How To Troubleshoot Your RV Electrical Outlets

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Melody Kimball

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Melody enjoys translating dense technical topics into do-it-yourself guides. Her passion is empowering people for self-sufficiency and making informed decisions. When she isn’t climbing, sky diving, or traveling with her canine co-pilots, she finds foodie gems and customizes RVs to match lifestyle capability needs.

If you have no power at your electrical outlets, follow these simple troubleshooting steps to identify and correct the issue.

Check the Power Source

What power source are you drawing electricity from? Verify the power source is good to go.

Shore Power

If you are using a campground pedestal or a generator, check to make sure the shore power cord is securely connected. For the pedestal breaker, ensure the correct breaker switch is in the ON position. Adding a surge protector with an electronic management system to your shore power cord setup can help you troubleshoot whether the root cause is a power source issue.

Batteries with Inverter

Check your RV house batteries are charged and connected. Also check for corrosion.
If your batteries are good, then confirm your RV power inverter is turned on. The inverter transforms the 12 volt DC electricity from your RV batteries into 120 volt AC electricity delivered to the RV’s electrical outlets.

Check GFCI Outlets

RV interior
Most GFCI outlets are near wet areas of the RV, such as sinks (Image from Camping World).

Just like your house and other buildings, your RV is equipped with GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets. The most common reason outlets stop working is because a GFCI outlet is tripped somewhere in your RV. Start with the GFCI outlet closest to the inactive electric-powered component and work your way outwards checking for tripped GFCI.

A GFCI outlet is easy to identify because it has TEST and RESET buttons located in the center of the outlet. When pressing the test button, you will likely hear an audible click. Pressing the test button should open the internal circuit. An opened circuit is a “tripped” circuit.

With the test button tripped, you will no longer be able to run any components plugged into that circuit. If you find a tripped GFCI, push the GFCI reset button to try closing the circuit.

Most GFCI outlets are near potentially wet areas of the RV, such as the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and exterior outlets. GFCIs protect any electrical device plugged into that receptacle as well as additional outlets connected to the same circuit, meaning they’re connected by the same electrical line. This is why an outlet without GFCI buttons can appear to not work.

GFCI Mapping

If pushing the reset button doesn’t work, the “circuit” in GFCI implies that there are multiple outlets being protected. If an outlet does not look like a GFCI outlet, it may still be in the protected circuit. To make future troubleshooting easier, you can do GFCI mapping.

For GFCI mapping and testing, you can use a simple outlet tester or your multimeter tool (which is recommended to carry in your RV toolkit). Use the tester to determine which standard outlets are tied to a common GFCI.

With the tool plugged in, trip the test button on the GFCI. The lights should disappear, indicating an interrupted power flow. Reset the GFCI and the lights should come back on.

Now that you have verified power to that outlet, push the test button. With the GFCI tripped, plug the tool into adjacent outlets. Use colored tape to mark which adjacent outlets are showing no power. These outlets are likely tied into a common circuit. Repeat this step noting all outlets that show no power. Next, push the GFCI reset button. Verify that power has been reestablished at the previously dead outlets.

In larger coaches, you’ll likely find two or three separate GFCI circuits. So for this step, you may want to have three or more different colors of tape on hand for each circuit or simply number the tape. The mapping method for multiple circuits is the same as a single circuit. You’ll simply need to repeat the process a couple of times.

As you’re testing outlets, remember to check all exterior outlets. It’s likely the exterior outlets are tied to an interior GFCI. Exterior outlets often share the GFCI circuit with the bathroom.

If your tool indicates incorrect wiring to that outlet, have your RV checked by a trained maintenance professional at your nearest Camping World Service Center.

Note: You might find some outlets don’t lose power when any of the GFCIs are tripped. This does NOT mean that you have a problem. It simply means that the coach manufacturer determined that GFCI protection was not needed at a specific outlet.

Power Restored

Traveling with a caravan (motorhome)
Simple troubleshooting to restore power to your RV outlets.

Following these simple troubleshooting steps will help get your RV outlets working. If the power outage goes beyond the outlet, you can check this basic troubleshooting guide for RV electrical systems. Good Sam members can call the Elite Service Tech Advisor support line for a real-time step-by-step troubleshooting walkthrough for your specific RV model.

