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Old 05-12-2014, 11:52 PM   #1
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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Absolutely no power from shore?!

Hi all- I'm looking for a bit of electrical help. :/

We were out in the 2012 Eddie Bauer a few weeks ago, the first night while hooked up to city power (and while we were using the TV, heat through AC unit, a few lights, and possibly the water heater) everything flickered and died! No 120v power. We were able to make it through the next couple of days on propane and battery power. The fridge and lights and everything were still operable on 12v and propane.

We checked the breakers on the converter, flipped them a few times. We tested the fuses in the same panel... they all read fine. Still nothing.

We tried a different electric pole, flipped the pole breakers, and still nothing. The shore power cable has lights on either end- they both light up- supposedly indicating power is trying to go somewhere!

I haven't been able to find any other breaker panels- so I guess that's my first question. Is there anything else I should be flipping or testing?

After a few days, battery power was quite low. When we drove home they didn't seem to gain any charge. Though it was only a 4 hour drive, so it may just not have been long enough. I mention it in case someone finds that information relevant.

My second thought is maybe the converter died? I really have no other ideas. I didn't have a multimeter out there, and haven't been able to get out to storage to test anything since we've been back. And to be fair, my electrical skills are pretty basic- so while I'll happily dig around for hours- I may not know what I'm looking for!

Thanks for any help you can give.
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:27 AM   #2
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Hi, it seems that most all of the newer trailers have a shore power inlet and a generator inlet; This involves a transfer relay. I have read that there have been so many problems with this transfer relay. This would be my best guess.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:50 AM   #3
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If the trailer has both a street side rear and street side of front of trailer 30 amp power connection, then the factory installs a really CHEAP digital switch so only one outlet can provide power to the circuit breaker panel at a time. The question is not if that switching device will fail, but when.

Here are some ideas to consider from one vendor:

TRC Power Monitoring Automatic Transfer Switch with Surge Protection - Surge Guards - Power Protection - Electrical

Note that the really inexpensive units may not have mechanical contractors which is what one wants. Basically these are called a double pole double throw switch for 240Vac for 50 amp trailer service or a single pole double throw switch for 120Vac for the 30 amp trailer service.

On our 2013 25FB International Serenity, that switch was under the head of the odd shaped queen bed by the front wall. I would have had to remove the mattress and the plywood it rests upon to easily access and replace that switch. We traded the unit before I got around to installing a reliable switch.

Our Classic has a single 50 amp power input location so a switch is not necessary.
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:39 AM   #4
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We had a "transfer switch" drop out a month or so ago while in an RV park. Happened in the late afternoon when both the AC and the hot water heater were running on shore power. No power inside the trailer but the power light on the cord outside was on. First thought was that the 30 amp main breaker had popped but not so. Reset everything but no inside power. Finally called a tech at Camper Clinic and he suggested it was the transfer switch and try plugging into the front power connection. That brought power inside the trailer but there was also a loud hum from the switch panel inside. Replugged to the regular power plug outside and apparently the cycle had reset the transfer switch and there was internal power. Numerous plugs, unplugs re locations and the transfer switch seems to have gone back to normal operation. Still not sure if it was the load of the hot water heater and the AC running at the same time that caused the problem or if it was an RV park power problem. Everything seems to be back to normal with the AS but it's hard to nail down a problem when everything is working. By the way, I've popped the 30amp main breaker before (in high summer) running both the water heater on shore power the air conditioner and I really know better than to do that during the summer, but even that doesn't cause a problem as long as the inside is fairly cool. But in the meantime I guess I'll just wait to see if the transfer switch cuts out again. I communicated with Airstream about the problem and they reminded me that my warranty was good through December of this year so I guess we will see what the summer brings. But, I'm not going to test the system with both the AC and water heater running at the same time on shore power. Note to self: hot water heater on gas when using the air conditioning.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:08 AM   #5
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The great thing about the Airstream warranty on that intermittent cheap power switch is that it gets replaced by an identical cheap power switch that could also fail at an inopportune time.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:44 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info on the transfer switch, I'll add that to the list of things to check. I do have 2 shore connections (front and side/rear). Neither connection provides power... So I'm thinking it sounds possible!

I'm a second owner, so I have no warranty. I'm finding myself learning how to fix lots of things. :P
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:24 PM   #7
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What was the original sale date? Have you checked if the factory warranty, if time has not elapsed, is transferrable? Two years is still two years.
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:45 PM   #8
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SWITZ, As near as I could tell, although neither the dealer tech dept nor airstream would specifically acknowledge it, the transfer switch in at least the 2012 trailer is a Parallax ATS 301. That would make sense since the power panel is a Parallax system. If so the ATS 301 is an $80-90 dollar item while the TRC automatic transfer switch you referenced is a $599 piece of hardware. Is this what you mean by an upgrade? If so, that's quite an upgrade. But then, I upgraded to 16in LT Michelin tires and put a second AC on the unit so what's another few hundred dollars.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:43 PM   #9
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I know nothing about the transfer switch, but did have a friend experience the same problem. Turned out the connections on the back side of the shore power connection had come loose.

