One more thing about yesterday’s post -
The picture above shows the visible portion of what is known as the battery bypass or battery disconnect switch. As the name implies, it is there to remove the battery from the circuit when the trailer is not in service. Most modern RVs have several items – thermostats, sensors, etc. – that are always on and require 12 volts to operate. They don’t use much juice, but will eventually run a battery down if the trailer is in long-term storage.
In all of our years of camping, I have never used the battery bypass switch. Our pop-up trailers did not have one, and our last two trailers were always plugged in to a power outlet when parked at home.
I probably added an extra half hour to my trouble-shooting Tuesday when I accidentally moved the battery bypass switch to its OFF position, but I’m not complaining about that. My gripe is that the label on this switch is about as confusing as it could possibly get.
Nothing in the literature that comes with the RV tells you how to operate this switch – probably because it should be a no-brainer. It’s a two-position switch – how difficult could that possibly be?
It is a two-position switch – either ON or OFF – anyone should be able to deal with that… ON means the contacts are closed and OFF means they are open, right? But wait, the label clearly says Battery Disconnect – does ON mean that the switch has done its job – i.e., the battery has been disconnected?
As if that wasn't confusing enough, the switch is operated with a removable L-shaped key. If it is in the position pictured above, with the leg of the L pointing toward the right, you would probably assume (correctly, as it turns out) that the switch was in the ON position. It seems to be pointing toward the ON on the label – all’s right with the world. But - from this position, you can only turn the switch 90° clockwise which leaves the L of the key pointing down – away from the OFF on the label.
It’s enough to make a grown man whimper, if not break down and cry.
This is clearly one of those situations where thinking and logic can only get you in trouble. The correct way to deal with this switch is to check it with a voltmeter, or – better yet - never touch it at all.