Troubleshooting RV Circuit Breakers – Tenting World

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When your RV is plugged in, 120-volt alternating present (AC) can run home equipment and small electronics. Identical to in your house, circuit breakers management AC energy and assist you to plug in safely. 

However what occurs when energy retailers or particular home equipment cease working? Troubleshooting RV circuit breakers might solely be a part of the answer, however it’s an vital piece when troubleshooting your RV’s complete electrical system

The video above exhibits you the way to troubleshoot electrical points related to pulling an excessive amount of energy, like tripped breakers or blown fuses, and the way to repair them. Under, we’ll go into extra element about RV circuit breakers, how they function, and the way to troubleshoot them. 

Understanding AC versus DC Energy in your RV

Earlier than you dive into circuit breaker troubleshooting, it’s important to grasp how RV electrical works. Right here’s a brief video introduction: 

Understanding your RV’s Amperage

Most RVs are geared up with 30 or 50-amp electrical service. You’ll find this specification on your RV in your proprietor’s guide. Right here’s somewhat extra about 30-amp versus 50-amp RVs: 

Understanding your RV’s Electrical Distribution Panel

Now that you’ve got a fundamental understanding of RV electrical methods, it’s time to decipher what you’re taking a look at in your electrical distribution panel. When you have a used RV, hopefully your distribution panel is correctly labeled, however this isn’t all the time the case for used and new RVsProfessional tip: In case your panel isn’t labeled, take the time to label it as a result of it should prevent time when troubleshooting future points. 

To troubleshoot circuit breaker points, you’ll have to know which breakers present energy safety for the totally different home equipment of your RV. In case your breaker panel isn’t labeled, seek the advice of your proprietor’s guide for electrical specs that may enable you label it appropriately. 

Photograph by Tenting World

How Does an RV Circuit Breaker Work?

An AC circuit breaker is a protecting system that opens when extreme present flows within the circuit. By opening, it interrupts present circulation, and that is generally generally known as “tripping” the breaker. 

The tripping mechanism is enclosed in a molded plastic case with the breaker’s ranking (in amps) stamped or molded into the deal with. AC breakers have to be manually reset to revive present to their related RV home equipment and retailers. 

Find out how to Verify RV Circuit Breakers for AC

Photograph by Tenting World

If a breaker is tripping, it’s vital to test what number of amps are flowing by means of the circuit after you reset it to verify the circuit is just not overloaded.

To check a circuit breaker, you’ll want a clamp meter that reads AC and DC amps, volts, and ohms. This lets you clamp round a single wire to learn amps with out inserting the meter in collection. 

With a digital multimeter (DMM) or voltmeter, you’d have to attach the meter in collection, which limits your amp studying to the meter’s fuse ranking, which is normally solely 10 amps. By clamping round a single wire as a substitute of connecting in parallel, a clamp meter lets you check larger amperages.

Listed below are some fast testing suggestions: 

  1. Plug your RV right into a 30 or 50-amp energy pedestal. 
  2. Set your clamp meter to the volts AC setting. 
  3. Be certain that the breaker is within the ON place. 
  4. Place one check lead on the impartial bus bar and the opposite on the black wire hooked up to the breaker being examined.
  5. Your meter ought to learn roughly 120 volts AC, indicating a closed breaker permitting present to circulation. 
  6. In case your meter reads 0 volts AC, the breaker is open. 
  7. Change the clamp meter to the AC amps setting. 
  8. Clamp across the black wire hooked up to the breaker being examined. 
  9. With related masses or home equipment in use, the amp studying ought to be lower than the amp ranking of the breaker being examined. 

When you get a studying that’s significantly lower than 120 VAC out of a breaker after verifying you’ve got 120 VAC in the principle breaker supplying energy, you might want to exchange your breaker. 

You can even energy the breaker off, unplug your RV’s shore energy twine, and take away the breaker from the circuit. With it eliminated, you’ll be able to set your DMM to the Ohms setting and check for continuity to see if the breaker is nice or must be changed.

Troubleshooting GFCI Receptacles

RVs have one other type of circuit breaker generally known as GFCI receptacles. These seem like normal 120 VAC receptacles, however they’re constructed with floor fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) safety to close the circuit down in the event that they sense a fault present. 

RVs will need to have GFCI-protected receptacles within the lavatory, on the outside, and inside six ft of any sink. If a GFCI receptacle is tripped, unplug any electronics in that receptacle and use the Reset button (sometimes marked with an ‘R’) to revive energy. 

When you want to check receptacles downstream from the GFCI-protected receptacle, you’ll want a tool generally known as a circuit tester. It plugs into downstream receptacles and has a check button that ought to journey the upstream GFCI receptacle if the system is functioning correctly. If it doesn’t journey, it normally alerts a faulty or miswired GFCI receptacle.

Different Potential Points with RV Circuit Breakers

Photograph by Tenting World

Suppose your circuit breakers and GFCI receptacles are all functioning correctly, and also you’re nonetheless experiencing an absence of energy to sure RV home equipment. In that case, there are a couple of different points to test: 

  • Blown 12-volt DC fuses. Many new RVs are geared up with distribution panel indicator LED lights that mild up if the fuse is blown and there’s a load on the circuit. The easiest way to make certain if a fuse is blown is to take away it and examine it visually. Blown fuses should all the time get replaced with fuses of the identical ranking.
  • Unreliable shore energy. You need to all the time use a surge protector when plugging into an influence pedestal at an RV park. This may warn you to energy points like low voltage and defend your RV’s electrical system from injury. 
  • Defective wiring connections. Even some new RVs expertise wiring points from the second they roll off the manufacturing unit traces. When you suspect a wiring problem, contact your native Tenting World for skilled help. 

RV electrical methods may be considerably complicated to new RVers. Whereas we encourage everybody to be taught extra about their RVs, you’ll be able to all the time come right into a Tenting World Service Middle and have a licensed RV technician troubleshoot circuit breakers and different electrical points for you.

When you’re interested by how regularly you need to be servicing RV elements, take a look at our downloadable RV possession and upkeep booklet!

Do you’ve got any particular questions on troubleshooting RV circuit breakers? Share them within the feedback under! 


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