Electrical problems? This tip may save you an RV service call

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Steve Savage submitted this article to RVtravel.com when he was a Master Certified RV Technician with Mobility RV Service.
On close to a third of our service calls we find nothing wrong with the RV. The problem is not so much the RV as it is the owner who has either forgotten how to operate something or simply forgotten to turn something on. For electrical problems, here’s one simple check you can make that can save you a costly (and needless) service call.

If you find your interior lights, refrigerator, water heater and the furnace aren’t working and you’re not connected to shore power, think battery. The loss of “house” battery power will generally kill all of these systems. All appliances that have computer boards require 12-volt power that comes either from your batteries or the power converter in your RV.

Look around if there’s an electrical problem

You’ll always find a fuse located within 18 inches of your batteries. This is an industry code, so all manufacturers do it. An RV’s power converter is fused to protect it in the event your batteries are hooked up incorrectly. Check the fuse first. If it’s blown, try replacing it.

Check your RV house batteries, too. If they’re dead, you can “work around” the problem by hooking up a battery charger to them. If you need to charge your batteries and your power converter has died, you can always hook a battery charger to your batteries. Batteries do not care where the power to charge them comes from.

Save your money, and save your technician from having to making an unnecessary call.

Related:
RV batteries more important than anything else in the rig? Yup
RV Electricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Charging batteries with a tender
Battery Tender battery charger from Amazon

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Ron K
3 months ago

My batteries failed once when I was nowhere near shore power. There was no way to use a battery charger with nowhere to plug it in. The generator wasn’t an option because it requires working batteries. I got out my jumper cables and jumped my failed batteries to my vehicle battery and that provided enough power to start my generator. With that running, my battery charger was then an option.

Pete T
3 months ago

Had power go out suddenly once, after searching for a while, my brother figured out the my granddaughter (7 years old) accidently turned off the master power switch!

Eddie Harris
3 months ago

We have just one socket that does not work even when we are plugged in or using generator. Tested it using a Mulitmeter that plugs into socket and it states wiring is correct. But when items are plugged in no power. Help

Dawn R
3 months ago
Reply to  Eddie Harris

check to see if the GFCI outlets tripped. They are interconnected with several other outlets.

Impavid
3 months ago

Remember the days of the glass barrel fuses and when it burned out you’d wrap some foil around it from a cigarette package. Yup, I’m old.

Joseph Weinstein
3 months ago

Great suggestion. When I first purchased our TT I had the issue. The fuse near the battery was blown. I replaced it with a circuit breaker which was easier to reset. I established that I blew the fuse because I didn’t understand how to operate my tongue jack properly. I didn’t pay attention when it stopped its travel.

Glen Cowgill
3 months ago

You should have a 12V test light and even a cheap VOM meter in your tool kit and know how to use them. No Power, start at the source such as the batteries and work your way towards what you are trying to get working. Some people will go to the source and confirm power and then go to what is not working and work their way back to the power source to determine what is missing. Either way is acceptable in my opinion.

I always taught the whole idea of troubleshooting is to determine what is missing.