Your RV is kind of like a giant phone. It has a battery that keeps its most important components running. With time and use, you will have to charge your RV. When you do so, you typically use what’s called shoreline power via a campground site.
Sometimes, though, even when plugged in, you can’t get power to your RV.
What do you do? We’re glad you asked. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about shoreline power as well as why your RV might not be powering up even when it should.
Finally, we’ll end with what you can do so you don’t have to sit in the dark…
What Is Shoreline Power?
Shoreline power, sometimes abbreviated to just shore power, is a source of power provided to RVs. Typically, you’ll use either a receptacle or an amp duplex that’s connected to a campground or another source of power. Then, you’ll draw on this power when your RV is in park so you can keep the lights running, the heat or AC on, your electronics charged, and your fridge cool.
Most adaptors are between 30 and 50 amps. A 30-amp receptacle offers 3,600 watts, which is equivalent to about 120 volts. A 50-amp receptacle has 12,000 watts, or roughly 240 volts. If you have an amp duplex, this may generate power at 1,800 to 2,400 watts or 120 volts.
To contain power and prevent electrical outages, you may have an Electrical Management System installed in your vehicle. If you don’t have enough power to meet the demand, then the Electrical Management System will turn off certain loads. This all done automatically so you don’t have to worry about it.
Why Is the RV Not Getting Power When Plugged In?
There are many reasons why the RV may not be getting power when plugged into a shoreline power source.
The first of these may have to do with a discrepancy with the Electrical Management System. These aren’t as compatible with 50-amp receptacles as they are with 30-amp receptacles. As a result, the system might pull power at the split 50-amp hotline exclusively. When it does this, there’s less power to be had and not enough to keep the RV running.
The second reason could be an issue with the surge protector. When they’re working, surge protectors are used to prevent high increases in power that could result in blowing out the electrical system of your RV. If you have an older RV or a surge protector you haven’t replaced in years, it might be on the fritz. This could be causing your problem.
Sometimes there are issues with the outlets or the circuit breaker and its wiring. If this is the case, or if it’s a surge protector problem, you will have to access the electrical circuits of your RV.
How to Get the Lights Back On
Before we proceed, we must warn you that working with electrical wires and equipment can lead to injury, shock, and potentially death if you’re inexperienced. If you’re uncomfortable fiddling with circuits and wires, then call a professional and let them take care of it.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is find the power pedestal where your shore cord is. Unplug this.
Next, access your circuit breakers, resetting these. You might not have to do anything further because your power might come back on. If so, yay.
If you’re still without power, then it’s time to check your surge protector. As mentioned, if this malfunctions, your vehicle might lack power. Most surge protectors have diagnostic lights that let you know whether the device is working.
If you don’t see any lights, unplug your surge protector and plug it back in. Barring that, get a new one.
If you still don’t have power, there’s more you can do. Now you want to work on the transfer switch. This is part of the converter/inverter and battery charger setup. The transfer switch allows your RV’s generator to keep your vehicle’s electricity running if there are issues with the utility source power. As you can imagine, if your transfer switch goes kaput, that could be why you don’t have power.
If your transfer switch is fine, then go to your 110-volt circuit breaker. Take off the cover panel and then do a voltage test on the circuit breaker. The wires should be getting power. If they are, then it’s probably a broken circuit breaker that’s to blame. If the wires aren’t receiving power, then you’re going to have to keep working. Again, this is just a reminder that you should be careful when handling electrical wires.
Speaking of the wires, they’re the last thing you can check. Sometimes the wires get loosened, which interrupts or damages the power source from the outlet to the circuit breaker. Once you identify this wire problem, be sure to call a repair technician. It’s not feasible or smart for you to try the fix the issue yourself from this point forward.
Your RV receives what’s known as shoreline power when it’s in park at a campground or other site. This power should allow you to enjoy all the luxuries of RV life even when you’re not behind the wheel. Well, when it’s working right.
Sometimes your RV gets no power, even when it’s plugged into a shoreline power source. This could be because of any of the electrical components within your RV: the wires, outlets, circuit breakers, or transfer switch. You’ll have to test each component one by one to diagnose the issue. Of course, you always have the option of calling a repair technician and letting them do this.
To avoid future power issues like this, it’s recommended you or a professional check the electrical components of your vehicle at least annually to make sure everything is working as it should. That should eliminate any surprise problems and give you the peace of mind that you’ll always have light and power in your RV.