Need help with RV electrical outlet...not like a household outlet?

Hi all - 

Decided I would tackle replacing two of the outlets myself (they don't screw into the wall - the box hole was cut too large and one actually shows a melted insert).  So I ordered RV outlets (which match what are in there) but they don't come with instructions and every YouTube video I have reviewed look nothing like these (no side screws) and I can't get out the existing ones because the big wire runs into the top and out the bottom - not smaller wires that hook into the back or side of the outlets in the videos.  

These are the ones that have two catty corner screws and I guess their own housing?

Not finding any slack to move the outlet more than half an inch from the wall and I can't seem to reverse engineer from the new one to figure out how to potentially release it. There is a back fit piece with side clips, and I've loosened those but to no avail.  Certainly don't want to force it - so hoping someone here has these type of outlets and can walk me through the process?

I'm going to continue to google and maybe I can find some diagrams - I'll post if I get anywhere.



Views: 293

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Okay guys, I think I'm close to defeated.  I did take the time to rewire the original outlet with a jumper ground, checked everything again while I had the box out, and also wired the second one the same way.  Thought I did a pretty good job being careful with all my connections, taping even around the side of the receptacle to ensure didn't have my grounds (which are bare wire) interfering when I pushed the box back in.

I'm plugged into a dedicated outside outlet to test - it's protected at the box by a GFCI breaker.  One outlet is on one breaker, the second on another.

I can get the tester in, gives me the lights saying correct, but as soon as I try to pull it out (or sometimes push it all the way in) I blow the house breaker.  This is on both outlets.

I've now pulled these boxes out five to six times each, checked, made sure everything was tight, screwed in right, doesn't budge - I even went so far as to pull off the jumper and ground wire nut (just to keep things simple) and retape all the ground just to give myself some extra room and ensure there were no bare wires anywhere in the box- and still get the same results.

Just to test variables I can use this tester on other outlets in the RV on other breaker circuits and have no issues.

In my mind this has to be something wrong I've done BUT, after having someone else check my work (although not an electrician) and talking it through I'm beginning to wonder.  BOTH these outlets I decided to change out because they were pulled away from the wall - and one actually had a melted insert and I couldn't get the self contained box off the back (I suspect fused shut - the clips wouldn't let it release).

Even though these are on different breakers - could I have an issue somewhere else in the wiring?  A problem I inherited that runs deeper than the outlets?

That said - without putting loads on these two outlets initially I have run the system - plugged in, turned on the main and all the breakers on the panel, ran the a/c (it's own breaker) and the converter kicks on (again not these last two breakers in the box) and the 12v kicks on, lights work, etc.  

In my head it must be my outlet wiring but on my last attempt there is no way I had any wires able to touch anything - grounds completely taped, taped on the side of the receptacle so nothing could touch the little bit of the neutral or hot wire circles there...

Maybe there's something in my description of my problem that will create an ahah moment!  I'm quite willing to accept I don't have something right because those outlets and me are the common denominator.  

I do know that the gfci outlet in the bathroom is on the third breaker.  I could pull both outlets out - wire the hots, grounds and and neutrals together with wire caps and test that gfci - that might tell me if something else is wrong - but it sure seems I would have found that out before because lights are on that breaker as well...

Again, not an electrician.

First question is many circuits do you have? As a rule one circuit is controlled by one breaker.

Second, have you checked your breakers?  They do, while not often, fail. Also the first test in line and easiest to check in a situation as yours.

Simple test is to replace the breaker on the problematic circuit with a KNOWN good one and then emulate every situation that caused a problem.

No problem -  breaker likely failed and require replacement..

Continual problem - difficulty is downline from the breaker.

There is a simple and accepted trail to follow when investigating a problem such as this. First in line is first item to check.

You could rip out all of your wiring, replace your converter, buy a new shore power cord, etc. only to find that one lonely breaker was the problem.

Just my suggestions and comments.

I do not envy you your electrical problem.

I'd like to believe it's my own inability to pull a tester properly in and out of a receptacle- but that's probably not going to be my luck so let me detail more:

Have one Main (I'm on 30 amp) and four breakers.  The first breaker is a 15 amp and labeled microwave - that appears to be the outlet up in a cabinet.  I turned on, tested with the tester and all worked, didn't trip the house GFCI.

