How to Troubleshoot and Repair a Camper or Travel Trailer Electrical System

Updated on January 4, 2020
Randy Godwin profile image

Randy is a lifelong lover of the outdoors and especially camping. His articles are intended to help the RVer save money and time on repairs.

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RV electrical systems sometimes fail. They are meant to last for years, but when we bounce along the road and expose them to the elements, connections can break or rust. Keeping your electrical systems in good and safe working order ensures a trouble-free camping trip with no sudden power outages to ruin the trip. You can repair many problems easily if you understand how the system works.

RVs Have Two Electrical Systems

When you start looking for your issue, you should know that most RV’s and camper trailers have two electrical systems: a 110-volt AC system like that in your home, and a 12-volt DC system, supplied by batteries like those in an ordinary car or truck. The 12-volt system generally powers the lights, fans, slides, and other electrical devices. It often controls the thermostat of the refrigerator, air conditioner, and water heater.

While the RV or camper-trailer is moving from place to place, the 12-volt DC system powers the RV refrigerator and keeps food cold, and runs the lights and fans. When the RV stops at a campground, it plugs into an 110-volt or 120-volt AC electrical power supply.

While you are driving, the 12-volt system keeps the on-board batteries fully charged. This system relies on the 110-volt AC electrical power supply for amperage.

It is possible to pull a 12-volt power supply from either the RV's or camper trailer's 12-volt system or the 110-volt campsite power supply. The power converter steps down the 110-volt supply to 12 volts before it goes to a particular appliance.

When there is an interruption in the 110-volt AC supply, most RV systems will switch from the 110-volt AC back to the 12-volt DC supply automatically.

A classic 1946 Spartan travel trailer.
A classic 1946 Spartan travel trailer. | Source

Is Your Problem With the 12-Volt or the 110-Volt System?

When you diagnose electrical problems, you treat these two systems (12-volt and 110-volt) independently from each other, except when they interact through the RV’s converter.

12-volt appliances can include slides, lights, fans, or the thermostats of other appliances (air conditioner, hot water heater, refrigerator).

Your “plugs” in the RV’s bathroom and kitchen, your microwave, and many modern appliances are 110-volt. If they malfunction, the issue may well be in the 110-volt system.

But remember that many 110-volt appliances have thermostats that are 12-volt. If your air conditioner, water heater, or fridge refuse to go on or off, you may have a 12-volt problem, not a 110-volt problem.

The Parts of the 12-Volt System

Consider the train of connections from the power to the appliance: problems may appear at each step.

When you are plugged into shore power (your campsite or home electrical system), electricity flows to your 12-volt appliance as follows:

110-volt power —> converter —> 12-volt power—> 12-volt breaker box —> appliance

When you are driving or dry camping, the process is:

coach battery or batteries —>12-volt power —> 12-volt breaker box —> appliance

The 12-volt system has its own set of breakers to control each circuit. The lights, fans, or refrigerator may each be on their own circuits, depending on the amperage required.

Use your multimeter to find the voltage in different parts of the 12-volt system. If the converter (or the battery) is supplying 12 volts to the breaker panel, and the breakers test positive for voltage, then you can assume the wiring or the particular appliance at fault,

A 1956 Serro Scotty classic.
A 1956 Serro Scotty classic. | Source

Troubleshooting Common 12-Volt Problems

Here are some common issues and problems you should try to eliminate early on in your investigation.

