Saturday, December 2, 2023


RV battery problem? A converter issue? A romantic gesture? What’s going on?

At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. Overnight, it seemed, our RV’s bedroom ceiling lights weren’t as bright as usual. Could this be an RV battery problem, a converter issue, or (ahem) a romantic gesture by my husband?

Let there be light

Once we ruled out the romantic gesture, both my husband and I kept a close eye on all of our RV’s interior lights. The bedroom ceiling lights were the only ones that appeared to be affected. They didn’t shine as brightly as they had in the past.


We tried to do some troubleshooting on our own. Since only the bedroom ceiling lights were affected, it couldn’t be a fuse problem, right? We checked fuses anyway and, as expected, they were all fine.

We were hooked up to the campground’s shore power and wondered if that could be the source of our problem. The trouble with that theory was that all of our other lights, appliances, and electrical outlets worked fine—even those in the bedroom.

Then we began to consider the light fixtures themselves. What were the chances that all four of the bedroom ceiling lights would fail at exactly the same time? A billion to one? We just couldn’t find an answer to the dimmed lights. We were stumped!

Outside help

We called our RV mechanic for his advice. He said the most likely culprit was our power converter. “Converters can act erratically if they are going out. You might see dimmer lights and flickering lights, too.”

When we told the mechanic that only the bedroom lights were affected, he suggested we wait and see if lights or outlets in other areas of our RV might became affected.

A lightbulb moment

While we played the “wait-and-see game,” I became more and more frustrated at the dim lighting in our bedroom area. One day I happened to push the lights’ electronic pad and held it a bit longer than usual. That’s when the lightbulb moment happened. Literally! The lights became brighter. Yes, the longer I pushed the light pad, the brighter the lights became! If I turned off the lights and then turned them on once more, and kept my finger on the pad longer still, the lights dimmed once again. The lights had a rheostat control!

How a rheostat works

In very simple terms, a rheostat controls the electrical current. It can gradually vary a circuit’s current without interruption. The rheostat brightened or dimmed the RV’s bedroom lights depending on how long the electronic pad was pushed.

I couldn’t wait to tell my husband about my discovery. I set the lights to their brightest setting and then called him back to the bedroom. When my husband saw the bright lights he was amazed! “How’d you do that?” he wondered aloud.

Let’s just say that I was happy to demonstrate the lights’ dimming capabilities, too. Since then, we no longer worry about an RV battery problem or a converter issue. If the bedroom lights dim, we can be certain that it’s (ahem) a romantic gesture.

Have you ever discovered an unexpected answer to your RV’s problem? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.



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Phil (@guest_257794)
1 month ago

I had a problem with my ac. It would turn off before it cooled down to the set temp. I would set it to 68 and it would only cool it down to74 or so. could not figure out, so I installed another thermostat and it did the same thing. This went on for a month or so, then I figured it out.
The problem….someone (me) had turned the ceiling vent and it was blowing directly on the thermostat. Turned the vent the other way and everything was OK.

Bob P (@guest_257743)
1 month ago

You didn’t know that? Neither did I, thanks for the info!

Neal Davis (@guest_257701)
1 month ago

Thank you, Gail! I think we have made some discoveries of greater capacity, capability of aspects of our RVs. Unfortunately, I am unable to recall any specific instances at this moment. 🙁

DonH (@guest_257672)
1 month ago

All of our lights work this way (2008 Country Coach). But we’ve known that from the start, because I READ my manuals… LOL.

Ron (@guest_257657)
1 month ago

You could have written this article 4 years ago. Our Bounder was 3 years at that time & the kitchen sink was leaking at top seals & loose. My DW & I were lowering it, re-sealing it, then tightening it back up. One of us was leaning on fwd light switch & lights started to dim. Oh man, now what’s wrong with this #*#*RV. But it was only fwd lights. DW pressed & held light switch, magically lights went dimmer then brighter. Only 3 yrs to find out all the overhead lights dim.

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