When you head out in the RV you anticipate making a few sacrifices from your everyday life in a fully functioning home. However, you also know that the RV still provides you some everyday luxuries like electricity, a shower, a bed, and maybe even air conditioning if you’re lucky.
All of those things depend on your RV power working like it is intended to. What do you do when your RV outlets are not working?
There is more than one thing that could cause your RV outlets not to work. The problem might be that they simply are not getting enough power from the source or it’s possible that you’ve tripped an outlet as well.
When your RV outlets are not working, there is typically an underlying reason for the problem. The good news is that you can most likely fix the issue but you may need some tools to do so.
Here are some troubleshooting tips if your RV outlets are not working for you.
RV Outlets Not Working on Battery
If you are trying to use your outlets on battery and they are not working, it’s probably because the battery is not giving them enough power, or perhaps it’s not supplying the right kind of power.
RV outlets produce about 15-20 amps of power but they need 100 or 120 volts in order to provide the power they are supposed to.
The problem is that the batteries in your RV are powerful enough to work at least the outlets and a few things within the RV but they are DC power.
If you find that your RV outlets are not working on battery, you most likely need to use an inverter to convert your DC power to AC power.
Give this a try and see if it helps solve your problem!
Outlets Not Working on a Generator
You’ve got everything hooked up to the generator and plenty of power so everything should be working, right? Maybe you even have power to one specific spot in the RV but not to all of the outlets or a certain appliance.
If you are experiencing this issue, the most likely culprit is a tripped breaker. This is the most common issue for outlets not working when a generator is being used.
There are two ways to resolve this and it just depends on where the breaker for the outlet or appliance is located. It is different in various RVs as some use GFCI outlets. In other RVs, you will just need to find your main breaker panel.
- If you have a GFCI outlet that is not working, try resetting the outlet at the outlet to see if that resolves the issue.
- Check the main breaker panel for your RV and reset any breakers that appear to be tripped. If there is no tripped breaker but you know the breaker tied to the outlet, you might reset it to see if that works.
These tips are assuming that your generator is on and working properly so the problem is not the generator. If the problem is your generator, that requires different troubleshooting. You might also check the breakers on the generator to see if something was tripped there.
RV Outlets Not Working on Shore Power
There are a couple of different reasons that your outlets might not be working when you are connected to shore power. The most common culprit has tripped breakers or tripped GFCI outlets that need a reset.
However, sometimes the issue is the adapter or inverter at the shore power level. You might need to make sure you are using the right adapter for the shore power so that it is sourcing the power properly to your outlets.
Check your breakers and GFCI outlets first. Find all of the GFCI outlets and use the reset button on them to be sure nothing is tripped with the outlets.
You should also check your main breaker box to be sure there are no tripped breakers directed to the outlet.
Checking your GFCI and your main breaker are the best place to start because these are simple fixes. They are also the most common culprit for an outlet not working.
If those do not correct the issue, that is when you might check your inverter or adapter connected to shore power. Make sure you are using the right thing
A Single RV Outlet is Not Working
If you are just having problems with one single outlet, this could be a sign that there is something wrong with that outlet. It also could be a sign that there is a wiring issue where that outlet is concerned.
We mentioned this earlier but the most common reason an outlet will not be working is a tripped breaker. The majority of the time this will fix your outlet issues as long as everything is properly connected and set up.
Try these things.
- If just one outlet is affected and you’ve tried all other things, you can replace that single outlet. Be sure to do so safely and turn off all power before making the change.
- Always check the main breaker panel to see if any breakers have been tripped.
- Check all outlets for GFCI setup and reset any outlet that has the option. Sometimes outlets are connected so resetting could fix your issue.
- Make sure you are properly connected to a power source
- Test other outlets to determine if only one outlet is affected.
It’s not uncommon to have an outlet that needs to be replaced. In fact, it’s a good idea to have spare outlets with you. Just be sure you follow safety requirements and know how to properly change them.
STILL Not Working
If you’ve gone through all of these troubleshooting options and you are still experiencing an issue with your power in your RV, chances are that there is a different issue at play.
This could be an issue with the wiring to the outlet or it could potentially be an issue with your power source as well.
Let’s start with the wiring.
RV Wiring Issue
When nothing else seems to be working with your RV outlet troubleshooting, there’s a possibility that there is an issue with the wiring as well. If all of your other outlets seem to be working, the good news is that only the wiring to your problem outlet is affected.
This does happen and usually, it is the grounding wire directly to the outlet. The thing is your RV jostles and moves around, it could loosen the connection on the outlet, therefore rendering the outlet ineffective.
You can fix this on your own. We do want to caution you as messing with electricity should always be done with caution. We certainly don’t want someone to get shocked or injured by electricity.
Here are some steps you can follow to check the wiring.
- Turn off the power to the RV. You don’t want any power running through those wires so go ahead and disconnect from every power source, shut down your main breaker, and unplug from your batteries to be safe.
- Remove the outlet. This will most likely require a screwdriver. You probably cannot just pull the outlet completely away because of the wiring.
- Inspect the backside of the outlet to determine if all wiring is in place and connected properly.
- Check the wires to be sure they are connected. If there are any wires disconnected, go ahead and reconnect them carefully. Do not touch the ends of the wires directly.
- Reattach the outlet.
- Restore power to your RV.
- Test the outlet. It should be working now if a loos connection was the problem.
The other potential problem is that your power source is not properly working.
There are several different power sources so this particular thing will require checking your power source.
Are you using batteries for power? Check out our tips above for the battery. Ultimately, you probably need to be sure you have an inverter and that it is powered on.
Are you using a generator for power? Check our tips above for a generator and see if it applies. Otherwise, the real problem is most likely the generator so you may need to troubleshoot why the generator is not providing the power you are depending on.
Finally, if you are using shore power, the problem might be your adapter to the shore power or there could be something wrong with the shore power itself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Outlets Work in an RV While Driving?
If your RV is a motorhome, then the outlets might work when the RV is powered on. However, the outlets are typically powered off of a different set of batteries so as long as you are connected to those batteries with your inverter, the power will work.
Why Do GFCI Outlets Trip in an RV?
You might notice that your GFCI outlets seem to need to be reset an awful lot. It’s not necessarily that you are doing anything wrong. It could just be the motion of the RV or connecting and then disconnecting and reconnecting power. Most of the time, it’s because water maybe got splashed on the outlet.
The good news is that the GFCI reset makes fixing the problem easy.
If you are experiencing an issue with outlets in your RV, the most likely cause is that it just needs to be reset or you’ve tripped a breaker. There are occasionally other issues but these are the most common problem areas.