  • Could your battery be the problem? One very common issue is a bad ground for the battery. Make sure the battery cable’s negative end is clean and firmly attached (grounded) to the steel frame of the RV. If it’s corroded or loose it can cause all kinds of problems.
  • Another common issue in the 12-volt system is a battery that is low on water. Make sure the battery has enough fluid. If adding some distilled water to the battery doesn’t fix the problem, the battery may be bad and need to be replaced.
  • Could your converter be the problem? To find the converter, follow the positive battery cable. The converter is likely near the power panel containing the fuses or breakers for the 12-volt DC system. It may be located in an outer access panel, or there may be an inside access panel you need to remove.
  • Make sure, of course, that the converter is connected; if it there is a breaker or fuse on the positive cable between the battery and the converter, make sure the breaker has not tripped. Not all campers have this circuit breaker or fuse.
  • If the converter is good, it should supply at least 13 volts to the battery when the converter breaker is on. You can test the converter by turning the converter’s breaker off or removing its fuse and connecting a good strong battery charger (not a trickle type) to the battery posts or the place where the battery should be. If the power from the charger causes the appliances to work, then the converter is bad. This article has more about what can go wrong with converters and when you may need to replace them.
  • If you don't know where to look for a problem in the 12-volt system (lights, slides, thermostats, fans, etc.), you can use your multimeter to check the breakers and fixtures. Start with the 12-volt DC breaker box. Check each breaker at the point where the wires lead away from the breaker to the lights, fans, etc. If you find the breakers are working properly, check each non-working light to see if power is getting to them. A bad connection at one of the lights can prevent the electrical current from continuing on to other fixtures. A broken connection is more easily found if you use the OHM setting on the multimeter.
  • "Bad grounds" may occur at other places in the system besides the battery, if a circuit that is supposed to be grounded (connected to the frame) has worked loose.

Troubleshooting Common 110-Volt Problems

  • Some 110-volt outlets used in RVs and camper trailers are prone to shorts because of the way they are installed. Some are merely clipped onto the wiring by cutting into the wires. These types are notorious for not working correctly. Replace these types of outlets with standard house types to put an end to loose connections. Since some RV walls are so thin, a smaller receptacle box may be required for the outlet to fit flush in the walls.
  • Ground fault interrupter (GFI) outlets are another common cause of electrical problems. These are located in places (often kitchens and bathrooms) where a possibility exists of someone touching them with wet hands. They automatically break the circuit when wet, to prevent shock to the person touching them. They have a reset button which you can press to complete the circuit again. They may control more than one outlet or appliance. GFIs often go bad after a few years and may need to be replaced. Pay close attention to the instructions when replacing these GFIs.
  • If you don't know what circuit is causing the GFI to trip, turn off all the breakers in the 110-volt breaker box except the main breaker, reset the GFI, and then turn on the 110-volt breakers one at a time until you find the one that causes the GFI to trip.
  • In older RVs and camper trailers you may still find fuses instead of circuit breakers. These older fuse systems may not provide enough amperage to handle a modern microwave or a combination of other high-amp appliances without blowing a fuse or kicking a breaker. Simply replacing the fuse or breaker with a higher-amp substitute may be all that’s required. Replacement of the entire breaker box may be the only option remaining if this doesn’t solve the problem.
  • If fuses keep blowing, try removing all the fuses except the main fuse and replacing the other fuses one at a time until you find the one that blows the main fuse. This test assumes the main fuse is good.
  • The newer RVs and camper trailers may have two RV A/C rooftop units which require more amperage than the older models to operate. They may not be able to run without kicking off the standard 30-amp power supply used by many campgrounds. Fortunately, many campgrounds and RV parks now provide 50-amp service for these types of units. When making reservations or checking in, be sure to ask about the availability of a 50-amp hook-up if you own a unit with multiple A/C units.
  • It's good to know that there should be a breaker in the 110-120 volt AC panel marked "converter" that provides electricity to the converter.

Troubleshooting Breaker Boxes (12-volt or 110-volt)

The 12-volt and 110-volt breaker panels are usually near where the 110-volt power "shore connection" exits the camper.

  • If breakers keep going off, try turning off all breakers in a panel except the main breaker. Then turn the other breakers back on one at a time to see which circuit is causing the breaker to "trip" or shut off.
  • Breakers themselves can wear out and go bad after being tripped too many times. They may refuse to stay closed, especially when warm, and may need to be replaced.

You Can Learn to Do it Yourself

Most problems can be repaired easily if you understand how the system works. RV electrical manuals along with a few inexpensive tools are well worth the cost of their purchase.

If you are completely confused by electrical wiring there are also some very good basic books to start you off. It isn’t hard to check electrical circuits, switches or outlets with an inexpensive voltmeter.

Caution: Make Sure the Power is Off

Just remember, before touching any wires, be sure the power to that particular circuit is off. If in doubt, turn off the main breaker, or unplug the RV or camper trailer from the power supply.

