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Old 06-19-2017, 03:11 PM   #1
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1984 34' International
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Connecting 30 amp cord to 15 amp circuit

I just pulled our 1984 Airstream home and wanted to connect the 30 amp plug to power the lights and charge the batteries. I bought a adapter that allowed connection of the 30 amp male plug to connect to the 15 amp female end of an extension cord. I tried turning the lights on but they kept cycling on and off every 5 seconds or so. I could here a clicking noise near where the batteries are located at the front of the trailer while the power cycled on and off. The refrigerator came on and seemed to be running continuously. I would appreciate some input on why this occurred and maybe guidance on connecting to power when a 30 amp outlet is not available. Thanks
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:21 PM   #2
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It sounds like the clicking could from the auto-resetting 12v breakers that some years of Airstreams had. You might have a short somewhere in that lighting circuit.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:23 PM   #3
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Hi

Simple answer: Turn everything you can off. The battery charger / converter will pull a pretty significant chunk of power all by it's self. On a trailer with incandescent lights, they are a bit of a surprise load wise (they gobble power ...).

Once the batteries are up to "full" (give it a couple of hours), you can start turning on one item or another item (note the or rather than and). 15A is not a lot of power to run things on. There are combo's you can use, it will take a bit of trial and error to work them out.

This of course *assumes* the trailer does not have an issue that also impacts 30A operation.

Bob
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matth57 View Post
I just pulled our 1984 Airstream home and wanted to connect the 30 amp plug to power the lights and charge the batteries. I bought a adapter that allowed connection of the 30 amp male plug to connect to the 15 amp female end of an extension cord. I tried turning the lights on but they kept cycling on and off every 5 seconds or so. I could here a clicking noise near where the batteries are located at the front of the trailer while the power cycled on and off. The refrigerator came on and seemed to be running continuously. I would appreciate some input on why this occurred and maybe guidance on connecting to power when a 30 amp outlet is not available. Thanks
Welcome to the forum! The first question is have you previously run this trailer successfully on a 30 Amp circuit? In other words, do all the electrical functions -- both 120 volt AC and 12 volt DC -- work correctly?

Reading between the lines, is this maybe a new trailer for you?

Thanks for clarifying the above, first, then we can figure out if maybe you have a short circuit in the lighting, as suggested, or some other problem perhaps.

There may be more than one thing going on IMO.

Cheers,

Peter

PS good advice from uncle bob also, which will help simplify the order of analysis.
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:16 AM   #5
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Yes the trailer is new to us, but everything works fine when it was connected to 30 amp outlet at the park where we bought it. I took the batteries out and I am having them checked out to see if that may be part of the problem. The trailer has been in storage at a local airstream park for several years and has been connected to 30 amp power off and on with no problems.
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for the update. If the batteries are more than 3-4 years old, I hope you will consider replacing them. Then I would follow uncle bob's suggestions, turn everything off, and turn on various functions one at a time.

We run our FC20 off a 15-amp circuit with a 50' #12 extension cord, which is able to handle the battery charger/converter, the fridge, and a small fan on 120 volts. Not the water heater and no A/C obviously.

This short Furrion pigtail adapter then connects to the trailer's shore power port:

https://www.amazon.com/Furrion-FP301.../dp/B004XN4DZI

Let us know how you do when the batteries are installed.

Cheers,.

Peter

PS -- It will be helpful to know each and every cord/pigtail/adapter you are using to connect to shore power. For instance is the OEM full-length shore power cord part of your set up, and what length and AWG (wire gauge) is it? Ditto for the extension cord -- length and AWG. It is possible that you are not getting full voltage at the trailer, which could be one factor.
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Old 06-20-2017, 12:36 PM   #7
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Check to see what else is on the house circuit with the 15A outlet. A dedicated 15A should run the charger and probably not the A/C, but, one with 4 other outlets on the circuit and in use may not run anything.

I have run my charger (progressive dynamics) and the A/C successfully on a dedicated 20A at home prior to installing shore power, but, last summer when we camped at my cousins farm we hooked up to the 20A on the porch and the voltage dropped so low the surge protector cut it off. On investigation I found that the whole living room including the TV and sound system were also on that 20A circuit.
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Old 06-20-2017, 04:46 PM   #8
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I found it best to unplug the refrigerator so it won't draw any amperage. I will use the gas to chill the fridge if only hooked to 15 amp.
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:25 AM   #9
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Hi

What is the gauge of your extension cord? How long is your extension cord? How new is it?

A long cord (say 100') of skinny wire (say #18) will have a pretty good drop at 15A. Things will try to start up, they draw current, the voltage drops, they cut out.

Old cords *might* have issues. New cords can have a really weird problem. The assumption when you look at a cord and it says "#12 wire" is that it is copper wire. That used to be the case in 100% of all extension cords and jumper cables. These days, there are copper plated aluminum wire cables out there. If you have a #14 aluminum extension cord, it's no better than a #18 copper one.

Best way to work any of this out is to grab a multimeter and measure what is going on. They are cheap and will tell you a whole lot very quickly.

Bob
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