RV Electrical Supplies You Should Always Have On Hand
RV electrical power is unique in that it is made up of two different electrical systems. You have your 12-volt DC system similar to your car along with a 120-volt AC system like in your home.
Many people choose to leave electrical problems to the pros, and if you are completely uncomfortable or unknowledgeable about electrical, this is best. However, many RVers are competent in troubleshooting and repairing electrical issues.
It is in the best interest of any RVer to gain a basic knowledge of the electrical systems in their RV. Having the knowledge to troubleshoot, repair, and maintain your RV electrical is only half the battle. You must have the tools and RV electrical supplies to do so.
If you haven’t already, do some research and become familiar with your RV electrical systems, then make sure you have these 10 must-have RV electrical supplies in your RV!
1. Surge protector
The best way to avoid electrical repairs is to prevent them from happening. Of course, sometimes they can’t be avoided, but having a surge protector will eliminate some possible major issues.
RVs contain lots of sensitive electronics that require a steady flow of electricity. Should there be a sudden drop or rise in the voltage being supplied, the electrical system can be damaged.
We have all plugged in at the campground and wondered about the questionable-looking outlets. Campgrounds have huge electrical grids, and problems can happen even at the most well-maintained campgrounds.
Surge protectors act as a safeguard between the incoming electricity and your RV. If there are any issues such as bad grounds or fluctuations in voltage, the surge protector will cut power to save your RV electronics.
2. LED bulbs
Many newer RVs come equipped with LED bulbs from the factory. If you have an RV without LED bulbs, consider upgrading.
LED bulbs have multiple benefits over conventional bulbs. One major benefit is they use less energy, which can save you some money in the long run. The other noticeable difference is they operate much cooler.
The bulbs are more expensive upfront but should last longer than standard bulbs as well. There are many cheap versions online with mixed reviews. If you use your RV a lot, go ahead and get the good ones.
3. Wire crimping tool
Electrical repairs will almost always require some stripping of wires and connections applied to the wires. Wire crimping tools are a must for electrical repairs.
You may not be doing any large-scale electrical repairs on the road, but even the most basic repairs will often require this tool. Like a Swiss Army knife but for electrical, these tools strip and cut wire, crimp connections, and are one of the most useful RV electrical supplies.
Fuses are another means of protection for your RV electrical system. In short, they prevent excessive voltage or circuit issues from damaging anything. The fuse is sacrificed in these situations.
Fuses are cheap RV electrical supplies that are easy to replace. Check the fuse panel on your RV and be sure to have extras of all the different fuses it uses.
It is important to note that fuses blow for a reason, and before replacing them, you should correct the problem. Always replace fuses with the correct one as it is designed to work with that particular circuit.
The multimeter is an RVer’s best friend. Some people think it is a complicated specialty tool for electricians or mechanics. Although multimeters do have many functions, and some may never be used by the average person, they are a must for RVers.
Being able to check for power or an open circuit can save lots of time and money in troubleshooting. As with the electrical system itself, you don’t have to be a master of the multimeter; even knowing the basics of how to use it will come in handy.
There are lot of mulitmeters available from basic to professional. Even a basic model will have the functions required for RV troubleshooting.
6. Extra light bulbs
Bulbs blow for a variety of reasons and will need to be replaced. Having extra bulbs, especially exterior bulbs for taillights, is important.
Check the bulb numbers and have extras along with a means of replacing them. If your light covers require tools in order to remove them, have those available.
Having a blown taillight or turn signal bulb can be dangerous and result in a ticket, adding costs to your weekend trip. Bulbs are cheap RV electrical supplies that you need to have on hand.
7. Power cord connections
We have all been there: you arrive at the campground and need an adaptor for your power cord. Some campgrounds or campsites won’t have the outlet you need.
Having a combination of power adaptors to get you plugged in and powered up is necessary. Some people may choose to also carry an extension cord in case it is needed.
Just because you have the means to get your 50-amp service cord plugged in doesn’t mean you will have all the power required for all items, but it will get you basic power when needed.
8. Trailer plug tester
Hooking up your trailer lights and having something not work can be very frustrating. Working trailer lights are a must for safety and legal reasons.
The plugs for the trailer to vehicle electrical connections are exposed to the elements and can be problematic. The wiring between vehicles is moving particularly when turning and parking the RV and is at risk of being pinched.
There are ways to test the plugs without a trailer plug tester, like a multimeter or test light, but plug testers make it easy and are cheap RV electrical supplies to have on hand
9. Wire and connectors
It is impossible to know what size and length of wire or connectors you may need for a repair; however, having some basics will get you out of a jam.
A roll of 18-gauge wire and an assortment of connectors can get you back on the road or prevent you from having to leave the campground early. Wire size is important and should be used properly. 18-gauge is common for lighting in RVs.
Kits are available with an assortment of connectors and are great to have with you. Again, this is a cheap investment that can save the day.
10. Battery charger/Booster
Time to head home after a great weekend of camping…but your truck won’t start. Your RV probably has multiple batteries in addition to your tow vehicle, so a battery charger and/or booster makes perfect sense.
A battery charger and booster is the way to go if it’s in the budget. These can be used to charge up batteries overnight or for a quick vehicle start to get you on the road.
RVing comes with challenges and troubles like most things. Being prepared is the best practice along with having the necessary items available for problem-solving. Compiling these must-have RV electrical supplies will help you prevent and fix any issues you have.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.
Kendall lives with his wife and their two cocker spaniels full-time in their RV currently in Mexico. He is one half of DashboardDrifters.com and the co-founder of RVSpotDrop, a web service for full-time RVers.
Lee Leingang says
The information you provide is extremely informative to even the most seasoned RV’er. “Learning” happens every day so please continue. Thanks
Dave Snoopy Telenko says
On your must needs! I disagree with just having a surge protector. You need to have EMS. that will protect a lot of thing that the surge protector wont. Like over/under voltage, reverse polarity, Open Ground, Open Neutral & Reverse Polarity Detection, miswired pedistal along with sure protection. Though its better than nothing at all!
Just my 2 cents
Wrong my surge protector does a scan before allowing power to the RV, it scans all the issues you stated. Any issue no power to the RV, does it work yes I’m in a park that sent me to a pedestal with an issue and they moved me to another site when the surge protector would not pass power. The EMS is good for dropping something when you get high power usage, ie; can’t run 2 A/Cs and the micro wave one gets dropped.
Robert Irwin says
All excellent suggestions, Thank.you.
Jay Brodie says
This was great info thank you. I created a check list now time to go out and purchase those things I don’t have
Very good information for new and veterans rivers thank you 🙏