Essential Tools and Resources

  • If you are not familiar with electrical wiring or troubleshooting electrical systems, I would recommend RV Electrical Systems: A Basic Guide to Troubleshooting, Repairing and Improvement to any novice and experienced electrician alike. This good book will be an enormous aid to understanding RV electrical systems.
  • A must for tracking down electrical problems is a voltage meter. This handy tool will allow you to check the circuits for continuity and for the correct voltage required for each breaker. A simple test light can also be used but will not test for broken circuits caused by bad wiring or other electrical problems. A voltage meter can be used for home electrical problems too. This Greenlee model is inexpensive but will do the job.

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.

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    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 days ago from Southern Georgia

      Jamie, check or replace the capacitors as one may be weak.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jamie bailey 

      4 days ago

      I have 06 gulfstream Cavalier some times the ac works perfect and sometime it wont kick on when u go flip the breaker off hit will kick on for few seconds and when u flip it back on it will fun until it reaches temperature what could it be

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes Tracy, clean them both well.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Tracy Coulson 

      8 weeks ago

      Hey Randy Which one would this be I can see two right off the bat. I have one that comes down from the battery and is connected to the trailer lights ground. The second one comes off of the power converter. Should I clean and check both of them?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 weeks ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Tracy, be sure the main 12 volt ground is clean and tight. This is the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper.

      Even if this connection looks tight and clean, it needs to be checked at least once every year.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Tracy Coulson 

      8 weeks ago

      Just bought a 1979 Terry 22y trailer and cant get any power from the battery to the interior have yet to try the 110 power. Previous owner said the interior lights would work every so often but the water pump would only work off the 110. Any help here

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Paul, check the ground wire for a bad connection first. If you have a GFI it may be bad as this happens rather often.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Paul Miller 

      2 months ago

      I have no lights in the sleeping birth of my 2011 springdale/Keystone. all fuses check out ok.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Ken, have you checked the the 110 volt AC circuit the fridge runs on? I assume it's a 3 way fridge?

      Randy

    • profile image

      Ken Bourassa 

      2 months ago

      I have a Cruser RV pull camper. Just bringing it out of storage, put the battery in it, ran the electric jack up and down to make sure it worked. hooked to the truck and drug it home. found the 110v cord for the fridge burnt up. unplugged it and removed the remains.The circuit panel for the fridge is fine not burnt at all. I was checking wiring to figure out what happened and discovered that the ground wire at the battery tests positive when disconnected from the battery stud. I cleaned the ground connection at the frame, didn't change anything. I connected a wire to it and ran it all the way to the battery - post , seems to be ok now however if i disconnect it its still the same. the ground at the frame goes to the 110v earth ground in the inverter. what am i missing and i have not connected the 110v shore power yet cause i don't want to burn anything up.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Judy, this may be due to the main 12 volt DC ground being loose or corroded. The main ground is the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper.

      It's good idea to check the connection annually, especially if the camper is being moved frequently. Even if the ground appears tight and clean, it may not be making good contact.

      If this doesn't work, then connect a good battery charger up to see if it's due to a bad converter.

      Hope this helps you fix the problem.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Judy 

      2 months ago

      We stopped last night to grab a quick nights sleep. When we stopped, the slides would not open. Today we have lost our rear camera, the step won’t retract and the electronic seat controls don’t work.

      We’ve flipped the main and auxiliary battery switches but nothing happens. They chirp and pop but no services are restored. Any ideas?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Larry, could you be a bit more specific with the problem?

      Randy

    • profile image

      Larry 

      2 months ago

      How do you get the radio to work in 2012 slingshot

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Pam, more than likely there's a short in the light. Turn off the breaker and check the connections first.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Pamela Susan Frazier 

      2 months ago

      The 2 wires from the camper door outside light has power on both sides.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      2 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Mark, first check the main ground for the 12 volt DC system. This is the negative battery cable where it connects to the steel frame of the camper.

      This connection must be clean and tight. As for the GFI, there seems to be something grounding it out. Try turning off all of the breakers except the main and try to reset the the GFI.

      If it resets as normal, then turn on the breakers one at a time until the GFI kicks off again. If it does, check the breaker for a bad ground or loose connection.

