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Old 10-09-2020, 09:12 AM   #1
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Smile Guide to RV Electrical for IDIOTS??

I recently bought my first RV (2017 Sunseeker MBS 2400 DW) and maybe I have a 5th graders understanding of electrical systems (apologies to any 5th graders who might be offended ....but I'm trying to learn quickly. Does anyone know of information available for:

1) A BASIC guide as to how the electrical system on my RV is set up?
For example, to answer simple questions like, does the truck alternator charge the RV house batteries? And how are the two connected?

2) A good primer on how RV electrical systems work?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-09-2020, 09:19 AM   #2
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Book Recomandation

Here is what I purchased to help me understand RV electrical system, helped me but YMMV.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

FYI; I got the book as I am looking to install solar, but still good basic information on 12 volt and 110 volt systems used in campers.
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Old 10-09-2020, 09:49 AM   #3
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This one might also help but I've never read it. The author has columns in RV publications and gave talks at gatherings when there were gatherings.

https://www.amazon.com/No-Shock-Zone.../dp/0990527913

Unfortunately, you'll learn that your "how are..." question will always have an answer of "It depends" because each manufacturer does things their own way and it can vary even from model to model and from year to year.

Quote:
For example, to answer simple questions like, does the truck alternator charge the RV house batteries? And how are the two connected?
"Usually" but on some you will need to assure that the battery master switch inside the RV is turned on for the house batteries to charge from the alternator or from the shore power cord plugged into the campground pedestal.

"Usually" it's just a wire from the truck's electrical system to the towing connector on the truck, through the electrical cable between the truck and the RV, and into the RV. Somewhere in the truck and somewhere in the RV there will be a fuse or circuit breaker. Usually. <sigh>

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Old 10-09-2020, 10:01 AM   #4
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Give these a read "The 12 volt Side Of Life" Part 1 & 2.

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)

The 12volt Side of Life Part 2

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Old 10-09-2020, 10:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NXR View Post
This one might also help but I've never read it. The author has columns in RV publications and gave talks at gatherings when there were gatherings.

https://www.amazon.com/No-Shock-Zone.../dp/0990527913

Unfortunately, you'll learn that your "how are..." question will always have an answer of "It depends" because each manufacturer does things their own way and it can vary even from model to model and from year to year.



"Usually" but on some you will need to assure that the battery master switch inside the RV is turned on for the house batteries to charge from the alternator or from the shore power cord plugged into the campground pedestal.

"Usually" it's just a wire from the truck's electrical system to the towing connector on the truck, through the electrical cable between the truck and the RV, and into the RV. Somewhere in the truck and somewhere in the RV there will be a fuse or circuit breaker. Usually. <sigh>

Ray
Many decades ago manufacturers of many household appliances were required to provide at least basic schematics for their circuitry.

We see these for our refrigerators and A/C units installed in our RV's.

UNFORTUNATELY no schematics seem to exist for any of the wiring installed in them. Wouldn't it be nice to at least know if a Circuit Breaker of Fuse was installed in the line feeding either the entire RV's 12 Volt system? How about letting us know there is a separate fuse for the radio or range hood fan inline somewhere (often hidden so you have to remove the device to find it).

The reason the old appliance manufacturers include the diagrams is because it became a government mandate.

Sadly, that's what it will take to get RV manufacturers to do likewise. Even car manufacturers had to release their wiring diagrams to the public.
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Old 10-09-2020, 01:38 PM   #6
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There is no rime nor reason to rv wiring !! good luck, you'll need it !!
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Old 10-09-2020, 01:42 PM   #7
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Electrical

We own a 2016 Sunseeker 2400W. I've never seen the DW. I'll just give you a few things we've learned. Your batteries in the chassis will go dead if you don't either keep it plugged in, have solar, or use a battery tender. We keep ours plugged in to a outside outlet in our home. Works well. Turning off the main switch located near the door will not keep your batteries from dying as there are parasytic draws( smoke and carbon monoxide detectors) etc. We replaced our batteries at 3 years. First the coach then the chassis went out. Our fault because we didn't know. Always either run the generator or be plugged into 30 amp to use the slide. All this is just basic but maybe it will help. Enjoy your rig we love ours.
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Old 10-09-2020, 02:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboss View Post
Give these a read "The 12 volt Side Of Life" Part 1 & 2.

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)

The 12volt Side of Life Part 2

The best primer on RV electrical systems.
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Old 10-09-2020, 02:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Heffel View Post
I recently bought my first RV (2017 Sunseeker MBS 2400 DW) and maybe I have a 5th graders understanding of electrical systems (apologies to any 5th graders who might be offended ....but I'm trying to learn quickly. Does anyone know of information available for:

1) A BASIC guide as to how the electrical system on my RV is set up?
For example, to answer simple questions like, does the truck alternator charge the RV house batteries? And how are the two connected?

