Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-12-2015, 01:55 PM   #1
2010 20' Flying Cloud
Lakeside , Montana
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 124
To throw or not to throw, the breakers

Weíve all pulled into a campsite and found the circuit breakers to be thrown (turned off) on the pedestal, so here are my proís and conís on this.

Reasons to leave the circuit breakers on:
1. Sign on pedestal says LEAVE CIRCUIT BREAKERS ON (Iíve often seen this).
2. Newbie bothers host with complaints that thereís no electricity at their site (you know it happens).
3. You have to throw on the breakers to have electricity at your site (youíve done this).
4. Constant throwing on and off circuit breakers eventually weakens the breaker resulting in premature tripping (heard that somewhere).

Reasons to turn the circuit breakers off:
1. (please fill in blank)
StreamDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 02:11 PM   #2
Rivet Master
Msmoto's Avatar

2015 30' International
2009 27' FB International
2007 25' Safari
Currently Looking...
Greensboro , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,564
Images: 135
Circuit breakers off

When one connects a plug with a lot of voltage and amperage, there is inevitably an arcing of the contacts as the plug is inserted. The circuit breaker/switch is designed to minimize risk during connection and IMO should always be off when the RV line is plugged.

Also, should one have an unforeseen connection with the metal plugs as they are inserted, with the breaker off this is of no concern. Breaker on and one could find themselves dead or severely injured by electrical shock. Most of us are standing on the ground when we plug in, so....
Happy trails and Good Luck
Ms Tommie Fantine Lauer, Greensboro, NC
AIR #31871 KQ3H
Msmoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 02:29 PM   #3
Rivet Master
paiceman's Avatar
2020 28' Flying Cloud
Upper St Clair , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,923
Images: 1
I don't care what a sign says. If breakers are on when I arrive I turn them off, plug in my circuit tester and fault detector, wait the 145 seconds for it to check everything and tell me all is ok, then I plug in our wire from the AS.

When I leave I turn the breakers off prior to pulling plug.

2020 28' Twin Flying Cloud-(Our 5th Airstream)

USAF Master Training Instructor (TI) - 68-72
paiceman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 02:42 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
2016 30' Flying Cloud
Oviedo , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 264
Images: 1
Most circuit breakers are not designed or intended to be used as switches and I believe the NEC prohibits their use as such unless specifically marked as intended for that (SWD). It will cause the breaker to fail quicker, although it is debatable what the life derating actually is.

Unless one is in the habit of connecting to the pedestal with the AC, microwave & water heater on, there is not a huge amount of current to cause destructive arcing.

Worrying about the risk of electrocution while plugging into the pedestal strikes me as right up (down) there with getting killed by a meteor. There is a much higher chance of slipping and falling in the shower and hitting your head, but I don't think most of us would advocate wearing a helmet in the shower

My personal opinion is both the wear and safety arguments are fringe concerns. The bigger issue is convenience and making it easier on the hosts since you would be amazed the number of folks who don't think to check the breaker when they hook up.
Keith & Barb
2016 30' Flying Cloud
2016 Ram 2500 diesel
Southeastern Camping Unit, WBCCI #1675
khollister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 02:54 PM   #5
Rivet Master
AWCHIEF's Avatar
2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 8,278
Images: 33
I have never seen a sign saying leave the breakers on, in fact just the opposite. Plug in both ends and flip the breaker on. Prevents arching and sparking at the trailer plug end. Common sense to me.

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
AWCHIEF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 04:16 PM   #6
Senior Member
sheriff1's Avatar
2012 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Sparks , Nevada
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 913
To throw or not to throw, the breakers

Breakers off both before I plug in and unplug to avoid arky-sparky. Particularly important in 50 amp as it can create damage if negative lead disengages before positive leads. The only leave on stickers I have seen are for the occasional 20amp that power the sight lights (overhead or pedestal) or a heat tape for the water riser.

