Where is the Converter in a Travel Trailer: How to Troubleshoot, Repair, Replace It

All RVs, camper trailers and travel trailers have a power converter – the best generator for RV that runs vent fans, refrigerator, the lights even the thermostat on the heating system. So, do you know what a power converter or charger is? As the name suggested, this device converts the household power. 

From the local power source, the converter takes 110-volt AC power to transform into the 12 volt DC for the items mentioned. Simply, it automatically charges the power converter batteries of the travel trailers. If your vehicle is equipped a solar power and you travel to the places with a lot of sunshine, perhaps a converter is not essential. However, now, the dynamic weather is in most of the places. You should have one with yourself.

In this article, you will discover the answer to the question “where is the converter in a travel trailer?” Form this point you can solve several problems with the converter when needed: troubleshooting, repairing, and replacing. I just recommend you the common problems of the regular models because there are a variety of makes, sizes, and kinds of converters.

Where is The Converter in a Travel Trailer?

The AC to DC converter is put inside a box in your travel trailer. When you recognize that the electric system is not working, let you take off that box which covers the brake and the inverter. After unscrewing the board, you can easily see all the electronics. The power converter is in the tip. Before sliding it out, let you unscrew the 2 screws then unplug all the wires, AC wires on the model

Note:

BEFORE PERFORMING ANY ELECTRIC TASKS INCLUDING CHANGING THE POWER CONVERTER, IT’S VERY IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO UNPLUG THE TRAVEL TRAILER AWAY FROM THE 110-VOLT POWER SOURCE.

Further reading:

The Common Problems of a Power Converter

The converter of any RVs, camper trailers and travel trailers can come with many problems but below I just list 3 most basic things which your model can easily get one even all of them:

  • The function works wrongly because of the complete lack of power. In some cases, although the source of power is present, the level is not enough for the regular functions of a 12-volt DC electrical system.
  • Another problem comes from the background. Sometimes, this just manifests when the 12-volt electrical system is out of batteries completely. Because the power converter maintains the constant source of charge to the batteries, it is determined by the amount used from the 12-volt electric system.
  • If you have a bad battery, its charge will draw from the regular batteries, resulting in the failure at the end. Thus, you should check your batteries individually to know whether or not they are charged fully. Moreover, don’t forget to check their recharging ability that is the help of the multimeter.

Troubleshooting the Power Converter:

Before learning deeper about this problem, you should take a look at the video below. This man will show you how to troubleshoot an RV power converter. Obviously, to know clearly, you need to read what details I mentioned:

After you have the answer to the question “where is the converter in a travel trailer?” it’s time for you to troubleshoot the power converter. The most important thing is to determine if your power converter has broken or malfunctioned. You can check by connecting the converter to the power source to know whether or not the voltage ranges from 108-130 volts.

After finishing the last step, the voltage is the next thing you need to check. Look for the connection point of the power converter and the 12-volt DC breaker box. A normal level of function ranges from 11 to 13 volts. Under these reading numbers, that’s a failing converter. Finally, after performing these 2 steps, if you find out any problem, let check its individual components:

The fan of the converter

This small fan keeps the responsibility of cooling other components even the whole electrical system. Through the production of some sounds, you can know if the fan still works well. It must be provided with the 110-volt AC source.

Or unluckily, in case, the fan is in the trouble, don’t worry because you can easily replace the fan with the only obstacle: hard to find out a replacement. Keep in mind the basic information of your fan including the voltage, the amperage and the make in anticipation of one day you want to buy a replacement. You can refer to some reliable websites which bring you more opportunities to purchase the right model.

In some cases, a fan of a make can suit your converter, but its amperage and voltage don’t match. You had better prepare a replacement of converter thermostat if it can’t offer enough voltage to cool your fan anymore.

Normally, each fan comes with a thermal sensor to switch the condition of your fan: on and off. This depends on the temperature operation of the remaining components of the converter. You should buy a new fan for the thermal sensor which doesn’t run properly longer.

The resistors and circuit board

How to Troubleshoot the Converter in a Travel Trailer

In some converters, the resistor takes responsibility for controlling the voltage, batteries as well as the 12-volt DC system. Meanwhile, the resistors of others are riveted to the converter box. It’s fine if the reading ranges from 3-13 volts. Look at the batteries to determine its charge. Furthermore, you also need to maintain your batteries in the full condition always because a low level of charge can’t reach the reading number in this range.

If you would like to access the resistor, you have to disassemble the converter box in advance. When it comes to the circuit board, it needs your caution as much as possible because it’s vulnerable. For example, you have to drill out the rivet before replacing a right one.

All 12-volt DC resistors have the same values so it’s not important and essential to consider many elements before giving the last decision. After replacing a new one, you will see that the fully-charged batteries use the correct voltage.

The replacements for the converter

Actually, it’s not easy to find out the replacements for the damaged parts of a converter. What’s more, even when you buy a new converter to install, that’s also an extremely expensive investment. In case, money is not your big problem, you can consider this converter brand – Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power. However, you have many other choices depending on your need.

The inverter

An inverter can convert 12-volt DC into 110-volt AC power to allow all your electronic devices to work effectively. Basically, there are 2 kinds of power inverters: the Pure Sine and Modified Sine wave power inverters. Although Pure Sine protected by GFCI is expensive, it’s really effective for fancy and costly devices. However, to make sure your budget-friendly condition, you can choose the Modified Sine wave inverter which can power most of your electric devices.

Many RV technicians highly recommend the Magnum inverter because you are covered by a 3-year warranty. Another good option is the Xantrex power inverter.

The final thought

In sum, where is the converter in a travel trailer? The power converter is located in a box that covers the brake and inverter. To access it, you need to unscrew the board and slide the converter in the tip out after unscrewing 2 screws and unplugging all wires including AC wires. Always keep in mind to unplug your vehicle from the electric source before performing the task.

The converter has some certain common problems. Thus, if you discover your model has one of them, you may think to change a new one. How to do that? Determine which part is broken (fan, the resistors or circuit board) then look for the replacement to install.

Remember that before buying a replacement, you have to determine if it still functions rightly. Is my post informative? Can it help you solve your problem? Please let me know your experience by leaving a comment below.

Where is the Converter in a Travel Trailer: How to Troubleshoot, Repair, Replace It

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