What is an RV Induction Cooktop?
Induction cooktops have exploded in popularity in the past 10 years.
They can heat up faster, cook more evenly than regular electric stovetops, and they are more efficient.
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In new homes and newly remodeled kitchens, induction cooktops are a common sight, and now they’re starting to show up in RVs as well.
It’s mostly higher end motorhomes but I’ve started to see some in small travel trailers as well.
So what is an RV induction cooktop?
The induction cooktop in a camper isn’t that different from the ones found in homes.
They usually only have 2 heat plates instead of 4, but everything else is pretty much the same.
There’s a lot of science that goes into induction cooking but I’ll give you a simple explanation.
Induction cooktops use electricity to create a magnetic field that works with the pans that are placed on the stovetop.
When you put the right kind of pan on an induction plate that’s turned on you will feel a magnetic pull and the pan will magnetically bond to the plate.
Once that connection is made the induction cooktop will pass an electrical current to the pan. Heat is created in the process and the pan will transfer the heat to whatever’s inside of it.
Due to the bond between the pan and the induction cooker, there is less heat and energy wasted, making them much more efficient and faster at heating.
Because of the magnetic field, you are going to need to use pans that are made of materials that have magnetic properties like stainless steel and cast iron.
In this post, I’ll talk about some of the issues people come across with their RV induction cooktops, give some useful tips, and recommend some different pans for induction cooking.
Common RV Induction Cooktop Issues & Solutions
Even though they have become incredibly popular, many of us have never used induction stoves. I used one for the first time just a few years ago.
They’re super uncommon in RVs and even though they make a lot of sense for those who usually camp with electrical hookups, they can take some getting used to.
RV Induction Cooktop Won’t Turn On
When you plug your RV into electrical power the induction stove should beep once to indicate that it’s getting power.
After that pressing the on/off button should make a beeping or buzzing sound that indicates it’s on and ready to start heating.
If none of this happens you should check the breaker box to see if the breaker has been flipped or the fuse has blown.
Also, check the plug to the cooktop that’s underneath the counter. It should be in the back, behind the stove.
Note that most induction cookers will turn off automatically after about 10 seconds if they’re not being used.
RV Induction Cooktop Won’t Start Heating
This is the most common issue people have when they first use an induction stove. I was also very confused the first time I used one.
When you turn on a normal stove the burner usually starts heating up right away. But this isn’t the case with induction.
Put a Pan On the Heat Plate
For an induction heat plate to start heating there has to be a pan placed on it first. This creates the magnetic connection that’s necessary for induction cooking.
Without the pan, nothing will happen.
Check The Pan
It also has to be the right kind of pan that the magnet can stick to, aluminum, glass, and most copper pans won’t work with this kind of stove.
You can read more about the kinds of pans you will need and how to tell if your pans will work later on in this article.
Check Pan Position
On that same note if the pan is just a little off or moved during cooking the stovetop will stop heating.
You sometimes need to move the pan around in the heat zone to find the sweet spot.
If you’ve got the right pan and it’s sitting correctly in the heating area and the stove still won’t start heating but it will beep at you when you press the on/off button the problem might be the childproof lock.
When the childproof lock is engaged only the on/off button will work. To turn on or off the childproof lock press down on the ⊕ and ⊖ buttons at the same time.
There should be a little lock symbol that lights up over the buttons to show that the child lock is on.
Look for Protective Plastic Cover
One last thing to check if your camper is new is the glass cooktop.
Sometimes they will have a protective plastic cover adhered to them that’s hard to see unless you look for it.
If the plastic is still on the stovetop shouldn’t work.
Reset the Cooktop
If all else fails, you sometimes can get an RV induction cooktop working again by resetting it.
You can do this by unplugging it for a few seconds, then plugging it back in. Or turning off and on the main circuit breaker.
You can also find the connected fuse or breaker and just disconnect and reconnect that.
RV Induction Stove Suddenly Stops Heating
Check Pan Position
Because it needs the perfect magnetic connection to be made to heat induction cookers will turn off if that bond is broken.
If the pan is moved slightly off of the heating zone it will turn off.
Sometimes you might also need to move the pan around on the heat plate to get it to bond properly again.
That trick usually always works for me when I’m using fussy low end frying pans that don’t always want to connect.
You can manually turn on a timer for each heat plate but there is also a built in timer that you can’t change.
Many RV induction cooktops have a 2-3 hour built in timer that will automatically turn off the heat.
This is a safety feature that’s nice to have but if you are cooking something for a long time it can be a little annoying.
You will need to turn the stove on again to reset the timer and start cooking again.
Some induction stovetops have an auto-off function if the coils start to get too hot.
This can sometimes be activated when an empty pan is being heated or when frying with oil.
You should be able to turn on the cooktop again once it’s had time to cool.
Check the Air Intake
Like most electronics, an induction stove needs to stay cool inside to work properly. There is an air intake and vent on every stove.
Usually, the air intake is on the front left hand side and the vent is in the back.
Check both to make sure they are unobstructed.
If something was blocking them turn off your stove and let it cool down before starting it up again.
Pan Gets Too Hot or Not Hot Enough
If you have a pan that’s getting way too hot even at the lowest setting it might be because it’s low quality.
Thin pans that are made with low quality metals can sometimes get too hot or have uneven heat zones.
If it seems like the cooking zone isn’t getting hot enough the problem could be a warped pan.
The pan needs to sit flat against the cooktop to heat correctly and evenly.
RV Induction Cooktop Pots & Pans
How to Tell if a Pan is Induction Compatible
There are two ways to tell if a pot or pan will work on an induction cooker.
Many newer pans will have the symbol above on the bottom to indicate that it works with induction.
You can also do a magnet test. Simply take a magnet and see if it sticks to the bottom of the pan.
If there’s a good connection it should also work on an induction stove.
Remember glass, aluminum, and copper aren’t induction cooktop compatible unless they have a stainless steel bottom.
Stainless steel, carbon steel, and cast iron work great though. That means most of your camp cast iron frying pans and flat bottomed dutch ovens will be compatible.
Even lots of non-stick pans have a special metal base to make them compatible with induction cooking.
RV Induction Cooktop Pan Recommendations
All induction cookware is also compatible with all other stove types.
That means your induction pot or pan can also be used on a gas camp stove.
As a small side note make sure you don’t go too small with pots and pans for RV induction cooktops.
Super small pans that are less than 5 inches in diameter sometimes don’t have enough surface to create the proper magnetic bond.
It can often be hard to get them to work and it’s easier for the stove to turn off during cooking.
Have any questions about RV induction cooktops? Leave a comment below.