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

  • I have a 20ft Jayco Flight and having AC problems. My thermostat is not getting power or else barely measurable. The lights work in the trailer and everything else just the AC/furnace won’t turn on because of the thermostat's lack of power. There is 110 in the control box of the AC, and all fuses in the box are good, and breakers are all on. Could it be the converter is going bad? If not what else could it be?

    Yes, your converter does keep your camper's battery charged, which in turn provides the 12-VDC to your temperature control board.

    I would suspect the battery, and then the converter so check that your battery is good!

    1: Does it have water in it?

    2: Is the converter functioning? Check this by looking for 13-5 to 14.5 volts across your battery terminals. A voltage less than this, even 12-VDC indicates the battery is not being charged.

    3: Never trust your campground power! Check that the power at your campsite power box is what it should be.

  • I have a 1999 Trail-lite travel trailer. I am not getting a 12V new battery. None of the lights, monitor panel, pump, Fridge or jack work. No 12v at the power panel. It seems like there is a fuse or open wire in line from the battery to pwr panel. It is the same with or without A/C hooked up, but when it is connected to the A/C, the microwave and the outlets don't work. What do I do?

    First, I assume you have a built-in Converter (charger) that runs on your 110-VAC when hooked up to external power.

    If you do then your battery is kept charged by the Converter and all of the equipment you mentioned the run of this battery voltage.

    So, you need to check that your battery is being charged by using a multimeter across the battery terminals.

    If you read around 14.5 VDC, then the Converter is trying to charge a dead battery. If you read around 13,5-VDC, then the battery is charged, and the Converter is in the trickle charge mode. If you are reading below 13.0-VDC, then the battery is not being charged.

  • I have lost power to lighting and air in my RV. I have checked everything, but I haven't found anything. The outlets work, though. What should I check now?

    Your symptoms make me think that your 12-VDC battery(s) are not properly charged. In an RV, the interior lights, the temperature control panel, the 2-way fridge control panel, and your alarms all run on your 12-VDC Coach battery. This battery must be kept charged for this equipment to operate properly.

    I recommend that you ask yourself:

    1- Does your battery have water in it?

    2- With a multimeter, can you measure at least 13-5 VDC across the Coach battery?

    These are the most probable causes of your problems. Check these before getting into anything else.

  • I have a 93 Bounder and it seems like my system is frying my batteries, it stinks really bad. What would cause my car to stink?

    I assume you're talking about your COACH batteries and not your Engine Battery?

    If so, then you need to use a multimeter and check that your CONVERTER is operating properly.

    Check at the battery terminals and you should have around 12.5-VDC if the battery is NOT charging, and you should get around 14.5 VDC if the battery is being charged properly, not higher.

    Also, before you do anything else check those COACH batteries and make sure they have water in them and that they do not feel HOT! If they're HOT replace them immediately you probably have shorted plates in the battery.

    If the charging voltage is very high, as I mentioned, then you need to check out and possibly replace that CONVERTER!

Comments

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    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      8 days ago from Ruskin Florida

      for long period of time you should do the following;

      1- Make sure your batteries have water in them.

      2- Plug your Rv into an external power source.

      3- Check that your Converter is charging your AUX (Coach) batteries.

      4- Make sure you have your AUX Cut-Off switch in the appropriate position so that your 12-VDC system is turned ON.

      5- One your batteries have fully charged, you should have everything operating properly.

      Have a Nice Day!

      DON

    • profile image

      Rob 

      10 days ago

      I have a 1999 Winnebago Itasca was in the storage when I took it out the 12 volt system won't work now replace both axillary batteries still nothing the switch don't even click little run off the shore power

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Tara - Your RV has a GFCI system which consists of a Master and several Slave receptacles.

      The Master GFCI has a Reset button.

      Find this receptacle and once you reset it, all of the Slave units will operate.

      You should never plug a typical heater unit into a GFCI receptacle because they are not always wired as safely as possible and they draw a lot of current.

      Try this and your problems should go away.

      DON

    • profile image

      Tara Gragg 

      3 weeks ago

      I have a 2003 coachman model c liberty edition yesterday i used a heater which trip all my outlet i went to outlet in bathroom but it was dead too no reset so i went and got a new set and installed it but all out let is still dead don't know what to microwave and fridge working fine.is there any other outlet please help me

    • profile image

      Irma 

      4 weeks ago

      Just checked fuses no current to them

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Donald - Your slide operates on the same COACH battery as your other 12-VDC interior equipment.

