RV Lights Flickering When Plugged In (Why and How To Fix)

Flickering lights in your RV can really be annoying. Without a doubt, the source of the problem will be electrical. Whether it is a wiring or an electrical component remains to be seen. It may take some time to solve.

When you get flickering lights, one of the go-to sources will be your converter. Those flickering lights are a sign that your converter is failing and needs to be replaced. But it may not be the only source of the problem. It could be a connection as well.

To learn more about this issue, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can get to the source as quickly as possible and work on a solution. There are a lot of parts to check when you get this type of lighting.

RV Lights Flicker on Shore Power


We have said it before and we will have to say it many more times. The answer to this problem has many sources. That is the way it is with electrical systems. The source could be anywhere in the system.

Now if it is just your 120-volt lights that are flickering, you need to start with the plug at the pedestal. If any of the prongs in the plug are loose, that can cause this problem.

You would need to replace the plug or the extension cord. Or take the plug apart and try to tighten all the prongs. If everything is okay at the pedestal, move on to the coach side of things and check the plug at that end.

If the connection is good and all prongs are tight, then you have a problem down the line somewhere. Once the extension cord is eliminated from the equation, the problem could be inside your RV or trailer or with the pedestal.

If those are the sources, you will need the services of a professional electrician. He will have to eliminate the different components one by one so it may take a while to find the source.

Often, the flickering lights may be due to a failing converter or the battery has gone dead on you.

Can an Overloaded Circuit Cause Lights To Flicker?


As you already know, an overloaded circuit is one where too many items are plugged into the circuit. When this happens usually the breaker will trip cutting off the electrical supply.

If you have the right breaker inside the breaker box, then it will trip, and make sure the circuit does not get overheated and start a fire. One of the signs of an overloaded circuit is flickering lights.

These lights will flicker when other lights or an appliance are turned on. When you see those lights flicker, pick something on the same circuit and turn it off. This will temporarily solve the problem.

There are other signs of an overloaded circuit. These are:

- Buzzing noises from outlets or switches.

- Outlet or switch covers that become warm to the touch.

- Smell of burning from outlets or switches.

- Scorched plugs or outlets.

- Lack of power in appliances.

- Sluggish electronics.

- Tingling sensation or mild shock when you touch outlets, switches, or appliances.

Don’t wait till you see the lights flicker to prove you have an overloaded circuit. Anyone of these signs will confirm that problem and it is something you should deal with as quickly as possible.

If the breaker doesn’t trip, then you will have a bigger problem on your hands if you do not take immediate action.

Can Low Voltage Cause Flickering Lights?

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Not necessarily. There is one source that may contribute to this situation and it is called voltage fluctuation. You may be getting readings of different voltage levels and that may be the cause of the flickering.

When it comes to light bulbs, there are several situations that would affect the voltage the light bulb receives. One is when they are loose in the socket. The lights will flicker because the light bulb moves a lot.

Just tighten the light bulb to solve that problem. Another source could be the dimmer switch if you have one. A magnetic transformer must have a magnetic dimmer switch connected to it. An electronic transformer needs an electronic dimmer switch connected to it.

If you mix and match then that would be the source of the problem. The type of bulb will cause some flickering as the fluorescent model flickers when it warms up.

Then check the plug connection. If it is loose, that will cause the low voltage at times and also cause the lights to flicker. Check out the simple options first before going to the more complicated ones.

The latter options may need an electrician and that can cost you a lot of money for their service.

What Causes RV Lights To Flicker When Plugged In?


We have already provided some of the easier examples to check first. If fixing those stops the flickering then great but they are not always the source of flickering lights.

Then aside from the converter, you should look for moisture around your fuse box as well as your lights. Moisture can cause lights to flicker and the way to solve this problem is to use a dehumidifier.

If there is no moisture causing the problem, start looking for loose wires. Next to a failing converter, this is the next most common source of flickering lights. Tighten any that you find but be careful when doing this.

Then, if the wires are tight, etc., go to your battery and check the terminals. It is possible for corrosion to appear and interfere with the electrical flow. Clean up any corroded terminals and also check to see if any of the wires are loose. Tighten any you can find.

If those are fine and you still have flickering lights, then use a volt meter to test your battery power. If it is low, charge the battery. While you are at it, check any surge protectors to see if any of the lights are flashing.

You may have to reset those to get the lights to stop flickering on you. If all else fails, check your converter to see if it is working right or not. If not, you may need to replace it.

How do I Stop My Trailer Lights From Flickering?


Many of the methods to do this have already been mentioned. One of the more expensive fixes would be replacing the converter. When these fail, it may be too costly to repair and the best fix is a replacement.

The key is to make sure that the new converter may also be bad and you may need to replace that sooner than you wanted to. It happens from time to time so buy from a reputable company and a good name brand.

Other methods include recharging your battery, checking for loose wires and tightening them cleaning off corrosion, and the removal of some electrical items from the circuit.

In some more difficult sources, you will want to hire a skilled electrician to handle the work. There will be some sources that will be beyond your skill set to handle and having a professional do the work protects you from voiding the warranty or having your insurance company deny your claim.

If you do the work yourself, make sure to turn the power off at the breaker. This will be needed at the pedestal as well when you check your extension cord plugs.

When RV LED Lights Flicker


While these are advertised and seen as superior light bulbs to incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, they can have problems as well. The LED lights are prone to flicker in certain situations.

1. The bulbs are bad- it happens and LED light bulbs burn out, get shorted out, as well as damaged. When those issues happen they can flicker until you replace them. That is the best solution here.

2. Loose wires- LED lights are prone to this source as well. You will have to do a visual check of the wires and when you spot any loose ones, turn the power off before tightening them up.

3. Bad battery- the battery will power those LED lights as well as other types of light bulbs. When the battery goes bad, the LED lights can flicker. Use a volt meter to check the battery powering those LED lights.

If it can be recharged, then do so. If not, then replacement is the only option.

Some Final Words

Flickering lights can come from a simple to fix source or a hard to fix the source. Once you determine the source, you can then determine if you have the skills and experience to fix the problem.

You also have to have the right set of tools to fix what is wrong with your electrical system. Sometimes it is just easier to call in the pros and let them handle the problem.

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