In this guide, I will show you exactly how to tell if RV converter is bad. (Plus tips on how to fix it)

You are also going to learn:

  • How to test RV’s onboard batteries
  • How to test the cooling fan of an RV converter
  • What items are needed to tell if RV converter is bad
  • And lots more.

So if you are having some difficulty getting your RV converter to work properly, then this guide is for you.

Let’s get started!

Also See: How to Prime RV Water Pump


What is an RV Converter Used for?

RV converters are used basically to prevent the battery of an RV from being drained when it’s connected to a different power source.

An RV is usually powered by an onboard generator or an external source of power. It’s the function of the RV converter to reduce the current coming from the built-in generator or external power source to one that is suitable for the RV to use.

This device converts up to 120V (AC) down to 12V (DC) for accessories and appliances in the RV to use.

And if the converter develops some issues, the onboard batteries will be your direct source of power, which would damage a lot of accessories and appliances in the RV.

In a situation like this, the best step to take would be to consider a more comprehensive and meticulous approach to solving the issue, which often entails inspecting various electrical components in the RV, as well as the RV converter itself.

Some items needed to carry out the necessary tests when learning how to tell if RV converter is bad include:

  • Multimeter
  • Baking soda
  • Water

How to Tell If RV Converter is Bad

How to Tell If RV Converter is Bad

You certainly don’t want to replace an RV converter that is not bad unknowingly; this would be a waste of money.

And that is why learning how to tell if RV converter is bad is essential

In fact:

Most RV converter issues are minor and easy to fix cases.

Others could be due to a few technical issues which may require professional attention.

The best ways to tell if an RV converter is faulty is when it shows either of the following issues:

1. A Malfunctioning Cooling Fan

RV converters usually come with an internal cooling fan embedded in it that is designed to prevent it from overheating.

Whenever an RV converter is connected to a 110V (AC) power supply, the cooling fan of the converter starts to run intermittently, and if the voltage at this 110V has a problem, the cooling fan might fail to work at all.

Also, RV converters’ cooling fans have a high possibility of breaking-down or wearing out from frequent use, and when this happens, heat will consistently be developed in the converter, which would cause some of its parts to get damaged.

This, in turn, would cause the RV converter not to function effectively.

How to Test an RV Converter’s Cooling Fan?

To do this, you will need to connect the entry points of the converter to a multimeter.

If the multimeter fails to read, it might just be that it’s the cooling fan that is faulty and not the converter itself.

It may also be that the 110V line, or that the thermostat or thermal sensor is faulty.

To test if all these are working, supply a current different from the 110V line to them, if they work, then you can conclude that the problem is in the 110V line.

But if they don’t, you may have to replace the thermal sensor, the cooling fan itself, or even the converter as a whole.

2. A Faulty Circuit Breaker or Board

Yes, a faulty circuit breaker can affect an RV converter and prevent it from functioning well.

To check if the circuit breaker is faulty or not, first open each of the circuit breakers, starting with the primary input breaker and check for any signs of physical degradation.

If the breakers show no sign of a fault, close them up in reverse order, making sure that the primary input breaker comes last.

Now, try to disconnect the 110 AC power supply from the pedestal and remove each electrical panel from it.

Take a careful look at the backside because acid may tend to accumulate on a connector tab or the wire terminals.

If you notice any sign of corrosion on the connector tab, try to clean it up by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with 12 ounces of water.

Then use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub lightly with the improvised baking soda solution on the affected area.

When all this is done, make sure to leave it to air dry for about 7 to 10 minutes completely. And if all these, the RV converter fails to work, switch to the next alternative.

3. Faulty Resistors or Diodes

Some RV converters still make use of the old fashioned designs of diodes and resistors.

Resistors in an RV converter help to control the 12V DV voltage of the electrical system and onboard batteries. And something as simple as a faulty resistor can prevent the cells from being able to hold a constant charge.

Diodes are quite different from resistors in the sense that they allow an electric current to flow in only one direction, and at the same time prevent current flow in the other direction.

Before testing either of the resistors or diodes, first ensure that you understand the direction of the current flow. And if when testing the diodes with your multimeter, you get a reading, then that diode is still working.

The same applies to the resistors too!

One physical sign you can notice on a bad resistor or diode is a white acidic residue on the converter near the diode or resistor.

If the damage is so severe, you will need to replace the entire RV converter, but if resistors and diodes aren’t the problem, proceed to the next alternative.

4. A Faulty Fuse

Electrical fuses are rated to handle a specified maximum level of current that it was designed for. Once there is something like a power surge or a short circuit, the fuse might burn out to prevent excess current from damaging the main electrical equipment (RV converter).

Check for and replace any burned-out fuses with ones that are of the same current rating.

Making use of fuses with a higher amp rating is likely to damage more sensitive components of your RV’s electrical system, including the RV converter itself.


Now I’d Love to Hear from You:

Are you currently facing any problems with your RV converter?

What ways have you used in the past to tell if your RV converter is bad?

Do you think I left out a few things?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!