Troubleshooting RV electrical issues? Keep it simple!

Troubleshooting RV electrical issues? Keep it simple!

by Steve Savage, Mobility RV Service

One of the most important rules when troubleshooting anything in your RV is “Keep it simple.” This rule is doubly true when it comes to electricity.

Since a good many folks who own RVs are not familiar with electrical diagnoses, when something doesn’t work there is an automatic assumption that either the cause is something serious or else the problem is with the part we can see or even a part we’ve had trouble with before.

For example, if a number of lights suddenly stop working, the starting point is the fuse panel. Don’t look anywhere else until the fuses in the panel are checked — and that means checked with a meter, not by simply looking at them. There is no way I can emphasize enough how common mistakes are made by visually inspecting fuses. I know it looks like overkill, but when I am troubleshooting, my meter carries the brunt of the load. I tend to be obsessive when checking fuses and even to the degree that I do not assume the fuse designation is what is written at the fuse panel.

Time and again I have found factory labeling to be incorrect — sometimes for more than one fuse. If I find a fuse that is blown, I install a new fuse. I know this sounds simple, but I hate making unnecessary service calls, since charging an RVer to do nothing more than replace a fuse can cause hard feelings. By the same token, I can’t run the truck for free. It’s a real conundrum!

A second rule to bear in mind is this: The cause of a problem, if it is with a component, is seldom with the part you can see. RV manufacturers don’t seem to give any thought to keeping the cost of service work down, so the part you need to worry about is most often the one that is hardest to reach or, in many cases, to even find.

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