      I hope this helps you find the problem.

      Randy

    • profile image

      MARK 

      2 months ago

      Last year i parked my travel trailer and disconnected the battery but before that i check make sure that all the lights worked the radio microwave and ac unit all worked. sothan I disconnected the battery and kept the power hooked up. Well this year I rehooked up the battery and all the lights the radio all worked tried to turn on the AC unit nothing happened tried the Microwave nothing happen so I checked the GFI IN THE BATHROOM AND WENT TO RE SET IT HARD TO PUSH ON SO I WENT AND GOT ANOTHER GFI OUTLET REPLACED IT STILL SAME WAY SO I AM BAFFLED ON WHAT IS GOING ON?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      3 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Dennis, check the pigtail where it goes in to the main breaker panel. This sounds like a dead short. Try disconnecting the pigtail from the breaker box to see if it's a bad short in the pigtail.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Dennis 

      3 months ago

      My JayFlight has been unused for several months. I went to plug in the 110 volt and the circuit breaker popped at the source. I tried turning off all the fuses including the main and it continues to pop the breaker. I have a short but can't get power to check it out

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      4 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Charlotte, sure it's possible if you have the room to install these items. A Tou Hauler with 50 amp service would probably work.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Charlotte 

      4 months ago

      We want a toy hauler to actually live in. It would be on a lot never to be on the road. I would need a standard size washer and dryer plus standard size water heater. That would require 220 v. Is this even possible if u never plan to move it or pull it?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Jim, can you clarify your problem?

      Randy

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      5 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Rapidron, check the battery fluid level if you can. The fan will run as long as the converter is wworking so it may be a low or bad battery.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jim 

      5 months ago

      2002 Itasca Sunruiser; Charged 2 house bat

    • profile image

      Rapidron103 

      5 months ago

      My converter fan runs all the time

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      7 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Casey, try turning offal breakers except the main. Then turn the other breakers on one at a time until you find the circuit causing the breaker to trip.

      This should give you an idea of what on the circuit is causing the problem.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Casey 

      7 months ago

      Have a 81 kountry Aire 5th... plug for converter amd breaker keeps popping. Have bench tested con. Replaced breaker and wire... any pointers would be Greatly appreciated.

    • profile image

      Raeshel Seemann 

      8 months ago

      Thanks. I'll try that today.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Rae, replace the GFIC first of all. They are notorious for going bad.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Rae Seemann 

      8 months ago

      We connected our 2008 Starcraft Travel Trailer to a new Champion generator. It has 4350 amps starting power. It also has a 20 amp and 30 amp switch. We pushed the 30 amp switch on. Once plugged in, the A/C and the microwave work great. Unfortunately, neither the refrigerator nor the lights and outlets work. We disconnected the generator and connected to our dedicated 30amp RV outlet, with the same result. The 30 amp main circuit breaker, one 15 amp circuit breaker and the GFIC outlet will not reset. I should say the main circuit breaker will reset but will trip when trying to reset the 15 amp breaker. The lights will flicker for a second each time the breakers are reset and the go out again. The breakers trip again. The battery is not connected. Any ideas of where we went wrong and what we can do to fix this. Thanks

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Connie, do want both 12 volt and 120 volt systems? If so you need to get an RV wiring guide to help you out.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Connie Duke 

      8 months ago

      How to wire a wonderer Lite travel trailer 1999

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Jeremy, pleased to hear you found the problem.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jeremyholt 

      8 months ago

      Thank you very much. I found that loose and also a 12 volt fuseable link was blown under a panel near the ground. Everything is working good now..

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Jeremy, check the main ground for the 12 volt system. This is the negative battery cable where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper.

      If this connection is loose or corroded it affects the entire 12 volt system.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jeremyholt 

      8 months ago

      Looking for help on a 2010 Nash 25P electrical problem. Camper works on shore power but not battery power. I installed two new batteries and when plugged in to shore power they charge. When I unplug the shore power I lose all power to the camper.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Ronnie, can you clarify your question a bit?

