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Old 02-10-2008, 08:34 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Where is this 30 amp, single throw, double wire breaker? In the camper or in the shop?

When all is said and done, from the breaker panel in the shop going towards the Airstream, you should have three wires.

1) Bare copper Ground wire connected to the ground lugs on both ends in both panels.

2) White Neutral wire connected to the Neutral lug in the breaker panel on both ends.

3) Black Hot wire that is connected to ONE of the lugs inside ONE 30 amp breaker in the panel in the shop, the other end will be tied to either a distribution bus inside the panel in the camper that the camper's breakers are plugged into, OR to a single breaker in the camper that feeds that same bus.

One hot wire and one neutral wire equals 110v.

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I've got some kind of dang-blasted pop-up script (read: virus) running on my computer. About every third page view, a new IE window opens up and fills the screen with ads. I thought I had it killed two nights ago, but it is mysteriously back tonight.

Here's what meant to say:

1) Bare copper Ground wire connected to the ground lug in the breaker panel in the shop; the other end connected to the ground lug or spade in the receptical.

2) White Neutral wire connected to the Neutral lug in the breaker panel in the shop; the other end connected to the spade in the receptical marked "W".

3) Black Hot wire that is connected to ONE lug on the end of ONE 30 amp breaker in the panel in the shop, the other end will be tied to the other spade in the receptical.

Put another way, One black wire, One white wire and One bare ground wire all you need.

I assume the receptical out by the camper only has three connections?

Jim
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:48 PM   #44
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Jim,

Yes the receptacle has 3 connections. What confuses me is why the breaker has 2 hot connections, but it would have to because it connects to each bar (which is perhaps called a buss). So, do I get 30 amps with only one connection used on the breaker? Another way to say it, would each leg off the breaker be 15 or 30 amps? I thought I was buying the right breaker since it only had one and not two throws. Now i'm not sure.

Then I thought that 2 hot wires go to the breakers in the trailer—one for the A/C perhaps and one for everything else, or some sort of arrangement. I looked at the trailer breakers, but couldn't see the back of the panel without taking it apart and I didn't have time for that today. Now I think they can't split two hots because a 20 amp receptacle wouldn't feed one leg unless the other was the A/C, but that doesn't make a lot of sense either.

I have done a lot of wiring in various houses I've owned, but this one has me turned inside out.

Gene
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:57 PM   #45
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Mark, it's not connected to the A/S. I did check with my multimeter and realized I might be buying a lot of parts if I did connect it.

That's when I decided to check what kind of mess I created on the Forum.

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Old 02-10-2008, 09:22 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
Not wanting to start a new thread, this seemed close enough to mildly hijack.

I installed a 30 amp 125 v receptacle outside my shop (Colorado talk for really big garage). I connected it to a 30 amp single throw breaker. It has 2 hot connections. The receptacle tests at 120 v at each hot lug. It is the proper receptacle for my Safari.
This is DEAD wrong. You should get one hot and two colds.
That breaker is a 240VA breaker. You should have a 120V single pole 30A breaker. Only one connection.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
I am probably being too cautious, but am afraid of 240 v somehow feeding into the trailer. I assume each leg goes to a different branch circuit or circuits and there is no way I could blow all circuits with 240 v. I don't really assume it because I wouldn't be asking this question if I did.
caution keeps us alive.
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:31 PM   #47
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120 volt AC circuit breakers

If the circuit breaker panel is rated for 30 amps or higher, then you can upgrade the panel by using a 30 amp main breaker, followed by as many 20 amp, 15 amp or 10 amp breakers, or combinations, you wish to use.

How the breaker panel is designed, is critical as to how it can be used.

If the trailer is being rewired, and someone wished to have every outlet on a single breaker, you can do that, as well as every electrical appliance can be on a separate breaker.

The key is that one main breaker, 30 amps, still protects the trailer.

Airstream has used a city power cable rated at 30 amps, for over 40 years.

