Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-08-2002, 03:05 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
Elec. problem again!

You probably remember my ruined weekend in May when my '77 Excella 500 kept tripping the campground breaker, both 30 amp and 15 amp side with adapter. I'm sure you also remember that I pulled the main power line out of the fuse box, bought 30' of Romex wire and tried that approach because I thought my cord reel was shorting out. That still didn't work. I went home that Sunday with my tail between my legs. Once home, I pulled the 30 amp main breaker out after reconnecting the trailer Romex and measured the power off the bare wires---118 or 119 volts or so. I reconnected the breaker and found that the main would not always turn on when I switched it on. I thought great, bought a new 30 amp main and connected it up. It worked fine with no tripping of the breaker in the house.

Well guess what, IT'S BACK! I haven't used the trailer on 110 volt at all since I fixed the problem in May. Last night I went out there to apply a suggestion given to me by a forum member on my post months ago about my "power-on" indicator light. I thought great, I have all the material I need. I pulled my power cord off the reel, connected the 30 amp to 15 amp adapter and when I tried to plug it into my 20 amp yellow jacket extension cord, it tripped the breaker in the garage panel box. I made sure all 110 volt appliances were turned off and disconnected on the inside (including the frig. and converter) but to no avail. The trailer circuit box breakers were off (even tried it with them turned on a couple times). The extension cord is several weeks old and I even tried a 15 amp. extension cord I had around. Same thing. I even disconnected a freezer and water pump to the garden pond and it still kept tripping in the breaker box in the garage.

Am I not holding my mouth right or is this trailer here to make my life a challenge?
__________________

__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2002, 05:56 PM   #2
uwe
418
 
uwe's Avatar
 
2007 25' Safari FB SE
1958 22' Flying Cloud
1974 29' Ambassador
Yucca Valley , California
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 1963 26' Overlander
Posts: 4,767
Images: 41
Send a message via Skype™ to uwe
Ok, I read your post 7 times now, and I am beginning to put things together.
The breaker trips in the garage even if nothig is turned on inside the trailer, and the breakers are all off.
It trips when you connect the Romex straight into the 110V distribution box. This sort of disqualifies the spool and supply cable from being the culprit.
There must be a short in this distribution box. I am going to assume that there is illegal contact between the part where the incoming leads screw on, and the connector of the white ( neutral) wiring, or to ground.
Take an Ohmmeter and check first between the two large prongs on your 30A trailer cord, with all the breakers in the trailer turned off.
If you have continuity, then you know it's between the black and white wire and you should look there first.
If not, then check from either prong to ground and see if there is continuity. If you know which one is the black (Hot) wire, then that's most likely to be the one having continuity to ground. If the breaker trips in your garage, while all the breakers are turned off in the trailer, then it MUST be between the garage outlet and the breaker box inside the trailer.
You can check all your extension cords and adapters first, make sure there is no problem with these.
You might drag the end of your power supply cord next to the breaker box inside the trailer, connect an ohmmeter or a POWERED testlight/beeper of some sort and start messing with things until you see a reaction on either the ohmmeter or the test light etc. Make sure you have a very solid connection from your tester while you're checking things. It goes without saying that you need to make sure that you don't have a rigged power supply like the 30ft romex plugged in accidentally, please be safe. You will find it sooner or later. It sounds like a dead short tripping the breaker.
Hopefully the problem will show it's ugly head sooner, not later.
And yes, your trailer is testing your true commitment to Airstreams.
__________________

__________________
Uwe
www.area63productions.com
uwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 11:29 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
uwe,
Thanks for the insight. I also discussed the problem with FrankR and set up a game plan for this afternoon. Last night I pulled the main breaker out and left the black wire bare in the circuit breaker box. I plugged in and it kicked the breaker again. Even though I had previously hooked Romex straight from the campground box to the Airstream breaker box and it would not always work then worked fine, I am beginning to believe I have 2 wires rubbing together from the power cord reel or a problem within the reel itself. I am headed to the house now to do what you and Frank both suggested. Thanks again for the input. I will post what I find.
__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 03:26 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
Update on elec. problem