      Randy

    • profile image

      Ronnie duke 

      8 months ago

      What waves go together on a fuse box on a 1999 wanderer lite travel trailer

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Les, glad you found the solution. This makes sense why you had problems. I'm also pleased it didn't cause more damage than it did. Thanks for relating the solution to the problem. :)

      Randy

    • profile image

      Les Lyons 

      9 months ago

      Thanks Randy. Turns out nothing wrong with anything to do with GFCI. I traced it back to an open neutral, which was preventing power to anything. Where my long 30 am power cord that connects to shore power ties into the trailer main electrical line, the wiring had shorted out and totally fried the neutral wire. Thanks to God the trailer didn't catch on fire! Did a complete repair and everything is working fine.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Don, thanks for relating the solution to your problem. And yes, I've never heard of such a wiring example before. Good Camping!

      Randy

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Les, check the ground on the breaker controlling the GFIC. It's not uncommon for one to work loose during transit.

      Randy

    • profile image

      DonWillis 

      9 months ago

      Hi Randy,

      Finally figured out why the shower and gallery lights quit working. Pulled the bathroom switch off and tested the continuity from the switch to the light and nothing. I recently changed the outside light and thought maybe the wire from the switch ran thru the light and i forgot to connect something. Opened the outside light but nothing. So i started looking around the camper and found 2 wires at the top of the camper that ran down in a sleeve in the canvas that came out and plugged into the base of the camper. One of the wires were broken so i wired it back and that fixed the problem. Kinda strange how then ran the wire on the outside in the canvas. Thanks for your help Randy!

    • profile image

      Les Lyons 

      9 months ago

      Randy - only one GFCI in the trailer, so it would be the first one on the circuit. Pulled it out from wall and am getting no power on either side - line or load. If the breaker panel has power but no power in the line to the GFCI ... what else do you think it could be? I really appreciate your help!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Les, this sounds more like a bad GFIC than anything else. Try changing them out.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Les Lyons 

      9 months ago

      Randy - I'm stumped! I have a 2003 Forest River Sandpiper that has been connected to shore power at my ranch for the past 8 years and everything has worked fine. Two nights ago here in Southern California we had a brief "brown-out" and then about 5 minutes later lost all power in the area and it was out for about 5 hours. When it came back on everything appeared to work fine. But last night the AC went off, as did all the power. We had guests in the trailer and I thought it was just a tripped breaker. But there is no 110v power to anything in the trailer (appliances, outlets, etc.) and the GFCI outlet is tripped and won't reset (as it does when it has no power to it). There is power coming into the trailer - I checked at the plug in point, and also checked inside the breaker panel, and there is 110v power to the breakers (tested with a meter). I've unplugged the main 30 amp cord and plugged it back in, and reset all the breakers several times, with no luck. The 12v lights operate, but nothing on 110. Not sure what to do ... could the converter/charger have gotten fried? It would seem it would have happened immediately upon the brown-out / power outage, not 24 hours later. I'm stumped!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Jonathon, More than likely they were damaged by the reversed current. The radio may be repaired, but I don't know about the stat or receptacle. The latter may be simply a replacement job and may be the former if it's a digital stat.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jonathan 

      9 months ago

      Randy, I accidentally swapped the positive and negative leads when connecting the 12v battery. Since, only a few 12v items do not work, including the radio, TV, a wall receptacle with the car charger and two USB charging ports and the thermostat. The fuse connecting the TV, radio and receptacle was blown and replaced. The TV is working, but the other items are not. Did I damage the other items?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Jim, normally if you have the batteries off, your converter won't keep the 12 volt system properly powered. Your system may be different though.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jim Mulhall 

      9 months ago

      Hi, Randy

      So, I thought the problem was fixed. But last night, while connected to 30 amp power, with the batteries turned off, we lost all electric power. I then, not knowing what to do, flipped the battery switch back on, and everything then worked. I normally have the batteries off when connected to power. Any thoughts?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Don, check the lights themselves as it could be a bad ground causing this issue.

      Randy

    • Don  Willis profile image

      Don Willis 

      9 months ago

      I have a 2004 Fleetwood sequoia pop-up camper.Both lights at the bunk-end work but the 2 lights above the gallery and shower do not work. Checked all of the fuses and kill switch and all were ok. Took out the 2 switches that control the bunk-end and gallery lights and have 12 volts on the black and yellow that go to both switches. Bypassed the switch going to the gallery lights by hooking the 2 wires together but no luck. Help!

