RV Has No Power When Not Plugged In? Here’s the Reason Why

Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Jess

If your Motorhome has no power when it is not plugged in the main cause is usually a tripped circuit breaker that requires an emergency reset. However, it can also happen if the battery is damaged or the inverter has a malfunction.

No power in the motorhome from the battery means that there is no power for the lights, TV, or even the microwave during the trip. And having always traveled in a motorhome, I’ve learned that while battery problems are common, they’re not the only ones. So the only way to fix this problem is to carefully troubleshoot the batteries, inverter, breakers, switches, and wiring.

Examining these components of a motorhome that does not receive power from the battery can be tricky. So let’s take a closer look at why your charged motorhome battery is not generating power and how you can fix the problem.

Common causes and solutions for the lack of power supply to the motorhome from the battery

Motorhome not receiving power from the battery is a nightmare, especially if you are spending the night outdoors. The following are some notable causes of No electricity in the motorhome and how you can find and rectify the cause of the power cuts.

Damaged battery

Damaged RV batteries can result in no power when the RV is unplugged. Here are some possible damages a motorhome battery can have and what you should look out for:

  • Physical damage can be caused by carelessness or poor storage. In this case, you may notice cracks, dents, and holes.
  • If there is no physical damage, you need to check the internal problems of the battery using a voltmeter. A working RV battery will show 12.5 V on the voltmeter, while a damaged battery will show a lower or higher reading.
  • Another problem is that the RV battery will not charge. Believe it or not, I have seen many RV owners complain that the RV battery will not provide power if it has not been charged.

Unfortunately, the only option for damaged batteries is usually to replace them. However, bear in mind that a motorhome battery usually lasts six to seven years before it needs to be replaced.

Inverter problems

Figure 1

If your RV is fully charged and has no physical or internal damage, you need to check the inverters – often called converters.

You need to trace the cable that connects the inverter to the battery. This way you can find the automatic breaker and see if it has tripped. If the automatic breaker is not near the inverter, you can find it about 18 inches away from the battery.

Auto-trippers are designed in two ways:

  • Self-resetting function, which is usually a thermal device.
  • A tab that may appear when the breaker is triggered.

However, your motorhome inverter may also be faulty if you do not have an automatic circuit breaker or if the circuit breaker is not tripped. In this case, you must consult a mechanic.

Overloaded circuit breaker

Figure 2

RV circuit breakers can also cause your RV to not receive power from the battery. This usually happens when there is an overload or a current flow that exceeds the capacity of the breaker.

For example, if a breaker has a capacity of 20 amps and is carrying 30 amps of current, it will trip. This problem only occurs when many electrical appliances such as water heaters, microwaves, and televisions are used at the same time.

If your RV has an overloaded circuit breaker, watch the following video showing how to restore power.

The problem of the short circuit

Short-circuited breakers can also lead to power outages, which can be caused by outdated appliances or wiring. In other words, any damage to the breakers can result in a short circuit that damages the RV’s batteries, microwave or any other electronic device you are using.

In this case, the first sign is that the breakers give off a slight burning odor. To stop the fire, the circuit breaker will automatically trip. Regardless of whether your battery is charged, tripped circuit breakers interrupt the power supply to the motorhome to ensure safety.

To restore power to your motorhome, you must reset the breakers if they cannot be automatically reset manually. These breakers are usually located in a small metal box near the battery. However, you can also look them up in your motorhome’s owner’s manual. To avoid such inconveniences in the future, open the metal box and then press the reset button next to the breakers. Also, monitor your motorhome’s voltage when using appliances and make a note of how many amps each appliance in your motorhome requires. This will ensure that you don’t overload your breakers, which will cause them to trip.

Disconnected breaker

Figure 4

The disconnect switch is attached to either the positive or negative terminal of the battery. Although it can also cause a power failure, its function is to cut off all current from the battery, regardless of whether it is fully charged or not.

This switch ensures safety and reduces the risk of possible electric shock by cutting off all power when inserting or replacing the battery. It also reduces the risk of breakers or equipment being damaged.

For this, no electricity for the motorhome from the battery may be because you have accidentally flipped the circuit breaker. And all you have to do is flip it again!

Tips for boondocking

As Motorhome receives no power from the battery is unpredictable, you can still ensure a smooth ride by regularly maintaining all electrical sources. Below you will find the necessary maintenance tips, which in my experience are essential:

Tip Details
Charging and maintaining batteries Regular maintenance can significantly extend the life of your batteries. So if you check and clean your batteries regularly, you can ensure a pleasant journey without any electrical emergencies.
Maintain the generator You should also check the generator cables and batteries regularly. Also check the fuel, oil, and air filters regularly and replace them.
Store additional adapters Never assume that your motorhome can use shore power at every campsite. Therefore, take additional adapters with you to ensure that you can always connect your motorhome to the power supply when traveling.

To take with you

Power outages in a motorhome are not pleasant, but they can be due to a number of factors. Most of the time, no power in the motorhome is due to a damaged or uncharged battery.

However, you may also have no power in your motorhome due to faulty inverters and overloaded circuit breakers. A short circuit and a disconnected battery switch can also cause your motorhome to have no power when it is not plugged in. So if you know how to check the power supply system of your motorhome, you can efficiently solve problems with the motorhome battery.

Is your motorhome connected to shore power but still has no power? We have a complete guide on how to do this.


How can a power failure occur in a motorhome?

If your motorhome has no power even though it is connected to the shore power supply, this may be due to a tripped converter or a switched-off external power source.

Why is the battery in my motorhome discharging when nothing is switched on?

Parasitic loads discharge your motorhome battery even if you leave the lights and other electrical devices switched off.

Is it okay to leave the motorhome plugged in all the time?

Your motorhome’s batteries can lose electrolytes if you leave them plugged in for long periods of time. If you do not have a smart charger or a motorhome inverter with a three- or four-stage charging process, this can shorten the life of the batteries.

How can I tell if my motorhome battery is bad?

If your RV battery needs to be replaced, you may notice delayed battery charging, weak headlights, or corrosion inside the batteries. Another sign is a foul odor or the appearance of cracks and holes in the battery. If you notice these signs, you need to replace your battery immediately.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top