  • Comment (22)
  • I have a Keystone Hideout 178LH 2017. My GFCI is not tripped and is providing power when an item is plugged in. However, the remainder of the GFCI outlets are not powered. Might it be that the first outlet in the series is out? There is no evidence that any of the GFCI outlets are burned or melted. They just have not power. Again, GFCI is functioning I guess. and there is no trip light either. Also, is there a way to tell the order each outlet runs in the series? Or do they run in parallel? thanks Dave

    • Hi Dave!

      Apologies for the delayed reply, as I was awaiting insights from our technical service team. Here are their thoughts:

      The resettable GFCI outlet is usually the first outlet downstream from the circuit breaker, and it is supposed to protect the outlets downstream from itself. These outlets should be identified with a “GFCI” decal. These outlets are wired in parallel, so if downstream outlets are inoperative it means there is a wiring issue after the GFCI outlet or the GFCI outlet has failed and must be replaced. Outlets in the RV with no “GFCI” decals are probably on another breaker and are not GFCI protected. These outlets must be tested separately as they are in no way associated with the GFCI outlet or breaker.

      Let me know if that helps or if you have any follow up questions!

  • Jamey cox says:

    My GFCI outlet in bathroom is not tripping when I hit the test button also my refrigerator outlet and outlet by kitchen sink aren’t working and I believe the are linked together what can I do to fix

    • Mark Demory says:

      Just happened to me. My GFCI near the fridge was still showing green and was able to trip and be reset.

      Was going to replace it anyway.
      I have 2016 Winnabago Itasca Navion.

      Decided to look in lower outside bay which has plugs inside. For use on the outside.

      There was an inverter mounted in there that had a GFCI that “was” tripped.

      Reset. Everything worked again

    • Hi Jamey,

      Have you checked all of your fuses and breakers to see if anything is blown or tripped?

  • Kylie Robertson says:

    We have been camping all day and in the middle of the night just lost power. Checked the inside breaker the campsite breaker and the GFCI outlet and nothing is working to restore it. Help?

  • Kathryn Burrin says:

    My outside outlet stopped working on my 1984 London arie camper after a storm that made my power go out. When power restored, everything still worked perfectly except the outside outlet. I have reset all of my GFCI circuits and it still doesn’t work. Please help me figure this out

  • Melissa says:

    My gfi in the bathroom has no power at all and now none of my receptacles work, microwave, outside refrigerator and a/c please help

  • Teresa says:

    GFCI outlet in the bathroom was tripped when plugging in my hair dryer. I reset and it worked fine from then on, but the outlets in the kitchen, under dinning table and outside are still not working. Please help.

  • Gill says:

    Looking for gfci on driver’s side wall in my 2008 Newmar Canyon Star 3205

  • Doug says:

    Only are GFCI outlets don’t work. There are two GFCI circuits. One of the GFCI circuits runs all the kitchen outlets. This circuit also is with the TV and bedroom breakers since when I shut the breaker off the TV and bedroom receptacles and the GFCI light goes off. Why would both my GFCI circuits be down? Also the lines coming into the GFCO outlet have no voltage but the light is on

    • Hi Doug,

      I reached out to our technical team and they recommend returning to the dealer for a proper inspection immediately. Anytime there may be a concern that multiple circuits are wired together, we don’t want to take chances. The only way to know is to have the dealer look it over carefully.

      Here’s where you can find the closest dealership to you: https://rv.campingworld.com/locations

      Let us know if you have any other questions!

  • Tammy Brown says:

    We are camping and just got here today and half the campers power is not working.
    The GFCI on the bar area will not reset. We have checked all the breakers, used a tester and all fuses are good.
    The outside plugs and the microwave will not work.
    We even ran our camper cable source and plugged into another site thinking it might be the pedestal at our site. But still no luck with getting the power to these areas. Called Good Sam tech and he wasn’t much help. Said he would call us back in 30 minutes but we haven’t heard back from him.
    We have a 2022 Jayco 28.5 Eagle Fifth wheel.
    Any suggestions?

    • Hi Tammy!

      If that GFCI won’t reset, that could very well be your issue and it’s possible you’ll need to replace the GFCI itself. So far, it sounds like you’ve eliminated issues with the power source, tripped breakers, and blown fuses.

      Are you hearing an audible click when you press the test button on that GFCI?

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