    • profile image

      Nathan Emerson 

      9 months ago

      Thanks for the input Randy!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Anissa, if you're replacing all of the 110 volt ac wiring, you can use 110 v lights instead of the 12 volt lights many campers use for camping unconnected to shore power.

      I assume you still have the H/W heater left from the previous owner and it will require 12 volts f0r the thermostat. You may need to order a basic RV wiring guide to help in your rebuild.

      Let me know if you run into a problem.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Anissa 

      9 months ago

      Hey Randy,

      Sorry to sound like a complete idiot when asking this question but here it goes. I purchased a 1998 Rockwood T2305 camper for $300.00 with the intentions of complete remodel (needed due to the last owners) they stripped all the copper out of the camper. So I totally gutted the camper out. Even though they left the converter all the wires were disconnected. Any help from start of what I need to finish would be greatly appreciated.

      Anissa

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Nathan, you can install a GFCI, if you feel better about it, but many campsites already use some sort of GFCI on the shore power connection.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Nathan Emerson 

      9 months ago

      Hi Randy,

      So I've got a '61 Airstream Bambi. The original power converter failed and I have replaced it with the PD9245, and a 12volt fuse block as both of those functions were performed by the original converter.

      I've also had to replace the shore plug due to corrosion and such. I am wondering if I should/could install a GFCI outlet where the 110V comes into the trailer?

      On my set up the 110V power from the shore plug feeds into the backside of an outlet where the converter/charger plugs in. The 110V that feeds the house circuit breaker connects through the backside of the outlet. So for surge safety, or any other reason should I do a GFCI there? If so should I ground it to the trailer's frame?

      Thanks in advance!

      Nathan

    • profile image

      Jim Mulhall 

      9 months ago

      Randy

      Thank you so much for your input. I think your input helped me to correct the problem.

      Jim

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      9 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Jim, first check the main 12 volt DC ground as it may be loose or corroded. This is the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper.

      If this isn't the problem, then check the voltage at the battery. If the converter is good you'll get a reading of at least 13 volts at the battery.

      Both the fridge and AC thermostats use the 12 volt system to operate in most cases.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jim Mulhall 

      9 months ago

      Hi, Randy:

      My refrigerator and air conditioner keep going off intermittently when I am connected to shore power. The microwave doesn’t go off. I flip the 50 amp a number of times, and then the fridge and a/c restart. What’s going on?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Nancy, can't help you much on this issue. It's different sort of electrical problem than the onboard systems. Sorry!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Nancy 

      10 months ago

      I have a 1977 dodge coachman motorhome giving me both brake and trunsignal problems ive changed battery cables and the dashboard insturment assembly now looking to further try turnsignal switch any help offered is very much appreciated thank you

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Michele, check the main ground which is the negative battery cable end where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper.

      Even if this connection looks good, it may be corroded or loose. Make sure it's clean and tight. Also. check for a relay/fuse on the positive battery connection leading back to the converter. Not all campers have this feature.

      Randy

    • profile image

      michele hannis 

      10 months ago

      replaced converter in 2000 holiday rambler firth wheel and I have no 12 volt so ac off refridge and lights don't work ?what can I do next ? we have 110. help suppose to go on vacation I m missing something ?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Mary, you have a bad ground. Check the main ground in the 120 volt AC power panel.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Maryvanwychen 

      10 months ago

      Why do we keep getting a shock from the outside of my fifth wheel

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Barb, check the main 12 volt ground first. It's where the negative battery cable end attaches to the steel frame of the camper. This connection should be clean and tight.