The second is a 20 amp and labeled a/c - and I tested the a/c just a month ago with no issues.

The third is labeled GFCI (vanity), and lights, and that is the one the dinette outlet is on.  That is also the receptacle the converter is plugged into and that one tested fine as well without tripping.  The converter has run fine every time I've been plugged in so far.

The fourth outlet is just marked miscellaneous and it is the one the kitchen is on that tripped after initially testing fine, upon pulling out the tester.  

I have not tested the vanity GFCI but should do that tomorrow morning as well or the outlet the fridge plugs into so not even sure I know which breaker that is on.  Otherwise as far as I know, I have no other outlets.  

Which breakers to consider replacing?  The RV breakers aren't tripping - only the one at the house - it seems to be fine with other loads ie a drill in the extension cord, the converter on, etc - just those two circuits in the RV.

But yes - i don't want to replace a whole bunch of stuff to only find it was something simple...we went a whole summer once without hot water (in our Bounder) only to find there was a fuse at the hot water heater itself that had blown and just needed replacing!

It occurs to me (now that the sun has gone down and I've been googling and googling and not ready to let this go), maybe I've been accidently pressing the button on the tester that is supposed to trip a gfci as I'm pulling it in and out...I mean, if that were it talk about a facepalm moment that I suspect all of you will have a good chuckle at for months to come.  But that would sure be a nice answer to my problems wouldn't it????

Maybe I'm being optimistic but going to try that out first thing in the morning...

Dawn we all have done something silly like that, and done it over and over when chasing a problem. Which is why a lot of times problems reveal themselves the next day.

Yeah, my mom is a big fan of "sleep on it"!!!!!!

With that I am going to do that - give me poor wee head a break.  Thanks for everyone's input today - we'll see what tomorrow brings!

OK, Dawn, back to basics. you put in new outlets, very unlikely they are both bad. Not impossible, but way out there. Did you pull the circuit breakers and replace one or both of them? What I am leading to is that there may be a problem in the wire that runs from the distribution panel to the outlets. beings they are close--relatively speaking for an RV, you may have had critters that used the wiring insulation as nest material and have bare wires that are forming a ground situation from conduction through said nest material. The other possibility is that on the original build, or some modification thereafter, that a staple or nail got driven into the wiring and has finally rubbed its way through the balance of the insulation and is causing a ground fault situation, If it is possible i would do a complete replacement of the wires from the distribution panel to the suspected outlets. If there is a problem after the wire, outlets, and circuit breakers have been replaced then you are chasing gremlins and in dire need of having an exorcism done. LOL

  Mornin Dawn and others and have a good Memorial Day,

 This is getting hard to diagnose OVER THE INTERNET.

 1)  Do I understand you correct that its a home (NOT in the RV) GFCI breaker that is tripping ???????? Those only require like 0.005 amps to trip which may be impossible to find just by looking even if you had all the wiring in front of you. I would try a new breaker just in case the old one is bad.

 2) This ONLY happens when you plug a tester into the RV outlets ?? Does it happen if you plug anything else into those outlets???? 

 3) Actually, I hope its you were accidentally touching the test feature LOL as that makes things easy.

4) With all the theory and instructions we have been giving I find it hard to believe theres a problem wiring your new outlets or they are bad  BUT it only takes 0.005 amps to trip a GFCI so maybe there's a problem under the romex jacket caused by past overheating that's just not visible.

5) Some loads like fans or lighting circuits or too long circuits or if there's extreme humidity or moisture can trip a GFCI BUT its weird if it only trips if you plug in a tester ID TRY A NEW GFCI IN THE HOUSE AND SEE WHAT LOADS OTHER THEN THE TESTER TRIPS THE GFCI.

  Let us know,

 John T

YES!!!! It was MY THUMB!!!  That dang button on the tester is so small and the outlets were tight - so apparently every time I'd push in or out I'd grab it from the top and push the button OF COURSE not even feeling it - and tripping the GFCI.  I didn't do it on the microwave or converter outlets because they were very high and very low - so those I wouldn't grasp the same way.

So everything IS GOOD!  I've tested every outlet now throughout the rig, had all the breakers on, identified what wasn't yet marked on the panel and put loads on...not a twitch or concern.

I am SO PROUD of those outlets I think I'm going to NAME THEM!

