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Old 10-07-2016, 09:58 PM   #1
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1981 31' Excella II
Florence , Alabama
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First time out - dead outlet on 2nd day

New Airstream owner - 1981 Excella II in original condition. The microwave is out, which allowed us to use the outlet for a coffee grinder and water kettle. Worked great on day one. Day 2, the outlet didn't work (to be clear, this is the outlet in the microwave opening). No fuses are out, no breakers are tripped, and everything else in the camper seems to be working fine. Other outlets all work... What are the next steps for troubleshooting?
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:12 PM   #2
CRH
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Pull the outlet and use a tester to check for current at the wires
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:25 PM   #3
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It must be a GFCI outlet. CRH has the answer.
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Old 10-10-2016, 08:24 PM   #4
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1981 31' Excella II
Florence , Alabama
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OK, thank.s I pulled the outlet and tested the wires - no juice. All other outlets test fine so I know my tester is working. If I trip breaker #1 (not a GFCI), all outlets go dark as expected. The problematic outlet isn't a GFCI outlet...and it was working just a couple of days ago. Any other suggestions to look at next?
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Old 10-10-2016, 08:53 PM   #5
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Check the other outlets for the GFCI outlet. It will feed all the other (then) GFCI protected outlets.

If that's not it, start taking all the outlets out like you did this one and check connections, voltage, etc. That panel doesn't look original (but I don't know anything about vintage trailers), so my guess is that the wiring is not.

Start looking at the most logical problem and then work to the "crazy, never seen that before" solution.


Good luck
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:01 PM   #6
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I see from you photo you have two 20 amp circuits and one 15 amp circuit. The microwave OR the Air Conditioner is powered by one of the 20 amp circuits. My 86 as well as a lot of other Airstreams have a "light switch" that toggles EITHER the microwave OR the air conditioner. There ain't enough power on 30 amps to run both. If your air conditioner runs, your microwave outlet is not powered and visa versa.

Look for this switch that seemingly does nothing. Mine is in the galley cabinet above the stove. Maybe someone in your family flipped the switch and said I wonder what that does. Or better yet, they knew what it does and flipped it just to watch you troubleshoot.

This might be the cause.

David
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:29 AM   #7
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David that was it! A light switch above the kitchen sink! I have to blame myself though, I thought huh, wonder what that does and just thought it killed power to the AC. Thought that was odd but never connected that to my outlet issue! Click image for larger version

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Old 10-11-2016, 08:43 AM   #8
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I wonder why some are wired this way and others aren't? Our original 81 Excella does not have this switch, and we've never had a problem running both the AC and Microwave at the same time. Glad you found the culprit though.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:18 AM   #9
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1981 31' Excella II
Florence , Alabama
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Now that we no longer use that outlet for a microwave, I wonder if I can change it so that I can run the AC and that outlet at the same time. Any ideas?
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Old 10-11-2016, 02:20 PM   #10
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Sure - Easy enough. Just remove the switch, wire nut all the like colored wires together and put on a blank wall plate where the switch came from. Be sure to put all the bare ground wires together also.

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Old 10-11-2016, 07:43 PM   #11
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I wonder if Airstream installed this EITHER / OR switch only on trailer that had a built in microwave cabinet option? I grabbed a Sharpie and labeled my switch "AC" and then "Micro". Helps an old guy keep it straight.

Many folks put a microwave on the countertop of an older trailer and don't have a problem. You just have to be cognizant that all the power you have coming in is 30 amps AC or about 3000 watts. And even that can be marginal on a hot day in a crowded campground. An air conditioner on high, full cool can pull 2000 of those precious watts. And then we plug in a 1500 watt hair dryer along with a toaster oven and suddenly the trailer goes dark.

I guess that's why some Airstreams now have 50 amp shore power just like the big fifth wheels do. We love our electricity and I'm one of the types that do.

David
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