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 MM200 Auto Ranging Multimeter
Klein MM200 Auto Ranging Multimeter
When my old multimeter died, I selected this one for its functions, ruggedness and ease of use.
 

3. Troubleshooting Problems Coming From the Outside Power Supply

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

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

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

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

Surge Protector, Yes or No?

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

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

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

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

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

4. Troubleshooting AC Current Draws

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

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

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

How Much Current Do Your Appliances Draw?

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

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

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

Estimating Maximum Current

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

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

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

P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor
P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor
If you suspect an appliance of drawing too much current, use this handy meter and monitor what it actually uses. This is a valuable tool for your toolbox.
 

Useful Electrical Terms, Abbreviations, and Data

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

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

One-Letter Electrical Abbreviations

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

Resistor Values and Colors

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

Good Luck Now

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

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

Questions & Answers

  • I have 2005 Keystone Outback 25'. Just recently, when I plug in unit to outlet, it only powers the camper outlets and microwave- nothing else. When I hook the camper to my truck and plug into truck for towing, it then powers everything inside camper except for outlest and microwave. I've checked all fuses and even put a new 30amp end on main camper cord. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Your Camper has a 12-VDC battery normally referred to as the COACH battery. It powers many things in your Rv that operate on 12-VDC including your; interior lights, your alarms, your 2-way fridge control circuit board, your temperature control panel, and more. This battery is powered by your built-in Converter and it sounds like you have not maintained this battery. Many people do not and they eventually end up with a dead battery.

    So, first, check if the battery has water and then see if it will take a charge. If it doesn't you may have to replace the battery.

  • I have a 2008 Majestic Class C. I have a new COACH battery fully charged but no data is showing on installed surge protector for the battery. The lights and fans work but no power to plug in receptacles or anything else that should run off of the battery. Everything runs fine on shore power and with the generator. What could cause my COACH battery to not function?

    Your symptoms indicate a potentially bad COCH battery.

    Use a multimeter and measure across the battery terminals.

    You should read around 13.50VDC if the battery is charged, and around 14.5-VDC if it is being charged by your Converter.

    If it is only reading around 12.5-VDC then your battery is NOT charged.

    With that said, any receptacles you have that operate on your batteries are being powered by your INVERTER, which only powers a couple of receptacles, usually for the TVs and maybe one near the dash for a computer. Be aware that if everything works on shore power and on the generator, except these receptacles that run off your Inverter, then your symptoms again indicate your COACH battery is the problem.

    As to your Coach BATTERY SURGE PROTECTOR???? I am not familiar with what you have unless you are talking about what is called a "FUSEABLE LINK" like what is on the wiring of most automobile engine electrical systems, which is there to protect your equipment in case of a "high current" condition.

  • I have a total 12-volt failure. Nothing with tow vehicle power, nothing with battery power. I have a 12-volt with shore power through a converter. What is it?

    Your Converter uses your external 110-VAC power to generate 12-VDC primarily to keep our COACH battery charged. This battery must be in good condition, and it must take charge.

    One of the more common problems people have in motorhomes, and the larger trailer campers is to leave their 12-VDC CUT-OFF switch (used for storage) in the wrong position. Check yours.

    And, your tow-vehicle power is typically only used for a limited number of accessories and not for everything that runs on 12-VDC in your trailer. Some trailers are wired to use the tow vehicle power, but it's a special condition.

    If the Cut-off switch isn't the problem, you need to check your tow cable for oxidation on the contacts or loose wires.

  • I have a 2004 Wilderness pull behind, I have no dome lights in half the trailer and no ignition for the water heater or electric water heater. Can you help?

    Check your RV's Battery. If it is not fully charged the interior lights may not operate.

    A battery with a low charge on it or a bad battery could be the cause of your problems.

  • I have a 1999 Jayco Eagle. All electric was good when plugged into house GFCI 20amp receptacle then the GFCI failed would not reset. I replaced the GFCI, and the supply cord with new ones, a prong on the cord seemed to be loose. Now with all the breakers including the main, every time I plug in the power supply cord the GFCI trips, could the cause be a bad main breaker in my camper?

