RV 12 Volt System Is Not Working
Your RV water pump, lights, and other necessities run on the 12-volt electrical system. When the 12-volt system fails to work, it can cause quite a bit of inconvenience. You may not realize this, but the 12-volt system in an RV always runs off of the batteries, whether you’re off-grid or plugged in at a campground. If your lights or other 12-volt items are not working, you’ll need to troubleshoot your 12-volt system to find the source of the problem.
Start Troubleshooting with the Batteries
If your batteries are undercharged, damaged, or dead, that will prevent your RV 12-volt electrical system from working.
First, you’ll need to pinpoint the problem:
- Check the water in the batteries
- The battery connections are loose
- Check for undercharged batteries
- The batteries dead
Low or No Water in the Batteries
Wet cell batteries need water to work. When batteries get overheated, the water inside can get very hot and be lost through evaporation. Remove the caps from the batteries to see if there is water covering the plates. If it’s low, add distilled water. However, never fill the batteries to the top, the water only needs to cover the plates.
A Loose Battery Connection
Look to see if there are any loose or broken wires going to the batteries. Acid from the batteries can spill over, and corrode the wires.
The Batteries are Undercharged
If your batteries completely drained previously, they may now have a hard time holding a complete charge. Your batteries could also be getting old and worn out, and it might be time to replace them.
The Batteries are Dead
Recharge your batteries right away. However, you’ll need to figure out why they were drained in the first place. Also, if your batteries have completely drained, their ability to hold a full charge may have been compromised.
Your inverter/converter is an important part of your RV’s 12-volt electrical system, and that may the source of your problem.
Check these inverter/converter issues:
- There is a burned-out fuse
- There is a loose connection on the inverter/converter
- A circuit breaker has tripped
- Unplugged from shore power
Burned Out Fuse
The fuses on the inverter/converter can burn out or become loose over time. Check the fuses, and replace any that are burned out. If the fuses keep burning out, contact an RV repair technician.
You’ll also need to check the wires on the inverter/converter. If all of the wires and connections look good, you may need to hire an RV repair technician to further analyze the problem.
A Circuit Breaker has Tripped or You Are Unplugged from Shore Power
If you’re plugged into power at a campground, the circuit breaker may have tripped on the power pedestal. This may happen when you run two high-powered appliances at once, like a microwave and the air conditioner. Go outside to the power pedestal and flip the breakers to see if the power comes back on. Likewise, make sure your power cord is properly plugged in.