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Hello RVers. Relaying a story about AC power or shore power that you might find helpful.
A friend’s RV had no power. He knew this because he had no power on any outlets, no microwave lights, no air conditioner and the lights were getting dim.
For the rest of this article, you’ll really need a multimeter (I suggested a Fluke as no one ever got fired for buying a Fluke) to do check out electrical as the darned stuff is invisible yet will still bite you on the rear!
Here were the clues:
- The pedestal had power (30 Amp plug).
- The 30 amp cable had power at the plug connector – in other words the connector was connected properly. Connectors can come lose.
- The MAIN power connection to the WFCO power center did NOT have power.
You can assume that based on where you DO/DON’T have power that it is reasonable that the WIRE in between where you DO have power and where you DON’T have power is broken.
We decided that the power fault was somewhere between the 30 Amp plug and the WFCO converter. We also surmised that the problem was in the junction box between the heavy rubber coated extension cord and the typical home electrical wire ( I think called Romex ) is connected.
Now an argument ensued.
I didn’t want to go rummaging around the RV under carriage or trying to guess where the junction box was and was willing to let an RV dealer who “just knew” where those things were located find it and fix it.
But my friend didn’t want to pay an RV repair person so he persisted. In this case he was right and I was wrong – it was easier to find than you think.
KEY LEARNING #1: It is HIGHLY likely that the box that lets you push/pull all the RV shore power extension cord in/out of your RV is carefully disguised/integrated with the interior of the RV in a useful fashion. In our case, it was a small side table in between two chairs in a rear living model travel trailer.
KEY LEARNING #2: The electrical junction box will be in that storage box… most likely. I wouldn’t know why it would be any different.
There was a “near death” fire in the junction box!
Once we discovered the junction box would be EASY to get to in the inside side table we took it apart and we were aghast at what we saw.
Inside the junction box, the hot side of the wire had came in contact with the metal junction box which was grounded and the ensuing short melted the wire nut. We assume it melted the wire nut as we found 2 but there should have been 3.
It was very good luck that the fire somehow stopped burning and simply created an open circuit or my friend – a heavy sleeper might have died in his sleep.
We repaired the junction box and the RV worked perfectly after that.
Banks Diesel says
That’s a good write up and even the illustration is entertaining. We’ll be working on uncle’s new project, ’90 Fleetwood with power issues. Gonna take some of your tips here.