FrankR and Uwe,
I checked continuity on my extension cords as Uwe suggested. I then checked continuity through adapter at end of extension cords. Everything OK. I checked continuity to the main circuit breaker with it pulled out and turned to the on position (neutral white wire was disconnected). Everything OK. I connected white wire, turned main breaker off and plugged into 110 house current in garage. It tripped right off the bat. OK, time to regroup. I pulled the main circuit breaker off, disconnected white wire and ground wire then pulled them from the circuit breaker box. I wired up 30' of Romex (you remember the Romex don't you?) and checked continuity from far end of extension cord to fuse box before connecting. OK. Once connected, I plugged into the house and it tripped again. There goes a few more hairs. I disconnected from house, pulled white wire and plugged in again. No tripping. Hmmmmm, short in neutral wire somewhere? I compared the wiring in my box to the diagram in my service manual once more and found something strange. I also referred to the schematic drawings from the first of May when I first noticed this problem. There is an extra piece of black wire appx. 6" in length going from the ground bar to the bar on the white neutral side. That's not right and it is not on my original drawing. I disconnect it on one side and go into the garage to plug into house current. It doesn't trip! A little praying helped a little also. I go to the circuit box in the trailer and turn the main breaker on. So far so good. I turn the next 3 breakers on expecting to be fried at any time. OK, survived that. Next, I turn on the AC and the compressor kicks on while she starts blowing cool air. I'm headed back out to wire back in my original power cord from the reel and see if it is still OK.

In short, a wire that I can't find on either my original diagram or in the service manual was connected from ground to neutral and that was what was shorting me out, I hope! Question is, where did it come from because I didn't do it and there were 2 other people who were fiddling around inside but I do not remember seeing either of them connect a short piece of wire across these terminals. I will know within the next 15 minutes if the rest of the system is still OK based on my first continuity test. Wish me luck!
__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 04:19 PM   #5
2 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 23
electrical / electronics

I am still shopping for my new Airstream but since I worked 'tronics all my life I could not pass this thread without comment.

Continuity and short are confusing terms. I found the thread hard to interpret. There are color code conventions that have conflict.
For electrical distribution 120VAC: Black= HOT , White = NEAUTRAL , GREEN = GROUND

At the civilian commercial land based power plant NEATRAL is grounded.

When we interface distribution with electronics we get : RED = HOT , BLACK = GROUND.

I would think that Airstream grounds NEAUTRAL for safety as well; Protect the occupants.

I have offered no procedure, or recomended no wiring but only attemp to clarify electrical wiring understanding. PLease use CAUTION.

Many times in my life I have witnessed personell including "technicians" test for continuity but not for the short which was the problem.
__________________
Jay_Iski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 04:47 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
Thanks Jay,
I'm no expert but I respect electricity highly. I also get confused when I switch from auto electronics where red is + or hot, black is the - or ground. I also see green referred to as ground. I am only referring to the schematics from my '77 service manual which says that the black wire used throughout the Excella is + or hot, the white is neutral and the bare copper is ground. I do appreciate the warnings to be careful and I never grab wires unless I know I am disconnected from the power source. As I get older I find myself checking twice to be on the safe side.

Well, the original Romex from the power cord reel to the circuit breaker box has been in place since just after my last post and all 110 volt appliances have been plugged back in. I am running a large Patton fan inside the trailer in addition to 2 of my overhead exhaust fans and so far all is well. I still do not know where that extra wire came from unless I have developed a dual personality and the "evil one" put that extra wire in.

I want to thank all of you for heading me in the right direction and by the process of elimination I was able to see something that was out of place. Frank told me "Don't make me drive there!" and if he had been here, he probably would have spotted the problem right away because that wire would have stuck out like a sore thumb. I'm at that stage that I know just enough to get myself confused but with good help on this forum the little "light" over my head turned on. By the way, Frank has a wealth of knowledge and a really nice guy. Hope I haven't ruined your reputation Frank. Uwe, this is the first chance I have had to check continuity with the meter I bought last year. It's not something I usually have to fool with but I've done something new for a change. Thanks for your suggestions.
__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 05:29 PM   #7
uwe
418
 
uwe's Avatar
 
2007 25' Safari FB SE
1958 22' Flying Cloud
1974 29' Ambassador
Yucca Valley , California
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 1963 26' Overlander
Posts: 4,767
Images: 41
Send a message via Skype™ to uwe
Davidz,
You are most welcome.
__________________
Uwe
www.area63productions.com
uwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 08:31 PM   #8
2 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 23
electrical