      So, if your interior lights, CO and other alarms operate properly, and your fuse panel has no bad fuses then check the slide control module.

      Sad to say, these control modules are often "well hidden'.

      But, if you can find yours you can use a multimeter to check the voltage on its terminals to see if the unit has power and if it is functioning.

      One tip for you though, make sure you have your Power Cut-Off switch is not ON.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Josh - Your USB port in a Fiver would be powered by your 12-VDC COACH battery just like your interior lights would.

      Your Stereo would typically also be powered by either your 12-VDC, or with some campers by an INVERTER which generates 110-VAC from your campers battery.

      Inverters are notoriously noisy of they do not get enough 12-VDC power.

      Considering your symptoms, the first thing I would do is make sure my COACH battery is a good one and has water in it.

      Then I would check that my CONVERTER is keeping the battery fully charged.

      If these things are OK then I would take my NEW RV back to the dealer and have them fix the problem, which I would suspect to be the CONVERTER.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Donald Underwood 

      4 weeks ago

      We have a 2008 Cedar Creek Daydreamer 5th Wheel. We recently tried to move a slide and the switch did not seem to have power. It didn't even try to move....just silence. We checked breaker box and fuses inside trailer and nothing was burned out or tripped. Wonder if there's another fuse or breaker we need to check, like something inside a bin. Or any other ideas on the problem?

    • profile image

      Josh 

      4 weeks ago

      Newbie question.. I have a 2019 Sabre 36bhq that I just picked up last week. Two things are now acting strange.. first the stereo emits this horrid sound through the speakers like a bad ground sound, and whenever you plug in a device to the USB port, the light in the same room flickers.. Any ideas? Thank you

      Josh

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Melika - As I mentioned, you need to get that battery fully charged.

      When it is fully charged then yes, your 12-VDC system is designed to support ALL of your 12-VDC equipment.

      Have a Nice Day!

      DON

    • profile image

      Melika 

      4 weeks ago

      Hello we are just about to head out for our camping trip unfortunately the slide and the hitch are not running on the direct electricity connection from our home. Everything else works in the rv (lights, fridge) just the slide is moving and the hitch is not lowering down on the ball. When we are on the battery source then they seem to be working but very slowly ( Battery is not fully charged yet). But from my understanding everything sould work on direct electricity provided from the home. Could you please help??!! Thanks

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Your symptoms indicate that you have a bad power source at your site. They imply that your AC Voltage is varying radically at times.

      Also, your battery being at such a low level of 7.2 Volts says that your CONVERTER is not charging them. And your Converter is powered by your 110-VAC.

      Even your strange Coffee Pot problem indicates that its input voltage (110VAC is dropping low enough for the pot to not operate properly.

      Your interior lights, alarms,2-Way Fridge control circuit board and your temperature control panel all operate on 12-VDC from your batteries.

      You should get someone responsible at your campground to check your site's power at their 50-Amp connector., RIGHT AWAY!.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Robert 

      5 weeks ago

      I have a 2016 414 Fuzion Chrome, I moved to a spot that had a 50 amp plug for a welding machine. They changed it to a 50 amp plug to fit my RV. The first day my front AC starting making noise. The mobile RV guy said the compressor froze up. He changed it. It worked for a while and started cycling on and off again like the old one did. Second, strangely by coffee pot turned on and then smelt funny and quit working. Bought a new one and plugged it in and it quit heating the same way before it made the first pot. Last I woke up this 3rd day and my batteries are down to 7.2 volts the fridge is beeping and I have no DC lighting working. Also my propane detector is beeping. Could all these things just go bad at one time? Or do I need an electrician to test the plug and see if I am getting some kind of bad voltage from the plug burning stuff out? HELP!!

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      First of all, are you talking about an INVERTER which uses your 12-VDC from your battery to provide 110-VAC for certain of your electrical appliances such as your TV's?

      Or are you talking about your CONVERTER, which uses your 110-VAC to provide 12-VDC for certain of your 12-volt powered equipments and keeps your COACH batteries charged?

      And, that inline fuse is there to prevent direct short conditions in your wiring from melting wiring and insulation. damaging electrical equipment and causing fires.

      So, it look like your son has wired the new Inverter (?????) improperly.

