Electric pole at a campground

RV Keeps Tripping The Breaker? Here’s What to Do!

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Are you plugging in your RV and the breaker keeps tripping? Whether you are plugging in at your house or to shore power at the campground you can trip the breaker at the outlet or inside the camper. Either way, it’s just so frustrating!

I am writing about both — the RV tripping the house or campground breaker — and — the breaker inside the RV gets tripped. Save this page because you are likely to see both these problems on your journeys.

So why does your RV keep tripping the breaker?

Your RV will keep tripping the breaker if there is too much electricity running through the circuit. You could be overloading the internal circuit breaker or the external breaker at the house or campground. Other problems can be a bad circuit breaker, a short in the line, or problems with the extension cord.

There are multiple possible problems here – there is the internal electric system in the RV and the external power source at the campground or house. Although most of the time the problem is with the external breakers like the ones at the campground or house.

If you are only interested in the RV tripping the breakers at the house or the GFCI outlet — you can skip to that part of the article.

Let’s first start with the RV’s electrical system basics.  Well, just because I am an engineer by training. So an RV has 3 electrical systems:

  • the engine chassis system or the 12-volt DC automotive system is what makes the vehicle itself work;
  • the shore power or the AC external power source from the area you are in such as the campground or your home; 
  • and the battery system that is composed of a series of 12-volt DC power which provides electricity inside your RV whenever you’re not connected to shore power.

To read more about the electrical basics of an RV, start here:

Where is my RV breaker box and What is it? 

Fuse box in an RV travel trailer
Fuse Box or Breaker Box in an RV Trailer

There are two breakers that your RV can use; one inside of the RV and another outside the RV.  The breaker inside the RV is to protect your RV from internal electrical system problems like overloading, short-circuiting and faulty wiring. The breaker at the point of connection to the shore power is to protect both your RV and the external power source from power surges or overloading.

I suggest adding another level of protection by using a surge protector between the electric box and your camper. A surge protector can literally save you thousands in damage to your internal wiring or worse a fire. I suggest this one on Amazon.

The basic purpose of an RV breaker is to protect you and your RV from possible electrical problems.  It can trip from simply having too many items plugged at once or other bigger problems like unexpected surges.

Why do I keep blowing breakers inside my RV?

Circuit breakers protect your RV electrical system from power surges and overloading.

The RV breakers will blow or pop if you have too much electricity running through the circuit. Plugging in too many things, a surge in the power source, faulty wiring, or a bad breaker can all cause the breaker to blow.

Your internal circuit breakers are usually collectively placed in a circuit breaker panel.  In this circuit breaker panel, you will see all your circuit breakers for the entire inside of the RV. Each breaker is connected to a number of plugs on your RV. 

It is important to know which plugs are connected to which circuit breaker. That way you will be able to immediately determine where the possible problem is whenever an internal breaker trips.

The most common problem that causes you to overload your internal circuit is when you turn on an appliance. Then suddenly the breaker in which the appliance is connected trips.

I know that I cannot run the microwave and the air conditioner at the same time in my camper.

Try turning off the appliance with a high electrical draw. They turn each one on at a time. The microwave, air conditioner and water boiler are frequently to blame in this scenario.

Another problem can be a short in the line or a bad bad breaker, which I cover in the next section.

Other Reasons my RV Keeps Tripping the Camper’s Internal Breaker

If your RV keeps on tripping the internal breaker and you believe that you are not overloading any circuit, another reason could be short-circuiting.

Short Circuit

Unlike in overloading, short-circuiting might notice sparks and burning of the plug whenever you plug or turn on an appliance that is short-circuited.  This can also be accompanied by the smell of burned plastic.

NEVER ignore any of these signs in your RV. A fire in your RV is very dangerous.

Short-circuiting can be due to faulty wiring or wear and tear.  During short-circuiting, your RV breaker shuts off in order to avoid possible fire.

Faulty or Broken Breaker

Another possible reason the breaker keeps tripping is that the breaker itself has a problem.  It is possible that your internal breaker is faulty.

A breaker can only handle a number of resets and when it reaches this maximum reset and breaks. 

You can manually turn off each breaker to check which one is causing the problem. If you have a multimeter or voltmeter you can check each breaker to make sure the correct amount of power is flowing.

Multi-meters are actually quite handy and easy to use. And very inexpensive. I suggest adding one to your RV toolkit and have on hand. I suggest this one on Amazon.

The breakers can be replaced if they go bad.

Why is My RV Tripping the Campground or House Breaker ? 

The external circuit breaker at the house or campground protects both your RV and the external power source from electrical damage.

When too much electricity flows through the circuit at the house or campground the breaker will trip. Generally, the problem is the RV is pulling too much electricity for appliances like the AC. However, the breaker could be bad, there might be a short in the system, or the extension cord is faulty or too long.

Initially, you might notice that your lights start blinking or dimming when your RV starts to overload your external power source.

(Although this could also be a sign of power surge or interruptions. You should always be using a surge protector. )

The biggest sign will be that everything shuts off in your RV. Yep, you have overloaded your external power.

