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Old 11-21-2016, 04:14 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: California
Posts: 6
Default Newbie from California with electrical issues

Greetings all!
I just checked another bucket list item off and bought my first RV. Got a 1998 Roadtrek Versatile. Needs a little work, but I didn't pay much. I am soooo excited to get going. Trying to learn all I can.
I am generally good with mechanical things and fixing stuff but the electrical systems still baffle me no matter how much I read. Amps, watts, volts, all sounds like gibberish to me and I can't quite get a handle on how it all works.

Just like I don't have to know how to fix my car to drive it, I'd like to understand enough about the electrical system to use it safely and efficiently.

Can someone recommend a book, website,youtube, or someplace else that I can get some basic understanding of electrical stuff on my rv, that isn't too detailed and technical????

Thanks a ton. I've learned a lot already by reading the forums.
rhoda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2016, 05:36 PM   #2
Platinum Member
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: PHX, AZ
Posts: 2,648

many of the forum members are using solar systems- which add a level of complexity.

unless you have solar- you don;t have to pay attention to them- same with more "modern" underhood generators.

you probably have a system similar to mine.
where the van motor alternator charges the "coach" batteries as you drive- when you stop, the 12 volt stuff in the back runs off of that battery- the lights, maybe your TV, water pump etc.

you may also have a generator under the van- this will supply 120 volt power ( like your house) and will power the outlets, air conditioner and microwave- and it will also re-charge the coach battery back up to 12 volts if it has been run down.

in a camp ground ( or driveway) you can plug into power and the 120 volt stuff above will work, and your battery will re-charge. ( "shore power")

this is basic over view.

ensure that your battery and cables are in good shape- you can have an autozone test you battery- I buy new batteries at costco

youtube will be helpful for learning your van- how to dump the tanks etc.

you may have a 3 way fridge- use AC when on shore power, DC when driving and propane when parked without shore power- even for short periods like stopping for shopping.

you may find that on an old vehicle that previous owners have modified the systems- these can be an improvement, but can add a level of complexity to repairs if they are not documented

mkguitar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2016, 05:40 PM   #3
Silver Member
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: California
Posts: 62

Congrats, you'll have lots of fun with this RV. Like you I was puzzled about the electrical system but check out this simulator. If you search this forum there are postings that references this site as well.

Make sure you read the pdf notes on it. You need to input your rv's model & year. Good luck!
2001 RoadTrek 170, Dodge 2500 5.2L V8
ra2jim is offline   Reply With Quote

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