Troubleshooting and Repairing RV Electrical Problems for the Beginner

Updated on January 24, 2019
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.

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

  • on a recent trip, we stayed in a campground with full connections for our travel trailer. the first day there, the power converter blew up. (I am a master electrician) So I replaced the power converter and battery, confirmed that I had 12 VDC going to the battery to charge it. However, within a day the battery was completely dead again even while plugged into 120 Vac. Where should I look next?

    The first thing I would do is make sure I have a charging voltage on the battery of 13.5-VDC or higher across the battery terminals. If this is so, then I would next suspect that some 12-VDC appliance (possibly your Inverter?) is drawing excessive current that the Converter cannot handle.

    These are the most likely causes of your problem, and I recommend that you purchase a good Surge Protector to put in series with your campsite power and your trailer to avoid future damage from poorly run campground power systems.

  • I have a 2014 jay I Greyhawk. Can you give me any advice on how to fix the running lights and the backup lights?

    First of all, your Jayco running lights and backup lights operate on your engine battery.

    As with regular automobiles, your running lights are controlled (ON/OFF) by your dash light switch, and your backup lights are controlled by a switch on your shift lever.

    BUT, I would suspect you have a couple of blown fuses.

    Somewhere, under your hood or possibly under your dash there is a fuse panel that has fuses for both of these functions, so find that fuse panel and check that all of the fuses are good.

    If you do have blown fuses, replace them; but your concern should then be what caused them to blow? You should check the voltage on the CHASSIS (engine) battery to make sure your alternator is working properly.

  • I have a 2008 Keystone Cougar fifth wheel trailer that was plugged into a 220 outlet. None of the breakers blew, but now the AC and the furnace will not come on and the microwave is burned up. No fuses were tripped. Does this mean the electrical units themselves are burned up?

    Considering your symptoms, please note that your Microwave operates on 110-VAC and the fact that you say it is "burned up?" implies that you had a serious power surge on your external lines. Normally your AC Power Panel breakers should have kicked, but often, with a momentary very high voltage surge they can be too slow reacting and you can have damage to your appliances.

    You should first turn OFF all of your RV breakers and then check your 220-VAC outlet you are plugged into and make sure it is wired properly, and that you have the appropriate voltage on the input to your breaker panel as well as make sure the GROUND and COMMON wires at the outlet are wired properly.

    Once you confirm the wiring is proper, I suggest that you get a good SURGE PROTECTOR and put it in series with your RV power cable.

    Then you should turn your breakers ON, one by one and check what in your RV might work and what might be damaged. Make sure you check your CONVERTER and make sure it is charging your COACH battery and thus have 12-VDC going to all of your control panels especially the temperature control panel before you check out your Air Conditioner units.

  • Our outside TV won't power on. It worked when we left our RV three hours ago. We are on 30amp. The three other TV's work inside. Do you have any suggestions?

    Typically, outside 110-VAC power receptacles are wired to your GFCI circuit. So, the first thing I would do is check your inside Master GFCI receptacle and see if it needs to be reset.

    If it isn't on a GFCI circuit, then check your AC Breaker panel for a breaker that has "kicked OFF."

  • The GFCI in my RV bathroom tripped. It would not reset. I checked the breakers and none had tripped. However, when I flip the double 15 amp breaker off the GFCI stays reset. Is this a converter problem. Would low water level in the batteries cause the GFCI in my RV's bathroom to trip? I double checked the line and load wires on the GFCI to make sure I connected them correctly and also made sure the ground wire was connected. I'm at my wit's end here and no children that are mechanically or electrically savvy.

    Your GFCI with the reset is the MASTER unit and it has several other receptacles that are SLAVE to the MASTER.

    SO, unplug everything plugged into these other receptacles to make sure there is NO load before you try to reset the MASTER GFCI.

    Your GFCI is only 110-VAC so your batteries have nothing to do with the operation of the GFCI.

    Also, the Ground wire absolutely MUST be connected PROPERLY to your GFCI receptacle for it to operate the way it is designed.

    Check those other receptacles for equipment that you must unplug first of all though.

Comments

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    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Cael Smith - If I understand your symptoms you are saying;

      1- you replaced the transfer switch because it was bad.

      2- you now have external 110-VAC coming into your main breaker panel and out if it?

      3-but nothing operates in your Dutchstar RV after this?

      At this point I can no longer interpret your symptoms, Sorry.

      Have a nice day.

      DON

    • profile image

      carl smith 

      3 days ago

      I replaced transfer switch ,it was bad ,now with shore line on and power to main entering and leaving , are hot but nothing works it ducthstar ,unplug connect the two battery 110 receptacle are hot then neg post on battery gets hot ? anyone have a suggestions ?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      9 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      Amanda - All of your symptoms point to your COACH battery as your most likely cause.

      So, check that the battery is in good condition and is kept fully charged by your Converter. A low 12-VDC can cause all of the problems you mentioned. The slide runs on 12-VDC. The metering control panel uses 12-VDC. Your AC temperature control panel that controls your AC function operates on your 12-VDC. And of course your water pump operates on 12-VDC.

      Then there is the generator. It should not have any trouble operating and providing the appropriate AC-Voltage for an AC unit. Use a multimeter to monitor your 110-VAC when the generator is ON, and then measure again when you turn all other 110-VAC appliances OFF. The change in load should not change the AC-Voltage reading.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Amanda Bird 

      9 days ago

      Hi Don, I’m hoping you can point me in the right direction with this problem. We have a 2012 Itasca Impulse silver qp that has a few electrical issues. I’m convinced they’re all connected, but husband isn’t.

      1) built in generator works but doesn’t give enough power to keep the air con running. This problem was discovered this summer.