      Rewire it properly and your problem should go away.

      Have a Good Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Mark Hodges 

      5 weeks ago

      My son put in a new inverter in my jayco fifth wheel trailer now it blows the big in line fuse on the battery positive cable. I replaced it but it blows right away. I have power as long as I’m hooked up to ac power. My landing gear jacks won’t work unless I’m hooked up to ac power. Any thoughts

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Bruce Fendrick - Your Converter is supposed to change from CHARGE to TRICKLE CHARGE to NO CHARGE modes depending on what it detects as the demand by the battery itself.

      So, Yes, it should turn itself down.

      Gave a great Day!

      DON

    • profile image

      bruce fendrick 

      6 weeks ago

      Thanks Don...I thought the converter charged both ignition battery and rv battery...yesterday I put the converter back in and started the generator...checked the batteries and noticed that rv battery was alls that was charging...so I misunderstood which battery get charged...

      will this converter model stop charging once the battery is charged??

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Bruce Fendrick - The newer Converters are "demand" systems that only charge if the battery being charged is not already fully charged.

      They do not just sit there and "trickle charge" per se when the battery is fully charged.

      So,there must be some level of demand before the Converter will operate.

      If it does not charge a discharged battery then your Converter may actually be bad.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      bruce fendrick 

      6 weeks ago

      I have a series 6300A Model 6345C power convertor. Everything seems to work but the battery charging circuit. I removed the convertor to see if I could notice any hot spots or bad components but everything looks good. I ohmed out the bridge rectifier and it was ok. Any ideas as to why the charging circuit isn't working??

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Good additional information.

      So, your Inverter button is typically a low-current switch that operates on your 12-VDC.

      It actually provides this 12-VDC power to a high current solenoid that in turn switches the 12-VDC over to the Inverter itself.

      Considering this configuration, either your "Button" is not functioning, or the Solenoid is bad, or most likely, you have a bad 12-VDC fuse in your 12-Volt fuse panel in your RV.

      So, check those fuses.

      Have a nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Jeff j 

      6 weeks ago

      Thank you for your response. When we are towing it, we usually turn on the inverter so the refrigerator is on. When the 5th wheel is plugged into the truck the battery’s are fully charged. For some unknown reason when we have the battery’s on and they are fully charged the inverter button doesn’t turn on anymore.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Jeff J - You should remember that your RV has a (what I call CONVERTER) which uses 110-VAC to keep your COACH batteries charged. It also has an INVERTER which uses your 12-VDC power from your COACH batteries to generate 110-VAC for certain of your appliances such as your TV's and your Fridge.

      If you do not have a 110-VAC source such as Shore power or your Generator, then your batteries will not be recharged and you will eventually not have an adequate input for your INVERTER, which will then be unable to power your appliances.

      SO, keep those batteries in good shape and make sure they are fully charged so that everything works well when you are going to be OFF LINE for a a day or so.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Jeff j 

      6 weeks ago

      We have a 2016 5th wheel. When we went to use it recently for the first time the invertor button would not turn on to run power to our refrigerator when the generator isn’t on and it’s not plugged into shore. We’ve checked all the fuses and they are good. What else could it be? Thank you

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      8 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Joseph - Your symptoms imply that the battery is shorted.

      I am assuming that when you say "everything shuts off" you mean everything that runs on 12-VDC,

      First check if the battery has water in it, and then check its age, it could be bad.

      Without the wire attached, measure the voltage across the battery terminals and there should be some level of voltage measurable when you check.

      If the battery is over 5 years old, you have gotten "all of the good from ot, so go ahead and replace it anyway.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Joseph 

      8 weeks ago

      I recently purchased a 1988 aljo 5th wheel travel trailer, shore power works but not charging system, i replaced the converter and everything works the same except when i connect the cable that goes to the battery everything shuts off

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      8 weeks ago from Ruskin Florida

      Larry - remember you have two 12-Volt systems, the CHASSIS (or engine) system, and the COACH (or interior system).

      Far too many people neglect the COACH batteries and they either go dry or just age and go bad.

      You should check your COACH batteries and make sure you have voltage from them to your interior 12-VDC systems and accessories.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Larry A Rossiter 

      8 weeks ago

      I have a 1990 bounder RV, when i start engine all 12 volt electrical does not work.

      please let me know what i can check

      thank you

    • profile image

      eric roberts 

      2 months ago

      Hi your welcome good content is always good to read

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Eric Roberts - Thanks so much for the kind words. I hope it is helpful to my fellow campers as they travel around and enjoy this great lifestyle.