    This problem happens for a lot of people. As you know the GFCI Master receptacle is designed to sense if there is any current leakage between the COMMON wire and the GROUND wire. Often, because your RV is not tied to a good ground stake, the extra length of wire in your RV external power cord will allow a certain amount of this leakage so that if you plug it into a GFCI at your house, the GFCI will "kick OFF." I had this problem at my house, and I had to add an extension cord and plug the Rv into a non-GFCI receptacle on my house.

    Try this, and I suspect your problem will go away.

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    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      14 hours ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Gordon Cachola 

      16 hours ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      32 hours ago from Ruskin Florida

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

      Have a Great day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Robin 

      32 hours ago

      Thank you.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 days ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Rey 

      2 days ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 days ago from Ruskin Florida

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      francesca plotino-graves 

      3 days ago

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

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

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

      What are we missing or not doing correctly?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 days ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      jack 

      3 days ago

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

    • profile image

      Christopher 

      10 days ago

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

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      12 days ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dave Hasler 

      13 days ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      robin talbot 

      2 weeks ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Stephen Leech 

      2 weeks ago

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

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

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

      Im at my wits end with this one

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Roger - As you know your Fleetwood motorhome has either;

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

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Roger Pletan 

      2 weeks ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kyle 

      3 weeks ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Sherri - Check those battery connections again.

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Sherri 

      3 weeks ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Ginny Upton 

      3 weeks ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Pat Smith 

      4 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      Pat Smith 

      4 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      Larry 

      4 weeks ago

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

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

      Any help you can give me would be appreciated.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Jose 

      6 weeks ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Have a Great day,

      DON,

    • profile image

      William Patterson 

      7 weeks ago

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

      Where do I start to find the problem?

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

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

      Your Ignition switch should have NO effect on the Converter.

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

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dwan 

      2 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Ray 

      2 months ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

      I hope this helps!

      Have a Great day,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

      Have a Good day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Frazer 

      2 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Doozy 

      2 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Ric 

      2 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kris 

      2 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      david ayres 

      4 months ago

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

      how do i fix

      thank you

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      David Boci 

      5 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Jeanine 

      5 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Tom Schmidt 

      5 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Check my Hub named RV Towing and Electrical and then check if the extra wire (pin-7???) goes to Auxiliary Power or Backup Lights as the article says.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Art Folsom 

      5 months ago

      Sorry: You where right. I matched the yellow wires you pointed out. This is a 7 pin connection with a black wire and a white ground. There is an extra black wire of a smaller gauge that tests as a ground. Cant figure out its purpose. It comes from the camper harness.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      First of all, your Slides operate on your 12-VDC from your COACH battery in your Camper. So check that battery to see if it is fully charged.

      Secondly, You mentioned all of the proper wire colors for a standard 6-pin connector for RV; except there is no Black wire but normally there is a yellow wire for your left turn signal.

      I would not want to guess why your wiring is different without taking a multimeter to your towing wire cable,

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      art folsom 

      5 months ago

      The one way connection between the truck was torn out at the camper junction box. I have the color matched the green, red, white, blue, and brown. There is an extra black wire coming from the camper? Also which blue wire goes first to break away switch?

      2015 puma 205BH330K

      Also the back slide works but the front doesn't.

    • profile image

      Steph Janicek 

      5 months ago

      Rocker panel switches for in door lights and flood lights along with porch light stick on a 05 Montana 5th wheel what could be the problem?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Steve1266 - You have a COACH battery that must be kept charged. Check that this battery has water in it, and that it is charged. IF not, it powers a number of control panels, alarms, the fridge, and more items in your RV that all operated on 12-VDC.

      Also make sure your CUT-OFF swith is in the right position. for amping and not for storage.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Leah - From your new symptoms, everything that is not working uses 110-VAC. So, you should reset all of the breakers in your breaker box to make sure one is not kicked off, but you also need to check the breakers in your house for the circuit you are plugged into.

