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Breaker Trips When I Plug My RV Into AC Outlet

by Kevin
(Clarksville, AR, USA)

When I plug my 1997 Wildwood fifth wheel camper into an AC outlet, the circuit breaker trips (I'm talking about the breaker in my electrical panel in my shop, not on the camper). At times, when the breaker doesn't trip, I get an electrical shock when I touch the frame of the camper or the handle to open the door. I have replaced the main lead into the camper, and have inspected all visible wiring around distribution box, but cannot find any sign of bare wires grounding out.

ANSWER: Greetings Kevin thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

From what you have told me, I am going to guess that your problem is either reversed polarity or a loose ground either in the power source you are plugging into or in the wiring of your 5th Wheel Trailer. Any of the conditions I mentioned above can cause breakers to trip and also give your RV a "Hot Skin" which means that you can get shocked by your RV.

If you are not experiencing this problem when you plug your RV into electrical connections at campgrounds, etc. then the ground or polarity problems are probably in your home electrical system or a bad extension cord you may be using to connect to your home electric. Since you stated that you also replaced the main lead to the camper you may also want to check to make sure that the polarity on that wiring is not reversed.

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How to Prevent Electrical Problems In Your RV

The first thing you should do is buy an AC Line Monitor such as The Prime Products 12-4058 AC Power Line Monitor or The
TRC Electra Check Digital Monitor
. Both of these monitors can simply be plugged into one of the outlets in your RV. Once plugged in both of them monitor the electric in your RV for reversed polarity, open neutral or open ground problems. In addition the TRC Electra has a built in alarm. They both have digital voltage readouts so you will know if you have a low or high voltage problem in the electricity being supplied to your RV.

In most cases when you plug your RV into an electrical system at an RV Campground or Resort you are going to be using a 30 Amp or 50 Amp plug. The first thing you need to do when your RV is plugged in is to check the monitor inside the RV to insure that the power source you are currently plugged into is wired properly and providing the proper voltage to your RV.

This should be done prior to running any of your RV's appliances. If the monitor indicates a problem you should immediately unplug your RV from the power source and inform the campground or resort that they have a wiring problem. You may be surprised at the number of times that you will find electrical problems at campgrounds.

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One of these AC Power Monitors and a good RV Surge Protectoricon can prevent some very expensive damage to your Travel Trailer's electrical system and appliances.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

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Happy RVing

RVing Al

Camping World

Comments for Breaker Trips When I Plug My RV Into AC Outlet

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Re: Fleetwood TT, Bussman Breaker
by: John

I need to add that I fixed this last year by simply buying a new Bussman breaker at a local RV stealership. Actually pretty simple.

Prolem Solved
by: Anonymous

Just plug your camper into one of the recepticles in your house or generator even, it's the gfi on you plugged into that's the problem they are super senitive, problem solved and at no cost, have fun.

Fleetwood Santa Fe TT, Bussmann Breaker
by: John

My Santa Fe tent trailer has a Bussmann Type 1 DC circuit breaker between the tent trailer electrical system and the battery. A month ago, while connected to shore power, the breaker was clicking (tripping and resetting itself) continually (about every 15-20 seconds).

Why might this be? Anyone know what might cause this?

I checked it today and the breaker is no longer tripping/resetting. Could that be because the breaker is no longer working properly? Thanks,


house breaker tripping
by: Anonymous

used to have 1985 Toyota RV and used the outlet ouside the garage. without problem but when I bought a 2007 Winnebago whenever I plug the RV to that outlet my breaker inside the house is tripping. my RV doesn't even have appliances plug in means nada. but when I put it back the cord back to the generator it just fine. what maybe the cause of that thanks

Hot 5th Wheel Frame
by: Marc Grimm

Simple but excellent instructions for getting to the root cause of a "hot" RV. My problem turned out to be a faulty power cord and while I would have eventually discoverd the problem the recommendations on this topic greatly shortened th time it took to resolve the problem. It also saved me a lot of money at a RV service center.

breaker trips
by: Anonymous

I also had a problem with my motorhome blowing the breaker on a gfci plug at campgrounds.Took to dealer he said nothing wrong,but they did'nt have gfci plugs,450.00 down the drain.I wound up unhooking all wires from fuse box inside and put circuits back on one at a time to find the one causing the trouble.when i found it i followed that circuit by outlets one at a time,found out i had a green and white wire touching by using ohm meter.Now i have no problems.

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