Why Are Only Half The Outlets In My RV Working?
Nobody likes it when things aren’t working in their RV or travel trailer. Outlets stop working for seemingly no reason all the time.
The good news is this is a very common issue and there are a few things you can to troubleshoot and fix the outlet before giving up and calling an electrician.
Remember the outlets in most RV’s only work when plugged into 120 volt power. When using 12 volt battery power regular RV outlets will not work.
Anytime you are working with electricity and outlets you want to be very careful. You need a safe way to test multiple outlets in your RV to see if they are receiving power or not.
For electrical testing, there are a few affordable tools that are good to have on hand for all RV owners.
For instance, a Sperry Instruments Receptacle Tester (click to view on Amazon) is a good way to diagnose problems with the outlet itself and also test if there’s any voltage.
A Klein Tools Non-Contact Voltage Tester (click to view on Amazon) is another simple tool used to quickly test for voltage in an outlet.
Using tools like these are safer and faster than trying to test for power on multiple outlets with something like a hairdryer.
But sometimes you have to use what you have on hand and using something like a hairdryer to test for power does work.
Just make sure you are being safe.
See Also: Best Portable Power Station/Solar Generator For Camping
6 Ways To Troubleshoot An RV Outlet That Isn’t Working
1. Check The GFCI Outlet
Much like a home, it’s common for multiple outlets to be wired on the same circuit in an RV and for many of those outlets to be GFCI outlets.
A GFCI outlet is found most commonly in places like the bathroom, kitchen, and outdoor outlets.
These outlets are the kind that have their own small breaker built-in. That way if any water gets on them and the current becomes uneven they can flip off immediately.
This is why they are used most commonly in bathrooms and areas where there might be water.
See Also: Best Portable Quiet Inverter Generators For RV Camping
If an outlet stops working anywhere in your RV the first thing you should check is the main GFCI outlet, usually found in the bathroom.
This will be the one with the reset button. All you need to do is press the center reset button on the outlet case to reset it.
This should get the other outlets working in your RV. Remember to check all the outdoor outlets as these are usually GFCI outlets as well. Even though it’s an outside outlet it could be connected to inside outlets.
Some GFCI outlets on RVs don’t have a little switch you can press. They are just labeled GFCI with a little sticker. These are controlled by the main GFCI outlet usually located in the bathroom.
2. Check The Main Breaker Box
The breaker box is another common reason for outlets not getting power in an RV. If the GFCI outlet was flipped that could mean a fuse has burnt or a breaker has flipped in the main box.
Many RVs will have a 15 amp breaker switch specifically for the GFCI outlets and outlets connected to them. It can be labeled “outlets”, “GFCI”, or “GFI”.
If this breaker hasn’t been flipped then the problem is most likely the breaker on the main GFCI outlet.
3. Check The RV Inverter (if it has one)
Sometimes the breakers located on the outside of your RV’s inverter will have tripped. Make sure you check that as well.
Also if you have a hardwired surge protector or a surge protector outside it may have switched off.
4. Check The Power Source
If you are plugged into power from a pedestal at an RV park or campground the breaker on this may have tripped as well.
If you are running a generator it could have tripped and is running but not putting out any power.
Either of these problems will be very noticeable because none of your outlets will be working.
See Also: How To Connect/Plug RV Camper Into Generator (15/30/50 Amp)
5. Check The RV Outlet’s Wiring
If none of the above have worked then you are going to have to get a little more hands-on with the outlet itself.
If you have multiple outlets that have gone out locate the main GFCI outlet that isn’t working, this will be the main source of your problems.
If it’s just one outlet not working and all the others are fine you only need to open up the outlet that has stopped working.
Before taking the outlet out of the wall turn off the main breaker to the RV and unplug it from whatever power source you are using.
I always go a step further and unplug my batteries for extra protection. You can never be too careful when messing with electricity.
See Also: The Best Camping Gas Generators That Will Run Your RV AC
Unscrew the outlet from the wall and check the wiring in the back.
A very common issue is the grounding wire. It can sometimes come loose and cause the outlet to stop working. Check all the wires and make sure they are secured and have good, clean connections.
If it was the main GFCI outlet that had a bad connection fixing it should fix any other outlets that have gone out.
6. Replace The RV Outlet
The breakers in GFCI outlets can go bad if they get tripped over and over again.