      If this doesn't solve the problem, than connect a good battery charger--at least 20 amps--and if everything works properly the converter is more than likely bad.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Barb riebe 

      10 months ago

      We have a 2019 Jayco Eagle fifth wheel. We have no,lights or air conditioner. It seems like the batteries are not charging even thou we are plugged into 50amp. We are at a camp ground now and can’t get slides in etc.

      we have some areas in RV that the power works just now lights or air conditioners. What could be wrong. It seems like it’s not charging the batteries.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Linda, check the converter breaker in the 120 volt panel. It may be tripped or the converter may be toast.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Linda 

      10 months ago

      my son accidentally hooked up the batteries incorrectly and sparks flew,

      no more electricity! what is the first thing I should check?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Phillipa, you'll have to change out the breaker panel and perhaps the converter as well.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Philippa 

      10 months ago

      I have a 1998 35’ fleet woof pack arrow. I want to change it from a 30amp to a 50amp system. Right now the 2 roof top ac unit shed back and forth. Any suggestions on parts list. I know to use c4 wiring. And change receptacle. Redo breaker box and switch.

      The other issue I’m having is the ac is not kicking on but the furnace blower is when I turn on the ac. I replaced the circuit board in Oman 5500 generator because it went bad. Any suggestions on what to check out would be appreciated.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Rhonda, I know very little about slide-in campers. You may to rewire it from scratch if you can't find any info on the schematic. Sorry!

      Randy

    • profile image

      Rhonda 

      10 months ago

      Hello, someone, Anyone help! Lol.... we recently bought a 2009 travel lite 690 ...... it is a slide in Camper....... it has Many issues. Someone cut it up pretty bad inside, don’t know why???? ( took stove & sink, heater out.... air conditioning , fridge & micro work on shore power......but someone cut a lot of wires ( propane area, heater, etc... really don’t know where these wires are, but I KNOW we have an alarm going off. Def gonna need a prof electrician. But, my question. Where ( I have looked everywhere! Even called dealer that 1st sold it . No help! ) please , WHERE is the exterior electric/ wire junction to hook into our truck ( Silverado) it is Not where it should be - behind drivers side , just under the overhang. And, how & where do you turn on running lights????? Even if we are connected to our home (a/c power) or battery, they do not come on........ are we missing a “ switch”...?.?. Generic manuals online are No help. Any help , would be soooooo appreciated...... it is a cute little camper. I cannot believe their is very little info on them! ( wiring diagram would be awesome,)

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Don, this may be a converter issue. Check the voltage at the batteries as they should be getting at least 13 volts from the converter.

      If not, try connecting a good charger to the batteries and see if it solves the problem. If so, then the converter may be bad.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Don Perkins 

      10 months ago

      Your comment has been submitted.

      However, it may not appear until it has been approved by the author.

      Thank you for participating!

      profile image

      Don Perkins

      1 second ago

      Edit Your Comment (open for 3 minutes)

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

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

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Jerry, connect a good battery charger and if the lights work then, the converter may be bad.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Jerry 

      10 months ago

      How do i get the 12volt lights to work on preferred 110 power. The A/C , microwave and out lets work when im plugged in but the 12volt lights only work on the batteries. Shouldn't they all work with or without batteries when I'm plugged in?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      11 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Dean. more than likely the GFIC is bad.Replace the GFIC and you should be fine.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Dean L Davis 

      11 months ago

      I have a 2006 Calrson toyhauler. Yesterday all of the 110 kitchen associated plugs and the refrig and freezer stopped working. All of the other plugs in the trailer are working on 110. I located and pulled the 12 volt kill switch. The Frig and freezer and ancillary lights now work but none of the plug ins come on. One of those plugs is a GFIC and I can not get it to reset.

      I am not very knowledgeable on electrical for the trailer but have successfully wired a couple of houses with no burn downs. I would think that there should be a circuit breaker box but am unable to locate one and do not have an electrical schismatic.

      Should there be a circuit breaker box with circuit breakers?? Any clue where it might be. I have looked in the side external storage bins but find nothing. Any other guesses as to what my trailer electrical problem might be??

      Thanks

      Dean

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      11 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Lane, did you check the voltage on the wiring when you changed out the GFIC? If not, do so and get back to me.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Lane 

      11 months ago

      My gfi outlet kicked off i reset it and outlet's still not working, i replaced the gfu outlet but still no power to orher plugs?

    • profile image

      jockosc 

      12 months ago

      Can't get to their website. Heard they closed down. Searching ebay and other places but no luck yet. Thanks for your quick reply!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      12 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Jock, you may be able to get a diagram from the maker. Otherwise, it's trial and error with a multimeter.