I suspect that someone at a camp site was "helping" and the jumper was to ground neutral and stop a "ground fault" from kicking. Then at home, the first time somehow the testing was done with an ungrounded neutral. When polarity was reversed, it grounded the hot wire. Have to have been there to know. Sounds like it is solved now. I think I will upgrade my old voltmeter as well as purchase some other testers when I get my trailer.
I have worked on commercial cabinets at factories running off different phases and over time and repairs, many dangerous conditions have been introduced. I even received a shock a 7/11 store once while reaching across a cooler to get an icecream while holding the door open on a standup cooler across the aisle.
The submarine was the best distribution system I ever saw. Completely ungrounded delta delta was maximum reliability. I wonder if sola transformers are helpful for campsites? I imagine a little safari just can't use too much payload for unnecesary weight.
__________________
Jay_Iski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 09:00 PM   #9
Retired Moderator
 
john hd's Avatar
 
1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,644
Images: 40
davidz71,

i was not going to post on this board until i read your post.

go outside and un plug your trailer.

the wire you removed was put in place to protect you!

any mobile (ungrounded) device should have the neutral tied to the ground to protect any one who should come in contact with your trailer. this is done to protect against reversed polarity. the descripion you posted sounds like this is your problem.

in your post you described a wire reel. sounds like it may be damaged internally or WIRED WRONG! either way you are putting your self and any one who may touch your trailer at great risk.

i would suggest you hire a competent person to trouble shoot your trailer. OR starting with your plug make sure your black wire is not reversed in any part of your system. and reinstall the jumper in your breaker box.

john
__________________
john hd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 09:28 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
OK guys, any comments about what john hd has to say? The trailer is not connected at this time so everything is OK. Anyone else out there with a rear bath '70s have a black wire jumper from the ground to neutral bar? It doesn't show up in my service manual circuit box wiring diagram. Wouldn't my Reverse Polarity light on the side of my trailer light up if plug wires were switched?
__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 09:46 PM   #11
Retired Moderator
 
john hd's Avatar
 
1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,644
Images: 40
at this point i would not trust any thing but a complete visual/electrical inspection of all of the components in your electrical supply.

there is no reason that your trailer should trip breakers in two different locations if some thing was not ok in your trailer.

sorry to sound stern, but something IS wrong with your wiring.

you mentioned that you have a wire reel, i would look there first. the only reason i mention that is because they have brushes in them like a motor and they can fall apart shorting the case to ground possibly causing the problem.

however you mentioned that you ran romex to the breaker box and still had the problem, correct?

john
__________________
john hd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 09:50 PM   #12
Just a member
 
thenewkid64's Avatar
 
1978 28' Argosy 28
Tampa Bay , Florida
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 4,539
Images: 21
Send a message via AIM to thenewkid64 Send a message via Yahoo to thenewkid64 Send a message via Skype™ to thenewkid64
It could be that the reverse polarity thingamabob shorted out and the black wire was part of what made it work???? I understand the part about tying the ground to the neutral for saftey sake after reading john hd's post I am wondering if you have a hot lead that is shorted to ground or neutral in the skin.

It may be time to call in the pro's as this could get to be dangerous soon.
__________________
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
-------------------------
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato


thenewkid64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 10:01 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
John,
The breakers in the trailer have never tripped whether turned off or on. It is the ground fault breaker in my garage and/or an outside outlet wired into the same circuit that was tripping. I used GB Instruments receptacle instrument to check all 110 volt receptacles and they showed that wiring is correct. If polarity was reversed would this not show (hot and neutral contacts interchanged) on the tester as indicated?
__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2002, 10:05 PM   #14
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
John,
Yes, I ran Romex and it did trip the breaker in the garage until the jumper was removed. This bypassed the electrical reel.
__________________

__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Engine Revving Problem winner Mechanics Corner - Engines, Transmission & More... 19 02-08-2010 11:05 PM
Argosy water fill problem mcneon Argosy Motorhomes 1 10-09-2003 06:30 AM
Manual Jack Broken - Best Elec. Jack? montanaandy Jacks, Stabilizers, Lifting and Leveling 9 07-10-2003 07:33 AM
Inverter problem Don McKelvay Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 2 11-03-2002 06:40 AM
Electrical problem resolved davidz71 Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 5 08-12-2002 09:21 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.