The main reasons why the breaker at the house is tripping when your RV is plugged in are:

  • Mismatched electrical power, your RV requires much higher power than you are plugged into
  • Overloading the circuit with high-demand systems like the AC or microwave
  • Low or bad batteries on the RV
  • Other things plugged into the outlet besides the RV (like the fridge)
  • Faulty or bad breaker
  • A short in the system
  • Too long of an extension cord

Aside from overloading, another reason why your RV keeps tripping the campground breaker could be your power cord.  The wiring in the power cord actually causes resistance in the line and the longer the cord the less power arrives at the camper. Therefore, the draw at the start will be higher.

It is also possible that your power cord is damaged. That’s why the campground breaker keeps on tripping to avoid short circuits and fire.

Why Does Your RV Keep Tripping the House GCFCI Outlet?

You may actually be plugging your camper into the GFCI outlet in your house or garage. A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet is generally installed in (although not limited to) areas where electrical circuits may accidentally come in contact with water as it helps prevent electrocution.

The GFCI outlet looks almost the same as any other outlet, only that it has buttons in it and a built-in breaker. The GFCI outlets are very sensitive to bad grounds and reverse polarity in electrical systems. They can trip on these when a normal circuit breaker will not.

In addition to the list above for reasons the breaker trips, you might find the GFCI breaker is tripping for another reason.

Why is the camper tripping the house GFCI outlet?

The GFCI outlet will trip if the circuit is overloaded from the power draw from the camper or other things plugged into the same outlet. Specifically, the GFCI outlet is sensitive to moisture, shorts, faulty wiring, and power surge.

Another possible reason is that the GFCI outlet itself is broken or faulty. 

How Do You Fix a Breaker That Keeps Tripping?

30 Amp power cord at the camper that plugs into the outlet
A 30 amp power cord plugged at a camper

Determine the Main Reason Why the Breaker Keeps Tripping

Before fixing anything on your RV, it is important to determine the main reason why your breaker keeps tripping.  If you have to go through a thorough inspection of your RV’s electrical connections and appliance plugs, go through it first.

Fix or Replace Faulty Wiring

If the culprit is any faulty wiring, you can have this fixed or replaced.  If you are knowledgeable about doing things like these, you can do the repair or replacement by yourself.

When dealing with wiring and electricity it is best to bring it to the professionals to avoid bigger problems.

Replace Faulty Breaker

If the problem is the breaker itself, you can buy a replacement for it. Again, if you are unsure or not comfortable with the work, have a professional electrician complete the work.

Whichever the possible reason why your RV breaker keeps tripping, it is best to consult professionals.  If you are really in doubt about the problem, have your RV inspected by them and they will provide more accurate findings and a probable better solution.

RV Keeps Tripping the Campground Breaker

Electric pole at a campground
Electric pole at campground

There are some reasons for tripping the breaker that is specific to connecting to the power at the campground. If you have not found any of the above ideas to redeem the situation you may be looking at a reason related to the campground.

One reason could be the weather.  During hot days, the campground may experience low voltage compared to the amount of power that campers are using. This can cause your appliances, especially your air-conditioning unit, to pull more amperes that will eventually trip off the campground breaker.

If this is also not the reason, it is also possible that the campground breaker is already faulty.  Due to the number of campers visiting the campground and using the shore power, it is possible the breaker has worn out.

If this is the reason why the campground breaker keeps tripping, talk to campground management. You might need to change sites or connect your RV to another pedestal on the campground.

Can My Breaker Get Tripped When Nothing Is Plugged In?

Although it is very unusual, it is not impossible for your breaker to trip even when nothing is plugged in.

This may be because of short-circuiting due to faulty wiring that your breaker can sense.  It can also be due to a ground fault where your hot wire gets in contact with the ground. 

Lastly, it may be due to a faulty breaker.  A faulty breaker just shuts off without any reason aside from it is already broken.

Final Thoughts 

So technically, the most common reasons for your RV’s breaker to keep tripping are overloading the circuit, short-circuiting due to faulty wiring, or simply having a faulty breaker. This may be for your internal or external breaker.

This shows how important it is to regularly inspect your electrical systems. Be very careful of your appliances’ power consumption, wires, outlets, and connections.  If you are not personally familiar with or knowledgeable on things like the electrical systems of your RV, it is always better to consult a professional to do the job for you.

The things tackled above showed that even the slightest wear or tear from your wirings can give you the biggest problem if not immediately detected and recognized.  Although this also shows that your breaker tripping does not always have to mean a super complicated problem because sometimes, it’s really just your breaker acting up and needs to be changed.

On a side note, I encourage you to take an RV Planner and Journal with you from our Etsy Store and write about the sights, sounds, and tastes that you experienced during camping trips.

To read more about the electrical basics of an RV, start here:

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    Shauna Kocman founder Family Travel Fever
    Shauna Kocman founder of Family Travel Fever

    Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever.  We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug!  I take the kids by myself because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.

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    1. It’s possible that faulty wiring connections are one of the reasons your air conditioner keeps tripping the breaker. This might be the breaker itself or the wires that connect to the AC unit.

    2. When your air conditioner keeps tripping, you should follow these steps: Turn the air conditioner off for 30 minutes. Turn on the AC circuit breaker in your electrical panel. Place the AC on to cool after 30 minutes.

    3. Regarding the surge protector I’m not sure if I would get a 30 or 50 amp surge protector. The camper is 30 but we are having to use an adapter at the site because it is 50amp.

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