      Once you are sure that you have good 110-VAC going into your RV then everything should be working for you.

      Bot remember, that battery is kept charged by your Converter in your RV, and it is in turn powered by your 110-VAC, so always make sure your RV is plugged into a good 110-VAC source.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Steve1266 

      6 months ago

      2006 Puma 30DBSS.... I am having issue with getting power. I’ve plugged into campsite but nothing. Checked all fuses, still nothing. GFCI found in the bathroom, fixed that issue which was tripped. Still no power. Campsite manager check to make sure there is power to the site, which is good!! When hooked to my truck, I get some power from the battery, which doesn’t last long, when disconnected. What am I missing? Thanks

    • profile image

      Leah Peters 

      6 months ago

      Hi Don... we love your post and it has helped us through today. We are staying in our fifth wheel while our home is being built. We have a 2008 Montana Big Sky Fifth wheel. In the middle of last night half of the rig power went out from the heater, fridge, microwave, to the bedroom. After reviewing your website and posts we had to purchase a new battery. Now everything is working except the water heater, microwave, Three outlets in bedroom, and air conditioner. We verified that the gas is running to the water heater but it won’t ignite. Fuses appear good. Gfi isn’t tripped either so we are currently at a loss and since we are residing in here currently we can’t just take it in to the shop. Any ideas would be tremendous help.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      David - This series of events, up to the engine problems are pretty standard.

      When your 12-VDC COACH battery is nit charged, then the generator will not start, nor wuill you have interior lights. In fact there are several devices that will either not operate at all or will act strange, including your 2-way fridge, your temperature control panel, nor your Power Control panel.

      Your engine electrical system is not a part of your motorhomes COACH 12-VDC system. So, if your motorhomes COACH battery is not charged then check that it has water and then check if your Converter is trying to charge it.

      Once all of this is fixed, then you can check out what happened to your engine and its systems.

      Have a Nice Day,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Mike - With no more information than you have given me I would first say that you could wire your Solar panel directly to your COACH battery terminals.

      Otherwise, just to confirm this, you should get online and do some Google Searches for more information on our Solar Panel and its actual capabilities??

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Mike jordan 

      6 months ago

      I have a 20 ft. 1998 Nomad bumper pulled trailer and wanting to know how to wire a 200 watt solar panel into the built-in factoy enverter/ converter

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Randy - Your interior lights in your motorhome are powered by your 12-VDC COACH battery set.

      And your 2-way fridge circuit board also operates on this same 12-VDC.

      Your motorhome has a fuse panel, often under the dash of some RVs, that uses automotive fuses and you most likely blew one of thee fuses.

      So,find that fuse panel and you will find your blown fuse.

      Have a Nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Randy 

      6 months ago

      I have a 1997 Discovery motorhome, while changing a light fixture, I had a spark, it blew out all the DC elect in the kitchen, including the referator, I have checked all the brakers in the kitchen all seem ok, is there any other place to check?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Rob - First of all, I have to assume that you wired your electrical systems the same as a;most all RV manufacturers do.

      If so, then you have a seperate COACH battery and a Converter that keeps the battery charged?

      I say this because your symptoms are those if a typical motorhome owner who has a COACH battery that is not being charged, or is not taking a charge.

      The Converter runs on 110-VAC T\that is typically provided by your external campsite 110-VAC power.

      When your battery is dead, then the Converter can handle a lot ot the load from your motorhome equipment, but not all of it. Thus, if your COACH battery isn't taking a charge after a while things will shut down because of the limitations of your Converter.

      This situation is complicated somewhat when you also have SOlar power hooked in to the system, but you get the gist of what I'm saying, right?