2) A good primer on how RV electrical systems work?

Thanks in advance.
Besides "The 12 volt Side Of Life" Part 1 & 2 given elsewhere in this thread you may want to check out this thread https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ts-157524.html by wmtire.
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Old 10-09-2020, 02:58 PM   #10
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electrical

X2 for No Shock Zone by Mike Sokol
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Old 10-09-2020, 03:19 PM   #11
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My suggestion in addition to the basic reading and education on common RV electrical issues you can ALWAYS get here,,, is to buy a $50 ac/dc clamp meter and use the instructions and you tube videos to learn the basics of measuring voltage, current and continuity which will let you logically track down and figure out issue like does my alterntor charge my house batteries? Is my connection from the alternator supplying current? How much current does my alternator supply and how discharged are my batteries?.... As well as...What voltage is my campground electric and is my converter charging my batteries and does my cable TV wire have a break in it? etc.
Important that it be able to measure AC AND DC current. Here's an example:



Mastech MS2109A True RMS Digital AC DC Clamp Meter 600A Temp NCV RC Test Tester
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:14 PM   #12
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a couple suggestions

Two things:

1. the truck may or may not charge your RV battery. A) you need to make sure the battery master switch is "on", if it is, your 12v lights and fans in the RV will operate. B) The charge circuit to the correct pin of the 7 pin factory connector is installed on a relay. Often, that relay is not installed in the truck and you have to buy one when you buy your RV. About 5 to 10 bucks, your RV or Tow vehicle dealer can help you find it.

2. Might be a good idea to simply read your Converter / Charger manual. Here's one:

https://progressivedyn.com/pdfs/109205n%20english.pdf

Read a few from your mfg or others, might pick up a few things.
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve W indy View Post
Two things:

1. the truck may or may not charge your RV battery. A) you need to make sure the battery master switch is "on", if it is, your 12v lights and fans in the RV will operate. B) The charge circuit to the correct pin of the 7 pin factory connector is installed on a relay. Often, that relay is not installed in the truck and you have to buy one when you buy your RV. About 5 to 10 bucks, your RV or Tow vehicle dealer can help you find it.

2. Might be a good idea to simply read your Converter / Charger manual. Here's one:

https://progressivedyn.com/pdfs/109205n%20english.pdf

Read a few from your mfg or others, might pick up a few things.
OP has a motorhome, not a truck for towing a 5er or tt.
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Old 10-09-2020, 06:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Heffel View Post
I recently bought my first RV (2017 Sunseeker MBS 2400 DW) and maybe I have a 5th graders understanding of electrical systems (apologies to any 5th graders who might be offended ....but I'm trying to learn quickly. Does anyone know of information available for:

1) A BASIC guide as to how the electrical system on my RV is set up?
For example, to answer simple questions like, does the truck alternator charge the RV house batteries? And how are the two connected?

2) A good primer on how RV electrical systems work?

Thanks in advance.
Try going to phreds poop sheets he covers just about everything pertaining to tv's vert interesting site. I know a weird name but well worth the effort.
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Old 10-09-2020, 06:55 PM   #15
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some of us want to learn and totally understand everything before we ever turn the key...

some of just learn when something goes 'wrong'...

some never learn : )
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Old 10-09-2020, 07:57 PM   #16
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I found RV Electric has some information.
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Old 10-18-2020, 05:14 PM   #17
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Many thanks

Many thanks to everyone who responded because you have been extremely helpful. I the last 2 weeks, I've gone from 5th grade electronics to maybe 8th grade.....but it's progress.

I bought the book, Managing 12 Volts. I got myself a good clamp meter, and I've been digesting the 12 Volt Side of Life. And I'm doing some tinkering.

I've got a long way to go, but I think I've at least figured out how not to get stranded with dead batteries again (which has happened twice, and I only got out of it using some portable solar panels that came with the rig....which I also don't understand very well.....yet).
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:59 PM   #18
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Excellent answers from Titanmike and bikendan, those guys know their ****, all I can add is if you buy a volt meter or an amp meter or both, especially digital as opposed to analog, learn to use it and learn to understand what it is telling you. I've been a commercial/industrial electric guy for a long time and have seen electricians read a meter and see the OL come up and tell me .... oh... it's an overload....lol All I can say is a meter will be a life saver if you know how to read it.
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:35 PM   #19
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Jump on Utube. Look for RV electrical as there are a ton of videos covering all aspects of RV electrical systems, some new some older, but I have found them helpful.
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