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Old 06-05-2016, 10:48 PM   #1
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Extension Cord Use & A/C

Our converter failed this weekend, while I was running our A/C. We are camped just a bit too far from our electrical plug in -- so was grateful we had an extension cord to use. Now I'm wondering if that is what caused our converter to fail.

Any thoughts? Thank you in advance!!

Monica Bennett
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Old 06-06-2016, 04:53 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear that. What do you mean by failed converter?

We've been at campsites where high heat and lots of people puts a real strain on the electric capability of the site. We use a surge protector that also has a low voltage shutoff and one weekend it must have shut down our camper a dozen times - but that's why we have it.

You do lose something with an extension cord over distance so that can contribute to not having enough voltage to run things.
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Old 06-06-2016, 05:01 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by J5MM View Post
Our converter failed this weekend, while I was running our A/C. We are camped just a bit too far from our electrical plug in -- so was grateful we had an extension cord to use. Now I'm wondering if that is what caused our converter to fail.

Any thoughts? Thank you in advance!!

Monica Bennett
Please specify all the electrical cords you used [OEM 30/50 amp AWG #__?, plus what other cords?] and the lengths utilized. Also the size of the outlet/breaker which supplied the juice.

Inadequate voltage can probably fry the converter charger . . . hopefully an expert here will comment further.
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:11 AM   #4
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I apologize, I should have been more clear, but thank you both for you input. I have the regular power cord that came with the Airstream connected to a 30' yellow marine grade power cord. It is this cord that is plugged into the trailer. I wish I knew the exact name/model of the marine grade cord, but the fellow who sold it to me at the boating shop told me he has RVers come in all the time to buy these cords.

As for the electrical source, we don't share it with anyone, it is on a piece of property that we own. We had it installed by the electric company. It's literally a tower with two 30 amp plug ins so two trailers could camp there.

I'm experienced with converter failures as the converter in our first Airstream failed, so I am 110% certain this is the case this time.

I just don't want to "fry" another converter once we get it fixed . . .
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:17 AM   #5
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Just my opinion, but....

If the voltage was low enough to damage the converter the air conditioner would have been drawing too much current and should have tripped the breaker in the trailer for the air conditioner circuit. The air conditioner is more sensitive to low voltage that the converter again, IMO.

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Old 06-06-2016, 10:17 AM   #6
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There have been many threads about electricians mistakenly wiring a 30a for an RV as they would an old 30a appliance outlet. Check this out and have the electrician review their work.

http://www.myrv.us/Imgs/PDF/30-amp%20Service.pdf
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:21 AM   #7
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If the voltage was low enough to damage the converter the air conditioner would have been drawing too much current and should have tripped the breaker in the trailer for the air conditioner circuit. The air conditioner is more sensitive to low voltage that the converter again, IMO.

Al
Not necessarily. If insufficient current is available to run the AC, then insufficient current exists to trip the breaker rated for AC use. (I.E., if 20A is needed for the AC and the breaker is rated similarly, and if less than 20A is available then how would a 20A breaker trip? 0
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
If the voltage was low enough to damage the converter the air conditioner would have been drawing too much current and should have tripped the breaker in the trailer for the air conditioner circuit. The air conditioner is more sensitive to low voltage that the converter again, IMO.

Al
Yeah -- no breakers were tripped when the failure was slowly happening. The A/C would run for 10 minutes and then it would have an "E7 failure" on the display (which means there was an interruption in power). I then turned off the A/C by pushing the off button and would simultaneously press the Zone and Mode buttons to initiate a reset -- then power it back up and it would again run for 10 minutes and fail once more until it no longer worked and I was left with no power to the trailer. I felt like I fried it by continuing to force it work when I very well knew something was not right.

I could also smell the converter burning up too -- I am suspecting that it was another bad converter that was going to fail eventually -- like our first converter did in our first Airstream. If this is the case, which I am really hoping, I am glad it happened in summer and not in winter when we rely on the furnace to keep the pipes from freezing.

We will have it fixed this week and I will ask the service repair facility about the extension cord being a catalyst to the failure.

I will keep you all posted -- THANK YOU !!!!
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:43 PM   #9
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Not necessarily. If insufficient current is available to run the AC, then insufficient current exists to trip the breaker rated for AC use. (I.E., if 20A is needed for the AC and the breaker is rated similarly, and if less than 20A is available then how would a 20A breaker trip? 0
Not quite right. What is insufficient is voltage, not current. The service will supply current, just the voltage will drop. The AC draws more current when the voltage is low.

Ohm's law is the theory behind it. I also have experimental evidence to confirm it, referenced in my post.

Think about it. The source capacity to the house could be 200A or more. The limit is the wire size and the circuit breakers. If the wire size is too small, the resistance is higher than it should be, the voltage drop is more than it should be, but the current keeps on coming. The AC compressor motor is rated in HP. Within limits it will try to deliver that HP, regardless of the voltage. Power is the product of voltage and current. The only way the power stays the same if the voltage goes down is for the current to go up.

Al
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:43 PM   #10
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The longer the extension cord, the more resistance there is.

Is your AS 30 amp or 50 amp?? How long and what gauge wire is in your extension cord??

Tom
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:54 PM   #11
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I think we are missing something here. With 60 ft of normal shorepower cable, marine or RV, there will not be enough voltage drop to do any damage, as a result of the cord. That assumes a good 120v source and we cannot be certain that his source was adequate.
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:20 PM   #12
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I think we are missing something here. With 60 ft of normal shorepower cable, marine or RV, there will not be enough voltage drop to do any damage, as a result of the cord. That assumes a good 120v source and we cannot be certain that his source was adequate.
Larry
This is true, however my point was that, if the voltage was low, the AC would draw more current. If the current was sufficient to damage the 30A (or 50A) connector, it should have tripped the 15 or 20A breaker in the trailer for the AC. It didn't. The conclusion I draw from this is that the current drawn by the AC was within normal limits and the 30A connector failed due to heating of the pins/sockets due to corrosion or loose connections.

Al
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:23 PM   #13
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I'm sorry, I must have missed his post about connector damage. I thought he was reporting the failed converter and the AC would not run. You are certainly right about the current.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:03 AM   #14
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Not quite right. What is insufficient is voltage, not current. The service will supply current, just the voltage will drop. The AC draws more current when the voltage is low.

Ohm's law is the theory behind it. I also have experimental evidence to confirm it, referenced in my post.

Think about it. The source capacity to the house could be 200A or more. The limit is the wire size and the circuit breakers. If the wire size is too small, the resistance is higher than it should be, the voltage drop is more than it should be, but the current keeps on coming. The AC compressor motor is rated in HP. Within limits it will try to deliver that HP, regardless of the voltage. Power is the product of voltage and current. The only way the power stays the same if the voltage goes down is for the current to go up.

Al
Re-read what I wrote. I specifically wrote about "insufficient current"....not voltage. Since you are familiar with Ohms Law, then you realize that current is represented by Amps. If insufficient Amps exist as I posed, then a C.B. rated at more Amps will not trip.
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