If it’s constantly tripping for no reason or won’t turn back on it may need to be replaced.
You should be able to use any household GFCI 15 amp outlet like the Leviton GFCI Receptacle (click to view on Amazon).
Frequently Asked Questions About RV Outlets
How Do I Reset A GFCI or GFI Outlet In My RV?
To reset the GFCI or GFI outlet in your RV all you need to do is press the button in the center that says “Reset.”
There is normally another button below it for testing the outlet but the reset button is almost always the top one.
For the GFCI outlet to reset there needs to be power running to your RV. If there is no power going to the outlet it will not reset.
What is the difference between a GFCI and a GFI outlet?
While they are very closely related and do basically the same thing there is a difference between a GFCI and GFI outlet.
GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter outlet and GFI stands for ground fault interrupting outlet.
The GFI outlet is normally the first outlet in a circuit and is the main one that protects all of the others. It’s also usually the one with the buttons.
In an RV the GFI outlet or breaker is the main one that all the other GFCI outlets are connected to. In my travel trailer, the breaker is labeled GFI and all of the outlets are labeled GFCI.
Although the main GFCI outlet in the bathroom was labeled GFCI, it is the main protected outlet and the one that resets the others. Technically, it’s a GFI outlet.
Is a GFCI outlet supposed to trip before the breaker does?
A GFCI outlet will trip when there is a “ground fault.” A ground fault causes the current to rise or fall and is often a symptom of water or moisture in the outlet. In this case, the outlet will trip before the breaker does.
If you are trying to draw too much power from connected outlets and the breaker gets overloaded it will trip and the GFCI outlet will not.
Related: How To Use A Generator With A Surge Guard (Open Neutral Fix)
What outlets have to be GFCI outlets in an RV?
All the outdoor outlets, bathroom outlets, and outlets close to the kitchen sink have to be GFCI outlets.
This is because they are near a water source or outside and could get rained on.
Do GFCI outlets make noise?
There may be a low buzzing noise on some GFCI outlets but if it’s something you can hear all the time and seems louder than it should be you can try tightening the screws on the outlet plate.
If this doesn’t fix it the outlet may need to be replaced as lots of noise could be an indication of a problem with the outlet.
Why is my GFCI outlet tripping with no load or appliances plugged into it?
The most common reason for a GFCI outlet tripping for no reason is a loose wire. The most common wire to come loose is the ground wire.
Make sure all power is off to the outlet before unscrewing it from the wall and looking at the inner wiring.
Be very careful when doing any work on outlets and just because the bad outlet isn’t working that doesn’t mean the power to the wires is off.
Turn off all the power to your RV or house before working on a bad outlet.
If there are no loose wires then the outlet is bad and needs to be replaced.
Have any more questions about fixing outlets in an RV or travel trailer? Leave a comment below.
32 thoughts on “RV Life Hack: 6 Things You Can Do To Fix A Broken RV Outlet”
The unit light is on, but power to outlet. I reset it , with problem. Does this unit needs to be replaced
Correction no power to outlet
If there’s no power to just one outlet it sounds like the wiring may be the problem. I would disconnect all the power to the RV and pull out the outlet to check the wiring on the back. It’s not uncommon for wires to pop out of the outlets during travel. If everything looks good you may need to replace it.
I was using both GCFI outlets in the kitchen of my RV. I overloaded them and tripped a breaker. It took a little while, but was able to get the breaker to reset. However, I’ve discovered that the GFI outlet (the one with the reset button) in the bathroom also stopped working. I’ve tried resetting with no luck. We unplugged our camper (drove 1400 miles) plugged the camp back in & those outlets still will not work. Any ideas what could be wrong? I’ve not found any blown fuses. My rv is a 2013 Big Country. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
There are a few things you can try. First when resetting the outlet make sure you are pressing the reset button in enough. Sometimes it takes a little bit more pressure than you would think.
If it’s not the button it could be a fault happening down the line. If one of the connected GFI outlets is having a problem the main one won’t work either. My guess is that a ground wire has possibly come out from one of the outlets that was being used in the kitchen.
To check the outlet wiring make sure all power to the RV is disconnected. I would even disconnect the batteries to be safe.
