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Old 07-17-2015, 09:35 PM   #43
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OK. update. I stopped at home depot on the way home for a $4 breaker. I installed it first because, to be honest, it was the path of least resistance. And.. success. System works great off the genny. I ran the genny and AC for nearly 2 hrs while my wife and I worked inside. The old breaker was toast, although it would manually trip and reset just fine. No signs of damage, just wasn't working. ??????
This is a band-aid for sure. I still have no idea why I have a breaker there (much less a 20amp), or why I have a 50A breaker on the genny... but our family is headed to MN in less than a week and I'm moving on to other projects already. I'll dig into the WHY after our trip. For now, will try not to overload the system while on genny power. SO happy to have house AC while on the road in Texas heat. Going to be 100 next week when we leave.
Big smiles over here that this was a $4 fix. Brad, I broke out the ohm meter but happily put it away unused. There will be an update to this thread later this year. Can't say enough thanks to you all for helping. Would have cost me a fortune at a local shop.

Ben

What a trip...
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Old 07-18-2015, 06:39 AM   #44
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Congrats Ben!! Love those forum members induced success stories
Another $4.- for a 30 amp would ease your mind or if your alternator charging system is wired correctly, unplug the new converter when on the road. Then you only run the fridge and the A/C on the genny power.
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Old 07-18-2015, 06:47 AM   #45
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Beautiful
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Old 07-18-2015, 07:28 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by bpg_austin View Post
OK. update. I stopped at home depot on the way home for a $4 breaker. I installed it first because, to be honest, it was the path of least resistance. And.. success. System works great off the genny. I ran the genny and AC for nearly 2 hrs while my wife and I worked inside. The old breaker was toast, although it would manually trip and reset just fine. No signs of damage, just wasn't working. ??????
Great!!

My guess is what happened is when you shutdown the genset last time with the AC on high there was a current surge that melted/fried the breaker points. What happens is when you lower the voltage (which happens when the generator is winding down) on something that is running the current requirement goes up. A rough example would be if the AC requires 15 amps when running at 120vac then at 80vac it might require 50 or so amps. That's more than enough to damage the breaker contacts, heck that's more than enough to damage the generator itself. I don't know what the real numbers would be but hopefully you get the idea.

What baffles me a little is why you generator was so hard to start with the breaker in the condition it was. Somehow that breaker had to have shorted to a ground point inside which was effectively shorting out the generator. That's the only thing I can think of that could affect the generator trying to start.

I'm gonna have to think about this one. Maybe you could dismantle the bad breaker and take a picture or two.

Quote:
This is a band-aid for sure. I still have no idea why I have a breaker there (much less a 20amp), or why I have a 50A breaker on the genny... but our family is headed to MN in less than a week and I'm moving on to other projects already. I'll dig into the WHY after our trip. For now, will try not to overload the system while on genny power. SO happy to have house AC while on the road in Texas heat. Going to be 100 next week when we leave.
Big smiles over here that this was a $4 fix. Brad, I broke out the ohm meter but happily put it away unused. There will be an update to this thread later this year. Can't say enough thanks to you all for helping. Would have cost me a fortune at a local shop.

Ben

What a trip...
I wouldn't call it a band aid. That's a text book example of how to troubleshoot a problem. You check the simple things first and then move onto the more difficult/expensive checks.

Look at it this way, if that 20 amp breaker hadn't been in the circuit imagine what would have happened to the generator. Remember the generator has a 50 amp breaker installed right now instead of what we all agree it should be a 20 or 30 amp breaker. Instead of $4 you might be spending $3000 for a new generator

Enjoy your trip...

Brad
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Old 07-18-2015, 08:22 AM   #47
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OK. update. I stopped at home depot on the way home for a $4 breaker. I installed it first because, to be honest, it was the path of least resistance. And.. success. System works great off the genny. I ran the genny and AC for nearly 2 hrs while my wife and I worked inside. The old breaker was toast, although it would manually trip and reset just fine. No signs of damage, just wasn't working. ??????
This is a band-aid for sure. I still have no idea why I have a breaker there (much less a 20amp), or why I have a 50A breaker on the genny... but our family is headed to MN in less than a week and I'm moving on to other projects already. I'll dig into the WHY after our trip. For now, will try not to overload the system while on genny power. SO happy to have house AC while on the road in Texas heat. Going to be 100 next week when we leave.


Its a good dea to have that breaker inline from your genny. Those push button breakers on the genny are pretty unreliable is what Ive been told. I think I would look into replacing the 50 with a 30 and replacing the 20 with a 30. The thing Im wondering about is why a PO would have installed those in the first place. Could have been as simple as thats what they had available. Or they may have been having some issues with the genny and that was their solution to make it work..........who knows! But logic would tell you that it doesnt make sense to have it set up thst way. Have a great, trouble free trip.
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Old 07-18-2015, 12:32 PM   #48
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Its a good dea to have that breaker inline from your genny. Those push button breakers on the genny are pretty unreliable is what Ive been told. I think I would look into replacing the 50 with a 30 and replacing the 20 with a 30. The thing Im wondering about is why a PO would have installed those in the first place. Could have been as simple as thats what they had available. Or they may have been having some issues with the genny and that was their solution to make it work..........who knows! But logic would tell you that it doesnt make sense to have it set up thst way. Have a great, trouble free trip.
I'm with Mike, replace the 20 amp with a 30 amp and get rid of the 50 in favor of a 30 amp.