2015 F350 CC 4X4 6.7 Diesel
2010 27FB Silver Cloud "The Silver Spoon"
sheriff1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 06:36 PM   #7
Rivet Master
TG Twinkie's Avatar
1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,008
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 5
Breaker OFF all connections made before energizing the circuit. Breaker OFF before disconnecting.
I have only been in one privately owned RV. Park where there was no way to shut the power off at the pedestal.
In that case one should shut the main breaker off in the coach. But that will not prevent you from getting electrocuted while plugging in or unplugging.

Sent from my iPod touch using Airstream Forums
TG Twinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 07:09 PM   #8
Rivet Master
Wingeezer's Avatar
2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,743
To be honest, I have never worried about it (maybe I'm way too lazy!)

I just plug in and then ask my "Mrs" to tell me if both lights are lit on the polarity checker that I keep plugged in at the galley 110 outlet in the trailer.

If they are on, great, if they are not on, then I check the breaker at the post and flip it on if needed - usually no need, as the last occupant has usually left it on anyway!

Again, not to say that this is the way to do it by any means ..... and I will accept any criticism and perhaps even change my ways .... but it's what I do! A a rule, all major power consumption devices such as AC, water heater, etc., are off when I plug in, so no significant current flow anticipated.

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
Wingeezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2015, 07:26 PM   #9
Rivet Master
SteveSueMac's Avatar

2012 27' Flying Cloud
W , New England
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 7,397
I always shut them off before connecting my Progressive Dynamics surge protector and tester. I wait until it cycles through and tells me nothing is wired incorrectly BEFORE unhitching. If the site's electrical is a mess, I want to know that before setting up.

But I think the procedure should change. I start that way, then connect my 30a cord to my trailer receptacle and then plug in to the PD box - but at that point, the breaker and PD box are on. Even though nothing significant is on in the trailer, it may be worth testing first, then shutting the breakers off, then connecting the cable and then turning the breakers back on to avoid any risk of electrocution. Will think about that for next season.
SteveSueMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 08:24 AM   #10
4 Rivet Member
Curtis Wright
Currently Looking...
Eyren Haven , South Jersey
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 326
Electrocution at a power pedestal is a real danger.
Zil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 11:46 AM   #11
2 Rivet Member
2014 27' FB International
Clearwater , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 94
I deal with high amperage equipment for a living, not to mention running the vacuum around the house.
This relates to the AS how?
Best practices.
1) Turn off the shore powered items in the trailer prior to disconnecting shore power.
This reduces load at unplug and re-plug.
2) Leave the breakers on the pedestal alone. High amperage breakers will age, more quickly when used as a "switch". My experience is 30-50% life reduction.
ChuckFeldt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 12:12 PM   #12
4 Rivet Member
2019 25' Flying Cloud
Sequim , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 313
Blog Entries: 2
Sounds like "life reduction" is the crux if the matter. But there is disagreement whether the emphasis is on the life of the circuit breaker or the life of the operator.
See: RV Electrical Safety: Part IV ‚€“ Hot Skin | No~Shock~Zone
"Having differences makes a difference"
WestieHouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 12:22 PM   #13
4 Rivet Member
2019 25' Flying Cloud
Sequim , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 313
Blog Entries: 2
Actually, see the 3rd bullet point under the section "Reruns" at this site for a more definitive answer:
WestieHouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 02:51 PM   #14
2 Rivet Member
PeterKV's Avatar
1985 25' Sovereign
Wichita Falls , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 65
I am the maintenance man at my rv park, have 175 sites all wired for 20,30 and 50 amp service, by far the biggest electrical problem I have here is from people who hookup or unhook their plugs without turning the breaker off. If everything in the rv is turned off there is no problem, however many people have lights and air conditioners turned on and it does cause some serious damage inside of the electrical boxes, outlets burned, wires melted and breakers fried. I shudder to think what is happening to the computers that many of the new motor homes have. My step father was an electrical engineer and he drilled it into my head at an early age - turn off before unplugging anything electrical.
PeterKV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2015, 03:17 PM   #15
Rivet Master
Currently Looking...
Mission , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 836
There was a time when I repaired big radars and related test equipment. The joke after making repairs was - "okay, let's smoke test this thing".
All breakers off before connecting power, then main breaker on, followed by breakers for circuits. Reverse order to disconnect.
Because you just never know ...
nrgtrakr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2015, 11:27 PM   #16
1 Rivet Member
2014 23' Flying Cloud
Irving , Texas
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 7
The cost to replace a 30 amp breaker is almost nothing, compared to the value of anything it powers up. The time it takes to replace one is less than the time it will take to write this post. And I doubt you could even build a site to code without them today, and for good reason.