      2) last week we were boondocking and the water pump fuse kept blowing 15 amp fuse

      3) while trying to fix that we noticed we also did not have any power to the slide and the control panel showing the levels of our tanks had no power.

      Could this be due to a bad coach battery, or should we investigate something else?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Copewithus - OK, first, go back and look at your wiring and make sure you put everything back like it was, including the polarity of the battery (s). If all looks good, then make sure your CUT-OFF switch in your RV is in the right position. Did you turn it OFF when you changed the battery?

      Check that your Converter is functioning and keeping the batteries fully charged.

      Your interior lights do operate on your COACH batteries, and if they are not taking a charge then you could be operating on your Converter alone, and it is not designed to handle all of your 12-VDC load, only to keep a charge on the batteries. When your batteries are not fully charged you can get some of your 12-VDC powered gear in your RV to start acting funny.

      Also, your generator must have a fully charged battery to start, so with all of this said, I am suspecting your new batteries and/or your wiring connections first.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Daz1379 - I am assuming that you are using a standard campground campsite and its electric power box?

      Also, I am assuming you are using a standard power cord, that is designed for RVs?

      If these are true, and you still hive your problem, then you should turn your Rvs MAIN electrical breaker in your RV breaker box and then try plugging into your campsite power. Then, with there no longer being any load on your campsite power box, the campsite power box breaker should not kick off. If it still kicks off, then I recommend that you go up to your campground office and have them send their electrician down to check their box for a wiring problem.

      Hve a nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      copewithus 

      2 weeks ago

      Have a 1999 winnebago suncruiser 36' ft. Problem with 12 V system. Coach batteries died and replaced them, Interior lights will not come on-disconnect from shore power. Batteries measure 13+ volts.

      When plugged to shore power, all interior 12 V lights will operate sometime so I think converter is working. At other times, they will not operate.

      Also when I start generator (shore power totally disconnected) , it will s start and run a few seconds (kindly like fuel line is clogger). However if I hold down start button generator will continue to run until I release start button.

    • profile image

      Daz1379 

      2 weeks ago

      Good afternoon.we are having problems with are RV electric hook up.every time we connect it up to the RV it trips out on the site electric box.any help would be greatful

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dena Brooks - Wow! Your combination of problems don't make sense at first sight. But let's attack the problems one at a time.

      First, leave the generator out of the equation and plug your RV into campsite power. Then check that your Converter is operating properly and is it charging your COACH battery? You can check this by using a multimeter and measuring the DC Voltage across your COACH battery terminals. You should read between 13.5-VDC (fully charged) and 14.5-VDC (being charged).

      If the Converter isn't working then check your rewiring to make sure it was done properly.

      If it works, then check your GFCI Master receptacle and reset it. If you have 110-VAC then it is good and move on.

      As to your Generator, if everything else is now working in your RV, then your Power Control Panel should be working and you should be able to able to start your generator. You have a built-in Power Transfer switch which, when the power control panel senses that you have started the generator, will switch your RV over to the generator and off of your external power system. This is a safety feature.

      Oh, and your Inverter uses your 12-VDC Coach battery and converts the DC Voltage to a 110-VAC voltage for your TV set and maybe one or two of your receptacles where you would plug your PC into it.

      If your generator is still not "generating" any electricity but is "running" then you probably need to first check all of the re-wiring you have done to make sure it was don properly. If everything looks like it is wired properly then you should take your RV to the nearest generator manufacturer certified service technician.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dena Brooks 

      3 weeks ago

      1982 Chevy Shasta motor home. The first time the gfi outlet in the bathroom tripped & there was smoke from the converter, my genorator quit. I purchased the same converter, wired it up, had to jump start the generator. everything ran for about an hour, I heard a pop, converter stopped working & generator stopped making power. Went & bought new coach batteries, new gfi plug, a battery charger because I couldn't get a new inverter where we are & now the generator will start but is not making electricity?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Arthur - It sounds like your CAOACH battery may be bad. Check it for water, and tight connections.

      I dont know what your mention of 50 volts means. A Converter uses your 110-VAC electric power to generate a charging voltage for your COACH battery, which in turn powers your interior 12-VDC accessories including your interior lights.

      You should measure between 13,5-VDC to 14,5 VDC cross your COACH battery terminals if everything is connected properly and the battery is charging or already charged.

      Have a nice day,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Without more information, I am assuming you have kicked the Master GFCI receptacle OFF. You can reset it by pushing the reset button on the receptacle. This control receptacle is usually found in your bathroom or your kitchen area.

      Good Luck,'DON

    • profile image

      Arthur Butler 

      4 weeks ago

      Our motorhome has no interiors lights. We put a new conferter 50 volts,it still is not working

      Alll the fuses check out good.Every appliances work inside except the lights.

    • profile image

      willyousee@hotmail,com 

      4 weeks ago

      how to restore power to a line of outlets. on the ac lines

      not all outlets not working

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Maude - Before anything else, check your GFCI Master receptacle and make sure it hasn't tripped. If it has reset it.

      Normally in an RV your Kitchen and bathroom receptacles are on a GFCI circuit. You did not mention what Rv you are talking about, so I cannot help much more than this without more symptoms.

      Have a Nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Maude 

      4 weeks ago

      Outlet by stove and the outlet the refrigerator plugs into doesn’t have power. All Fuses work. No breaker tripped?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      You should check that your Cut-Off switch is in the right position. It is used to disconnect your COACH battery from any internal load when the fcamper is in storage.