      Thanks again,

      DON

    • eric 45272F9B profile image

      Eric Roberts 

      2 months ago from Mirfield

      Hi this is by far one of the most comprehensive articles about Motorhome (RV) electrics. I will use this a great reference point in future if i get stuck ! many thanks Eric Roberts www.batteriesontheweb.co.uk/blog/

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Trust me, you're not the first to make such a wiring error.

      I'm glad you found the problem, and that I could help you,

      DON

    • profile image

      Frankc643 

      2 months ago

      Don,

      Thanks for the reply. Yes I looked at it again. Switched two wires at the back of the switch and Bam. We are good to go. I got to get a better pic before I start pulling wires.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Kerry Burton - You did not provide me with ery much information, so, I will assume you are talking about your 12-VDC AUX CUT-OFF switch, which is used to disconnect your internal 12-VDC equipment from the COACH battery so it will not be drained when the motorhome is placed in storage.

      Well, this switch actually uses the 12-VDC to control a high current solenoid that actually switches the power connection.

      Over the years, I did have the solenoid on one of my motorhomes go bad, but it is not a common problem.

      Also, you should realize that the actual switch uses your COACH battery for its power, so your battery could need charging by your Converter.

      I recommend checking your COACH battery to see that it is fully charged, and then I would check the high current solenoid that does the actual switching of the power.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Frankc643 - First of all, your remote operated a circuit in a box usually mounted in an upper cabinet of your RV, so it uses different wires to control your awnings.

      You real problem is with your wiring at the manual switches. Understand that your awning is a simple device that if power is applied to it it will operate in one direction and if the power is applied in the opposite direction, it will operate in the other direction.

      Because everything operates properly with the remote wiring, then logic says your problem is right up there where you have been" rewiring" things when you changed the switches.

      Your manual switch wiring usually goes up to this remote control box where there they are combined with the wiring of the control box. Check for a loose connection inside this box, or carefully check your wiring for a wiring error.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kerry Burton 

      2 months ago

      We turned on the main power switch in our Jayco Greyhawk mh the other day. Now it will not turn off. Everything works in the motorhome, the switch does not turn off the power and the indicator light stays on . What do you think? Do I need a new switch? thanks,Kerry

    • profile image

      Frankc643 

      2 months ago

      I have a 2016 Thor Challenger KT with electric awnings. I recently blew a fuse for awnings. While troubleshooting. I pulled out a pin on on the rocker switches that extend and retract. I ordered new switches and installed. One awning works fine. The other only retracts. Thinking bad switch soI switched the switch with the good awning. That switch worked fine. The bad awning only would retract again. To make things even more adventurous. The Rapid Remote extend and retracts both awnings with no issues. I’m at a loss. Any ideas?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      D.Brandow - But remember, the vast majority of RV owners do not have the skills, tools or even the desire to climb onto the roof of a motorhome or other camper and start disassembling the "pressurized gas system" of an Air Conditioner.

      I try very hard to formulate my responses to the TYPICAL RV Owner who wants either a "quick fix" or reliable information on who they can contact to fix their more complicated problems.

      Thanks for the information though, it is spot on for the skilled repairman.

      Have a great day,

      DON

    • profile image

      D Brandow 

      2 months ago

      Don Bobbitt

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Tom - As RV's and their Air Conditioners age certain accessories and appliances age and the AC in particular can become a "current hog". The Compressor in the AC unit will draw more current as it cycles ON.

      You can try to not use certain other appliances when you are operating your AC in a very HOT climate to avoid kicking the breaker, but sometimes, it is more logical to consider having your AC serviced (compressor checked) and if it is bad, replace the AC.

      Also, in HOT times of the day, unplug some of those other things you have operating like; chargers, fans, toasters, electric frying pans, and such to lower your overall current load.

      Good Luck,

      DON

      A dirty condensing coil will cause the refrigerant not to cool down properly. This causes a higher than normal pressure for the compressor to pump. This causes the compressor to draw a higher amperage than normal. Before discarding an older a/c unit because it blows the breaker during hot spells I would check the condensing coil for debris. You can remove the cover on the roof to access the coil.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Your symptoms are a little confusing to me, but you should know that your 2-Way Fridge control circuit board, your interior lights, your alarms and other interior items in your camper operate on your 12-VDC battery.

