You head out to your favorite boondocking spot for a week of solitude. Once you’re there, you get all set up, level and stabilize the RV, and unhook the tow vehicle. Now it’s time to get the inside set up! You start your generator and then head inside, only to find that it doesn’t seem to be supplying any power to the rig. Brush off your detective skills and get ready to start following the clues to narrow it down! Here’s what to check if you have no power after running your generator.
Circuit breakers are one of the most common, cheapest, and easiest things to fix that go wrong! The first set of circuit breakers to check is in the generator itself. Turn the generator off before you open it up to look for these switches. If one of these breakers are tripped, reset it and then start the generator back up to see if you have power. If this does not fix it, they aren’t tripped. If you don’t have any breakers in your generator, it’s time to check the ones in the RV! Depending on the type and age of your RV, you can usually find them either in a small compartment under the stove or in an access panel outside. Reset any tripped breaker and try again. If this doesn’t work, it’s time to inspect some other areas.
Next, you'll want to take a look at the electrical compartment by locating the silver box. If this box is enclosed, skip this step because it means you have an automatic transfer switch that flips back and forth. If your box has an outlet on it, it’s there for your power cord going into the rig. This cord needs to be plugged in for it to work, so if it is not, then you have no power going in. If it is plugged in, you want to test the voltage at this outlet to see if there is power there. If not, you may need a new outlet. If this outlet is getting power, you'll need to move on from there.
Automatic Transfer Switch
If the silver box you found in the step above was enclosed, you will need to check the automatic transfer switch. The job of the transfer switch in your RV is to recognize where the power source is and switch between the generator and shore power. If this switch is not operating correctly, it will then attempt to take shore power when it should be taking generator power. Check the outgoing points of the switch with a meter, and see if there is power coming out. If there is no power coming out, you're going to want to check the incoming voltage from the generator to see if the problem is the switch, or the generator not getting power to the switch. If there is power coming in, then the transfer switch will need to be replaced.
When the generator is running and there is no power inside the RV, there is definitely a bad connection somewhere. These steps will help rule out some of the more common causes that you can fix on your own. If it comes down to an issue with the automatic transfer switch or anything beyond that point, it’s time to get a professional involved. Give your nearest RV service center a call and have them take a look at your rig. They will be able to detect the problem quickly and get it fixed right up. You'll just want to make sure you check these components first so you don’t pay for a service visit just for someone to flip a switch for you!