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Old 09-21-2012, 09:42 PM   #1
New Member
2001 25' Safari
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2
Lights dim when hooked up to shore power

New to me Airstream 2008 FB. When running on batteries my interior lights are bright. When connected to shore power the lights are dim. Is this an issue. I am at my house connected to 15amp service, Nothing else running. Also I started the AC for a second and just the fan would run the compressor never tried to start up. Is this because of the 15amp svc. ( I just wanted to check it before we headed out on our first trip. now I am worried. Or will the 30 amp svc at the park work everything just fine?

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Old 09-22-2012, 01:11 AM   #2
Rivet Master
2005 19' Safari
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,359
Your air conditioner won't run for long (or at all) on a 15-amp circuit; it will trip the circuit breaker. It might run on a 20-amp circuit for a short time, but you really need a 30-amp circuit for it to run reliably. Also, trying to use a 15 or 20 amp circuit could damage the compressor, if the air conditioner will run at all.

How are you connected to the 15-amp circuit? Are you using the RV shore power cable, a 15-amp household extension cord, or an outdoor, heavy duty 15-amp cord? And, if you are not using the 30 amp shore power cable, how long is the 15-amp cord?

If you are using a 15-amp cord and trying to run the air conditioner, there is probably a significant voltage drop in the cord that results in your converter running under brownout conditions (less than 90-100 volts), which may be causing the dim lights. If the breakers on your home breaker box don't trip, the extension cord could get hot and melt, or catch on fire, due to drawing too much current through wires that are not rated to carry the load.

With insufficient details provided, most of the above are just guesses; and I suspect that there is nothing wrong with electrical hookups in your Airstream. I'd just go ahead and use the RV shore power cable to connect to the 30-amp outlet at the RV campground. In all likelihood, everything, including your air conditioner, will work fine.

If you continue to experience dim lights, the first thing I would check is your batteries. In a 2008 trailer, the original batteries would be about four years old; and it's about time for them to fail. However, before buying new batteries, I'd have them load tested at your local O'Reilly/Checker, Autozone, Pep Boys, Walmart, or similar auto parts store. (This is a free service, because they hope to sell you a new battery.) The batteries may just need to be charged fully, which may happen as a result of driving to your destination and/or being hooked up to shore power for a couple of nights.

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Old 09-22-2012, 05:03 AM   #3
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2001 25' Safari
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2
Thank you. We are headed out shortly and I will follow up if there is still a problem. HAve a great weekend!
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:59 AM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,579
It is very possible either the converter is not working properly, or one or both of the "reverse protection" fuses have blown.
Now that I have your attention, check the voltage of the batteries with the converter off, then hook up to 120v and retest. If I had to guess, without being able to see it, I'd say the converter is probably on its way out.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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