      Your Converter is usually mounted near the COACH battery and it uses your external 110-VAC to keep your COACH battery charged.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      John from Indiana 

      4 weeks ago

      Me and my family just got a 2007 max light made by our vision and we are trying to figure out our battery. The battery will control the slide out but none of our lights on the inside are coming on. We went and got a new marine battery for the camper I also tried to locate any type of in-line fuse but found nothing. I also checked the plug-ins inside the camper for any type of GFI switch as well. I am having no luck understanding why the battery will continue to work the Slidell but it will not give us power inside the trailer. I hope you can help us in the right direction. I’m not sure about the converter I don’t even know what it looks like or where to locate it to see if that is the problem

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kevin - Considering you have replaced the Converter, I think you should check your Coach Battery and make sure it is in good condition and has the voltage from the Converter across the battery terminals (around 14.5-VDC if charging). If it isn't, then check the connections to the Converter. IF it is then wait for the battery to charge and for the voltage across the terminals to drop to around 13.5-VDC.

      This would mean that the battery is taking a charge.

      So, hopefully your problem is either the battery itself or possibly a wiring problem when you swapped out the Converter???

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kevin 

      5 weeks ago

      My cardinal 5th wheel has 120 power but no 12 volt. Replaced the converter. Checked fuses. Cant figure it out

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Robert - First of all, you would only have 110-VAC in your camper if you have an Inverter which would use your COACH battery and convert it to 110-VAC for certain receptacles.

      As to your adding a generator to your RV, you should consider the cost of; the generator, the installation modifications to your camper body to make room for it, and the cost of installing a safe electrical connection and switching system into your camper.

    • profile image

      Robert 

      5 weeks ago

      I have a 83 Toyota sun raider. Should I have 110 when I am running or do I need to get a generator?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Heidi - Your Inverter and your interior lights and your temperature controller operate on your 12-Volt COACH battery.

      I would suspect that your battery is either; low on water, old and bad, or is not being kept charged by your Converter.

      Check that this battery is functioning properly.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Heidi 

      7 weeks ago

      Thor Hurricane 29M lights and furnace came on all by themselves and on the panel there is an inverter fault

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Glen - I don't know if I can help much without knowing your system.

      But, Your Converter is simply a battery charger that uses your 110-VAC to keep the COACH battery charged. Normally, it will be near your RVs COACh battery and you can trace the wire from your battery hot wire to the output of the Converter.

      But considering you do not have 110-VACi nto your RV, then I must assume your Solar system is powering a converter or other type of charger that in turn keeps your battery charged??

      But, your problem may be damaged circuitry in the output section of your solar panel itself.

      You need to start somewhere, and I suggest you call the solar panel manufacturer and ask them if they have a way to troubleshoot the panel itself.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Glen Meredith 

      8 weeks ago

      I have a issue. I was off-grid - no electical service. Battery was charged. I mistakenly plugged my 95W solar panel plug in upside down to jack on RV. Was that way for quite a while till I checked and saw battery wasn't charging. I then removed and plugged in correctly. However I think damage was already done. No juice to run propane fridge or lights or water pump. I then plugged into truck (like towing). I then had 12 volt power available for all above. However battery still doesn't charge. once home I had battery checked and per guy the polarity was not reversed. I have since fully charged battery. I did verify all breakers were not flipped and all fuses good. I am not getting any "on" lights on solar panel when it was plugged in correctly even. There is a larger metal fuse that i can't verify is good as it is sealed. You mentioned a converter. could that be an issue? WHere in the front of RV would it be? Outside? thanks, GLen

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      8 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Carrie - Search on the web for "Install Bay 500 isolator" you will find a diagram that shows the proper wiring connections.

      Have a Nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Carrie 

      8 weeks ago

      Which wires from a power line isolator ( alt,main,and aux) coonnect to which bolts on my install bay 500 isolator

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      The wrong wiring may have damaged your Converter, which keeps your COACH batterie charged, which in turn power your interior lights, and your control panel on your temperature control as well as your 2-way Fridge control panel.

      SO, I recommend that you check your Converter for a blown fuse (hopefully?), and a battery that is not fully charged because of he Converter?

      You may have gotten lucky if this is all of the damage you have suffered.

      PS- This kind of problem is the reason a lot of people purchase an inline Surge Protector.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      John N Mansfield 

      2 months ago

      I have a 2011 Forest River Wildwood RTravel Trailer. We had a power surge (the rv park mataince guy told us the pole outlet needed to be charged).

      After making the change we pluged into the outlet and heard a pop. The heater, A/C and 12 volt overhead lights will not come on. What does still work are all the 110 receptacles. The GFCI for the reseptacles had tripped and was reset.

      After that happened (other maintenance guy) looked at the wiring of the 30amp outlet and found it was wired with both legs having 110volts. The outlet was put back to original,  however we still have no heater (propane) or A/C or 12volt lights.

      Where do you think the problem is?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ray Siever - Your generators starter is powered by your COACH battery. When you press the GEN START button on your dash (or on your GEN itself) then this button applies power to the generators starter.

      The fuse for the GEN should be on that fuse panel under the dash.

      But before you do anything you should check your COACH battery and make sure it is fully charged. This is the most common problem for many motorhome owners.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Ray Siever 

      2 months ago

      I have a 2006 Majestic (Four Winds) 24ft RV on a Ford F350. The generator is an onan 4000. The hot wire to the starter solenoid has no current. Where is the fuse located. I have a fuse panel in the engine compartment and another panel under the dash.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Bigmac5 - The battery switch you are talking about is, I assume, your CUT-OFF switch for use when you put your RV in storage, and it is not for totally removing power.

      Your battery is kept charged by your Converter, and it must not be getting 110-VAC power.

      When you want to plug your camper into a campsite you use your standard RV power cord, and you plug it inot a standard campsite power box.

      A very common problem for many people is they will use a receptacle at their home that is not wired to match your RV wiring.

