Dave Solberg

RV Power Converter Troubleshooting

Dave Solberg
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Duration:   4  mins
Cruising the open road in your rig can give you a sense of freedom, but when your necessary appliances stop working, that freedom can be tainted by the hassle of fixing them. Finding out why your refrigerator won’t stay cold or your microwave won’t heat is crucial for having a happy trip.

When your RV appliances aren’t working, it’s not always right to assume the appliance itself is broken. Many times it’s the power system that’s broken down somewhere between the source and the appliance. Using common sense RV troubleshooting methods can narrow down the possibilities, helping you to figure out exactly what kind of repairs you need.

RV distribution center troubleshooting can show whether the electrical problem is in the wiring, the outlet, or the circuit breakers, which service the electrical system that feeds into your appliance. The problem could even be at the source in the campground or storage facility. Doing the diagnosing and repair on your own can eliminate expensive repair visits, ferreting out small problems you can fix yourself.

How to Diagnose the Issue

In this video, RV maintenance and repair expert Dave Solberg walks you through the process of RV distribution center troubleshooting. You’ll learn simple methods for checking circuit breakers inside and out by using non-contact voltage testers. Specialized testers are important in checking circuits, and Dave shows you how to safely ground these testers to avoid sparking and shocks.

This video shows commonsense tips for tracking down electrical problems, including checking GFCI outlets that might trip in one room and affect the appliances they’re ganged with in another. Tracking down the power through the RV will tell you exactly where the problem resides, which may save you hundreds of dollars in bills from needless repair visits.

Starting at the Center

First things first, when you notice that an appliance or multiple appliances aren’t working, you should check that power is indeed reaching the distribution center. Use a non-contact voltage tester to ensure 110 volts are coursing in the circuit breakers by removing the panel and clamping onto a ground surface.

If all is good in the center, you should go to the appliance(s) giving you trouble. In Dave’s case, he has removed the refrigerator from its cavity to check for power at connection points and in the wiring. If power is flowing, the issue could be in the appliance itself. You can verify this by checking the status of other 110v outlets.

Next, Dave inspects power in the microwave. He says that most outlets located near water sources are ganged to a ground fault circuit interrupter. Should this be the case for your appliance, he recommends testing whether other circuits are connected. In the bedroom or bathroom, for example. On this example RV, there’s a GFCI circuit located in the bathroom. He ensures that it isn’t working before tripping it. And lo and behold, the kitchen outlet that feeds the microwave isn’t working either! So we know that these outlets are ganged, and we might have found our problem.

Next Steps

Once you’ve gone through the process of RV power converter troubleshooting and know where the issue lies in your RV’s power problem, you can begin to address it. We have a full library of videos that can help you repair and maintain your RV electrical systems, including a distribution center overview that gives you a quick rundown of the center. With Dave’s help, you’ll discover the right solution and be back up and running in no time flat!

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67 Responses to “RV Power Converter Troubleshooting”

  1. Elaine

    I have a Freedom Xi xantrex 2000 inverter. When connected to shore power I cannot turn power off inverter. There is a steady green light on battery voltage. Any suggestions to resolve this would be very much appreciated!

  2. Quincy

    Hello. I have a 1998 Fleetwood Boulder it has 36.000miles when I plug it in yhe generator sounds like it's on when ii unplug the generator turns off or nothing works Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. By becoming a member, you will have access to our expert knowledge. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and hundreds of hours of Premium content. If you are interested in becoming a member, please click on the offer below: https://go.rvlifestyleandrepair.com/C45841 Thanks!


    My converter went out and as work-around I connect a 10A Noco Genius charger / maintainer to the battery. Is there any harm in just sticking with this configuration or is there a compelling reason to replace the converter? Thank you!

  4. Jerry

    2012 Tiffin Phaeton, have a Magnum ME-3112 Inverter. Now experience a Inverter fault when I am stationary and connected to shore power, but start my generator to exercise it under no load condition. Obviously there is a connection of some sort that affects the inverter. Any ideas on this. Thank you. Jerry

  5. David

    My converter charger isn't charging the batteries. When I disconnect the negative lead from the converter charger I put the positive lead from a volt meter to the positive (input?) terminal from the converter charger and the negative volt meter lead to the disconnected negative lead from the converter charger the voltage is 13.6v... exactly what I would expect; so far so good. Reconnecting the negative lead from the converter charger to the terminal for it on the dc panel and then test the same terminals I get the battery voltage (12v or less). The converter never applies the 13.6v to the board and thus doesn't charge the battery. Suggestions?

  6. PJ

    Hello, picked up my 97 29ft majestic. I’ve come to find out that it’s a one off and a bit of a Frankenstein. As I’m attempting to remodel it I’m starting to think not much thought was put into the placement of most of the items. Such as that entire compartment above your microwave I don’t have, my power converter is under the bed etc. what I’m writing about is my unit overloads the breaker I’m docked to regularly and 1/3 times I’ll have a melted plug. There’s something not right for sure, it’s not unusual for me to smell something heating up. I recently took the front panels off the magnetek power adapter 45 amps and the fan on the bottom isn’t working. I dusted everything off figured it would be best to google.

  7. Liz

    Join Date: Jun 2021 Posts: 4 Electrical issue We have a 2006 Forest River Flagstaff 27BHSS and we are having issues with the 12V power on one half of the camper. The light over the bathroom sink and bathroom light and fan, vent hood over the stove, the lights over the couch and the power awning are not working. We have checked every fuse we can find, the battery is fully charged and we cannot find what the issue is. We need some help!

  8. Dale

    I was replacing my motor for defroster and now I have no power. Why?

  9. Charles C Howe

    Please tell me what could be wrong? My coach has good 128 volts at the terminals in the convertor - PD450060. When I lose shore power, My low voltage lights go out... Is that right or is something wrong?

  10. Fred Boone

    If I plug my camper into 120v everything works. When I plug my truck into the camper everything works, when I use the new fully charged camper batteries some lights come on but flash. can anyone help??????

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