse on and it is still good but there isnt a way to check the rest of the board HELP!

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      It's unlikely that you damaged the batteries with a loose connection. It might have kept the batteries with the loose connections from charging properly, but otherwise all should be well when you get everything tightened down.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      jumperrn - You're right but; the old one may have been able to operate on a lower 12-VDC than the newer one???? I'm just thinking out loud, because, if it was me, I would measure the DC Voltage on the input of the new unit and call the manufacturers customer service about this anomaly. As you said, if it's a direct replacement there should be No problem.

      The other scary option si that the newer one is more sensitive and you have a minor but detectible LP leak in your RV???

      Have a good day,

      DON

    • profile image

      sherrymac 

      4 months ago

      I recently took my RV in for service. While getting ready to leave, the battery disconnect would not restore the batteries. I had replaced the nuts and bolts to my 8 batteries after adding water. I lost one of the bolts to the very top battery. I brought one home with me so I could match it up at the hardware store. In the meantime, I failed to replace them in the battery compartment. The batteries are all brand new (Oct). RV service is going to put the bolts on tomorrow. Will all of my batteries be okay? The configuration is all correct, it is just that the 2 bolts were not secured on the 2 batteries at the very top.

    • profile image

      jumperrn 

      4 months ago

      Thanks Don. I will check it out. Just seems odd that the previous detector worked fine (0ther than it was too old).

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      jumperrn - The only difference in your conditions is the fact that when on Shore power, the Converter (Charger) is providing power to charge the RV batteries.

      This would men that all of your equipments that operate on 120VDC would likely have a higher voltage on them as the batteries charge.

      But, your LP detector, as well as your other 12-VDC devices should be designed to handle the normal variations in the 120VDC power as the batteries are being charged. In fact, only an excessive voltage output from your Converter could possibly be your problem.

      Use a multimeter and check the voltage across your battery terminals (after you check your battery for low water).

      This voltage should be around 14.5-VDC if the battery is being charged, around 13.5-VDC when it is fully charged, and the battery is not taking a charge if the voltage across the terminals is around 12.5-VDC or lower.

      Try these things,

      DON

    • profile image

      jumperrn 

      4 months ago

      Sorry for the misunderstanding Don. I am still having the problem as described in the previous post. LP detector works fine on 12 volt power but does not work when the shore power is plugged in.

      Thanks

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Glad you fixed your problem.

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      jumpern - I'm glad you have fixed your problem, and we could help.

      Have a great day,

      DON

    • profile image

      jumperrn 

      4 months ago

      Hi again Don.

      In my previous comment I stated that the LP detector was running off the power converter. It is in fact running from the 12 volt side of the fuse box, 1 amp fuse per Atwood installation directions (and previous LP detector). My mistake. thanks.

    • profile image

      jumperrn 

      4 months ago

      Hi Don:

      I have 1997 Alpenlite truck camper I am restoring. I recently purchased and installed a new LP detector to replace the old Atwood detector. I believe it was the original, still functioned but I had heard they should be replaced after 7 years. The replacement is an Atwood as well and was obtained by a local dealer as the replacement part for the original. I have wired the new one exactly as the old one and it works fine on 12 volt power. However, when I plug the camper into shore power, the detector stops functioning. Unplug shore power and the detector is operational. I even hooked the old detector back up as as a check and it worked fine. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Could I just bypass the power converter and go straight to the 12 volt power bus? The detector is currently running through the converter and a 1 amp fuse.

      Thanks,

      jumper

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kite Mann - From your symptoms you obviously have a wiring error and you said you rewired some in your truck.

      Because of this, I would suspect that you have a wiring error in your Truck Tow connector. Check the connections at the connector for an error.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kite Mann 

      4 months ago

      When I plug into the pick up, the tail lights on truck and 5th wheel come on, even though the lights are not turned on. Also, the back up lights on truck turn on, but not on 5th wheel.

      We have a 2006 Cedar Creek/Silverback, 29LRGBS.

      I rewired the truck and all circuits work.

      Suggestions?

      Thank you.

      Kite

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Amuswoolman - I have to go back to your symptom that your RV worked OK at your previous campground.

      That in itself tells me that your campground power system is the most probable problem.

      Remember, campgrounds are notorious for not maintaining their power sources for campers and especially so this time of the year when everyone is loading their system down.

      I would get a Surge Protector that monitors your voltages and current leakages as well as low and high power surges. This can protect your RV and it can tell you if their power is safe to use and what their problem is.

      Have a Nice Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      amuswoolman 

      4 months ago

      I have 2003 Hurricaine class A motor home. I plugged into a 30 amp shoreline at a RV park. When I went to use an appliance the transfer switch started kicking on and off. Now anything that use that has 110 volts to it no longer works.

      I unplugged the shoreline and started the generator. Everything works fine.

      I plugged the shoreline back in after turning the generator off. I checked the voltage at the sockets for 110 and it did have the 110 volts. When I turned on any appliance, the voltage dropped at the electrical socket down to 40 volts.

      I recently had the transfer switched replaced (10 days ago), tried a new supply cord a and still nothing changed.

      Four hours earlier at another RV park everything was working fine.

      Tried the electrical pedestal in the next lot over. Still does not work.

      Any ideas?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      George - Your camper van should have a Shut OFF switch that you use to disconnect the equipment in your camper from your batteries.

      In fact, motorhomes will have 2 of these shut off switches, one for disconnecting the MAIN (or Chassis) system and one for doing the same to the AUX (0r Coach) equipment.

      Look for this switch or switches and set it to OFF when you are not using your RV.

      Have a Nice Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      George 

      4 months ago

      Something is draining the batteries that have been replaced in my camper van. Tried to turn everything off, but power is leaving when the camper is parked and shut down.

      Can you suggest a solution or a test to see where the power is going?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jason - My first question is; Do you have a Surge Protector on your Power line from your Campsite? Often, this time of the year, many campground's power systems just can't handle the load of so many RV's.

      At least a Surge Protector will tell you if their power system is your problem, and it will protect your RV systems from damage caused by both LOW and HIGH power variations.

      All of your symptoms are common for when your AC-Voltage is varying on you.

      So, first of all, get a Surge Protector and then if the campground power is OK, then you can check any problems you might have inside your RV.

      Good luck,

      DON

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