Turning off the power for safety reasons is what they are designed to do. They prevent a plug of unknown condition, likely held in the bare hand of an unknown person, standing in unknown weather and other conditions from becoming HOT until the user intends it to be hot.

The fact that use will make it wear out someday brings them on par with every other mechanism in the modern world, and replacing them is simply a cost of doing business.

The notion that we should be more concerned about the cost of that part, which BTW we already pay for in the form of site rentals, or the amount of inconvenience it causes a park host (which could be counted in mere seconds per episode) every time some newbie can't figure out why there's is no juice, is far outweighed by the amount of reasonable safety they add to the equation.

I'm all for ways to save the park owner money or time, but not by volunteering my own personal safety instead...I'm there for my own enjoyment and I'm paying for the privilege, so I shut off the breakers, period.
Madarain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2015, 05:59 PM   #17
Rivet Master
BAB's Avatar
2015 30' Classic
2012 28' International
Greensboro , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,680
I always turn off the breaker before I plug in. And I have a hard-wired Progressive Dynamics monitor/surge protector that won't LET power into my rig if there's a bad ground, neutral issue or whatever. The usual problem I find in park pedestals isn't with the breaker, it's worn out contacts or broken insulator material from people who don't pull the plug straight out. (Saw this last night in the pedestal I was hooked up to.)
"SilverLeaf II" 2015 30' Classic
2019 RAM 2500 Limited 4x4 CC w/6.7L Cummins
ProPride 3P
AIR# 58452
WBCCI # 3430-Unit 21
BAB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2015, 06:27 PM   #18
2 Rivet Member
Currently Looking...
olympia , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 49
Originally Posted by paiceman View Post
I don't care what a sign says. If breakers are on when I arrive I turn them off, plug in my circuit tester and fault detector, wait the 145 seconds for it to check everything and tell me all is ok, then I plug in our wire from the AS.

When I leave I turn the breakers off prior to pulling plug.
What tester are you using? Need one. Thanks!
Xicaque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2015, 06:45 PM   #19
2 Rivet Member
Dobber's Avatar
2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
Queens , New York
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 71
<<What tester are you using? Need one. Thanks!>>

x 2 Paiceman.
Dobber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2015, 08:55 AM   #20
4 Rivet Member
2019 25' Flying Cloud
Sequim , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 313
Blog Entries: 2
See Mike Sokol 's web site for detailed information concerning the necessary (inexpensive) instruments and proper technique. I use this procedure every time I hook up and on an extended trip with 57 separate hookups I found three faulty and dangerous connections. The camp manager in two cases fixed the problem immediately. The third manager was in denial but allowed me to move to a different site. I will follow Sokol's advice to never hook up to defective power. Death is too high a price for camping.
WestieHouse is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Throw rugs taught at Restoration Rally snakecharmer General Interior Topics 8 06-12-2012 12:59 PM
Sliding throw rugs noreen&sal General Interior Topics 8 05-29-2011 07:54 AM
Moving throw rugs!!! pappy19 Floor Finishes 11 04-10-2011 08:07 PM
throw this away Zeppelinium Off Topic Forum 20 11-01-2009 09:45 PM
The VAP Throw Down! robandzoe General Interior Topics 33 01-04-2008 11:50 AM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:48 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.