An RV monitor panel is a type of electrical panel that serves as a central control hub for the electrical components of your RV. For the most part, you don’t need to worry much about it. After all, it serves as a guide and a warning system for any problems that might arise.
Nevertheless, it’s important to be able to understand your RV panel’s layout – just in case you have an emergency. Most RV panels have common symbols that are easy to understand at a glance. But don’t fret if your model is a bit more advanced, such as those in a 5th wheel.
Here, we’ll show you how to read an RV monitor panel. That way, you can spot problems early on and prevent dangerous overloads before they become a serious threat.
How do RV monitor panels work?
RV panels are devices that show you the status of different systems in your travel trailer or fifth wheel. Depending on which brand you buy, it could have indicators for:
- Battery level and charging status
- Tank fluid levels (for freshwater, gray water, and black water)
- Water pump activity
- The RV’s power source (shore power vs. generator)
- Status of your water heater
- Propane levels and more
Your RV’s electrical system gathers the information and sends signals to a processor. The processor then calculates the information and sends it to an LED display or LCD.
Other functions of the monitor include:
- Adjusting which sensors are being monitored at any given time
- Notifying you when a sensor reaches its set point for alarm. For example, if your battery voltage reaches 12 volts or less.
How To Read RV Monitor Panel?
Before you start, ensure to turn on the RV monitor panel switch. This is obvious, isn’t it?
How to read battery level
Your 12V RV battery monitor displays the power and condition of your battery. Camper battery indicator tends to vary between models.
To read the battery level, press the “Battery” button or the “Levels Test” button in older models.
Older units often have a percentage scale with colored LED lights. A GREEN light corresponds to the highest battery percentage, while a RED light indicates a low percentage.
Newer units don’t have color codes. Instead, the number of LEDs is what indicates the battery condition. Usually, there are four RED LEDs. The more the number of illuminated LEDs, the better the condition of your battery.
How to read tank fluid levels
This function allows you to read:
- Freshwater tank level
- Gray water tank level (wastewater from sinks, tubs, dishwashers, and washing machines)
- Black water tank level (wastewater from toilets)
Newer RV panels will have a corresponding button for fresh, gray, and black water levels. But for older models, just press the “Levels Test” button.
The number of illuminated LED lights indicates the fluid level. The more the LED lights, the higher the level of water in that tank, and vice versa.
Others use color codes, ranging from RED, AMBER, to GREEN. In this case, think of RED as bad and GREEN as good.
For instance, if your blank tank is full, that’s bad. Hence you get a corresponding RED light. If your freshwater tank is full, that’s good; hence you get a corresponding GREEN light.
How to read propane level
It indicates how much propane you have in your tank.
It’s the same thing as the tank fluid level. GREEN light means a full tank, so it’s good. RED light means low propane level.
How to read water pump activity
Most RV panels have a switch for the water pump. Once turned on, it lights up in RED, which shows that the pump is running. Other models will have three switches for the water pump, electric water heater, and gas water heater.
How do you read a micro monitor?
RV micro monitors, such as the KIB Micro Monitor System, work on the same principle as regular RV monitor panels.
However, they’re smaller and often don’t use color-coded indicators (typically use RED LEDs). Also, there are some slight differences in how you read RV micro monitors.
To start off, turn on the master switch to your micro monitor.
How to read battery condition
Micro monitors have an L F G C battery indicator, where:
- L – Low (1 RED LED light)
- F – Fair (2 RED LED lights)
- G – Good (3 RED LED lights)
- C – Charging (4 RED LED lights)
So, the more illuminated LED lights, the better the battery condition.
How to read water tank level
Again, micro monitors use letter and number signs for corresponding water levels:
- E – Empty (1 LED light)
- 1/3 – One-third full (2 LED lights)
- 2/3 – Two thirds full (3 LED lights)
- F – Full (4 LED lights)
F (full) means good news for the freshwater tank, but bad news for black water or gray water tank. Like the battery indicator, more illuminated LEDs mean a higher water level.
How to check water pump status
The water pump switch illuminates RED when the water pump is on. It’s often situated on the lower portion of the micro monitor.
RV Monitor Panel Troubleshooting
Is your RV monitor panel not working? Well, there are a few things you can do before calling an expert.
- First, check to see if the problem is with your RV’s battery. If your RV is plugged into shore power, then your converter should be taking care of converting the power for you. But if you’re on battery power only and are experiencing issues, try plugging into shore power. If that solves the issue, then you know your RV’s battery needs to be replaced.
- Second, make sure all of your appliances are turned off. Lots of times, people leave appliances running without realizing it. This will deplete your battery quickly. You’ll want to open up every cabinet and look for any lights or other indicators that something might be plugged in and running.
- Third, make sure you don’t have a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse. Check each circuit breaker individually and reset it if necessary. Take a look at all of your fuses and replace any that appear to be blown out.
- For a newly installed unit, ensure you’ve done the wiring correctly. You can refer to your RV monitor panel wiring diagram.
- If accuracy is the issue (for water tank level), try upgrading your RV tank monitor control panel with a seelevel holding tank sensor monitor. It detects and displays the exact percentage of water in the tank, and not 1/3, 2/3, etc.
- Try turning off your RV Monitor Panel by holding down the ‘Power’ button for 5 seconds and then turning it back on again. Sometimes a quick reboot can help resolve software issues that may be causing problems with functionality.
If none of these steps resolve the issue, call a professional to further troubleshoot the problem or contact your RV manufacturer for an RV monitor panel replacement.
Thank you for reading this guide! We hope you now have a better understanding of how to read the panels inside your RV.
Learning to identify the correct dials and lights is important for your safety as well as the safety of others on the road. You can always refer back to this article if you need a refresher, or if you’re having friends over who may not know how to read an RV panel.
We hope that you’ll continue to visit our site in the future for more great articles!