Then unscrew the outlet from the wall and check the back of it. It should be pretty easy to see if a wire has come loose. Check both the kitchen outlets followed by the main GFI outlet. If everything looks good and there are no disconnected or damaged wires the main GFI outlet may be broken and in need of replacement.
Thanks Jenni. Just the info I was looking for!
I had and outdoor kitchen plug stop working, the later that day the outlet inside on the slide out stopped working. Next morning the other outdoor kitchen plug for the mini outside fridge had stopped. Never goind gfi anywhere a so at a lose. Was on shore power. Thoughts? Once I returned home from the trip the rv battery was dead and charger now say bad battery. Not sure its related.
It sounds like the problem may be bigger than just the GFI outlets if the slide outlet stopped working as well. You can try and reset the kitchen and outdoor outlets by finding the main GFI outlet with the reset button. It’s normally in the bathroom.
The slide outlet may be connected to those but it’s not likely. It’s hard to diagnose what the issue with that outlet is without looking at it myself.
As for the battery being dead, it sounds like there may be another problem with the power converter/charger in the RV. You may want to look inside the panel and make sure no fuses have blown or no breakers have tripped. The shore power you are plugged into might be a little unstable and that could also be what’s causing the GFI outlets to trip.
Hopefully resetting the main GFI outlet and checking the fuses will fix the problem. Otherwise, you may need to go to an RV repair shop or hire an electrician to solve the problem.
Gfci outlet in bathroom trip. None of the outlets are working now. I did press really good to reset and it will not checked all fuses and breakers with no luck. Will that GFCI outlet cause all other outlets to stop working and should I replace with a new one. There’s no lights lighting up on the outlet and won’t reset. Leaving on our 30th anniversary this Friday morning and no dealer can get it in for at least two weeks. I replaced outlets in my home before but out of options. Air working lights working hot water working, just no outlets. 30 Amp Apex camper and checked all fuses even 40 Amp and all 9 15 Amp. Just wondering if CFCI OUTLET CONTROL REST.
Yes, the bathroom GFCI outlet is usually the one that controls the other GFCI outlets but the regular outlets like the ones in the bedroom or slide should be working even if the main GFCI outlet is broken.
Definitely replace the bathroom outlet. It might be old and unable to reset. Replacing it should get the other GFCI outlets working again.
It was raining today and everything in my camper was working fine. I started to notice the lights and ac in the bedroom started dimming and then get bright, the ac would slow down and speed up, finally everything from the kitchen to the bedroom went off, no lights and no power on outlets, living room works fine. I found the gfci plug in the bedroom and it had not tripped, I went ahead and pushed the test button and it tripped but won’t reset now. Is this the cause of my problem… bad giving? Thanks for any help
It sounds like your problem may be a blown fuse. Check your RV fuse box and see if one of the breakers has flipped or if one of the fuses has blown. You may have had too many appliances running at the same time or your shore power source could have been having issues because of the rain.
Hey.. when I have the tv on and the refrigerator on it kicks the one in the bathroom would u suggest the plug I bathroom or bad breaker?
It sounds like it’s the outlet. I would try replacing that first to see if it fixes the problem.
I think I overloaded my outlet by using the air fryer and tv at the same time. Everything turned off and the power tripped. After trying to reset everything, checking the panel and all of the fuses, etc etc, two of my three indoor outlets won’t work. The GFCI one in the kitchen works fine, but the other two normal outlets will not work. Am I missing something?
Do I now need to re-wire both those outlets?
The other two might be connected to the GFCI outlet in the kitchen. Maybe it isn’t resetting right or the wire connecting that outlet to the others may have disconnected somehow. I would check the wiring behind the GFCI kitchen outlet first.
Also is there a GFCI outlet in the bathroom that maybe needs resetting?
My refrigerator n outlets to my bedroom quit working. Everything else is working. I got a non contact voltage tester n it’s showing power but won’t work anything. I checked breakers n fuses then GFI in bathroom. It works but not resetting. Help! Grandma on the edge
My guess is that a wire has probably come loose from the back of one of the dead outlets. What little power the outlet is getting is probably what’s causing the voltage tester to show power but it’s causing the whole circuit to lose power.
Make sure you disconnect your RV from power. Then starting with the dead outlet that’s closest to the breaker box. Unscrew it and gently pull it from the wall. Just there should be two black wires, two white wires, and a ground securely connected in the back.