      Check this battery, does it have water and is it taking a charge from the Converter?

      These symptoms are common for a bad battery, and you may have to replace it.

      Have a Nice Day!

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Matt - That battery is designed to provide 12-VDC electrical power for your trailers lights, alarms, 2-way Fridge control board, Temperature control board and other items.

      You must keep this battery in good shape and fully charged. Your camper should have a built in Converter which uses the external 110VAC at your campsite to keep the battery charged.

      Your symptom are common for a bad battery. Check the age of the battery, check the wter level in the battery, and if it doesn't charge properly, you probably should replace it.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Matt 

      2 months ago

      I have a travel trailer that is 30 amp and has one battery for an electronica tongue jack, when I plug the RV into a sure power source all the electrical components kick on for 10 or 15 seconds and then shut off and this continues as long as the travel trailer is plugged in, when it is unplugged there are no lights or anything with that work off of the battery, the LP leak detector does the same thing in concert with all the other electrical components and I have never used LP gas on this trailer Anything you could suggest?

    • profile image

      Terri 

      2 months ago

      A converter but only one of the plugs came on the refrigerator didn't come on I hit the ground reset fliptop all the switches and attempting to check the fuses right now I bought a few something to check and make sure they were okay and that's what I'm working on help please

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      2 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Terri - You mentioned that you have disconnected your batteries. Well, you must have those COACH batteries hooked up and in good condition.

      The batteries in an RV provide power for a number of things inside your RV including; interior lights, 2-way Fridge control circuit board, Temperature control circuit board, CO and other alarms, to name a few.

      This battery is kept charged by your RVs Converter which operates on your 110-VAC RV external power.

      And, at times, even without a battery the Converter is capable of powering some of the items I mentioned, but it is typically NOT designed to handle such a load.

      So, reconnect your batteries and keep them charged.

      Have a Great Day!

      DON

    • profile image

      Terri 

      3 months ago

      I'm trying to figure out what I need or who I need to call or a problem last week my RV would just parked and I live in made this loud continuous clicking noise for a while and then stopped then this next week the same thing happened but then I lost all the power when I went and pools all the plugs check things out by my son I couldn't find anything wrong but it back in and it work but then again it happened and I lost all the power again I'm at a loss batteries aren't hooked up I'm hooked to a source have electricity and I would dearly appreciate some advice and what I should do next who I should go to please and thank you for your help

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      OK, First of all, three electrical heaters can draw a lot of current and this is what probably caused your problem.

      With this in mind, you should know that some of your receptacles are on a GFCI circuit. This circuit consists of a MASTER GFCI receptacle and two or more SLAVE receptacles,.

      They are usually placed near the bathroom and kitchen areas, and in case they sense a current flow between the COMMON wire and the Campers GROUND in any of the GFCI receptacles it will kick the reset switch of the MASTER GFCI receptacle.

      With all of this in mind, you should check your MASTER GFCI receptacle and reset the button.

      This is the most likely cause of your problem.

      Have a Great Day!

      DON

    • profile image

      JACQUELINE CULP 

      3 months ago

      Hello,

      My daughter purchased a 1979Cruis Air by Georgie Bay Motorhomes. It is stable in her driveway. She is in the process of getting the transmission repaired.

      In the meantime. I was in there cleaning up and turned on 3 electrical heaters because the heating system is not blowing heat.

      All of a sudden the electrical heaters went out. I have been trying to get everything running again but not have much luck. Now. The bathroom light is on and a plugged in lamp light is on.

      Can you give me some advise on what to do first? I have been reading comments and thinking I can check the battery making sure it has water.

      but if this doesn't work what's next?

      We are first time motor owners

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      NICK - First of all, get your Battery hooked up properly.

      Then, there are several things that could have happened;

      1- You probably have a blown fuse in your fuse panel under your hood. This is most likely your problem if nothing works. You should be able to check for blown fuses in this fuse panel.

      2- All vehicles have what is called a "Fuseable Link" that is inline with your hot line. This exists in case you have a short occur in your vehicle and it is designed to "burn out" if there is a direct short to ground. This may require a service center to get it replaced.