I can't believe how many hours and times I pulled out and rewired those yesterday trying to figure out the issue - FACEPALM.  Ah well, I'd forgotten how RVs give the BEST STORIES - make a fool out of you again and again (one day I'll have to share the exploding toilet story).

THANK YOU ONE AND ALL.  I'm actually very glad I had the experience despite the frustrations.  I think the best way to learn is by doing and I have a whole wealth of experience and understanding about electricity and now how it works in my rig.

Which was my ultimate goal in getting this one (the Bounder was like this horrible mystery) - so this is all good.

And a laugh as well that I'm more than happy to share and admit to.

Patience, persistence and everyone's support - I keep saying it - but this rig wasn't going to get renovated without everyone here.  Thanks, again!

PS - and yep, John, I rewired the jumpers back in - all is properly grounded, taped and carefully done - you'd be proud!

 Wooooooooo Hoooooooooooooo CONGRATULATIONS Sort of like I said above I was hoping it was your thumb LOL cuz that makes things easy and I was running out of ideas and smarts anyway. You can come rewire my RV anytime as it still has a few junk receptacles that are soooooooooo hard to replace due to no wiring slack grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

 Its good to get feedback and a few good results now n then and I think you understand proper grounding by now, next time you teach the others I'm worn out lol

My RV headed to Florida last year in pic

 John T   





  •         How To Links 

-Search Good Old RV's

-Start a New Group 

-Roof Repair Photos & Products

-Repair an RV Roof

-Do RV Roof Repair

-Pick Roof Sealer   

-Restore Aluminum

-Paint Fiberglass  

-Restore Old Finish 

-Restore A VintageTrailer 

-Restore A Class C  

-Service a Used RV

-Understanding RV Electrical Systems 

-Install and Wire RV Battery Banks

-Hook Up Batteries

-Get RV Insurance   

-Gas vs Diesel Trucks 

-Propane vs DC/AC - scroll down to very bottom.

-What to Look For When Buying a Used RV

-Jack Installs Fuel Injection in his Dodge


 Paige's VintageTrailer Art  

 Paige's VintageTrailerFabric

 Artist Roads                                            Sandy's Stained Glass     



If you love classic and vintage RVs then come Join us. Come on in and have some fun. JOIN HERE NOW


Brakes, drum to disc conversion ?

Started by Larry Storm in RV Repair & Maintence on Thursday.

Bass Pond is Almost Full 2 Replies

Started by Russ Johnson in General Discussion Forum. Last reply by Daniel Long Dec 26, 2017.

Wishing Everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years 7 Replies

Started by Dawn Michelle in General Discussion Forum. Last reply by Dawn Michelle Jan 1.

Blog Posts

Grey Streaking

Posted by George Glovier on January 11, 2018 at 10:36am — 4 Comments

Ceiling repair

Posted by Russ Johnson on January 5, 2018 at 11:01pm — 1 Comment

RV suspension

Posted by CH Smith on December 27, 2017 at 6:36pm — 2 Comments

Hot water heater problems

Posted by Frances DeHart on December 14, 2017 at 8:06pm — 1 Comment


  • Add Videos
  • View All



If you love classic and vintage RVs then come Join us.

 Come on in and have some fun.         JOIN HERE NOW!

 Dedicated to a simpler, more rewarding and fun way of life in a Good Old RV... 

Vintage Travel Trailers, Vintage Campers, Camper Restoration, Bus Conversions, Vintage RV Forums, Old RVs, Tiny Homes, Boondocking


A work of art by member Paige Bridges

Get your Good Old RVs T-Shirt HERE


 Disclaimer - Please Read it

Enjoy this site and use it totally at your own risk.

By using or viewing this site YOU agree to Hold Harmless anyone associated with it including other members. Also, YOU agree that YOU are solely responsible for ANY and ALL actions, results or damages. Members "opinions" are just that and any repair or alteration comments or recommendations are by folks who are not licensed repair  or mechanical professionals. Any repairs or modifications you do totally at YOUR OWN RISK. Use licensed professionals for all work to avoid possible serious injury or damage. Use  banks for purchases. You could get computer viruses or hacks. Have fun!

Copywrite & Trade Mark Registered GoodOldRV© ,GoodOldRVs©,©,©,GoodOldRV.Com©

© 2018   Created by Pat Daly.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service