“Where is the circuit breaker in my RV?” If you’re asking yourself this question, you aren’t alone, as most people don’t have too much experience dealing with their rig’s electrical systems.
It’s why most people can’t fix even small issues with their RV’s electrical system. As a result, it makes them spend large amounts of money on a professional. But educating yourself about your RV’s electrical system can save you a lot of cash.
An excellent starting point would be locating your breaker box or circuit breaker. So, where is the circuit breaker in your RV?
Where is the Circuit Breaker in My RV
Finding your RV’s circuit breaker isn’t as difficult as you might assume. It begins with locating your RV’s circuit breaker panel, which is often protected by a sheet of plastic. You’ll notice a set of fuses and breakers behind this plastic sheet.
This breaker panel will be within most RVs’ interior and mounted onto a wall close to their floor. However, older rigs will have their panels placed under the fridge, bed, or inside a pantry/cabinet. It will end up varying based on your RV’s model and type.
You might even find it inside one of your RV’s external storage bays. This location is more common in motorhomes, such as Class A or Class C RVs. It can make locating the panel a lot more difficult for people who aren’t experienced in these matters.
But a simple way of figuring out your situation is by reading your RV’s instruction manual. These manuals will provide a detailed blueprint of your motorhome. Therefore, the location of your circuit breaker won’t be challenging to find with this helpful resource.
In any case, locating your circuit breaker happens to be only one step of this journey. There are other things to know about these devices before understanding them completely.
Why are Circuit Breakers Needed on RVs
You can expect circuit breakers to be a fundamental piece of motorhome living. It ensures the discontinuance of electrical power whenever a surge happens or another issue presents itself. Due to this, it’ll prevent dangerous situations like electrical shocks or fires.
These abilities alone make circuit breakers a necessary safety precaution for protecting your rig’s entire electrical system. But RVers must know the number of amps each device in your motorhome needs to run effectively.
In many RVs, your AC unit will use the most number of amps. You’ll need to make sure your rig’s electrical system can handle its power consumption. Otherwise, your circuit breaker will trip to prevent an issue from arising.
It’ll trip as soon as the used electricity goes past your electrical system’s maximum limit. Your circuit breaker ends up ensuring that the overload doesn’t harm your appliances, RV, or the electric system itself. Overall, it becomes an easy way to avoid spending a lot of money on repairs.
Why Does Your RV’s Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping
If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, there happens to be a few issues that could be triggering it. Here’s a shortlist of potential culprits that can help you get a better handle on your situation:
- Malfunctioning Breaker
Your camper’s breakers aren’t immune to wear and tear from regular usage. These pieces of equipment will start to become weaker and more likely to trip with age. They might even trip for no reason at all, which is especially common in older RVs or campers.
In these cases, RVers will have to replace their faulty breaker with a new one. You’ll know when a new one’s required by whether it’s very loose and easily switched on/off.
- Overloaded Power Source
The most common reason for a breaker tripping is an overloaded power source. People with 30 amp campers tend to experience this issue more than other RVers. It happens when there are too many devices drawing power from the source at once.
As a result, the power source can’t supply all the devices with their required energy. Your breaker will trip and prevent damage to the appliances, camper, and power source. If your trailer does keep tripping a breaker, your first move should always be checking the source to see if it’s overloaded.
The easiest way to avoid this situation is by not running all your devices at once. For instance, you should look to switch off your water heater when you aren’t using it. You could also wait for your AC to finish its cycle before using other connected appliances.
Another idea would be running your water heater using propane rather than electricity. It’ll remove a tremendous strain on your camper’s battery or external power source. In the end, these actions will make a massive difference in preventing a breaker from tripping.
- Appliance Short Circuit
Your main breaker won’t always be the issue. It could be one of the breakers leading to a built-in appliance or power outlet that a device is using. In these situations, an appliance could be short-circuiting.
A short circuit occurs when there’s an irregular connection between two electric circuit nodes. In response, your breaker will trip to prevent the circuit from overheating or getting damaged. It’s a precaution to stop an electrical explosion or fire from happening.
If an appliance short-circuiting is the issue, you can expect the device itself or connection to be faulty. I’d recommend checking both the breaker’s connection and your appliance’s wiring.
Once you find the problem, reconnect the wires correctly or replace the malfunctioning appliance.
- Extension Cord Issues
If you’re using an extension cord to connect to an external power source, it might be the issue. It’s essential to know that the margin of error becomes wider the more extended the current has to travel. In other words, there’s a more significant chance of something going wrong with a longer extension cord.
The issue could also arise from a bad connection or your extension cord’s wires being faulty. Both these situations can result in a trip when your camper receives a sudden power surge. If you think the extension cord is the issue, unplug it from the trailer and power source.
You should then inspect it for any fried wires or dirt in its connections. If you’re connecting an RV into your house’s power supply, having a 30 amp outlet outside your home would be a smart move. Make sure to install it near where you intend on parking your rig for easy access.
How to Reset Your Circuit Breaker
Resetting your breaker isn’t overly burdensome, either. The entire process consists of finding the panel, locating the tripped breaker, and switching it back on. You might need to flip the breaker completely to the off position in some RVs to ensure it stays on when converting it back.
I hope these discussions on all things circuit breakers answered your questions about their location on your motorhome. Remember, if you’re having trouble finding it, consult your RV’s manual and look in the following places:
- Under the bed, fridge, or in a pantry or cabinet
- On a wall close to the floor
- Your RV’s external storage bays
If you have any more questions, feel free to use our comment section. I’ll make sure to answer each post as quickly as possible. Thanks for reading!
Hi, I am Dane Heldt, a full-time RVer since 2016. I am always passionate about building and joining an RV community where people share their love for RV lives. This blog is a dream of mine, as I can finally share my experiences to help people who want to start living differently. So, feel free to reach out to me!