      I suggest that you investigate what you have hooked up and make everything standard. Remember you have 4-wires, 2 seperate 110-VAC lines, a Ground and a Common line.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Bigmac5 

      2 months ago

      I have a 2004 29' Keystone Sprinter, just bought it used and it appeared to be in great shape. My wife and I were getting ready for a trip, so I plugged the trailer into my house power, so I can run everything and everything worked, or so I thought. I noticed the battery wasn't charging. I checked the trailer electrical panel and noticed the 2-30amp fuses were blown, I went to replace them and the new ones blew also, I unplugged house power and put in 2 more fuses with the battery switch OFF, then I turned the house power on

      (which is a dedicated 30amp circuit) and again they blew. Right now I can run off house power without the fuses, but something is not right.

      Any ideas?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Helen Wright - Your RV leveling Jacks are powered by your COACH battery. S, furst make sure your AUX CUT-OFF switch is in the right position.

      If that doesn't fix the problem, then check the fuses on your AUX fuse panel, which is usually under the dash of a motorhome, or near the other fuses and breakers in a camping trailer.

      Also, as a long shot, pull the leveling jack panel and check that the cable is still connected to the panel.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Helen Wright 

      2 months ago

      Hi my jacks won't work there is no power to the display panel, one day they worked the next they don't can you advise please

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Natashia - As I said before, your outside (basement) receptacles operate off of your GFCI circuit because you may be on the ground and could get shocked if you used an improperly wired appliance.

      Now, with that said; even if the receptacle you have your vacuum plugged into isnt a GFCI one, it would then be using a standard receptacles which in turn would be powered by one of your AC-Voltage breakers.

      So, check if anything will operate on that receptacle, a lamp or something. If it does, then the problem is your vacuum, if it doesn't then the problem is in the receptacle or the wiring to the receptacle. This is just logical, right?

      One other thing though, some vacuums are powered when the hose is plugged into the vacuum input in your RV. They use cheap spring contacts on the vacuum side that could be not making contact.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Natasha 

      2 months ago

      Need help im not super knowledgable with electrical, but i also do not want to be screwed around or ripped off, the problem is my 5th wheel has a vacuum built in, it was working fine untill we moved camp now it no longer runs along with the out side plug ins. I have switched all breakers and checked all fuses, as well as reset, the plug inside bathroom. Still nothing we are running off a generator and everything else works fine, all plug ins all lights inside. So i can only assume its a short in the one set of wires or a disconnect somewhere, i pulled out vacuums receptacle its still connected proper but. Thays as far as i have went as i am not confident to look further unles i know where i would be looking.

      I have no problems bringing it to a professional but i have had my fair share of scammers that just se a woman and try and take advantage. So the better i can understand the less likelihood i get ripped off

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Nick Paxon - Your Air conditioners ru on 220-VAC and will not run if your are using an adapter to 110-VAC.

      Sorry, but of you want to run those AC units, then you need to have an electrician wire up a proper 220-VAC-30-AMP (minimum) power breaker and exterior receptacle box for your motorhome.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jimmy - The symptoms on your MW are indicative of a low voltage situation. If you are plugged into a campsite power box, then have the campground home over and check their power box. If you are plugged into a home receptacle, then make sure your home receptacle is wired properly.

      Also, if you are plugged into a 110-VAC receptacle, at your home and using an adapter to your 30-Amp exterior cord, remember you only have 110-VAC to your camper, and not the normal 220-VAC you get from a campsite.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Nick Paxon 

      3 months ago

      Hey Don,

      just wondering if you could answer a quick question.

      I had my 40' 2000 holiday rambler endeavor plugged into house power 120V and flipped my ac on. following this

      - The Transfer switch started buzzing loudly

      - I could no longer float / trickle charge my batteries

      - No power to any outlets except one

      - all breakers/fuses/gfi's are good (not damaged)

      - Generator power does not engage the transfer switch to be used to charge the batteries

      - power to the motherboard on the transfer switch is at a steady 1v

      - The invertor is left on "searching" mode

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Jimmy 

      3 months ago

      Howdy Don, I have a 1994 Aljo 24 ft camper I just purchased.

      The problem I am having is with the microwave. When the rv is plugged into shore power (with the approved 30 amp plugin) the microwave takes on a life of its own! Meaning it shows random numbers in the display and often starts beeping randomly.

      I removed the mw from the rv this am and was going to replace it, I decided to try it on household current in my garage. It works perfectly! Any ideas what to look for? Thanks J

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Paul West - The spark is telling you that you have wired something wrong.

      Let me try to tell you how to hook those 4-6-volt batteries up.

      1- you should have the positive terminals of two of these batteries placed near the main hot wire in the RV. You should have a short heavy wire connected to the POS terminals of these two batteries.

      2- Connect the NEG of each of these batteries to the POS of each of the two other batteries with the short heavy wires you have.

      3- Connect the NEG of these other two batteries to each other wit the short heavy wire you have.

      4- At this point you can now connect the Chassis Black wire to the NEG terminal of one of these two batteries.

      5- Now you can connect the COACH RED (hot) wire to the POS terminal of the two batteries mentioned in step-1 above.

      6- You could have a wire from your Converter to the POS terminals of your COACH batteries, and you could have another to your Generator for starting it, and you could have a wire to your Inverter.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Paul west 

      3 months ago

      My coach battery’s 4/6 volt batters I put in 4 new ones problem one wire for ground . Coming from wall will not hook up to ground . I run my. _ to + to get 12 volt all + are were they should be but the two ground wires on the wall only one can hook up the other spark to bad

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kenneth - One of the more common causes of receptacles not working is the fact that RVs have a GFCI system which includes a Master GFCI receptacle which has a reset button, and it controls from 2 to 4 Slave receptacles. These GFCi receptacles are usually in your bathroom and kitchen areas because of potential shocks to people. So, first of all, check that your GFCI has not kicked off.

      As to your AC units, your temperature control panel is powered by your CAOCH battery, along with your Jacks, interior lights and such equipment.

