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Old 11-24-2012, 11:55 AM   #1
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Electrical issue?

This morning while camping in New Mexico with electrical hookup (30 amp), it was around 30 F.
We had a space heater going and the 'optional heat' from the AC unit. When we turned on the microwave, we noticed that the Airstream switched to 'gas' on the fridge and the heaters + microwave stopped working.

Going outside and switching the campground breaker off and back on didn't fix it. I then opened the fuse box in the Airstream and pushed whatever reset button I found, but nothing brought the electric back.
The interior lights are working but from the batteries.

What else can I check?


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Old 11-24-2012, 12:15 PM   #2
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Your GFI reset in the kitchen or vanity 110 wall plug?

"Chip Tank" is in Flagstaff Az.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:45 PM   #3
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If the GFI breaker is tripped, you need to turn it off, then back on. The button is not a reset, it is a test button.
With everything you had on, you have overloaded the circuit.
The space heater and microwave will draw more than 20 amps when both are on. The maximum circuit capacity for the outlets is limited to 20 amps and maybe 15 amps depending on the breakers in the A$ panel. The current rating is on the handle of each breaker.
Are you sure the main hasn't tripped. It will be a 30 amp. As stated above, you must turn any breaker that has tripped off, then back on to reset it.
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:26 PM   #4
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If the frig changed to gas you tripped one of the 20 amp circuits in you panel or the main in the pane if it has one.

Circuit breakers are designed to trip with a sustained load greater than 80% of their rated load.

You just had Too much on at the same time.

Airstreams were never built with enough electrical capacity for summer use, thus the switch needed to separate the micro wave and the AC on many units, let along winter and electric heating
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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Thanks, we just turned off / on the breakers (I found them under one of the closets); plugged in the electric hookup again; and it's working!
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:38 PM   #6
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A newbie question: if the campsite offers a choice of hookup between 20 - 30 - 50 amp, we take the 30 amp.

Does it have any benefit to choose the 50 amp (we have the connector cable)?
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:24 PM   #7
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No advantage to 50 over 30

Airstreams run on 30 amps 110Volts. Your adapter just turns the 50 amp to 30.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:55 AM   #8
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For future reference, here's the math. A watt equals a volt times an amp.

30 amps x 120 volts = 3600 watts. That's the theoretical maximum load your trailer system can carry. Because nothing is ever perfect, engineers would de-rate that some for system inefficiencies. So make a guess of about 3000 watts of available load capacity.

Electrical appliances should all have a data plate that states the number of watts or amps they need. AC Voltage is 120 (plus or minus a little) from the power company or from a generator, so you can convert from amps to watts or back again when you need to.

Limit the number of things that are on at the same time to less than 3000 watts or so, and the system should be happy. Electric heat or AC should be switched off when the microwave is in use, etc. Hair dryers are also high-load culprits.

Also, you probably have more than one AC circuit in the trailer. Make sure the high-load items aren't all plugged into one side, or the breaker in your trailer panel will trip. You have a much newer unit than ours, but we have 20 amp breakers in the trailer panel.

If you end up in a campsite where 20 amps is all you can get, limit your loads even further. Air conditioners can be badly damaged if they don't have enough current.

As dwightdi said, your trailer is designed to plug in to 30 amp service. With adapters on the plug-in cord, you can use 20 amp in a pinch. 50 amp adapters let you use half of a 230 volt circuit to get 120. You never get the 50 amps, and you might get a little less than 30 amps with that setup.

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