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Why Are All The Lights Inside My Travel Trailer Going Dim?

by Brent Colborn
(Idaho Falls, ID)

I own a 2006 Gulfstream Innsbruck travel trailer. The last two winters while hunting I have ran into an electrical problem. I wake up in the middle of the night to very dim lights and a cold trailer. The furnace is barely running as well. My generator is running but the batteries show no charge. My microwave and T.V. still work as well. I initially thought I tripped a breaker or blew a fuse but everything seems to be working. The only fix that works on occasion is to flip the main breaker for a short period of time and flip it back on.

I use the trailer mostly during hunting season and this is when I notice the problem. I have unplugged directly from the generator to no avail. My converter will kick on as soon as I flip the breaker. I also had the batteries checked and the passed inspection. Sometimes the problem goes away when I go back up to my trailer and plug in the batteries and start the generator.


I think there may be a bad connection between the batteries and the converter, but again this doesn't happen every time I use the trailer. I recently tried the flip the breaker trick and it did not work. Now I am at a loss as to what to do.

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

From what you have described it does not sound like a bad connection. It sounds like a problem with your Converter. Even though it appears that your Converter is providing 120 volt electricity to your appliances such as the TV and Microwave it does not appear that it is providing 12 volt power and your 12 volt system is running purely off of the house batteries.

We can eliminate the generator as being the problem because your appliances are running so we know that the power from the generator is making it to the converter. This may be an intermittent problem with your converter, so that is why sometimes it seems to work fine and other times it does not.

You said that you have already checked for blown fuses and you have found none. You have had your house batteries checked and they are fine. The only thing I can suggest is double-check the connections at the battery and make sure that all connections are clean and tight.

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The bottom line is that if it is an internal problem with the converter you are going to have to take your trailer in and have a Qualified RV Technician diagnose and repair the problem. I do not recommend that you attempt any repairs on the Converter yourself as you could cause severe damage to your RV's electrical system.

I hope that this information has been helpful to you.

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.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

Comments for Why Are All The Lights Inside My Travel Trailer Going Dim?

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dim interior rv lights
by: mina

my interior ceiling lights in my rv are dim what is causing this.but

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LIGHTS DIMMING ON MONTANA MOUNTAINEER
by: GEORGE

Having the same problem with lights dimming. I checked the battery leads,and with the power cord plugged in to the house, i don't get anything at the battery leads. Should be 12 volts. So, i decided to look at the converter. Checked with.a voltmeter, and find 110v at the branch breakers. Thst's a good sign. So with power at the branch breaker, it means that power

is getting that far and not through the converter. Voila....Going to go get another in the morning. Not too bad to take out either. Just take your time, and be sure to disconnect the power cord from it's source, and the battery leads before removing the converter. Good luck.

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Dim lights plugged into an outside source
by: Anonymous

Ok my 2001 prowler 5th wheel is plugged into an RV park outlet , but now my lights are going real dim and when my account kicks on a loud high pitched whistle sounds off off for a quick second and then the lights go dim.

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Polarity check
by: Neoreundoer

Your problem shows the symptoms of hot/neutral wires reversed (polarity)on the ac input. Your converter will work intermittently, dim lights, flickering, the 12v system hates reversed polarity input. It will act as an overloaded circuit.

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Lights go dim
by: Dennis

My family and I were camping this past weekend and like the others described on this page my lights would dim down to the point of almost going completely out. Only in my case I would trip the 30 amp breaker and everything would work like it should. Then about 10 minutes or so later it would the same thing. it would keep doing this until we would turn in for the night and shut down everything except the essentials,(air conditioner, fridge, water pump, etc.) If anyone could offer their suggestions it would be appreciated.

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2005 cougar
by: johnjohn

We just came back from camping/ visiting in-laws over thanksgiving weekend.All Rv parks booked up, we ended staying at a primative park with dirty / low voltage . I hooked up shore power,water etc. We went to dinner , 5 of us in the family. We returned to fifth wheel. After everyone got comfy ,lights were dimming , furnace had a tough time starting.it stopped working completely about 2:30 in the am. We woke up to trailer of about 45 degrees. My teenage daughter said " worst night of her life". Ouch ! My two oldest kids drove my wife's car home. My wife and I along with my 11 year old stayed with the in laws..plenty warm , my mother in law enjoys her home about 82 degrees!! I just finished trouble shooting converter,furnace etc. I am ordering a new converter tomorrow.The converter is working intermittently. I conducted a little maintenance on furnace , it started firing off just fine. I will post a up date after I install new converter. No place like home in south Texas. I hope this helps someone.

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lights dim
by: gary

yes same problem bought a new battery and still same where do we find the answer.thanks

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dim lighting
by: Anonymous

if you really want to find out if this is your converter try an external battery charger temporarily and see if the problem goes away. if so you converter is a pretty good bet

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same issue
by: Shaun

Me too, I can plug into the plug ins and they work fine but anything that is 12V doesn't function. I was guessing it was the converter and this confirms it. I have a 2005 Rockwood Roo.

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Same problem
by: Anonymous

Have had the same problems this winter and have been told that it is the converter.

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Lights going dim.
by: Dan

I have a 2005 Keystone Springdale camper and I am experiencing the same intermittent dimming of the lights. It lasts only about 10 seconds or so and then brighten to full capacity. What gives?

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I'm having the same problem.
by: kent

I have a travel trailer and am having the same problem. I changed my battery less than a year ago and still the problem persists. Even when plugged in 30amp, lights go dim.

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