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Old 01-17-2021, 02:43 PM   #1
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Post Electrical Troubleshooting Tips For Newbies

I have put together a couple of documents to help newbies troubleshoot common electrical problems in their RV. One of the documents will quickly show you how to use a test meter in case you never have used one.

The main document will give tips for most electrical items in your rig - furnace, fridge, transfer switch, inverter, converter, etc. Simple voltage tests to help narrow the problem down.

On many of the items I attempt to explain how they work because if you know what it is suppose to do, I believe it helps in the diagnostic process.

I have included a screen shot of one section to show you how it is put together.

This is version 1 of the document as I will probably be refining it after I get feedback from other electrical specialists out there.

The main reason I assembled these documents was because I missed doing this sort of thing. Before retirement I was an electronic tech in the field for 45 years with a heck of a lot of troubleshooting experience. I also created technical documents for others. I have been an RV owner for 30+ years (not counting when my RV was a Ford van) and have done near 100% of my own repairs. Since I am bored right now, it just all fell into place. Besides, I enjoy helping others when I can.

See post #65 for updated document
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Capture.JPG   Voltmeter.JPG  
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File Type: pdf Quick Multimeter Instructions (ver 1).pdf (376.3 KB, 305 views)
File Type: pdf RV Electrical Troubleshooting (ver 1).pdf (876.5 KB, 373 views)
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:01 PM   #2
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Thank you for doing this
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:07 PM   #3
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Great job JimD and if RV owners (who do not know basic electric) now take responsibility to learn these skills, it will save them lots of money. Anyone can learn, unless the left and right hemisphere of the brain aren't in harmony (just like some people)
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Old 01-17-2021, 05:33 PM   #4
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These are awesome, Jim. Thank you for sharing!
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Old 01-17-2021, 05:49 PM   #5
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Great job. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:25 PM   #6
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Nice guides JimD. Maybe qualify as a Sticky.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:34 PM   #7
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Nice guides JimD. Maybe qualify as a Sticky.
I've seen the word sticky but don't know what articles it refers to.

Also, I thank you all for the very nice comments.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:37 PM   #8
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I have a 2017 23’ travel trailer and having issues with dc power. Any dc items no longer work unless it’s plugged into 110. The fan for the charger runs really short spurts and very quiet. Thought the battery needed replacement because my charger showed the battery had full charge and cut off. The new battery does not work lights or jack either. Could it be the charger in the rlectrical panel?
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:53 PM   #9
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I've seen the word sticky but don't know what articles it refers to.

Also, I thank you all for the very nice comments.

Hi Jim. A sticky is a topic in one of the forums that always stays at the top of the page. It becomes a sticky if a member of the forum admin decides it should be one. If you open the main Jayco forum listing all the categories and click on one category, such as Jayco Fifth Wheels or Tech Talk you will likely see several stickys at the top. They remain there as helpful information for members to reference .
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Old 01-17-2021, 09:02 PM   #10
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I have a 2017 23’ travel trailer and having issues with dc power. Any dc items no longer work unless it’s plugged into 110. The fan for the charger runs really short spurts and very quiet. Thought the battery needed replacement because my charger showed the battery had full charge and cut off. The new battery does not work lights or jack either. Could it be the charger in the rlectrical panel?
If your converter runs all of the 12 volt items but the battery does not, there is probably a break in the connection between the battery and the fuse panel. There may be a circuit breaker or fuse near the battery. If that is open, you would get the exact symptoms you describe.

Another possibility is a bad ground connection where the battery negative cable connects to the metal chassis. A number of members have encountered this problem.
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Old 01-17-2021, 09:21 PM   #11
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Go buy Mike Sokols book on RV electricity. It's available on Amazon for about $15. It only deals with ac and not 12 vdc. However, it's a good read. I am a retired EE and still learned something from it. He tells you about failures that should not happen, but can kill you
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:56 PM   #12
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Thanks for the quick response. We just bought this unit a couple months back and everything seemed to work fine from the battery. I did notice the ground at the battery has been removed. I will look for an inline fuse or break in the line.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:35 PM   #13
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Passing on the knowledge and wisdom. Thanks!
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:30 PM   #14
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Nice guides JimD. Maybe qualify as a Sticky.
Thank you for suggesting the sticky. It is now officially "stuck" by the admin team.

Funny thing. After I posted it there was a question posted which I responded to which made me think of something that I forgot to add to the 12 volt troubleshooting section. I left out a bad frame ground connection. Geeze, the ink wasn't even dry and I already have something new for version 2.

So much good info on this forum I must say.
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Old 01-19-2021, 02:37 PM   #15
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Thanks JimD. Us not-so-newbies also appreciate the summary. Sometimes we forget that stuff so its a great reference.

Happy RVing,
Jeff
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Old 01-19-2021, 03:51 PM   #16
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JimD; the chassis ground is quickly corroded after manufacturing, because it is a dry assembly with a star-washer. Below the electric panel and at the battery source there are ground connections. Sometimes the wires have been already hot and the connections have to be replaced. I use copper-grease on the wire and crimp connection. Do this already for 50 years on automotive connections.
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Old 01-19-2021, 04:23 PM   #17
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JimD; the chassis ground is quickly corroded after manufacturing, because it is a dry assembly with a star-washer. Below the electric panel and at the battery source there are ground connections. Sometimes the wires have been already hot and the connections have to be replaced. I use copper-grease on the wire and crimp connection. Do this already for 50 years on automotive connections.
I have been lucky not having a ground connection problem. Good information you have provided.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:05 AM   #18
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Electric multimeter:
Used properly, it is a great electrical troubleshooting tool.
Used improperly....Let's not discuss such unpleasant things...
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:57 PM   #19
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Thank you for suggesting the sticky. It is now officially "stuck" by the admin team.
Thanks JimD for for contributing such great content. I've downloaded both PDFs and will be subscribing to this thread to receive your updates.

I'm grateful you took the time to share your knowledge in such a concise framework. Folks like me will be benefiting from your contributions for years.

Much appreciated!
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:59 PM   #20
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Yes, thank you. For years I depended upon a simple tester with two prongs and a light. Silly me, bought a real meter with no clue how to use it. Like so many gadgets today, no instructions came with it. Now, I have that clue. Lest we forget, the RV info is priceless too.
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