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Old 08-29-2016, 10:38 PM   #1
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1976 Argosy 26
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How to configure 30 amp service?

Ok 30 amp service in 76 Argosy and want to update water heater to add comfort of electric igniter and electric/gas water heater so with electric. Also have electric/gas refrigerator; heater fan; AC (without heat); heater fan; water pump; vent fan; 20 interior (1156) bulbs in variety of lights and 2 exterior (1141) lights. And not counting electric draw from temp switches or possible outlet usage for tv, radio, computer, or chargers. Electric panel has 4 breakers. So 4 breaker slots. I understand a 20 amp breaker dedicated to AC. 1) So how can you run most efficiently? 2) can you change or use double breakers and put a 15 amp side for electric water heater and turn off when not in use or when AC is in use? 3) How do you manage this concern? Thanks for you advice and experience.
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:57 PM   #2
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I'd break that down a little bit friend. I think you might be asking how to better organize your AC circuits.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:54 AM   #3
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Snoqualmie , Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ky76Argosy View Post
Ok 30 amp service in 76 Argosy and want to update water heater to add comfort of electric igniter and electric/gas water heater so with electric. Also have electric/gas refrigerator; heater fan; AC (without heat); heater fan; water pump; vent fan; 20 interior (1156) bulbs in variety of lights and 2 exterior (1141) lights. And not counting electric draw from temp switches or possible outlet usage for tv, radio, computer, or chargers. Electric panel has 4 breakers. So 4 breaker slots. I understand a 20 amp breaker dedicated to AC. 1) So how can you run most efficiently? 2) can you change or use double breakers and put a 15 amp side for electric water heater and turn off when not in use or when AC is in use? 3) How do you manage this concern? Thanks for you advice and experience.
Why do you want to convert your water heater to electric? if you want electric ignition then your circuitry should be ok, but is it that big of a deal to manually light the water heater? I can't think of a good reason to convert it over. Is it toasted and do you need to replace it? If you leave it as propane then all your circuits are adequate to run everything. You may want to change out your fuse box to a modern blade style, and definitely get rid of the Univolt if it's still there, but the original wiring/circuitry should be plenty adequate for all your systems.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ky76Argosy View Post
Ok 30 amp service in 76 Argosy and want to update water heater to add comfort of electric igniter and electric/gas water heater so with electric. Also have electric/gas refrigerator; heater fan; AC (without heat); heater fan; water pump; vent fan; 20 interior (1156) bulbs in variety of lights and 2 exterior (1141) lights. And not counting electric draw from temp switches or possible outlet usage for tv, radio, computer, or chargers. Electric panel has 4 breakers. So 4 breaker slots. I understand a 20 amp breaker dedicated to AC. 1) So how can you run most efficiently? 2) can you change or use double breakers and put a 15 amp side for electric water heater and turn off when not in use or when AC is in use? 3) How do you manage this concern? Thanks for you advice and experience.
Crossing your 12vdc and 120vac a little on the list but no biggy.
How close is the circuit breaker panel to the water heater? how easy would it be to run a wire from the panel to the water heater? Those are the big questions.
I've been using a SOB for the summer, it has a electric ignition electric/propane water heater and I wish I had put one in my safari instead of the manual pilot propane /electric I did use. I usually just leave the electric switch on then when I plug in I don't have to worry about it. When I boondock I turn on the propane switch. Have used both at the same time as it increases the recovery time essentially meaning more hot water quicker.
If the breaker panel is close and easy to run a wire to the water heater you can easily add a slim line circuit breaker, which is 2 breakers in one slot. Just be sure you get one compatible with the panel, there are different breaker types. Either a sticker on the panel will tell you what type to use, or you can pull one out to determine the type.
You'll also have to run 12vdc to the water heater but there's usually something near by to tap off of, it doesn't use much 12vdc.
I thought running the AC and water heater on electric might be a problem initially, but in the SOB I've had both running at the same time and haven't had any issues with the 30 amps. If I ran the microwave at the same time, I would expect I'd be tripping a breaker. Let me go try it, oh wait just kidding.
Hope this helps.
Joe
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:53 AM   #5
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1976 Argosy 26
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Thanks to all providing pertinent info on questions and here is additional info - the water heater is max 3-4' from breaker box on same wall to left

Why response.
Easy access helped my decision.
Old heater had floor rot under and my finger could poke through bottom of housing, with igniter, heater element in questionable condition. I had no prior history with trailer just bought, so why spend money to fix and find not what want.
Friend has 2004 Bambi with this gas/electric type water heater.
I wanted electric igniter.
New Atwood costs reasonable (steal) at $375 and would have electric if could work out connection and amps. $90 so more got with electric.

I am new to forum and read many threads. I do not know propriety of responding to responders. But if responder posts is it impolite not to respond? I often find responders ask questions about why changing to what, is not providing constructive info, only comments critical to a decision, wasting time and providing little. I guess that is the purist inquiry Why? Why? But why not add constructive info?

