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Old 06-30-2020, 04:37 AM   #1
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2020 25' Flying Cloud
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RV 12 v systems book, videos, websites?

I'm posting this on what I think is the most read forum, because it's about a wider subject than electrical.

I'm dealing yet again with a 12 v problem in yet again a recreational vehicle. Done it in multiple boats, multiple trailers. Don't understand the damn things.

I know I'm not stupid, and I have a good mechanical apptitude, but there's always something about a 12 v problem that just puts me up against a mental wall. So since we all have the same 12 v systems, I wanted my homies' advice on some educational material that will finally bring me out of my dark slough of ignorance and let me problem-solve these things intelligently.

Clear explanations are better than encyclopedic precision. And details on typical RV systems (converters, inverters, solar systems) would be helpful. But anyway, please let me know what you've used and what you've found helpful.
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Old 06-30-2020, 04:48 AM   #2
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I have never looked for the equivalent of Nigel Calder's boat books, in the RV world. I think that is because if you are comfortable with boat electrical systems, the concepts are similar or identical in RV's. True, Airstream does some strange things, especially with color codes and wiring looms. But their schematics read like ordinary schematics. So, I would encourage to obtain schematics for your trailer, from Airstream, if they are not in your manual. This is truly not rocket science and if your mind is blocked making a transition from boat or car electrical systems, then perhaps you should just let an RV service business deal with your trailer.
Larry
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Old 06-30-2020, 05:48 AM   #3
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What problem are you having.
As Larry states above, you can make things worse if you are having a mental block on the 12V side.
I’m about 1.5 hours from you and would be glad to help/teach if needed.
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:32 AM   #4
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What problem am I having?

First, thanks for your very nice offer. If it weren't for CV, I'd gladly take you up on that. It's a very kind offer.

Second: It's not a problem, it's problems. But to give you the immediate problem. I'm home with the trailer, plugged in to the 110 v AC home circuit. Last night, I was trying to get my arms around the solar charging system, so I turned off the shore power (using the Use/Store switch). When I went to turn the AC back on, I realized it wasn't working. I went to look at the shore power cord, and neither of the lights on the big shore power cord--not the one at the gooseneck, and not the one at the plug--were lit. I traced that back to my house 110 v GFCI outlet and found it was tripped.

I reset the GFCI breaker, it immediately tripped. I unplugged the extension cord and plugged it back in: immediately tripped. I unplugged everything, I reset the GFCI, plugged the extension cord into another electrical tool: it worked fine. Plugged it into the trailer shore power cord: tripped. Again, I traced the line, 110 v plug to shore power plug on the trailer. Somewhere along the way, I realized that my adapter for 110 to 30 amp plugs had basically melted. So that's the answer, right? I went out and bought a couple of heavier guage extension cords and used a different adapter, and then redid the whole procedure … … and it's still tripping the GFCI breaker whenever I plug it in.

I checked the trailer again, there's nothing "on" (not a/c, not water heater, not microwave, not the fans, nada nada nada--so there's no load.) The breakers are all non-tripped, unless I'm missing one. I haven't looked at the fuses, but they're 12 v DC, not 110 v AC, so it shouldn't be in the equation.

So I'm where I always end up with even the shore power side of 12 v systems: flummoxed. Any suggestions?
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:52 AM   #5
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Your problem has nothing to do with the 12v system; what you are describing is all within the 120v AC system. These trailers are notorious for tripping 15 amp gfi circuits, but not real 30 amp circuits. First of all, trip all of the AC breakers in your trailer at the load center, plug in your shorepower cord and reset the gfi. See if it holds. If it trips, you still have a problem in the cord or one of the connectors, including the connector at the trailer outside. If you melted a connector you may well have a problem at the trailer connector.
If the gfi holds, close the AC breaker that is the main 30 amp feed and see if it the gfi is still OK. Keep doing that until you find the circuit that is tripping the GFI. Then you will need to dig more deeply into the loads on that circuit.
This can be dangerous stuff and if you have ANY doubts, just pay an electrician. Most electricians are fully capable of troubleshooting AC issues.
Larry
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Old 06-30-2020, 11:17 AM   #6
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A good basic intro is here.
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