Jimbo’s Mobile RV Repair – RV Electrical Maintenance

An RV plugged into shore power. (photo credits to rvshare.com)

It doesn’t take a genius to know that any work that involves RV Electrical maintenance and systems needs to be done very carefully!  Doing work haphazardly or without the utmost of caution can have extremely dangerous consequences.  While most electrical work should be left to trained and qualified professionals, there are some basic steps that even your average RV owner who knows only a little, or nothing about the electrical system.  Unless you have complete, 100% confidence that you know everything about what it is you’re doing, you should always leave major electrical fixes to professionals.  Without further ado, let’s get into it!

First off, know that most RVs have two separate electrical systems.  A 12-volt system, and a 110/120 volt system.  The 12-volt system is responsible for the startup of most appliances and devices in your RV and is powered by one or more batteries.  It also powers some smaller devices such as lights and carbon monoxide detectors.  Your 120-volt system, on the other hand, can handle a lot more!  This system typically powers daily use items that bear a heavy electrical load, like kitchen appliances (after they’re started by the 12-volt system).  This system is powered by either your RV’s generator or a hookup station that you’ll find at a campground (frequently referred to as shore power).

Make sure you also know the locations of all electrical panels inside of your RV.   One of the most common problems people have with electrical systems is blown fuses, which are usually easy to identify and fix.  If you’re having problems with electrical devices starting, you should first check all of your batteries.  Make sure that all of the batteries are secure and that they’re in good condition with no corrosion or wear.  Make sure they’re also filled with the proper amount of water.

When you’re at a campground, make sure you know the amperage of your RV’s electrical system.  Most systems require either 20 amp, 30 amp or 50 amp power.  If you happen to have a 50 amp system, make sure that you have an adapter that will allow you to plug into 30 amp systems, as some campgrounds don’t yet have 50 amp power available.  Bear in mind as well, that when you use an adapter/step-down cord in order to plug a 50 amp system into a 30 amp power source, you’re still only going to be using 30 amps of power, so be very mindful of your usage so as to not short out the campground.