      Gave a nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Rob 

      7 months ago

      We have a 2018 Ford Transit converted to a campervan. The van has a 30 amp system as well as solar power. Each system generates power to the fridge, interior lights, 10 spd fan; when on shore power we can use electrical outlets for hot water kettle. There is no AC (air conditioner) in our van. We have been in the van full time since April. Here's the issue: for the past two nights we have been dry camping and relying on solar to power the fridge, lights and fan. Woke up this morning to find no power to fridge, lights, etc. I put the key in the ignition to see in the van had power, it did. I then started the van and all power to fridge, etc came back on. I checked the power monitor (JRV micro monitor) and all lights were green. An hour later no power to fridge, etc, started the van and all power back on. We have been one day without shore and not driving, but this is the longest period without shore power or driving (2 days). Thoughts? Best regards, rob

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Frank - On most RVs I would say that you had a bad fuse in your fuse panel, probably the one under your dash.

      No offense, but Thor has a reputation for their "creativity" with their designs, and often, they do things that drive the owners a little crazy.

      Anyway, because your symptoms indicate that the problem is "after" the actual blinker unit in the wiring system (the rear lights blink), and it affects the camera, I would suspect that the ground wire is either loose, or the contact is oxidized.

      But, because you say the running light on the same socket works, you may have the connection problem with the hot wire, inside the RV.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Frank 

      7 months ago

      2016 Thor Challenger KT. Having an issue with left front driver side blinker. Rear is working. Tried changing bulb but no help. Running light on same socket will work. This also affects the mirror mounted camera on the driver side. Didn’t find any blown fuses. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jess - Strange problem, because all of these external lights on your Class-C should be on the same fuse panel.

      Check the vehicle fuse panel under the hood as well as the fuse panel that is often under the dash somewhere.

      Have a Great Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Jess Brenner 

      7 months ago

      I have a 1993 Winnebago Warrior. The clearance lights do not work. Tail lights, turn signals, running lights, brake lights, back up lights, all work. Can't find a fuse for clearance lights.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Todd - Your Thermostat is actually powered by your 12-VDC COACH battery as well as your radio.

      Your interior lights also run on your battery, but you have a Converter that keeps this battery charged when you are plugged into campsite power.

      But, the Converter cannot power everything and keep the battery fully charged, so some of the DC-equipment will start to operate strangely or not at all.

      I suggest that your COACH battery is either bad, or it is low on water, or it is not at full charge, and thus causing your problem.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Todd Pruitt 

      7 months ago

      I have a 2008 cougar fifth wheel I have no power to thermostat furnace or AC or radio all the lights microwave refrigerator work . Can you help please

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Robert - OK - Lets break this down.

      1- Your Emergency power switch controls a solenoid that connects your Engine Battery to your Coach battery.

      2-When the engine is running charging is ONLY going to the Engine battery.

      3- If you are connected to shore power, (110-VAC) then your Converter will charge your COACH batteries.

      Knowing these two facts, you should relook at your symptoms because these are two different 12-VDC systems, which are never connected to each other except when you press that "emergency" or AUX button.

      GoodLuck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Robert Crossley 

      7 months ago

      OK I am 1.5 weeks in to my 1st 2 week trip In my new rv It is a 2005 cruise master by Georgie boy 35' long with a Chevy 8.1 liter engine Put 3 new batteries in 1 4 the engine and 2 for the coach Way I turn the key in the Ignition to start I have no power or dashboard lights Way I hit the emergency power on the dashboard it starts rite up I tested all batteries they show proper voltage and even pass the load test when engine is running there is charging going to all batteries coach and emgine While it is running every thing works including all lights and dashboard lights and gages Just no power when I simply turn the key on On 2 occasions in 1.5 weeks of traveling All lights came on on the dashboard and the gages dropped down to 0 as if there was no power That lasted for 3 seconds It had no effect On the operation of the vehicle during those 3 seconds Any help or information would be greatly appreciated

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      You give very little information for me to help you but I can give you a few things to try.

      First, check if you have power at your campsite power box. These boxes have breakers that may need to be rest.

      Second, check that your camper external power cord is firmly inserted in the receptacle at the campsite power box and at the RV.

      Third, check that your ACPower breaker box has all of its breakers ON by reseting them.

      This is all I can suggest with so little information.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Joe 

      7 months ago

      No power inside my RV 1988 Fleetwood

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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

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