      So, you should check your COACH battery and make sure it is OK, full of water and fully charged, which should be a multimeter reading of 13.5-VDC or higher if your Converter and battery are good.

      Have a nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kenneth Miller 

      3 months ago

      I have a 2010 Jayco Designer 35 RLTS and the plugs, slides, and power landing gear works in the back. The ac in the front doesn’t come on and some of the plugs don’t work alone the front wall. The converter is working. Any suggestions

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Nancy - The good thing is that your Dodge Coachmans wiring (the automobile parts, are exactly the same as with a Dodge van.

      I would check the fuse panel under the hood for a blow fuse, or even the other fuse panel, usually under the dash that is for all of those 12-VDC things in your Camper that are not part of a standard van.

      If you cannot find the problem, after what you have already replaced, then you can take it to a Dodge dealers service center and they should be able to easily fix it for you.

      I would still suspect a fuse being the problem.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Nancy 

      3 months ago

      I have a 1977 dodge coachman rv cant seem to get turn signals and break lights to work have replaced the dashboard insturment assembly and all bulbs new or tested now will try the turn signal switch and help would be so much appreciated thank you

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Lidia - You have two 12-VDC systems in your motorhome. One is your COACH (or AUX) system and the other is your Engine (or MAIN) system.

      So, furst make sure you have your 2 Power Cut-Off switches in the right position for operation and not storage.

      Your Jacks and Powered Nightshade, along with your temperature control panel are powered by your COACH battery.

      Your Dashboard equipment, is powered by your Engine battery, just like in a regular automobile.

      I recommend that you use a multimeter and check the voltage across the Coach battery terminals. You should read around 13.5-VDC of it is charged, around 14.5-Vdc if it is charging, and if it reads around 12.5-VDC or lower then your battery is not being charged by your Converter.

      The next question is; Does your Engine start and run? If it does not then you also have a problem under your hood.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lidia 

      3 months ago

      Hi Don

      I have a 2018 Miramar Thor 35.2, I have no power to the dash board. Everything working well in the back, appliances, lights, but No AC or fan, can’t put the jacks up, can’t roll up the powered night shade. Battery is good but Seems like there is no connection/electricity between the battery and the fuses box.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      First check the fuse for the Jack system in the 12-Volt fuse panel.

      If the fuse is good, then run the calibration on the Atwood control panel. The instructions are on the owners manual, or can be found on the web.

      If the still don't function then try this:The Atwood jack system will try to lift all of the jacks if you start the engine. This is a safety feature designed to prevent damage to the jacks if the RV moves.

      If this doesn't work, and you need to move on, you can use a drill with the right sized socket on the bolt-head on each jack shaft to manually raise them.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Barbie Cox 

      3 months ago

      my atwood jack won't go up or down there is nothing no sound or any thing

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kelly - You should check that the connections in your truck's towing connector are wired properly. Check out my Hub: https://hubpages.com/rvs/RV-Towing-and-Electricalo... see the proper wiring for these different towing connectors.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      kelley marsh 

      3 months ago

      we have a 2016 sportsman 5th wheel, we can't get the brake lights or turn signals to work when plugged into the truck. they worked just fine from the person we bought the rv from. any ideas? hopeless

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kyle Miller - Each of those fuses are designed to handle a normal load on the different 12-VDC circuits in your RV. You need to figure out which 12-Volt things in your Rv are not working and then you will be able to check if they are bad.

      Some of the equipment in your Rv that use 12-VDC are; your CO and Smoke Alarms, your interior lights, your 2-Way Fridge control circuit board, your temperature control panel, your Power Management panel and your INVERTER.

      Check that each of these are functioning properly for you and I suspect you will find one that is bad.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kyle - All of your symptoms indicate bad COACH batteries. Your batteries should read around 13.5-VDC if they are fully charged, around 14.5-VDC if the Converter is running and charging them,

      With your reading of only 12.8-VDC your Converter, which runs on 110-VAC, is not charging your batteries. You should check it first and then the batteries.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kyle Miller 

      3 months ago

      All my fuses work but one 15 blue line in circuit board that runs lights on part of camper was working tell other day I unplugged camper using only DC and still blows 15 amp fuse all other fues work 1997 Coachman cat. Any help would be appreciated thank you

    • profile image

      Kyle 

      3 months ago

      17, Pinnacle 36FBTS, Auto level 6 point system will not finish, gets very close then says "Auto Level Error". Middle Jacks will not move at all, not in manual mode or end of auto level sequence.

      Has built in cummins generator. Generator will start and warm up but will not power anything up.

      Has residential fridge that should run off of Xantrex 1000 Inverter when going down road. Inverter will not power up at all.

      Batteries are reading to be putting out 12.8V both at the battery posts and going in to the inverter.

      Has automatic switch-over for shore/generator/inverter, not sure if this could be bad maybe? Don't know how to test it?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Rob - From your symptoms, I must assume that your first problem may be a campsite power panel with internal wiring that has been damaged, as well as your trailers power system into your breaker box.

      So, The first thing I would do is have the campground maintenance people come by and open the campsite power box up and repair any bad wiring.

      Then, I would get a standard RV power cable that has not been damaged to plug into my trailer so that I can check my AC-Voltage system for damage at the Breaker box, and then to my Air Conditioner, as well as going to any appliances that might not operate properly.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Rob 

      3 months ago

      Hi. I plugged my trailer into a 30 amp outlet that had a 50 amp breaker. Long story. The power panel smoked a little when I turned on Air conditioner. I shut it off and plugged into a 30 amp outlet and A/c does not work. Help

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Scott - I must assume you mean "at the campsite power box" by "at ground"?

      If this is the case, and you were getting 120-VAC at the power box with the cable/RV unplugged and then 106-VAC at the two sockets at your campers internal receptacle, then the difference (or drop) could be due to your RV loading the campsite power system down.

