An RV monitor panel not working is not only inconvenient to an RV adventure, it can be worrisome, too. Although your RV’s electrical system might be at fault, it’s best practice to consider other plausible explanations.
In this article, we’ll share some possible reasons why your RV panel monitor isn’t functioning as designed. Moreover, we’ll present ways to fix the issue before you consider buying an RV monitor panel replacement.
Effective RV monitor panel troubleshooting requires in-depth knowledge of the device and how it works. It allows RV owners to systematically search for the cause, allowing them to fix the problem without missing or overlooking anything.
So, what’s causing the RV monitor panel to function “abnormally”?
1. House battery issues
RVs have deep-cycle batteries, colloquially known as house batteries, to operate electronic devices and equipment on the go (when the RV is not connected to shore power). Although house batteries can run several appliances simultaneously over several hours, their charge can deplete.
Moreover, deep-cycle batteries only last about three to six years before failing. Hence, your RV monitor panel won’t work if the house battery is already dead or has insufficient charge.
The battery terminals might also have corrosion and other contaminants, preventing the efficient flow of electricity to the wires.
2. Electrical wiring issues
Even if you have a fully-charged and brand-new house battery, the RV monitor panel will still not function normally if there are issues with the wires connecting it to the power source and the different RV components the device monitors.
Electrical wires are how your devices and equipment get power. Any break or damage in these wires can affect electrical flow to the RV monitor panel.
3. A defective fuse
All electrical devices (including the RV monitor panel) have a fuse to safeguard them from power surges and electrical overload.
If we look at a fuse, it has a thin wire connecting two electrodes. Electric current passes along this wire. The fuse snaps or breaks when there’s too much electricity passing. This event occurs to prevent the excess current from passing through, damaging appliances and devices.
Besides a defective fuse, age and incorrect installation of the fuse can also contribute to a RV monitor panel failure.
4. Errors in RV monitor panel configuration
Although most RV monitor panels have simple layouts and user-friendly controls, some RV owners might find configuring or setting the system challenging.
Unfortunately, setting the wrong configuration might cause the RV monitor panel to display errors.
5. Dirty connections
The RV monitor panel connects to critical components, such as water tanks (i.e., freshwater, gray, and black) and propane. These RV tank sensors are connected to the monitor using wires, allowing the device to measure the parameters.
Sadly, organic matter, debris, and other particles can “cover” these connections, preventing the sensors from doing their jobs. For instance, gunk in the black water tank might cause faulty tank level readings, making you think the RV monitor panel is malfunctioning.
Fixing Non-functional RV Monitor Panel
Troubleshooting a “non-functioning” RV monitor panel requires RVers to use a bottom up approach.
1. Recharge or replace the “house” battery.
Inspect the RV’s deep cycle battery posts or terminals for signs of corrosion and other imperfections.
First, remove the electrical cables connected to the battery posts. Afterwards, combine warm water and baking soda to make a paste, and apply it over the battery terminals. Leave the paste for several minutes and wipe it off with a rag or paper towel. Lastly, reconnect the cables.
If the RV monitor panel still doesn’t work after removing corrosion from the battery terminals, evaluate its charge level.
Get a multimeter and connect the red probe to the deep-cycle battery’s positive terminal. Attach the black electrode to the negative post.
Fully charged house batteries display 12.8 to 13 volts in the multimeter. The battery needs a replacement if the multimeter reading doesn’t exceed 11.66 volts. Recharging the battery should be enough if it still holds a charge.
2. Assess and replace electrical wirings, if needed.
Suppose the batteries are working. In that case, pay attention to the electrical wiring. You can check the RV monitor panel’s wiring diagram for guidance.
Turn off the electrical supply to the RV monitor panel and grab your multimeter. Test all wires linked to the device and check the multimeter’s Ohm reading. If it’s displaying infinite or too high readings, you have an open circuit. In the case of too low or zero Ohms indicate bridging, which is when the device has a broken component or a short circuit.
Use the same technique to check electrical continuity between the RV monitor panel’s positive terminals and a ground component.
If the wires are okay, focus on the RV monitor panel. Disconnect the wiring harness at the device’s back and check for electrical continuity between terminals.
Remove RV monitor panel to inspect the device’s internal wirings. Check for broken or frayed cables and replace them if needed.
Follow the broken wire and disconnect both ends. Get an appropriately-sized cable, measure it, and strip both ends. Connect the wire ends to their corresponding terminals and restore power to the RV monitor panel.
3. Inspect and replace the RV monitor panel fuse, if necessary.
You know you have a broken fuse if it looks charred (if metal) or melted (if plastic). If fuse inspection is inconclusive, you can use a continuity tester to check the fuse’s electrical continuity.
The continuity tester has two cables. Clip one cable to a fuse terminal and connect its other end to the second wire. Next, attach the second cable’s free end to the RV’s metal frame. Turn on the tester and see if it emits a sound or lights up. If it doesn’t, you have a busted fuse.
Replacing a defective fuse is easy. However, please ensure power isnt connected to the RV monitor panel before loosening the fasteners and removing the fuse. Insert a new fuse into the vacated slot and secure it with screws.
Restore power and check the RV monitor panel for proper functioning.
4. Reset the RV monitor panel.
You replaced the broken wires, blown fuse, and dead battery, but the problem persists. What now?
You won’t see a dedicated RV monitor panel switch that resets the system to factory default. Instead, you must reset the device the hard way.
Power off the RV monitor panel by cutting off the supply at the circuit breaker. Detach anything and everything connected to the device, including wires and cables. You can go grab some coffee and enjoy donuts while waiting. Ten minutes should be enough.
Return all connections to the RV monitor panel and re-establish power. Ensure the switches are in the factory default positions. Turn on the RV monitor panel and re-assess its operation.
5. Clean RV monitor panel connections.
If all else fails, try dipping a soft brush into mild and warm soapy water and scrub the RV monitor panel connections. You must power off the monitor panel before doing this.
Clean the RV tanks with the same solution and rinse these components thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Reconnect the RV tanks and check if this action solves the problem.
To sum up, you should regularly check and maintain the house battery, ensure clean and secure electrical connections, and inspect the fuse to solve the issue of the RV monitor panel not working.
Additionally, being mindful of the panel’s configuration and periodically cleaning the connections will help avoid unnecessary hiccups in its operation.
A reputable RV technician can also help diagnose the problem and institute the correct fix if none of these DIY solutions work.
“Hi, I’m Francis’ husband—Calvin. Our story began with our shared passion for traveling. I have had a career journey for over 11 years at Ford Motor Company, where I took on the role of BMS SW Process Engineer.
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Like my wife, I hope to help you see the beauty of traveling off the beaten path by sharing insights into this lifestyle. In addition to my corporate roles, I also launched our website – Outdoorbits, in 2015 and continue to contribute my knowledge and skills to the present day. And I’ll be completely honest with you—no hiding the truth or sugarcoating the possible challenges.
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