Check all of the dead outlets. Hopefully, the issue is as simple as a wire coming loose.
Hi how’s everyone doing? My GFCI outlets don’t work but the regulars ones do, sometimes the buttons resets but it goes away after I pull something in one of the GFCI outlets any input on what my problem(s) could be?
2001 MONACO LA PALMA connected to a 50 amp hook up
My guess would be the reset button in the GFCI outlet that isn’t working is broken. Try replacing that outlet with a new GFCI outlet to see if that fixes the problem.
Hi, I have a 2019 Forest River Wildcat… my GFCI is in the bathroom and is working fine, all breakers and fuses are good but my three outlets in the kitchen by the sink do not work. We replaced them with new outlets abs checked the wiring to make sure they are wired correctly but they still don’t work… do you have any suggestions on what to do? Thanks:)
There might be another GFCI outlet connected to the kitchen that needs to be reset. It could be one of the GFCI outlets outside. It’s a bit of a long shot but the kitchen outlets must be connected to a different outlet than the one in the bathroom.
Outlet overhead in the kitchen cabinet no longer functions. It is not a GFI. Checked the breakers and have replaced all 15 amp fuses. Camper is stationary so not much vibration. Thinking it may be the outlet. It is the only interior outlet that is out right now. Everything else other than the light over the stove is working.
Usually, the outlet in the kitchen cabinet is for the microwave. It’s connected to one of the breakers and not a fuse. Check to make sure none of the breakers have flipped and if not then there probably is a problem with the wiring to the outlet. It shouldn’t be connected to any of the other outlets in the RV.
All of my RV wall outlets stopped working. I have power to all circuits but the wall outlets (microwave, fridge, radio ect). I replaced the fuse that was not the problem. I checked the GFCI outlet, there is only one that appears to run all other outlets, it does not reset. When I pull out all other fuses, my red light indicator illuminates indicating an improper connection, the fuse running the wall outlets does not illuminate. That implies that I am not getting power to the circuit, correct? Any thoughts on correcting the problem? It is a new unit so all components are not worn to overuse.
If the light doesn’t come on when the fuse is removed it does sound like the circuit isn’t getting power. But I also wouldn’t 100% trust the LED light. I think the first thing you should do is get a multimeter and test the fuse holder to make sure it’s for sure not getting power.
One thing you can also try is resetting the breaker. It’s a long shot but sometimes resetting it works.
If the RV converter isn’t supplying any power to your outlets or the fuse the connection to the fuse holder could be loose. Check the wiring to the fuse. If everything looks good there might be a problem with the main breaker or electrical box.
I have a 2007 Jayco 31BHS. The bathroom GFCI and all kitchen plugs work. However, the following do not work, both bedroom plugs, slide out dinette plug, and entertainment center plug. There is no breaker marked GFI, all breakers are working, and all fuses are good. I checked the wiring in all inop plugs. They are making good connections on all 3 wires. Any idea what to look at next?
Most of the time all of the outlets in an RV are connected to one of the GFCI outlets.
I would try resetting the GFCI outlet in the bathroom first but odds are that’s the one the kitchen outlets are connected to.
There should be another GFCI outlet somewhere on your RV that the rest of the outlets are connected to.
On my old travel trailer, the slide out and bedroom outlets were connected to a GFCI outlet that was on the outside of the RV near the front door.
Check the outdoor outlets to see if you can reset one, if resetting it doesn’t work I’d also check the wiring.
I have checked the outside plug and it has just wire running through it. but the gfi is all working but have 3 around the kitchen that don’t work plus the kne out side the kitchen. I am so cufused on how to replace this one to even check it.
The GFI/outlet reset might be in the fuse box in your RV. I’d check that first to make sure the fuse hasn’t blown.
Hi. I’m experiencing an issue with multiple outlets not working. The GFCI outlet near the bathroom works, and the outlet next to the bed works, all others are dead. When I press the resrt button and let go of it quickly I can see my internet router flash on for just a second, but it doesn’t stay on. So resetting the GFCI is allowing power to the other outlets, but only for less than a second. Any ideas? Thanks
Sounds like the reset switch inside the GFCI outlet might be the problem. They can wear out or stop working. I would replace the outlet with a new GFCI one.