      TYpically, your campsite provides 220-VAC (or two 110-VAC) lines to a camper, and a floating 120-VAC would load down somewhat.

      On the other hand, your measurement of 106-VAC is a little low and ideally you do want this voltage to be a little higher, even when loaded.

      If everything is operating OK in your RV then check with your campsite management and ask them why your voltage is running this low. If your campsite is loaded, this could be the cause of a campground power system being loaded down, especially in this heat.

      Have a nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Scott 

      4 months ago

      Have a 2013 cougar fifth wheel camper have 120 volts at ground where plugged in but only 106 at electric out let in camper what could be the problem

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Virgil - Your lights, alarms, temperature control panel, and otehr interior equipment operate on 12-VDC from your COACH battery.

      Check that Your AUX Cut-Off switch is in the right position and if that not the problem, check that your COACH battery is good and is fully charged.

      Have a Nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      virgil handlon sr 

      4 months ago

      i have 120 volts to breaker box and coming out of breakers but nothing works but the microwave no lights or anything? whats going on

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Richard - Over time, the contacts on a campers external power cable can become oxidized and have a build-up on them which can cause bad connections.

      I have had to clean mine on several different RV over the years.

      A brass wire brush or even a screwdriver edge an be used to remove this kin of build-up from the contacts.

      It sounds like this could be the cause of your problem so check this before you get into the actual wiring inside your camper trailer.

      Have a good Day,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Chris - You must keep that battery in good condition and fully charged.

      Remember much of the interior equipment is powered by your 12-VDC COACH battery, such as; leveling jacks, slides, interior lights, CO and Fire Alarms, 2-way Fridge control circuit board, temperature control circuit board, and such.

      And remember, that COACH battery is kept charged by your built-in CONVERTER which uses your external 110-VAC power that is only there when you are plugged into an exterior power source.

      Have a good day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Richard 

      4 months ago

      I have a 2014 Kodiak travel trailer. While camping yesterday (plugged into AC from camp ground) the power just died. I checked the breakers and nothing tripped. Also, the little power cable light (where it plugs into the trailer) is on so it must be a problem with the trailer. I removed the cable plug from the trailer and when I plugged it back into the trailer, and wiggling it around, I could hear the power (clicking noise inside the trailer) come on and off again. My cable plug where it plugs into the trailer is one of those that you have turn a few degrees, then there is a plastic lock nut to secure it in place. Could it be an issue with the cable plug (trailer side) or the female connection where the cable plug plugs into the trailer?

      Thanks!

      Richard

    • profile image

      Chris 

      4 months ago

      I have a 2016 Forrest River Mini Lite 2306. I recently had to replace my battery, as it had a short. Now, it seems to be working fine, almost. I can get it to power my jack, but it's not powering the rest of the camper. When I'm plugged into an outside power line, everything works, but when I'm only using the battery, the only thing that works is the jack.

      When I look at the breaker box, none of the circuits are tripped and all of the fuses look good. Any idea what could be going on?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Don Perkins - First of all, your COACH batteries are the heart of your interior electrical system and they must be in good condition.

      Your symptoms imply that your COACH battery is not being charged, which is done by your CONVERTER that in turn is powered by your 110-VAC power.

      Often, if a COACH battery is bad (old, low on water, not taking a charge) your equipment will operate at times on the Converter for a while. When this happens, the bad battery will eventually not hold a charge, and will not provide adequate power for everything.

      BTW, your symptoms even act like you have a SOLAR charger that is designed to trickle charge the COACH batteries, and by night-time the battery could be dropping down too low???

      ANyway, everything seems to point to your COACH batteries, so I suggest that you check it out.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jim - You must have those COACH batteries in good condition and fully charged.

      hey are the Heart of your interior electrical system

      Replace those damaged batteries and I believe your gear will start working properly.

      DON

    • profile image

      Don Perkins 

      4 months ago

      I have a 2006 Forest River Cedar Creek 5th wheel that is connected to Shore power from my shop, which has never had any power issues what so ever. I should mention that i only recently added the 50amp breaker and RV outlet...since plugging the RV in, I have had a good two weeks of good power supply running the AC, fridge, and everything else without issue while a guest was staying in it. one night a couple of days ago, the fridge alarmed and eventually the power to the whole trailer went out (less one outlet that had a very small power draw for wifi) and stayed out. I used a multimeter to try and diagnose the problem and found the shop breaker, outlets and cords all had good consistent power...the line and load sides of the RV breakers also showed proper voltage but there was still no distribution of power to the trailers outlets, lights or appliances (except the small draw wifi unit). –I will also mention here that the battery disconnect was turned to the off position for shore power and if I turned it on, the entire RV would power up all of the 12VDC fixtures. After diagnosing this problem for almost an entire day, I left the unit and when I went back everything was back up and running...

      In the middle of the night the following day, the power started going down again, (fridge alarming exactly as before) but this time after about 2-3 mins the power seemed to stabilize and everything was fine for the next 30 +/- hours. Then it happened again this morning but has remained off like before... please help...thank you!

    • profile image

      Jim 

      4 months ago

      Appliances work on generator but not when external ac plugged in also house batteries were dry

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Rudie - Turn all of the breakers in your AC-Voltage breaker box to OFF. Then unplug everything that is plugged into your 110-VAC receptacles.

      Once this is done, there should not be any load on your electrical system, so you should then try to reset the switch that keeps kicking Off.

      Without more information on your RV and specifics on your problem, this is all I can suggest at this point.

      Have a Great Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      rudie 

      4 months ago

      i have a electrical problem please help.

      convertor switch for shore power wont stay connected, I can push it in and the power and everything will come on but when I let go it pops back out.