Does that make sense??

Anyway, we pulled the socket out of the side of the trailer, found the loose connections, reattached them, good to go.

It was a pita because there was vertually no slack in the wiring to actually get the socket out enough to make it easy.

But why make it easy when it is easy to make it hard.

John
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:10 AM   #10
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Evidently a copy and paste did not paste. This is the link to the page above that one.

RV Transfer Switches, Electrical Accessories, Transfer Switch with Surge Protector

This link offers many choices of transfer switch. The goal is one with a mechanical contact relay that can be user replaced.

I found I have an ever growing "just in case" spare parts container that lives in the back of the truck....
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:56 AM   #11
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We have had success upgrading the OEM 30 amp transfer switch with a 50 amp unit. It is much heavier duty than the original, and has the added plus that it has its own backup inside. Should the first relay fail, there is a second one inside, just move the wires. I forget how much it costs, but it was nowhere even approaching close to $500.
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:14 AM   #12
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I still say airstreams bean counter needs fitted with cement boots....
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:23 AM   #13
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Cement boots or at the very least, forced to spend his only vacation days camping in an Airstream, with no dealer around..... in the rain.... at night..... with no tools..... with his family! That should do it!
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:16 AM   #14
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I look at rving as an adventure. Some adventures are fun, some not so much. Good luck. Jim
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtomicNo13 View Post
Cement boots or at the very least, forced to spend his only vacation days camping in an Airstream, with no dealer around..... in the rain.... at night..... with no tools..... with his family! That should do it!
Yep, that should do it.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:26 PM   #16
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How about a manual transfer switch?

It seems that all "RV Transfer Switches" are automatic. We rarely ever use our "generator" power input. For those rare cases, I'd be perfectly happy to throw a manual switch. So if I ever need to change out my current switch, or decide to carry a spare, why shouldn't I just get a manual one? Just a DPDT 30 amp switch in a box? Could I find one at Home Depot?
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:13 PM   #17
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The only reason that Airstream added this POS transfer switch, which has a long history of failure, is to give the newer trailers a front receptacle to allow you to plug in a generator that is located in the bed of your pick-up with a short power cord. Other than that, it is just as easy to use your normal shore cord to plug into the generator and NOT have all the potential failures with this cheap piece of garbage.

The simplest way around this is to eliminate the transfer switch entirely, which will also disconnect your front 30 amp power inlet. It's as easy as:

• locate the offending transfer switch
• be sure that YOU ARE NOT CONNECTED TO SHORE POWER OR GENERATOR and that your inverter (if you have one) is also off.
• throw ALL of your AC circuit breakers to the off position (you can't be too careful with 'Sparky' around
• open the transfer switch and locate the hot in and the hot output (both black) to the 120VAC breaker box
• locate and remove the cable (Romex) labeled 'generator'....hot, neutral and ground, capping these wires with wire nuts and tape and preferably placing them in a metal junction box with cover
• join the hot in and the hot out together on the same screw post. The neutrals and grounds are already connected. The old transfer switch bus bars and casing will now function solely as a junction box.

You are now ready to go with a direct connection from your normal 30 AMP 120VAC input from your shore cord right to the 120VAC breaker box. No more problems, as your front outlet is deal.

Cost: a bit of time and a few wire nuts and junction box.

I'm all for transfer switches, but the QUALITY type like those made by TRC in Tamps, FL. USA made with a nice warranty and very robust mechanical contactors. These are the little gizmos that are responsible for actually making sure that you can't have both shore power and generator connecting to your breaker box simultaneously.

PS: If you are not familiar with 120VAC electrical wiring, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS. Hire a competent tech or electrician to do the job for you. Sparky bites pretty hard if you are not careful!
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Old 05-15-2014, 12:55 AM   #18
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The Navy training video "120 Vac, Your deadly shipmate" was very informative back in the day. It is still relevant today in our aluminum land yachts.
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:21 AM   #19
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I would suggest replacing your transfer switch with a Furrion replacement. Theirs appear to be a better quality. I have a few in place, the actual positive contractor mfd by Siemens.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:36 AM   #20
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Lewster speaks my mind. The 2nd power inlet is a misfeature of, at best, doubtful utility. Unless you have a specific situation that requires it, I would suggest bypassing the transfer switch as Lewster describes.
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