How to Tell if RV Converter is Bad?

how to tell if rv converter is bad

Traveling the roads while riding your recreational vehicle is one of the most exciting adventures you can get yourself into. However, it would be impossible for you to enjoy the whole journey if the power converter in your RV is no longer working properly.

Note that without the converter, it would be difficult for your mobile home to transform 110V AC power to 12V DC. In other words, the comforts and conveniences you often enjoy when staying in your recreational vehicle will be greatly affected.

If you want to know exactly how you can tell if your RV converter is already on the verge of malfunctioning then this article can help. Some troubleshooting tips are also indicated in this article for proper guidance.

Common Signs that you Have a Bad or Malfunctioning RV Converter

Lots of camper trailers and recreational vehicles utilize a power converter as a means of operating refrigerators, lights, vent fans, as well as the heating system’s thermostat. The main function of the converter is to utilize the 110-volt AC power taken from the local source of power so it can be transformed to the 12-volt DC power required by the items.

The problem is that your converter may start to perform badly, especially if it has already been around for a long time. In most cases, the malfunctioning convert will just stop to perform its function, which results in the complete loss of power to all fixtures and controls running with the help of the 12-volt power.

ommon Signs that you Have a Bad or Malfunctioning RV Converter

There are also instances when it still produces power but it is insufficient in operating the entire electrical system. One sign that the converter is already malfunctioning is if the battery can no longer retain a constant charge. Remember that the converter functions by retaining a constant charge on the batteries.

It supplies variable voltage based on the drawn amount from the system, which runs using the 12-volt DC power. You’ll instantly know that there is a problem if the onboard batteries can no longer hold a full charge.

In this case, checking the batteries involve fully charging them first then disconnecting them from the others so you will have an idea about their recharging capacities. Use a multimeter for checking so you will know whether there is at least one of them, which is losing voltage.

Another possible sign of malfunction is if the voltage at the time the power supply of your RV enters the converter ranges beyond the normal 108 to 130 volts. It is also advisable to check the voltage where the converter connects to the breaker box of the 12-volt DC system.

It’s greatly possible that there is a problem if the converter operates less than the required 11 to 13 volts. Another possible sign of a problem is if you have a hard time hearing its cooling fan running intermittently in case you are using the converter.

Some Troubleshooting Tips

If your RV converter seems to show some problems, then be aware that there are actually some troubleshooting tips that you can do yourself. Some of the things that you can do are the following:

Figure out what exactly causes the malfunction

Your goal is to identify the exact source of the issue. It should be noted that you can’t expect all electrical problems in your vehicle to be caused by the converter so it’s advisable to test the device.

To check if the converter is the one causing the problem, check the AC voltage, fuses, circuit breaker, and battery first. If after testing you ruled out each of the mentioned factors then it’s safe to assume that the converter is indeed the problem.

Examine the circuit board

What you have to do is to open the circuit breaker panel first. You can find it next to the battery bank of the 12V DC power. Open all circuit breakers. Begin with the primary input breaker. After that, close all circuit breakers that end using the primary input breaker.

The next step is disconnecting the 110V AC power from its pedestal than using a screwdriver to take the electrical panel screws out. Remove the panel. Examine the back and find out if the wire terminals and connector tabs accumulated acid.

You can clean them up using a mixture of one teaspoon baking soda and 12 ounces water. Ensure that all surfaces are completely dry prior to restoring power.

Spend time examining the power converter

What you have to do is to examine the housing of the power converter thoroughly. When doing so, make sure that you disconnect the 110V AC power first. You will instantly know if the converter has blown off if it shows white flaky or scorching acid accumulation.

In this case, you may need to have it replaces with the help of a professional and qualified technician. You may also need to bring your vehicle to a repair shop to fix the issue expertly.

Check for other possible power failure causes

Note that power failure in your RV may be triggered by a number of factors. With that in mind, make it a point to check all the electrical connections inside and make sure that they’re dry, tightly fitted, and clean.

Check the entire power system thoroughly. Checking the whole system systematically will give you an idea of the actual cause, especially if it is the converter.


After identifying the cause of the problem and realizing that it is indeed the converter then it is time to make a decision. Find out if you should have it repaired or replaced. Note that there are instances when doing the repair of the power converter is difficult. Some may even say that it’s not cost-effective.

The best way to handle serious issues in the converter is to talk to a certified technician and ask whether it’s worthwhile to have it repaired. If not, then you may need to replace it. You have to make a really wise decision in this case since the power converter plays a major role in your overall enjoyment when you’re traveling in your RV away from home.

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