Andy
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:31 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
...
I installed a 30 amp 125 v receptacle outside my shop (Colorado talk for really big garage). I connected it to a 30 amp single throw breaker. It has 2 hot connections. The receptacle tests at 120 v at each hot lug. It is the proper receptacle for my Safari.

I am probably being too cautious, but am afraid of 240 v somehow feeding into the trailer. I assume each leg goes to a different branch circuit or circuits and there is no way I could blow all circuits with 240 v. I don't really assume it because I wouldn't be asking this question if I did.
...
Gene
By definition, a 125 volt receptacle should only have 125 volts on it. That is, one hot wire (black or red), one neutral (white), and a ground (either bare or green).

Every trailer that I have been involved with has been 125 volts AC (or 12 volt DC battery, but that is a whole other story) and had a 30 amp cord with three #10 gauge wires (black, white and green). The plug fits into a 30 amp, 125 volt receptacle, available at almost every campground that provides electric connection. If your Safari has a different plug on it's "shore power" cord, I would like to see it.

For comparison, here are pictures of the trailer receptacle I installed on my generator (30 amp, 125v), and the old plug from my trailer. By the way, when the plug gets this "beat" looking and green, it should be replaced because it will overheat from the resistance of bad connections.

If you have a receptacle with more connections, it may be for a range or maybe for a dryer, both of which are 240 volt. They have two hots, one neutral and a ground for all receptacles installed after 1995. Before 1996, the NEC allowed three wires in cords and receptacles (two hots and a neutral), and the cabinet of the appliance was bonded/connected to the neutral wire for grounding purposes.

Also included are pics of these other receptacles. Do not get them mixed up. They are each distinctively unique.

As people on the Forum generally know and do, if you're not sure, ask. If you're still not clear, ask someone else. Everybody has different ways of communicating, and this is not an area anyone should trial-and-error their way. Many ways of hooking up will seem OK and will "work", but can be deadly under just the right/wrong conditions.

Hopefully this helps. I get scared when I see some things people have done, including the PO of my old '61: no ground, and a taped splice with 12 gauge wire on a 30 amp pigtail.
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:23 PM   #49
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Gene, still having 'puter issues, dang it.

Maybe the safe thing to do is turn off that breaker in the shop that feeds the Airstream and snap a few pics and post them here. It sounds like you have the 110 (or 117 or 125v) hooked up to you trailer, but it deffinataely doesn't sound like it's hooked up correctly. Like Phil, Michelle and others have said, a seemingly simple mistake now could be diaster later.

I gotta go fix this computer now.

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Old 02-10-2008, 10:51 PM   #50
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I have not used the 30 amp receptacle that I just installed. The trailer is plugged into a 20 amp receptacle with an adapter for the 30 amp extension cord that comes with the A/S. I confess to being used to 240 v range and dryer receptacles and kind of locked into them, and even a 15 amp, 240 v receptacle for an air conditioner. A 120 v 30 amp receptacle just feels weird to me.

I bought the wrong breaker. I was bamboozled by it looking different than ones I was used to. The receptacle I installed and miswired is the proper 125 v, 30 amp one for trailers. Easy enough to rewire.

I didn't use the receptacle because it didn't feel right to me so I guess I still have a little bit of good sense (and a multimeter).

So, my question is if I use one leg of the 240 v, 30 amp breaker, will I have a 30 amp circuit? Or, is each leg 30 amp, or something less and the total 30 amps?

Thanks everyone. This all has helped me figure out how I deceived myself and probably confused everyone else. I'm so glad trailers don't use 3 phase—imagine what that would be like.

Gene
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Old 02-11-2008, 06:42 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
So, my question is if I use one leg of the 240 v, 30 amp breaker, will I have a 30 amp circuit? Or, is each leg 30 amp, or something less and the total 30 amps?

Gene
Gene,

If you use one leg of the 240V, 30 amp breaker you will have 30amps of 120V.

