Reverse Polarity RV Surge Protector: What Is It & How to Fix?

As a camper, there’s nothing better than taking your luxury RV to campsites for some fun. A “Reverse Polarity” message on your RV surge protector can interrupt your vacation.

Reverse polarity happens when the wires in the electrical system of the pedestal are not connected correctly. This means the hot and neutral wires are switched. It can cause damage to your RV’s electrical system and potentially harm anyone inside.

I think you are experiencing this issue for the first time and don’t know what to do about it. Don’t worry; I’m here to help guide you through this problem and show you how to fix it.

What is Reverse Polarity?

Reverse polarity is also known as the hot, neutral reverse. It happens when the hot wire and the neutral wire are connected in the wrong way.

You can check your outlet for reverse polarity by seeing if the black or red hot wire is connected to a silver screw. In this case, the white neutral wire is connected to a gold screw also.

When wires are connected in reverse polarity, the voltage between the hot and neutral wire will be 120. In normal conditions, it should have been 0 volts.

Campground owners sometimes hire unprofessional electricians to save money. Always hire a licensed electrician. This is important to ensure that your electrical connections are safe and correct.

If you suspect that your outlet has reverse polarity, don’t hesitate to contact an expert electrician to fix the issue.

Why is My RV Surge Protector Showing Reverse Polarity?

You already know what reverse polarity is from the previous section. However, you should consider a few things if your RV’s surge protector shows reverse polarity.

Plugging in your cords incorrectly is a reason why your RV may show reverse polarity.

Another possible reason could be a faulty adapter which also happens because of reverse wiring.

It’s important to make sure that the adapter you’re using is correctly wired to prevent this issue.

Your surge protector can show you a false reading sometimes. This can happen when you are using a 15-amp to 30-amp adapter.

Finally, another reason for reverse polarity could be floating ground. This happens when there’s no ground connection.

Is Reverse Polarity Dangerous For Your RV?

You might be wondering if the reverse polarity is dangerous for your RV. Yes, reverse polarity can be a dangerous issue for your RV. Let me explain.

When the connection is ok, the neutral wire should have 0 volts, while the hot wire should have 120 volts.

The hot wire powers the equipment in your RV, while the neutral connection helps to prevent shock hazards.

But if the connection is reversed, the neutral conductor will have 120 volts instead of 0 volts.

In this case, the stray voltages will travel towards 120 volts and create a shock hazard inside your RV. You may get a shock if you touch both the appliance and the ground!

Some components might be polarity-sensitive and not work correctly. But most things will still work when the polarity is reversed.

You must always remember that this kind of electrical problem can cause serious issues for your RV appliances and your safety.

How To Test Reverse Polarity?

Testing for reverse polarity is essential to ensure the safety of your electrical circuits. Here are a few steps you can follow to test for reverse polarity:

Method #1:

You can use a voltmeter to test reverse polarity. Use the voltmeter to measure the voltage between the ground and neutral terminals.

If you find the voltmeter outputs 0V voltage, then the polarity is correct.

Repeat the process and put the voltmeter between the ground and hot terminals. If the voltage is at 120V, then the polarity is correct.

It’s important to double-check the voltage both times to be extra careful and avoid any mistakes.

If you get the appropriate voltage readings both times, you don’t have to worry about reverse polarity.


You can use a 30 amp to 15 amp dogbone adapter along with a 3 light outlet/receptacle tester to test reverse polarity. Don’t worry; it’s easier than it sounds!

First, plug the adapter into the outlet you want to check. Then, plug in the outlet tester and monitor the lights.

If you see the red light on the left and the yellow light in the middle lit up, there is reverse polarity on the outlet.

It’s important to note that different testers may have different lighting patterns. You can read the manual or watch for any pattern on the tester to understand it.

This method is a quick and easy way to check if an outlet has reverse polarity so that you can stay safe in your RV.

How To Fix the Reverse Polarity Problem of Your RV Surge Protector

If you are experiencing a reverse polarity problem with your RV surge protector, there are several solutions you can try:

Test the outlet for reverse polarity: You can use a polarity tester or a multimeter to check if the outlet is wired incorrectly. If the wiring is incorrect, you should get it fixed by a qualified electrician.

When you are staying in a campground, inform the management about the issue. If the outlet is in your home, hire an electrician or follow a guide to fix it.

Use a polarity adapter: If you cannot buy a polarity adapter, you can make one yourself. You can find instructions on how to do this in an instruction guide.

Check and test your adapter: When you suspect the adapter is causing the issue, try using a different one to see if it works correctly. If the adapter works on another outlet, you may need to replace it.

Try unplugging and plugging in the surge protector: Sometimes, surge protectors can give incorrect readings due to a glitch. Disconnect the surge protector from the outlet and then reconnect it to see if the issue is resolved.

You can fix the reverse polarity problem by trying these solutions. Make sure your electrical system is safe and functioning correctly.

Final Words

Reverse polarity on your RV’s surge protector can be a daunting issue. It’s annoying because you’re unable to charge your RV.

Worst case scenario, it may even electrocute you. I am saying this so that you don’t take this matter lightly.

If you notice reverse polarity in an RV park, inform the authorities about it. Apply the fixes I have mentioned above and have a safe trip.

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Hey, my name is Palash Talukder, and I am the founder of Smart Home Protector. As a professional writer and tech entrepreneur since 2017, residing in Dhaka, I am passionate about staying up to date on home safety. With a Bachelor's Degree obtained in 2012, I continuously research and write blogs in various industries to share my knowledge and insights. In addition to Smart Home Protector, I also own several other blogs. My aim is to provide readers with the most current information on home safety & security and make their home safe and enjoyable even risk-free place. Read About Me More । Follow on FacebookTwitter

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