How to Tell If RV Converter is Bad? (RV Converter Troubleshooting)

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Last Updated on April 4, 2022 by Ted Mosby

RV power system, especially the RV converter, when not working correctly, is so annoying. Instead of enjoying your outdoors, you waste your time fixing things up. If you want to know if your RV converter is bad or working, follow along with the post.

Staying in a five-star hotel is excellent, but what about staying in an RV? Being your second home on wheels allows you to drive wherever you want to go, eventually taking your home comforts with you.

Your RV provides all the amenities that you need to feel homely. However, for this, it needs power.

It means you can charge your phone, turn on your RV heater or air conditioning unit, refrigerator, RV, microwave, and any other appliance running on electricity.

The point is almost all the things, and features inside your RV need electricity, and if there is no electricity for whatever reason is, you will not be able to enjoy your holidays.

How to Tell If RV Converter is Bad?

You can easily spot issues around the RV that can be concluded as RV Converter is Bad. Some common signs to tell if your RV Converter is bad are Interior Light dimming, Appliances not working properly, and Batteries not being charged properly. These are some common signs or indicators to tell if your RV Converter is not working. 

Below I have outlined all the things related to RV converter troubleshooting that being an RVer you should know.

So, let’s get started!

What is an RV Converter?

RV Converters

An RV converter is a crucial component inside your RV that lets you utilize the RV electricity for the appliances. Every amp of electricity is intended to run through your RV converter to supply power to all the appliances that need electricity.

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It is capable of transforming 110V shore power into 12V DC power.

You should also know that it is not easy and a real pain to replace the RV converter since they are expensive.

However, if you replace it, you should hire a professional who can entirely replace it rather than DIY that might burn out the entire RV system, making things even worse.

How Do I Know If My RV Converter is Bad or Not Working?

So, how to tell if your RV converter is bad? Well, to tell if your RV converter is bad, the very first step you should take is to check warning signs. Interior lights of the RV as an indicator is what you should check. If your RV lights keep dimming, it is a sign that your RV converter is bad.

However, the interior lights are not the only way to tell if your RV converter is not working. You can also determine that by electronic devices inside your RV. For example, if your RV refrigerator is having trouble maintaining its temperature or not working as it should be, it also means your RV converter is bad.

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Moreover, you can also determine that by checking the outlets, whether they are getting enough power or not.

However, an even severe indicator is your RV’s house batteries since your RV converter’s primary purpose is to supply power to house batteries to keep them charged. If the batteries aren’t charging or couldn’t hold their charge, it also means the RV converter is bad or not working and you should consider RV converter troubleshooting.

So, how to troubleshoot your RV converter?

Keep reading to discover more.

RV Converter Troubleshooting

If your RV converter is bad, there are multiple ways to locate your RV converter’s exact issue. However, before you start to troubleshoot the RV converter, you have the following, 

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Having these devices with you means you can check not only your RV converter but other electrical problems with you as well. A multimeter is used for testing voltage but is also capable of measuring Watts and amperage.

1. Check AC and DC Volt Range

Before you start troubleshooting your RV electrical issues, which is a complex process, start with your electrical device. It won’t only save you time but also let you know if it is working fine.

So, firstly, check the shore power along with the DC breaker. If you don’t see any electricity coming into the RV is not within AC/DC, which means your RV converter is bad.

2. Check the Batteries

Check the Batteries

Secondly, to check if the problem is with batteries, you should charge them to full. Once they are charged, isolate the electrical system by removing batteries from your RV. Remember that you will not get an accurate reading if you don’t remove batteries.

If the reading is not what it should be, and the batteries are not charging, it means your batteries are bad, and you have to replace them.

On the other end, if the batteries are fully charged, but you are still facing issues, it means your RV converter is bad.

3. Inspect Converter Fan

Just like your computer or any other gadgets with a fan, the RV converter also has a fan, which is intended to prevent overheating to keep it cool. When your inverter is working fine, the fan will keep turning on and off without any issue.

However, when your RV converter’s internal temperature hits higher temperatures, it means your RV’s electrical system is having problems.

To inspect this issue, you have to use the voltage meter placing it at the fan’s power line entry point to analyze if it is running with sufficient AC volt levels. If you are considering replacing the fan, make sure to use the same fan since they are manufactured, keeping your RV converter’s specific needs in mind.

When placing a new fan, you should also make sure that it fits properly and provide enough cooling to the converter. But what if the issue is not with the fan?