The total if you used both legs, would be 60 amps at 120V. But then you would need to use a dryer or stove receptacle, but you won't find those in any campground.
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:22 AM   #52
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Gene,
As Mark points out and I'm sure (hopefully) you've figured out by now...make sure you are using a RV 30 amp (female) outlet let in your shop and your trailer has a 30 amp (male) plug on it.
All campgrounds I've stayed at have the standard "household" 20 Amp outlet, RV 30 Amp outlet, or RV 50 Amp outlet. You'd be sorry to convert your trailer plug to anything but the standard RV style plug.
And again I'd recommend that you have a qualified electrician double check your wiring before you energize it .
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Old 02-11-2008, 01:13 PM   #53
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Mark, thanks again. I never understood the ampere ratings on each leg of 240 v breakers and never had to. I'll go change the wires around later and then test and then use it.

If I weren't so cheap, I'd ask an electrician to look it over, Zamboni, but I am cheap and that's why a bought a good multimeter long ago. My first job after college (while looking for a job I was "qualified" for) was working for an electrician and I learned a lot about residential and commercial wiring, but apparently not about trailers. When I moved to Colorado long ago I found myself working for a mining company as a purchasing agent (no experience at that) and mine electrician because I knew white wires were connected to white wires, black to black, etc. All in all it says a lot about the wisdom of that mining company. I taught myself about electric starters and 3 phase and everything worked! After proving my "competence" they made me mine superintendent and then ran out of money never having produced any gold or silver. It was quite an experience. So far, I haven't blown anything up and stuff works. I taught myself basic residential plumbing too and so far haven't flooded the house.

Our limited experience with campgrounds is that they often have 2 of 3 of the possible receptacles, some have all three. I have adapters for 20 amp and 50 amp. receptacles if they lack a 30 amp one. I also check polarity and ground each time we hookup.

Gene
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Old 02-11-2008, 05:36 PM   #54
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zap

i'd call an electrician.
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Old 02-11-2008, 07:43 PM   #55
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All is well

Rewired, redone, proper voltage and polarity. Finally an exterior 30 amp receptacle.

Next, changing some of the trailer 120v receptacles. I don't like those plastic covers over the aluminum. The one over the kitchen counter was a standard grey plastic cover plate. I changed it to brushed nickel, not a perfect match, but better than grey plastic. All the other receptacles (12v and phone and cable too) are one piece units. You can't just change the plate. They must have changed to one piece 120v receptacles the day they wired my Safari. At least one (bathroom) has the holes drilled for a standard duplex receptacle, but the one piece unit was installed instead. I can take out the one piece units and go to a standard receptacle and use a metal plate that looks better, or forget it. Something to mull about…

Gene
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:31 PM   #56
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Here's one for the experts to noodle out. The main circuit breaker coming into the 110v panel from the shore power is only a 20 amp breaker. Coming out of the panel there are two 20 amp breakers that feed the interior of the camper. One of these 20 amp branch circuits feeds the air conditioner. The other 20 amp branch circuit feeds all of the other 110v outlets.

So the question is, why only a 20 amp for the main, shouldn't it be a 30 amp? Is there any reason why I can't replace it with a 30 amp?

The shop manual isn't much help here. The wiring diagram in the manual shows the circuit layout to be exactly what I have (wiring only). The diagram of the breaker panel (panel only)shows only 2 20 amp breakers, one to the shore power and one to everything else inside the camper (obviously this isn't correct).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

You do not need a 30 amp main as the receptical at the campground is a 30 amp GFI. This is all that is required. A 30 amp main would never trip the 20 amp or lower would go first if there was a short in the cord the campground GFI will trip all the 30 amp main would be is a disconect. All you have to do is unplug the cord and power is off. Mine has a factory installed switch to switch power between the air conditioner and microwave (you can only use one at a time). Also you can get a adapter from walmart to convert from the 30 amp plug to a household plug this is handy for hooking up at home when you are working on the trailer.
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