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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Which Wires go Where? An RV Electrical Dilemma

During my recovery from a heart attack, a good friend of mine disconnected the batteries, but failed to mark or tie together the wires that are connected to each of the positive and negative posts. Connecting the wiring harness is not a problem, but the 8 other wires attached to the batteries are a problem. How can I tell which wire's a positive and which are negative? No wiring drawings were ever provided by the manufacturer for this rig. I can't drive the rig to a repair center so all repairs must be done where I park the rig. So do you have any thoughts or ideas on what I can do solve this problem. Jack B. (Walnut Creek, CA)

Jack, sorry to hear about your battery wiring issues as well as your heart attack. I’m hoping you are on the mend and will be ready to get RVing again. Unfortunately, without actually “ringing” out each wire with an ohmmeter, it will be difficult to determine exactly which wires connect where. Some manufacturers use a color code, such as red for a hot wire, white or green for a ground wire, but there’s no telling what your manufacturer actually did. A good RV service technician, certified or master certified, should be able to effectively trace each wire to its ultimate destination. Since you can’t drive the vehicle as is, your best bet is to locate a certified mobile technician in your area. Unfortunately, I do not have one to recommend to you, but any good RV tech should be able to make a few measurements on the remaining conductors and determine if they are positive or negative.

Wish I had better news, but it takes an in-person, eyes-on approach to truly find the correct wiring configuration. You certainly do not want to try the “spark” method.

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