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Old 07-14-2019, 11:27 PM   #1
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12v/110 switch?

Hi there, we just bought a 2006 FR Sierra toy hauler with some electrical issues. Someone told us there is a switch that will change power from 12v to 110, is that true? If so, where would it be located? Thank you!
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:15 AM   #2
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Pretty sure there's no such switch. There may be a battery disconnect switch.

Does that person own a RV?

Suggest you Google "the 12 Volt Side of Life", to understand how the two different RV electrical systems work.

What are your issues?
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:16 AM   #3
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or, they were meaning 'INVERTER', which takes 12v battery power and provides a 120v output, such as to a residential FRIDGE, or similar need.

What type of 'issues' are you having?
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:54 AM   #4
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My issues are that only two of the outlets work, and the previous owner just plugged two power strips into each of them. AND, they only work when the trailer is plugged in. All lights function normally. Also, there is an electrical current running through the ladder that runs up to the roof.
We put a charge on the battery and reconditioned it. It was manufactured in 2017.
This trailer was used as a mobile office for awhile, and it looks like a lot of changes were made that are confusing.
Im really hoping we didn't make a huge mistake in buying this thing. I wonder if we are better off taking it into a professional than trying to get things figured out ourselves? This is the first time we've ever bought an RV, we are very new to this and any insight and advice is so appreciated!
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:13 AM   #5
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Again, you are not understanding the difference between the things that run off 12v DC (battery) and things that run off 120v AC when plugged into shore power.

If you feel electric current when touching the ladder DO NOT USE YOUR R/V!!!
You are either plugged into an improperly wired outlet or something is wrong with your R/V wiring. You can be killed by a hot skin voltage issue!

Reference the 12v side of life Dan mentioned earlier and Mike Sokol's website at www.rvelectricity.com
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:56 AM   #6
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The electrical outlets that do not work are probably down stream from a gfi outlet that has shut off.
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:04 PM   #7
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Unless the previous owner installed an inverter, the 110 volt outlets will NOT work unless the trailer is plugged in. That is how it is supposed to be.


The lights (and a few other things) run off 12 volts DC (the battery). When you plug the trailer in to 110 volts, a converter uses the 110 volts AC to generate 12 volts DC to run the lights and charge the battery. The regular outlets, refrigerator, AC, etc., run directly from the 110 volts AC, but only when you are plugged in.


If the inverter I mentioned earlier has been installed, it will use 12 volts DC from the battery to generate 110 volts AC. The problem is that unless it is a small inverter (which won't provide enough power to run much) it will "kill" your battery very quickly.


As for the electrical current on the ladder, that is a very bad thing. It most likely means you have a bad ground connection for the outlet the trailer is plugged into. As another member pointed out, it can kill you!
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Old 07-15-2019, 03:26 PM   #8
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let's get some clarification to what you actually are 'meaning' by some of your terms:

- "only two of the outlets work..." ... WHICH two are these, and how many MORE are there, and WHERE are they.

- "they only work when the trailer is plugged in..." o.k., that's normal. 120v power is ONLY coming into the RV 'when' you have it plugged in. Now, yes, 'some' things will work from the battery, because they are 12v powered, and may work 'all the time', such as lights, fans, etc. that's normal.

- "... there is an electrical current running through the ladder that runs up to the roof"
Do you mean an electrical 'wire', by the former owner, or an electrical 'shock'? Sometimes RVs can have a 'hot skin' condition where you may get a 'buzz' or 'shock' when you touch something metal on the RV. This is generally because a ground or neutral wire is not tightened, or has come loose, possibly in the Main Panel within the RV, or even sometimes where you have 'plugged in' your RV(the Shore outlet/breaker).

- "This trailer was used as a mobile office for awhile, and it looks like a lot of changes were made that are confusing." o.k., so 'WHAT' changes are you specifically referring to? What is making you think that something is not 'factory'? It's certainly possible that something could have been changed, so knowing 'what' you are alluding to would help us all to 'help you'... PICTURES would even be better : )


You may not actually have any 'issues' as you think you do, and are just not familiar with all of the electrical structures and designs of how 'mobile' RV is wired to work. You DO have to sometimes become more of an electrical 'engineer', of sorts, when you want to really know all of the details.
Mobile RVs works with batteries, external power, some with Generator power, and some also with INVERTER power(batteries, too, but 120v instead of just 12v!)...

generally, OUTLETS will only work when you have your Shore Power cord plugged into either Shore Power(outlet, 30amp, etc), or a Generator. Also, roof Air Conditioner(s) will only work while plugged in.

12v items that are powered by the battery(s), usually 'all' of the time, are your lights, roof fans, water pump, furnace fan, air conditioner THERMOSTAT, propane alarm, etc.

IF you have an Inverter, it provides 120v power typically to a residential 120v FRIDGE, if you have one. It sometimes can also provide power to an additional outlet, or for some of us with larger motorhomes, ALL the outlets all the time.
An INVERTER is used while traveling, when you're not plugged in, but need the FRIDGE to be cooling, etc., and it can also be use when 'off grid' when no overnight Shore Power or Generator is available. It uses the battery(s) to do this.


I think you have some exploration to do with your new RV before you run to the professionals and rack up lots of expense. You may just be in the 'learning' phase, as we've all gone thru... it's fun!
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