      I think I could possibly be from my tv antenna getting hit by lighting a couple days ago

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Shoate - You should have a fuse panel under your dash for equipment such as the running lights and such that you mention that operate off of your ENGINE battery, but are not a part of the standard engine system which is fused under the Hood.

      This fuse panel is powered by a single wire that comes from your Engine system.

      Use a multimeter and measure that the 12-VDC to this fuse panel is there on the input wire.

      Your symptoms indicate this is where your problem should be because you mention that th rear backup camera doesn't work and it is powered through this fuse panel.

      Also,you should check the wiring of your Tow connector and look for frayed wiring and shorts.

      Have a Nice Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Shoate 

      4 months ago

      I have a 2003 Coachman Aurora class A. My exterior running lights, brake/tail lights/blinkers, and rear back up camera aren’t working. Batteries are good. Fuses are good. All worked well last trip while pulling trailer. Headlights and front clearance lights work.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Deb - The weather we are having can really test an RVs AC unit.

      So, without know anything about your RV let me explain a few things to help you out in these hotter than normal days.

      1- As your RV (and its AC unit) ages, it cant take more Current for the AC unit to "Crank up".

      Where a new AC unit may draw only 2-3 Amps to start up and only 4-6 Amps to run. But a ten year old AC can take 4-6 Amps to crank up and 6-9 Amps to run. This level of current used every time an AC units cycles, can, in conjunction with the current your other 110-VAC appliance may be using, can kick out your AC's breaker (not fuse).

      2- Too many people set their thermostat far too low. Remember that each time your AC cycles, it draws current, so the logical thing to do is turn on your AC unit, and then slowly drop the thermostat down until it turns OFF. This temperature is the best your AC can do, so why have it continuously try to start up yet again and maintain a temperature it cannot reach. Always set your thermostat at a point where the AC will cycle and not run all of the time. Later, when the evening starts to cool, you can drop it a couple of degrees at a time to reach a lower temperature where the AC will run and cycle efficiently.

      3- You can also get an AC service-person to come by and check the "freon" level in your AC, and add some if necessary and clean the coils at the same time.

      Hope this helps,

      DON

    • profile image

      Deb Nobbe 

      4 months ago

      Our AC works great most of the time but on warmer days it trips the fuse. Start it up again and the air isn’t cool until the outside air becomes cooler then it performs properly again. Any suggestions?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dan - Typically your slides are powered by your 12-VDC COACH battery.

      So, if you received a shock when you touched the framework of the camper while on the ground, you should check your AC external power source.

      The symptom you describe would typically result if you had an open GROUND or COMMON connection.

      Check the GROUND from the campsite power box, the connections of your external cable, and that your Ground at your breaker panel is good.

      With an open ground, your body was completing the circuit, so this is a dangerous situation.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dan 

      4 months ago

      Ok I have a 2006 excel with 3 slides I went to kneel down and I grabbed the support for the slide and got an electrical shock from the ac current. So I’m thinking there is a short somewhere in the ac power cord. My question is, with this unit does anyone know if there is a particular spot that shorts are common? I used a multimeter and checked the plug in on the trailer and I have two terminals that when I test them they appear to have a short. So somewhere in the framework wires are touching together. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Tilda - The normal mode of operation for your electrical system is to operate on your External power source.

      I am assuming that your generator was factory installed and that it was wired with a standard Power Transfer Switch that selected the generator as your power source, only when the External Power was not present.

      So, if you are using a standard external power cord, there should be not be any problems with your system selecting the external power when you hook up to a campsite.

      PS. - Make sure the breakers are ON at the campsite power box!

      So, You should check your voltage across your battery terminals, and the meter should read around 13.5-VDC.

      If the voltage is lower than this then your battery is not fully charged.

      Then while plugged into the campsite power box, check for 110-VAC on the MAIN breaker in your breaker panel. If it is not there, then your Power Transfer Switch is most likely Bad, or was wired incorrectly.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Tilda 

      4 months ago

      We have a 2017 Jayco Pinnacle 5th wheel it's been in the shop sense 23rd January with 2 Stress Crack on the left side we picked it up 28 of June and now it will run off the generator but when we plugged it in the 50amp at the campground nothing works but it will work with the generator could they're be something turned off causing it not to work on electricity the batteries are charged and the battery connect switch is on

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Sean - That 12-Volt battery, commonly called your COACH battery, is the heart of your camper.

      It powers your interior lights, your 2-Way Fridge circuit board, your temperature control board, your alarms and more.

      Make sure this battery is not OLD, that it is full of water, and that it is kept charged.

      As to your Disconnect switch, I assume you're talking about your "Cut-Off" switch that is wired to remove "most" of the 12-volt load from your COACH battery. It is designed to be used when your camper is placed in storage.

      As to your trailer running lights? Well, they are normally powered by your towing vehicle, so I assume your tow vehicle is hooked up?

      The camper's running lights, signal lights and brake lights should be connected to your tow connector on the front and not to your COACH battery.The two electrical systems are seperate.

      So, with all of this being said, Your light problem really looks like a problem with the GROUND or COMMON wiring in your tow connector. Check the camper and towing vehicle tow connector's contacts for corrosion, and the tow cable for loose or broken wires.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Sean 

      4 months ago

      So...this website is friggin sweet.

      I have a 2007 cedar Creek. Recently on a trip we lost all power including brakes to the trailer. A guy with a voltmeter tested the truck and said it was sending power.

      The battery was old and not maintained very well. I just replaced that, but what is peculiar is that the right tail light came on when the battery disconnect switch was off. When I connect the battery, the light stays on regardless of the disconnect switch...and brighter, but with the battery dc'd the light only comes on when the switch is on. Where should I start the process? Thanks!

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Lyle - That's the way it works with an RV. Your camper will not have 110-VAC for your camper's equipment that operates on 110-VAC if you are not plugged into an external 110-VAC source.

