This post has been approved by electricity expert and veteran RVer Mike Sokol.
One of our readers sent this in and we think it’s a great quick tip. Here’s what George has to say:
“Take small colored sticker dots (pictured below) and put one on each outlet that corresponds in color to a dot placed on a breaker in your electrical panel.
“When you plug in an appliance to one color dotted outlet such as a toaster, don’t plug your kettle into an outlet with the same color. This way you can avoid having two heavy-drawing appliances drawing current through the same breaker, thus avoiding a tripped breaker. In the event a breaker does trip, this should make it easier to find the thrown breaker knowing which outlet you were using.”
These 1/4″ diameter neon-colored dots should do the trick and be visible in low light.
Thanks, George Bliss, for the tip!
On the inside of every switch and outlet cover with a sharpie I write the breaker number for this outlet. When I go to work on something I remove the switch cover and know what breaker number to turn off.
We use a label maker and have labeled every breaker with it’s place in the wiring world.
Label maker has many uses. As you use it, it’s value expands.
Our class A Winnebago has an excellent wiring system. They use purple for + Hot and Green for – Neutral – but more importantly – every wire is numbered with a white imprinted number several times down it’s entire length and it is all the same gauge, 12 if memory serves! With a wiring diagram – available from Wbgo – tracking is easy – front to back! (The 120v wiring is standard home type cable assy – Black hot, white neutral, green ground with standard breakers.)
Wiring schematics must be shipped with every type of RV along with a plumbing schematic, If “special teams” can wire these it can’t be that hard to include a few drawings or prints. Us do it yourselfers don’t want to start a RV factory we just want to have information.
Just 1 more thing, PRINT what the breaker AND fuses are for, Please don’t hand write it, I think who ever did mine wrote it down after happy hour was over.
Most RVs have a very limited amount of breakers that serve the outlets. I don’t know about diesel pushers, but I’ve had Class A gas motorhomes that had 30A and 50A service. Also several TT and 5th wheels with both. In either case I’ve never had more than two breakers that covered the electrical outlets. So if one side of the unit is powerless it’s simple to go to the panel and look at which breaker is tripped. However if this tip tickles your fancy so be it.
RV owners need someway to figure out how their RV is wired even though they don’t have electrical experience. For example my 2019 Tiffin every single accessible plug inside the RV is run through the inverter which originally was only 2000 W. The output of the inverter was one to 30 amp breaker which then fed 5 20 amp breakers for five circuits inside the RV. My daughter‘s class a had a 1200 W Inverter that had a built-in 15 amp breaker and all of the inverted outputs in the RV were hardwired directly out of the inverter nothing went through the breaker panel. Of course neither RV had any explanation of this in their so-called manual. I now have a 3000 W hybrid inverter installed in my RV but I still have to be careful about how many things I run off of which circuit. It’s clearly a manufacturing documentation problem but it is also a problem in that every RV is different and most RV owners have no clue how to figure out how their particular system is wired.
The people who publish the manual have no idea of the way it’s wired. I had a Class A motorhome with an electrical problem, i had the schematic but I didn’t know how the wiring got from point A to point B so I called customer service, he told me there isn’t a wiring diagram. They have several teams that do the wiring and each has their own way of wiring the unit. It is wired according to the schematic but there isn’t a wiring diagram that shows how the wire gets from point A to point B. And since they use a limited number of wire colors you can’t go by just the color. In AC the HOT wire is always black, the common is white. In DC the hot is red and the ground is black, if you have a run of wires with these colors you must be very careful. If your tracing a DC circuit and you see a black wire you could get a shock by thinking that’s a ground when actually it’s the AC hot wire. Yes my ‘99 Bounder had this happen.
The manufacturers DO have diagrams but they aren’t in a form easily usable by owners and they don’t want to spend the resources required to make customer friendly ones.
This is a great idea. We once spent many hours of trial and error discovering which outlet was controlled by what breaker. We then documented our findings, but this would have been so much better. In fact, I’m gonna take the info from my document and mark the outlets.
Rather than coloured stickers would prefer if tags were identified by an ‘alphabet’ that would provide a minimum of 26 different tag identifiers which can be easily remembered, particularly if a person has difficulty identifying colours. An alternative to the alphabet used, a ‘number’ would be good as well, however, crowding 2 digits on a small sticker may pose a problem. Food for thought.