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5 Troubleshooting Tips for RV Shore Power (120V AC & 12V DC)

A certified RV Inspector gives top troubleshooting tips for RV shore power for 120 volt AC and 12 volt DC systems…

In our weekly RV Lifestyle podcasts, certified RV inspector Brenda from Queen Bee RV shares her expertise regarding common problems RVers face. And in this RV Lifestyle podcast episode, Brenda shared troubleshooting tips for RV shore power. You can easily resolve many repair issues by understanding your RV's electrical systems. Brenda helps us do just that!

Here is the advice she shared on our podcast. She helps us understand the different systems and then walks us through troubleshooting tips that will likely fix the problem.

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Watch the Podcast Video

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We summarize Brenda's tips below, but watching the above video is very helpful! Brenda walks you through what you need to know and the fixes you can try.

We also suggest you tune into our podcast for more troubleshooting tips, camping recipes, and lots of great RV-related information. A new episode airs every Wednesday!

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Understanding the Different Systems

5 Troubleshooting Tips for RV Shore Power (120V AC & 12V DC) 1

The first step is to familiarize yourself with which appliances and components operate on the 120 Volt AC or 12 Volt DC system. This knowledge will help you troubleshoot your RV appliances more effectively.

To make things easier, create a cheat sheet that lists the appliances and components that run on each system.

The 120 Volt AC System

The 120 Volt AC system powers significant appliances like the air conditioner, microwave, wall receptacles, refrigerator (absorption type or residential style), tank water heater (if electric option is available), and the washer and dryer.

Additionally, it powers the converter, a commonly overlooked component that charges your battery or operates your 12 Volt DC systems.

The 12 Volt DC System

The 12Volt DC system is powered by your coach battery, which can be lead acid, gel, AGM, or lithium. (You can read why lithium batteries are taking over the RV world.)

This system controls interior lights, water pump, appliance control systems (like the fridge and air conditioner thermostat), slide-out and leveling systems, DSI igniter on the water heater, vent fans, furnace blower fan, and some electronics.

Troubleshooting Tips for 120 Volt AC System

5 Troubleshooting Tips for RV Shore Power (120V AC & 12V DC)

If you encounter issues with the 120 Volt AC system, consider the following troubleshooting tips. They may save you a costly bill from a repairman!

Check the Breakers

  • Begin by checking the breaker at the campground pedestal and the ones in your electrical panel box.
  • Sometimes, a breaker might appear to be in the correct position but could still be tripped. Run your finger across them to ensure they are secure.

GFCI Outlet

  • If your outlets are not functioning, inspect the GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet. It may have tripped at the receptacle or breaker panel.
  • Reset the GFCI outlet and check if the problem is resolved.

Generator Issues

  • If your generator is running but there is no power at the 120Volt appliances, ensure that the dedicated breaker inside the generator compartment is switched on.

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5 Troubleshooting Tips for RV Shore Power (120V AC & 12V DC) 2
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Troubleshooting Tips for 12 Volt DC System

If you are facing issues with the 12 Volt DC system, try these troubleshooting tips:

Battery Health

  • When connected to shore power, your converter is responsible for providing power to the 12Volt DC appliances and components.
  • If your 12 Volt systems are functional when plugged in but not when boondocking, check the health and charge status of your coach battery.
  • Inspect the connections to ensure they are tight and free of excessive corrosion that could interfere with performance.

Battery Disconnect Switch and Blade Fuses

  • Confirm that the battery disconnect switch is not engaged, as this can prevent the power from reaching your 12Volt DC systems.
  • Also, check the blade fuses in the panel box to ensure none are blown.

Final Tip: Create a Troubleshooting Reference

It may seem too simple, but creating a list of these troubleshooting tips on an index card can be a lifesaver. Keep it handy for easy reference whenever you run into RV electrical system issues.

By following these steps, you can eliminate a surprising number of problems and ensure a smooth and enjoyable RVing experience.

We hope you found these tips helpful! You can listen to our podcasts or watch the videos.

RV Electricity Dos and Don'ts

Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!

In another helpful podcast, an expert on all things electric in an RV shares the Dos and Don'ts every RVers should know. You can listen to the podcast or watch the video above.

RV Lifestyle recommends the RV Tech Course

5 Troubleshooting Tips for RV Shore Power (120V AC & 12V DC) 3

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Every time you move your RV it's like driving through a hurricane during an earthquake. Parts break and many items need to be maintained, this program will show you how you can save time and money by gaining the confidence to take on the majority of the issues you’ll come across. Don’t get caught with your RV in the shop! Learn how you can maintain and repair your RV at your own pace and at the most convenient time for you! This course is produced by the National RV Training Academy.



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5 Troubleshooting Tips for RV Shore Power (120V AC & 12V DC) 4
Mike and Jennifer Wendland

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-08-05

Mike Wendland is an Emmy award-winning journalist, traveler, and producer of RV Podcast, the RV Lifestyle travel blog, and the RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. Mike, traveling with his wife Jennifer and their Norwegian Elkhound, Bo, has vast experience and a great passion for exploring North America, previously working as a long-time NBC-TV News Channel Technology Correspondent and now sharing his love for the RV lifestyle with millions. Mike is not only an adept RV life enthusiast but also a skillful storyteller, bringing to his channels stories from the road that perfectly capture the magic and hardships of this lifestyle.

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