      Randy

    • profile image

      jockosc 

      12 months ago

      Hey! Doing a complete reno of a 2009 r-vision and we're not getting power to the rear end of it. Is there a diagram or way to find where the wiring runs from the fuse box? Thanks for any suggestions!

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      12 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Tom, this sounds like you're describing the 12 volt breaker/fuse bar. It is grounded to the frame there in some cases.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Tom Meis 

      12 months ago

      Hi, Randy: I am brand new to camping and purchased a 2007 Layton travel trailer. The unit was rebuilt. When examining the electrical system, I found a double tapped wire at one breaker (easy fix) and underneath the breaker box anchored to the floor is a 10 terminal bus bar. The bus bar contains two larger black wires (each in its own terminal) and seven white wires jammed into four of the terminals. The remaining four terminals are empty. A couple of questions: is this safe and legal? Why would a bus bar be connected to the floor? Could this be for the 12 volt side? Any advice if corrections are necessary? Many thanks, Tom

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      13 months ago from Southern Georgia

      George, check the negative battery cable where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper. This connection should be clean and tight for the 12 volt items to work properly.

      Randy

    • profile image

      George 

      13 months ago

      I own a 2016 T&G teardrop and for some reasons with full charged battery does not power the lights,radio etc in my trailer. Could you help please ?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      13 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Kristy, yes if you don't want any ot the 12 volt systems to work properly. No hot water, no 12 volt lights, etc.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Kristy 

      13 months ago

      Can I use my RV with out a converter

    • profile image

      Chris caldwell 

      13 months ago

      Yes, i have power to the breakers and it registers power coming out of them as well, last night i did run a cord from the converter outlet that works and wired it into the end of the run for 110v outlets and it received power. I believe its losing power between the breaker and first outlet but not sure which is the first

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      13 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Chris, there must be a battery, but it doesn't should like the problem any way. Do you get power to the breakers?

      Randy

    • profile image

      Chris caldwell 

      13 months ago

      Hey, i have a 1994 fleetwood prowler tow behind. Ahwile back our campsite lost all power and once everything came back on, the only thing working was the 12v system and 2 outlets located beside the converter. All other 110v outlets are without power. I have changed the converter, breakers, fuses, gcfi outlet in bathroom. Pulled every outlet and checked conections were secure. And still nothing. As far as i know, i cant find a generator hookup or battery

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      13 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Vertigo, connect a good battery charger--not a low amp trickle charger--and if everything works then a new converter is probably needed.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Vertigo 

      13 months ago

      Working on a older bon air tent trailer model# ba1050. Has a Power Dynamics converter in it. Heres whats happening. I plug the 110volt plug into a 20 amp source.Also has a good 12v battery hooked up. Trailer is rated for 15 amp. So when i switch the converter to battery i appear to have lights. But no furnace or fridge. Should be said fridge and furnace are both 12v dc, 110 volt ac and propane. When i switch to the converter setting, the only thing that works are the extra receptacles in the counter designed to plug in house accessories (coffee maker, tv, etc). i pulled the convertor out and tested the wires that are supposed to be producing 12 volts and i get nothing from any of them. There is a white( ground) then a red, black, and two blues coming from the back of the convertor all of which are supposed to be producing 12 volts. All appear to be dead. Check the bus type fuses in the front and they are good. Do you think it needs a new convertor. Just got this trailer and is in good condition other than this electrical issue.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      14 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Pete, I wouldn't think the 12 volt system would affect the 120 volt side, But I've witnessed stranger things. Check the positive battery cable where it attaches to the steel frame of the camper for corrosion and looseness as this is the main ground for the 12 volt system. Let me kow if this doesn't solve the issue.

      Randy

    • profile image

      Pete Heidmann 

      14 months ago

      I have a 2006 T@b with intermittent issues on both AC and DC. I have checked the power supply on the 110 side and it carries through all the way to the converter. The DC system has not been plugged-in for weeks, and the battery may be bad, but even when connected for hours to the vehicle, I can't get either AC or DC functionality. Could the old battery be impeding the whole system? Do I need to evaluate the converter?

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      14 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Buster, this is an enigma. I'd like to be able to test the furnace for myself, but this isn't possible. Can you tell me more about the problem?

      Randy

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