With the 20 amp breaker installed you've effectively restricted your coach to about 20 amps max from the generator whereas if you switch to a 30 amp breaker you'll have the full 28-30 amp output of the generator available to use.

Brad
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Old 07-18-2015, 07:24 PM   #49
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Brad, I fished the breaker out of the trash and will split it open when I get a chance. You might have to be a bit patient with me. I am interested to see though! lots on my plate at the moment.

I'm in agreement with the thinking of swapping the genny breaker for a 30A and upping the in-line breaker to a 30. Seems redundant though, doesn't it? Could I just bypass the genny breaker completely (hard wire leads together) and replace the inline with a 30? Wouldn't that effectively bring be back to 'stock'? Then I'd have a reliable genny breaker that's not susceptible to vibrations. ? Just relocating the genny breaker really.

BG
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Old 07-19-2015, 06:56 AM   #50
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Brad, I fished the breaker out of the trash and will split it open when I get a chance. You might have to be a bit patient with me. I am interested to see though! lots on my plate at the moment.
No hurry on my part, just curiosity

Quote:
I'm in agreement with the thinking of swapping the genny breaker for a 30A and upping the in-line breaker to a 30. Seems redundant though, doesn't it? Could I just bypass the genny breaker completely (hard wire leads together) and replace the inline with a 30? Wouldn't that effectively bring be back to 'stock'? Then I'd have a reliable genny breaker that's not susceptible to vibrations. ? Just relocating the genny breaker really.

BG
Electrically I know of no reason you can't eliminate the 50 amp breaker at the genset. Although per the NEC code book (I'm not sure if the NEC applies to RVs) normally with circuit breakers you put a breaker close to the power source. For example your home entrance breaker panel is situated right where the power lines enter the house.

One thing to consider is insurance coverage. If the 50 amp breaker was eliminated and for some reason while running on generator power your motorhome burned up it's possible the insurance company could see the breaker was eliminated and not want to pay due to an "altered" generator. Just trying to look at the worst case scenario here.

With that being said If it was my generator most likely I would eliminate the 50 amp breaker and just tie the wires together.

Brad
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Old 07-22-2015, 07:57 AM   #51
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Here's a shot of the toasted breaker. Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByAirstream Forums1437569819.198670.jpg
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ID:	243617Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByAirstream Forums1437569855.248547.jpg
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:30 AM   #52
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Ben, those breaker points are most definitely fried! They are probably as bad as I have ever seen.

There is only one scenario that we (my electrical engineering co-workers) can come up with that would cause the generator to be sluggish to start when the breaker was on. That scenario is as follows:

Genset plugged into motorhome
Breaker on
Some sort of 120 VAC load within the coach

With the breaker contacts burned as badly as they are with the breaker in the closed position the contacts would actually act like a resistor instead of a short circuit. However for this resistor to have an impact on the generator when starting there had to be some sort of electrical load in the circuit inside the coach.

A load could be as something as simple as a clock, door bell or some other item that draws power from the 120 VAC system. The burned breaker contacts would make this small load seem like a large load to the generator.

Assuming the above is correct what would happen is when you tried to start the generator the small 120 VAC load plus the high resistance through the burned circuit breaker contacts would cause a high load on the generator causing it to be hard to start (i.e. turn over).

Without some sort of load being present we can't think of any scenario that would cause the symptoms you were experiencing.

One way to check for an AC load on the coach side would be to unplug the genset (and shore power) cord and using an ohm meter check for any readings between the hot (black) and neutral (white) wires of the female socket. If there are no loads present you should have no reading, with any sort of load present you will get some sort of resistance reading.

Hope this all makes sense!

Brad
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:38 PM   #53
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Yes, I think I get it. Though electricity is basically a foreign language to me.. At any rate, I've got the band-aid installed for the time being and we're headed out in a few hours. I'll dig into my electrical mysteries when I get back. Aside from the random breaker, my remote genny start doesn't work as well as my entire Monitoring system.. For another day.
I'll be posting up on the forum if I'm somehow stranded and need some expert advice. Otherwise, hope to be 'unplugged' for a week!

Best,
Ben
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:15 AM   #54
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Aside from the random breaker, my remote genny start doesn't work as well as my entire Monitoring system.. For another day.
When you get spare time describe what's happening (or not happening) with the remote start.

Quote:
I'll be posting up on the forum if I'm somehow stranded and need some expert advice. Otherwise, hope to be 'unplugged' for a week!

Ben
Good deal! Hope you have a great time
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