      If I understand your question, you may be confused and thing that your campers batteries provide 110-VAC, but they do not.

      They provide 12-VDC for your interior lights, your 2-way fridge control circuit board, your alarms, your temperature control panel a nd a few other things, but NOT for your AC or receptacles or other equipment that operates on 110-VAC.

      Some campers will have a small INVERTER that is powered by your batteries and powers a limited amount of pwoer to a couple of receptacles that are used by your TV and maybe one for you to use for a PC. ANd that's it.

      I hope this information has been helpful for you,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lyle Clarken 

      4 months ago

      I have a 2020 salem and I have power when plugged in but no power when im not plugged into shore power. Batteries are good, battery disconnect is to the on postion, also I have checked the breakers that the battery hooks near the battery along with all breakers and fuses in the camper. any advice. Everything works when plugged in to 110 power though... tested batteries they are fulling charged.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      So much for it being called a "Safety Pin???". Anyway, I suspect that when the bed frame "sagged" the electrical wires to it came loose.

      Try to trace the wires to the bed connector and check for the wire to be broken or its connector to be pulled loose. you may have to remove the mattress to get to the wiring.

      Also, a long shot is that the wires shorted and the fuse for the bed may be blown.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      JEvans6314 

      4 months ago

      I have a 2016 Miramar by Thor. The safety pin on the drivers side of the drop down bed came out while driving causing the left side to sag. While attempting to put the bed up the power to just the bed stopped. Any suggestions ?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      From your symptoms; that your 2-way Fridge did work on Propane but quit and it did not work on 110-VAC, I would suspect that your COACH battery is not fully charged.

      Check the battery for water level and that the voltage across the terminals is around 13.5-VDC or higher to make sure it is OK.

      I'm not sure about your "one receptacle" that does not work unless it is on your GFCI, but you aid you reset it?

      Anyway, check that battery because it powers your 2-Way Fridge's control circuit board.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Sheri Bishop 

      4 months ago

      We have a Coachman Catalina travel trailer. This weekend our refrigerator and 1 outlet by the fridge quit working. The refrigerator did work on gas but could not get it to work on electric. Everything else worked in the camper. We reset the GFCI receptacle in the bathroom and it did not fix the problem. We did not find any other GFCI receptacles in the camper. We then check the fuses and they were good. We flipped all the breakers and not luck.

      Do you have any ideas we need to check next?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Dennis - From what little you have told me, I would find the 12-VDC Fuse panel in your Class-C motorhome and check for a blown fuse. Generally the interior 12-VDC fuse panel would be under the dash; but often it cn be found near the RV's power panel.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dennis Brown 

      5 months ago

      2005 dutchman express out side running lights will notl light up

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      If Your engine starts and runs only when you hold the AUX switch then your Engine battery is not charged. Use a multimeter and measure directly across the COACH battery terminals and you should read 13.5-VDC if it is charged, If you measure around 12.5-VDC or lower then the battery is bad or not charged; or your alternator is bad and is not charging the battery.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Gordon Hilton 

      5 months ago

      I have a 2000 Holiday rambler with the Ford v 10 engine and the battery is fully charged along with my house battery the only way that i can get it to start is i have to hook up my booster cables and turn on my axillary power and then when it starts i have to hold my axillary power button down the minute that i let go it shuts down.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Julie - Without any other information about your RV itself or your symptom, I can only assume that the manufacturer has the wiring for the two appliances tied together somewhere.

      Considering the RV is new, you should take it back to the dealer for repair immediately.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Julie 

      5 months ago

      My brand new rv seems to have an electrical issue, when we put the furnace on, the outside radio turn on by itself :/

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      You have not described your problem very well because you left out the RV type among other details.

      There are no other ceiling alarms in the typical RV ceiling. And the only thing that may be making a similar sound could be the fan in your ceiling AC dragging on its shroud.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Pat 

      5 months ago

      Have a chirping sound from the ceiling. It's not the radio and the smoke detector is ok.is there a battery I should check?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      First of all, I am assuming that you had to replace your exterior 50-Amp connector on your camper. Considering this fact, make sure that your new connector was wired properly inside your camper and the wires were not damaged inside the camper to your breaker box.

      Second, make sure your external power cable was rewired properly and that is was not damaged internally considering the fact that you had melted wires at both the campsite power box, and at your camper.

      And understand that any current leakage between the Common and Ground wires will kick out your GFCI circuit, so check that the GFCI has been reset.

      BTW - Roof AC units and Clothes Dryers run on 220-VAC as supplied by your external campsite power box.

      If your landlord is providing some type of 50-Amp power connection that is not what is standard for Campers then you may need to get an electrician look at how it is not wired versus what is standard.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Livinthedream2gether 

      5 months ago

      Hello, I read through all of the posts before I decided to ask, hoping I would find the answer and not bother you with a question that you have already had.

      My family and I (5of us) live in a bunk house, bumper pull mobile home. Has 4 bedrooms, with bunk beds in each room, 2 ac units on top, 3 window units, washer dryer, (110) and fridge, microwave... most common household furnishings. It’s a 2000 airevaction but I have never found that company. Has a 50 amp plug, a breaker box with 8 breakers, and the converter/battery charger. Recently we have blown the pole breaker outside, the one the landlord owns. We have alternated using various electriconics to prevent any blown breakers, overloads and that sort. After fixing the breaker outside, the receptical and plug (because they both melted).... we aren’t able to get all of our circuits back on the breaker box. Only the red hot wire will provide power, the black wire shows 2volts as does the common. The ground shows zero. Not sure where to look? Or what to troubleshoot since I don’t have any specs on this mobile home and can’t find any on the web. Any advice would be very appreciated. Hope you have a blessed day.

    working

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