Electrical problems

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Doug Schneider 8 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    HI All, I’m new here and just brought our new to us fifth wheel home today. We just purchased a 2014 Sabre 33 CKTS from a dealer an hour away. We love this rig as it has everything we were looking for and it towed beautifully

    My question is we got it setup and plugged in. I have 120 volts according to the plug in volt meter. Our ceiling fan does not work. Lights nor the fan. We have 2 receptacles at the back of the living area that do not work. Our porch light will not go out unless I disconnect the battery. The switch inside the rig does not turn it off. I can do house electrical but have never really dug into problems in an RV.

    Any suggestions?





    Hi Doug and welcome to the site.

    If you have a multimeter you can trace down 12 volt power for the outside light as maybe a switch change is needed. But before checking any wiring double check the power supply and make sure the circuit breakers and fuses are all ok. Then you can see if the light switch is ok or not. My guess is the switch is broke and needs replaced. They are usually are a rocker switch for 12 volts and available on Amazon. I get my stuff through them and have it at my door within 2 to 3 days usually. As far as the outlets all it takes is one bad and both may not work. I have found that they usually wire then up in series so if one goes out it will take others also. But it is trial and error tracing down and always remember to use caution with 110 volts. You may find that the ceiling fan was also is on the same circuit as the outlets. a wiring diagram is not much help since it all depends on who wired it up at the factory I have found out.

    Good Luck, wish i could have been more help



    Hi and welcome aboard. I am the farthest from being an electrical wiz, but my first thought is that there is more than one problem. I had a similar issue with my Rockwood on circuits not having power. In the end after exploring the problem I found that one of my GFI trip buttons had been pushed rendering that circuit dead. I reset it and all was good. I love those kind of problems. Was the circut over burdened tripping the GFI, nope I had an over active 5 year old grandson who liked pushing buttons. Good luck 😊


    Heading toward retirement, we are anticipating the Snowbird travels ahead, but for the time being we are happy with excursions of a shorter nature.


    HI All. Thanks for your replies. It helped. The GFI in the bath was tripped and I was able to get the fan to work and every recept to work as well. Even the porch light switch worked! Now another problem…I have a 10/3 100′ extension cord plugged into a 20 amp recept plugged into the 50A power cable with a correct dogbone adapter. My volt meter in the rig reads 120. All good. As I was checking circuits and checking each breaker, when I got to the microwave, if I flipped the breaker on, it would trip the breaker in the rig or the breaker in the barn that I’m plugged into.  The breaker is a split breaker and the GFI is connected to the other side. Sounds like a bad breaker. Do your test like a house breaker. I can’t check the microwave recept without pulling the micro. Any thoughts? Thanks!


    It could be low voltage tripping your breaker.  As voltage drops under a load (microwave) the current goes up.  This could be why one or the other circuit breakers trip on that circuit.  They may be doing their job. It may be just inrush current tripping your breakers.  You could try shutting off all other circuit breakers in your camper and then turn on just the microwave breaker only. If the microwave stays powered up then try turning on the other breakers one at a time.  If the breaker for the microwave trips when all alone on shore power then you may have other problems on that circuit. (i.e. loose wire to one of the circuit connections, bad gfci, etc)

    Hope you get it figured out.  I am a former Industrial Electrician, but not licensed to do home electrical work.  Let me know what you discover and we will scratch our heads together.

    Terry :bye:


    Terry, The Volts stay at 120 dropping to 118 with everything on. I’m not turning the microwave on just sending power to the recept. I will however try your suggestion however, turning off all other breakers and turning the micro breaker on first. I believe it may be a bad breaker or lose wire. Going to pull the cover on the breakers tonite just to get a look. Thanks for your help! Doug






    It looks by your photo that the breaker for the microwave is on a split breaker. Left side (shown on) is microwave, right side (shown off/tripped) is marked GFI. So it looks like the GFI breaker is off not the microwave. If that’s the case the GFI outlet may be bad or over sensitive. Anyway be sure to powerdown the panel before you poke around in it. And don’t let the smoke out. If the smoke comes out of the panel it’s really hard to get it back in again. They only takes a little loss of smoke to make things not work right. :bye:


    Hi Terry, Actually, the micros off and the GFI is on. Of course the buzzing I heard might also be an indicator. I’m going to disconnect all power and then take the cover off and check the connection on that breaker. More than likely a loose wire. I hate split breakers. Had them in one of our homes and they got replaced as soon as I could. Unfortunately there’s not enough room in this panel to do so. There is a breaker at the top of the panel that someone wrote VAC on but there is no VAC in the unit. Maybe replace the split breaker and move the micro to the top. Just thinking! Doug


    Yeah. Had photo upside down. Maybe someone had a central vac or shop vac set up off a single outlet. Maybe to a “basement” outlet. If nothing is hooked up to the circuit breaker you would be good to go. Or if it’s occupied, you could swap them. If it’s to a critical outlet you could get a new breaker then. Looks like you are close to nailing it down. Good luck and work safe…. Don’t put your finger where you wouldn’t put your ….


    OK. Powered up the rig. Had 120 volts on the volt meter. All breakers off and switched on the micro breaker and it tripped. Tried several times. Pulled the cover on the panel and inspected. Killed the power and pulled the suspect breaker and did a continuity check on it and it passed. Reinstalled the breaker and powered up again and tried. Tripped breaker. At this point, I suspect the breaker and will pick up a replacement tomorrow. If that doesn’t work, I’ll need to pull the micro to get to the outlet. Stay tuned….


    OK. Found an exact match to the breaker at Menard’s. Installed, powered, flipped the main, 12o Volts :good: flipped the new micro breaker. Pop. Tripped the main in the barn. Tried several times and got the same result. Definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.  :scratch: I guess I’ll call the dealer tomorrow and see when I can get it in. Glad I bought the full warranty!


    OK, going to throw something out here and may seem off the wall. Two things come to mind, One: Extension cord to long causing low amps so when trying anything that takes lots of amps causes breaker to kick, Two: How about power converter shorting out. That would also cause a breaker to fail. The way to find out if converter would be to disconnect the converter 110 input wires.


    Hi Doug .   I have been watching your conversation about your microwave problem and here is my two cents .   The weakest breaker always trips first , so what its telling me is the old rv breaker was the weakest , now with the new one installed now the barn breaker is the weakest .  Now with that said I  am pretty shore your problem is either in the microwave or in the wiring from the breaker to the microwave .  I would start by pulling the microwave , plug it in at the barn and see how that goes ( Put something in it to test ) .  If it works ok, I think it’s a short in the rv wiring if it trips as soon as you power up the breaker ( Direct short )  with the microwave unplugged . .  I would start with the receptacle were the microwave plugs in at.    PS ;   And yes using long extension cord to the barn from the RV  could  make it trip at the barn. Its all about the power draw!  :Lightbulb:


    Hi Stephen, Thanks for the feed back. I think you are right. That’s what’s got me scratching my head. On our previous 5er which was a 30amp rig, I could plug a 100 foot 14/3 extension cord into a 20amp 110 volt recept, have 120 volts in the rig and not have any breakers trip. Understanding that all I was using it for was charging the battery, running lights, and turning the fridge on the day before we would leave. I never was turning on the micro or the air, etc. On this rig, a 50 amp, I replaced the extension cord with a 100 foot 10/3 extension cord plugged into the same recept and still parked in the same place, getting 120 volts in the rig. I can turn on all breakers for the lights, GFI, etc. and actually was running the fireplace and the furnace at the same time, but when I switch on the breaker only for the micro it trips. I’m not starting the micro, just trying to make sure it gets power. I think I’m asking more of it than need be and I shouldn’t get too excited until I can get it plugged into a 30 or 50 amp breaker. I also am going to look at updating the converter. It appears to be a 35amp unit and an upgrade might be in order. Thank you all for your input. I’m sure we’ll get it figured out.


    HI Paul, Yes, the new breaker isn’t tripping in the rig but in the barn. So the new breaker is good and I feel the old one was weak. I have had the thought of pulling the micro as well and checking the recept. That also might be the next step as well. Upgrading the extension cord was my first because of the amp draw. Just didn’t want to get into pulling the micro. Will do that tonight. Thanks for your input. It’s all great.

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