      3- Another thing tht could have happened is for your battery itself have a burnt out line internal to the battery. This is not likely your problem.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Nick 

      3 months ago

      I might have hooked my batterys power up wrong and now i dont have power to dash or ignition or hydraulic jacks i cant get it to crank

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Trippy - Well, first of all, your Surge Protector is doing its job.

      First of all, you may have a problem with your Coach Batteries requiring a high level of AC-Current from your Converter.

      But, if this is within normal limits, your campsite power should be able to handle the load. Your Surge Protector is indicating that the voltage level from your campsite is being pulled down below the safe limit.

      Your 2013 Excursion has a 50-AMP service system, but I suspect your campsite power is not providing you with the full 50-Amp service.

      I suggest that you let the campground staff know that your site is not providing you with the full 50-Amp service you paid for.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Trippy 

      3 months ago

      I have a 2013 Excursion. When plugged into shorepower the surge guard gets a low voltage fault and shuts down the power when the battery switch is turned on if battery switch turned off all is good. If running generator all is good. Trippy

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Sue - First of all, the generator gets its power for starting from your COACH 12-VDC battery. So, I suggest that you check your 12-VDC Fuse panel and make sure there are no blown DC fuses.

      Also, A lot of people forget to take care of their COACH battery(s) and they can go bad.

      So, check that the battery has water in it and is taking a charge from your Converter.

      Often, the battery(s) go bad, but the owner doesn't know it because internal DC voltage is being provided by the Converter and not the battery.

      And, of course, your generator starting circuitry is powered by your COACH battery.

      Good Luck!

      DON

    • profile image

      Sue 

      3 months ago

      I have a 2009 holiday rambler and i was plugged into a 30 amp shore power and running the roof top ac, tried to start the onan generator and somehow blew a CB. Now no power to the generator control panel. We checked all the CBs that I know of. Any ideas?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Bruce - I'm Glad I could help you.

      Have a Great Day!

      DON

    • profile image

      bruce fendrick 

      3 months ago

      Don while I was exercising I had an epiphany...I know there was a GFI circuit in the bathroom...there was also a red switch in there and it was turned off...I turned it on and I heard the pump working...thanks for the suggestion...

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Bruce Fendrick - The typical Rv will have several switches that are conveniently placed where you can turn your water pump to ON or OFF. One is usually in the kitchen area (under the sink?) , one is often in the bathroom and one is often in your RV service area.

      They are wire similar to your home so that any of them can function for you.

      The wiring is not a direct thing, but rather a logical combination that I would rather not explain to a non-electrician.

      Anyway, any of the switches should turn the water pump ON or OFF.

      If this is not happening, I would check that you have water in your water tank, or water line. If there is no water, the pump will not operate. Also, your Water Heater will not operate if there is no water in the heater tank.

      Check these things for your problem.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      bruce fendrick 

      3 months ago

      My water pump doesn't work with the switch. The pump works and fuse is good. The switch has red/white stripe on top, red wire in middle, and white/red stripe on bottom. I'm not sure where these wires go but may go to a relay or something. Any ideas...

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Larry Bassham 

      4 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

      The most likely problem is a shorted battery.

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Calvin Poole 

      4 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Kristine 

      5 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      kirsteinm 

      5 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Have a nice day,

      DON

    • profile image

      HARTLEY JONES 

      5 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

      Have a Great Day,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lisa Kline 

      5 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Mike 

      5 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Try these things first.

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Barry O 

      5 months ago

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

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Dusty 

      5 months ago

      I have a brand new 2019 Rockford travel trailer.

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

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

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

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

      Thanks

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Edward E 

      5 months ago

      Hi,

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

      Thank you!

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      DON

    • profile image

      Stacey 

      5 months ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Any suggestions?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Have a Great Day,

      DON

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lori 

      5 months ago

      Hi Don,

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

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

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

      Seems this is an issue with this model Chinook.

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      5 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      DON

    • profile image

      Bobby fox 

      5 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Aaron 

      6 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lori 

      6 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      So, try implementing some power saving tricks such as;

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Nancy 

      6 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      James 

      6 months ago

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

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

      Good luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lori 

      6 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Lori 

      6 months ago

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

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

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

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

      Any idea what this might be?

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

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

      Good Luck,

      DON

    • profile image

      Milt Fredenburg 

      6 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

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

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

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

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

      DON

    • profile image

      Dave Hicks 

      6 months ago

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

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      6 months ago from Ruskin Florida

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

      thanks,

      DON

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