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In that case, you still have to check the RV converter temperature. If the temperature is high, the problem could be with your RV converter’s sensor.

4. Check Resistors and Diodes

Resistors and Diodes

Some RVs come equipped with RV converters that have outdated resistors and diodes. This is a common issue, mainly if you have an older RV unit. Although components are incredibly tiny in an RV converter, they are intended to control the 12V DC power of the entire RV electrical system and onboard batteries.

Sometimes, a burned-out resistor could cause prevent the issue, preventing batteries from storing the charge. Some RV converter resistors allow you to disassemble the box. Through the disassembling process, you are able to ensure that no electrical component located on the circuit board is damaged.

However, on the other hand, Diodes are different from resistors as they help to flow the electricity only in one direction. So, they are trickier to handle than resistors. When troubleshooting the RV converter’s diodes, make sure to understand in which direction the current is flowing. If they give you a reading, it means Diodes are working fine.

But if you don’t get the reading, it is likely because a diode has burned out. You can determine this if you see a white acidic residue near the diode. In some cases, the damage to a Diode means you will likely replace the whole RV converter.

5. Check the Circuit Board

Check the Circuit Board

Before going down any further to check the circuit board, I strongly recommend you do this only and only if you feel comfortable around electronics. If you do feel comfortable and confident, unscrew the circuit board. Take a closer look to figure out if there are any battery acid clogs or build-up. Battery acid also has a strong smell, so you will be able to find if there is any.

If you have found the battery acid build-up or clog, you have to clean it. And before doing that, you must ensure that there is no electricity running through the RV. Moreover, also make sure that you have disconnected the shore power, solar power, and batteries.

Once you have checked all the things, you are ready to clean them. In this regard, you can clean the system using baking soda and water while using the q-tip. After thoroughly cleaning it, give it enough time to dry out thoroughly.

After that, connect the battery system and other power sources to analyze whether the problem is solved. However, if the issue still exists, it is because your RV converted is bad and needs to be replaced. 

6. Check the Fuses

Although it is evident that you have already checked the fuses, by any means, if you haven’t, you should check them. It is because we often overlook the fuses when any electrical issue occurs. A fuse is intended to handle the electrical surges to break the system down before it blows out.

Check your fuses closely by removing them individually. If you found any of them looking burnt, and the metal wire inside is cracked, then you have to change it as soon as possible.

7. Check the 110V Power Source

110V power source is yet another point that might be causing the problem. It could be a connection, power source, or an outlet that is also a sign of a bad RV converter. You have to check all these components to figure out what is creating the problem.

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If the interior lights are dim, you should check the power post to see if there is any problem with the electricity supply. Or, if you want to test the power source reliability, you can try taking the microwave, plug-in household lamp, or any other appliance with 110V power to connect it to the power pole.

If it is not correctly working as it should be, it means the problem could be with the power supply. Moreover, this is a more common problem if you are at an older campground and the power posts don’t have any shelter.

How to Protect the RV Electricity System?

Since you have spent a considerable amount of money on owning an RV, you should keep it in its peak condition with proper maintenance. Although it will take some time to check not only the electrical system of your RV but other systems as well before you head out to your next camping destination, it will be worth your time.

You should keep it maintained all the time, and it includes keeping checking its motor, batteries, appliances, and every part of your RV converter to make sure it is working correctly.

When to Hire a Professional for RV Inverter Troubleshooting?

If you’re DIY and confident handling all the mechanical systems of your recreational vehicle, chances are you can comfortably troubleshoot RV inverter and other electrical issues by yourself.

Hiring an expert for things like replacing the batteries, checking fuses or breakers, and testing the battery doesn’t sound right as almost anyone can do that with ease.

However, when you think the problem is out of your control, such as faculty circuit boards, burned-out components, wire shorts, etc., I highly suggest you hire a professional who can diagnose the issues and then repair them correctly to make sure everything is safe and sound.

Wrapping Up

That is all about how to tell if your RV converter is bad or working. I have outlined all the possible ways that you can use to troubleshoot the RV converter by DIY.

However, if you are not confident about the RV electrical system, I highly recommend hiring a professional to further prevent severe damage.

Furthermore, you should also keep checking your RV electrical system time by time to make sure everything is working correctly.


What components are required to troubleshoot the RV converter?

While troubleshooting the RV converter, you should make sure that you have a voltage meter or multimeter with you to test 120V AC terminals. This will help you to understand if power is being supplied to the RV converter or not.

About Ted Mosby

My Name is Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.