What to Do When RV Plugged in But No Power

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Living in an RV without electrical connections is quite impossible. What could be more annoying than this? Having the RV plugged in but no power! Such a situation demands instant solutions. If your RV’s electrical system somehow fails to draw power, you need to find out the reasons and fix them.

RV Plugged in but No Power: Reasons and Solutions

Several components in the electrical system could be responsible for the RV power failure. It’s possible to diagnose and fix some of them with no special electrical knowledge. However, you should better take professional help for complicated problems.

1. Resetting The GFCI

If there is a lack of power in your motorhome, the very first thing to do is to check the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) of the trailer. It’s mostly located in the bathroom. But if you don’t find it there or are not sure about the resetting, refer to the RV manual. Since this is the most common resolution, do this before applying any other methods.

2. Resetting Main Circuit Breakers

Resetting the main circuit breakers at the main 110-volt circuit breaker and the power pedestal may also work. Although it is a simple procedure, there is no harm in checking the RV manual for any queries. Since this method is a sensitive one, contact a professional if you are in any doubt about the procedure.

3. Check Battery Performance

In that case of the travel trailer plugged in but no power issue, checking the condition of the battery is mandatory. Perform proper inspection to see if there is any leakage or damage in it.

Batteries have a sturdy structure, but they can be vulnerable to certain conditions. They tend to freeze during winter, especially when the temperature is pretty low.

If there is any sign of damage, handle it as a precaution to avoid toxicity. Wear gloves as battery fluid can burn human skin and cause other skin disorders.

4. Inspect the Inverter

If the batteries seem okay, examine by connecting them to some alternate power sources other than the current shore power. The problem is with RV shore power not working if the batteries run with other power sources.

However, if the batteries seem dead despite changing the power outlets, disconnect them from the RV. Watch out for the response of the RV inverter. In the case of battery cell collapse, lights will come on, and you have to repair or replace the battery.

5. Disconnecting from Shore Power

This step is comparatively more technical and needs additional tools. You have to disconnect the shore cord from the power pedestal and reset the breaker.

Then, test for power at the outlet by using a voltmeter or test light. If the power is available, turn off the breaker before reconnecting the power cord. Switch the breaker on before testing the power of the shore cord connector.

6. Check for Surge Protector

If the voltmeter can detect the power, see if the travel trailer comes with a surge protector. If yes, check its diagnostic lights. If not, a faulty surge protector might be responsible for RV plugged in but no power supply.

7. The Power Transfer Switch

If the prior inspections go all right, it comes down to checking the converter or charger/inverter to see if the power is available. Those who have a generator need to test its power transfer switch.

The testing method varies from model to model, so one has to check the operating manual of the RV. You need to see if a power connection between the power transfer switch/power cord and the inverter/converter is available.

8. The Circuit Breaker and the Wiring

Now is the time to check the main 110-volt circuit breaker. You may have to remove the panel for that. Replace the breaker wires if they are faulty and have power. Make sure to check the breaker connection to avoid any issue such as RV plugged in but no power.

Lastly, for no power to RV when plugged in, inspect the wiring between the breaker and the travel trailer power outlets. A broken or loose connection might be the main culprit, and you will need professional expertise for fixing this.

9. Reset the Main 110-Volt Circuit Breaker

You may also try resetting the main 110-volt circuit breaker. After finding out where it is, you’ll need to remove the panel and check if the breaker itself is operational. Check to see whether the connections have electricity; if they do, your breaker most likely needs to be replaced.

You should also inspect the wires that carry electricity away from the breaker. If these are operating, examine the connections between the breaker and the outlets to determine whether anything is wrong.

10. Examine the charger or inverter, as well as the generator.

In some situations, the charger/inverter or generator may be faulty. Use your voltage meter to check the 120V AC and coach battery terminals to see if anything is wrong with the charger / inverter or generator. You’ll need to replace the charger or generator, or have them repaired, from there.

11. Check the condition of your power cable.

If you have a power cord that is not working properly, the problem might be with the cord itself. You can use your voltage meter to determine where along the power cable the problem lies if you detect electricity coming through the shoreline connection but not reaching your RV. The power cable may need to be replaced.

How to Perform Routine Maintenance to Avoid RV Power Problems

Here are the preventive measures for avoiding unexpected power connection issues in your travel trailer:

1. Regularly Charge and Clean 12 Volt Batteries

The 12V battery that comes with the motorhomes is usually durable. Hence, people often tend to ignore it in terms of maintenance. As a result, a battery can fail, both rapidly and gradually. All RV lovers should test and charge the battery before starting for a trip to ensure no power fiasco. Use a multimeter and smart charger to ensure the supply of 12V and avoid overcharging.

Look for any sign of corrosion in the battery terminals and the connecting hardware. If you find some, clean it by scrubbing with the mixture of baking soda and water.

rv shore power not working
Clean and recharge the battery regularly.

2. Double-Check All Electronics Before Every Trip

There is a chance that some parts of the RV electric system may become faulty when the motorhome is in storage for a whole winter or even for some weeks.

Everyone will agree that it is better to find out any problem in the driveway than finding out during the trip. So, always double-check the heating and air conditioning facilities of the RV before going on any trip. Turn on all the lights, switch on the refrigerator to check if it cools down properly, and test all the other appliances of the trailer.

3. Maintenance of the Generator

When the shore power is not available or the campground doesn’t offer a suitable power post for your motorhome, having an RV generator is highly beneficial. If you own one, let it run for a while before every trip.

For a gasoline-powered generator, campers must stabilize the gas fuel before putting away for the whole winter season. Before restarting the generator in spring, fill it with fresh, high octane gas.

4. Always Have an Extra Adapter on Hand

You never know if you’ll be camping at a site with a differing amount of power from the one your RV can take. It’s important to always bring adapters so that you can keep your appliances powered up.

Conclusion

Whenever there is the RV plugged in but no power issue, you should go through these steps to find out the cause and resolve it efficiently. If none of these can fix this problem, call a technician or take the RV to the nearest repair facility.

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About Peter Wade

Peter Wade is a co-ordinator and writer at www.RVTalk.net. His hobbies are coffee, RV camping and photography. He now enjoys exploring the U.S. by RV with his two dogs. After obtaining a MA degree in Public Relations and Journalism, he had 8 years of experience working for the R&D Department of Outdoorsy. Peter provides a unique look and insightful knowledge about the RV lifestyle, and fills his blog with everything from RV camping guides to reviews about necessary RV accessories. If you are an RV enthusiast and want to get the most-updated trends of the RV industry, Peter’s articles are the must-visit contents.

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