I am limited in ability or experience in these matters. And thanks to all who provide info germane to questions. I did not ask for critique of decision already made. That's like asking me why pick my wife. Many decisions have a self explanatory reason, I just did.

The response about improved question form (I had expected more from a responder with such insight and history, and I often read your posts for on point info or great ideas) - but to respond to that response - after "how to" I used 4 words/number to ask question which does describe my service. Not 5 words, but who is counting, and no description. So, I thought mine proper and accurate. But will definitely try hard to think on form of my question next time. Also now do I repost in new post changing the question as corrected. Paralyzed with indecision. But if you understand my question, please provide info for solution.

Response may intimidate or cause hesitation to post again. But thanks again for all info and interest.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:03 AM   #6
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Thanks for post. In response - I wanted to upgrade my Argosy 26, new to me, old heater removed to fix floor rot and looked deficient. New Atwood($375) has electric igniter, both electric and gas. Yes probably will use gas generally, but if have electric need to work out bugs so works. As for electric igniter, why not. If friends use turn on easier or easier for novice? Turn on gas, flip switch. Why not, or do you have any real issue? Mitch
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:35 AM   #7
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You will be happy with the propane/electric water heater. You will need to wire for 120v for the heating element and 12v for the control module.

All lights and the furnace are 12v, no 120v required except the receptacle for the converter. My fridge (newer than yours ?) takes both 120 and 12v, not sure about yours.

If you will go to Airstream's website, to the "Service" tab then to "Manuals" tab, and look through some of the owner's manuals for newer trailers you can find electrical drawings that show the circuits as they are wired on later years. My 99 34' only has the 4 breakers, same as your Argosy, and manages a microwave and a combo water heater in addition to all of those things you have.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ky76Argosy View Post
Ok 30 amp service in 76 Argosy and want to update water heater to add comfort of electric igniter and electric/gas water heater so with electric. Also have electric/gas refrigerator; heater fan; AC (without heat); heater fan; water pump; vent fan; 20 interior (1156) bulbs in variety of lights and 2 exterior (1141) lights. And not counting electric draw from temp switches or possible outlet usage for tv, radio, computer, or chargers. Electric panel has 4 breakers. So 4 breaker slots. I understand a 20 amp breaker dedicated to AC. 1) So how can you run most efficiently? 2) can you change or use double breakers and put a 15 amp side for electric water heater and turn off when not in use or when AC is in use? 3) How do you manage this concern? Thanks for you advice and experience.
1) Load management - you will learn quickly to not run the microwave, coffee pot, water heater, etc. at the same time. Breaker trips, you reset, you learn.
2) Probably not, but maybe - you should not use different type breakers. If you can find an exact match (brand and type), maybe. But unless you change out the whole panel I doubt you can find the correct breaker. If you use different brands it could create a fire hazard and might void your insurance. I suggest you tie into an existing circuit. It is acceptable to have two load wires connected to one breaker. If you find a thin line double single pole breaker get one that has 2 - 20 amp and wire the WH with 12 ga wire.
3) see 1 & 2
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:30 AM   #9
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Here's an excellent book on the subject:

https://www.amazon.com/Electrical-Sy...trical+systems
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:22 PM   #10
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Thanks all. I thought a good upgrade just not able to wrap my head round amps and tripping breakers. I am hanging out LED lights, and Dometic RM76D which worked off LP/120; unsure if 12v. I removed for flooring and new pex water line, I never operated electric side without shoreline, so fingers crossed, I hope will work when replaced.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:40 PM   #11
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"Thanks to all providing pertinent info on questions and here is additional info - the water heater is max 3-4' from breaker box on same wall to left "

Easy right there!
Pop in a slim line breaker that gives you 2 circuits in one space. Try to match the original breaker amperage so you don't up rate the original 15a circuit to 20a. 15a is enough for the water heater. Stop at big blue or orange or menards, get 7-8 feet of metal conduit shielded electrical wire. Run it along the wall and or floor to the new water heater. There are plastic chafing plugs that go in the end of the metal to protect wires from metal edges.
Being close, easy peasy.
Think you're making a good choice upgrading to the propane/electric, it's so convenient.
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Old 09-01-2016, 08:05 AM   #12
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How to configure 30 amp service... try a load shed.

http://www.parallaxpower.com/als20-accessory-als20

This load shed automatically switches between a main and a secondary load, such as between a microwave and a water heater. It is specifically designed for your exact needs. Check out the parallax power link. They even include a video.

Have fun,
Pete
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Old 09-01-2016, 08:38 AM   #13
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When I had to replace my water heater the repair guy suggested we put on its own pigtail which I plug in separately to power. This has worked out great. When the water heater is running on electric it is not putting extra load on my 30 amps.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:23 AM   #14
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I think the newer fridges cool on 120 or lp, but need 12 volt for the electronics.
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