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Old 10-30-2017, 07:58 AM   #1
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
Baton Rouge , Louisiana
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Tripping Breakers

We have a 2017 25-foot Flying Cloud wired for 30 amps.

At least once on every outing we trip the 30 amp main breaker onboard. This past weekend was typical. We had the heater on (first cold night of the season) and my wife was cooking with an electric skillet outside that was plugged into the outdoor socket. Both had been on for a while, and without turning anything else on, the main breaker tripped.

That happens all the time, usually with the AC running and something else already running, not just switched on.

I understand that any appliance with a heating element, like an electric skillet or a coffee maker, draws a lot of amps, but I find it hard to believe that an Airstream's electrical system can't handle the AC or heater and a skillet or coffee maker.

On the last two trips, once we popped the 30 amp main breaker I used a 50/30 amp dogbone adapter and plugged into the 50 amp socket, and we had no more problems.

Why would that be? The adapter is dropping the 50 amps down to 30, as I understand it, so why would I have no trouble with the 50 amp socket, but frequent trouble with the 30 amp sockets?

Thank you,
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Old 10-30-2017, 08:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chustmyre View Post
We have a 2017 25-foot Flying Cloud wired for 30 amps.

At least once on every outing we trip the 30 amp main breaker onboard. This past weekend was typical. We had the heater on (first cold night of the season) and my wife was cooking with an electric skillet outside that was plugged into the outdoor socket. Both had been on for a while, and without turning anything else on, the main breaker tripped.

That happens all the time, usually with the AC running and something else already running, not just switched on.

I understand that any appliance with a heating element, like an electric skillet or a coffee maker, draws a lot of amps, but I find it hard to believe that an Airstream's electrical system can't handle the AC or heater and a skillet or coffee maker.

On the last two trips, once we popped the 30 amp main breaker I used a 50/30 amp dogbone adapter and plugged into the 50 amp socket, and we had no more problems.

Why would that be? The adapter is dropping the 50 amps down to 30, as I understand it, so why would I have no trouble with the 50 amp socket, but frequent trouble with the 30 amp sockets?

Thank you,
We've had same issues in our new FC25. And I too appealed to this forum. First off, several incidents were tripping the campground breaker so my assumption was their power supply but then later, we had a number of on board trips at other campgrounds which like you, made me nervous. My wife as well, does a lot of cooking in electric appliances to save on propane and our situation was much like yours, skillet, AC, microwave, TRIP. The answer I got here by some was 'add up your amperage ratings, account for this or that startup draw and you'll see why...you're exceeding the limit'. We too, at one place, did the dog bone and plugged into the 50 amp outlet which solved the problem but in that case again, we were tripping the campground's breaker. I was told that basically the appliances are sized such that running the big ones, AC, microwave together are often the max. Too much draw to add one of your own and as long as the breakers ARE tripping, you're being protected from damage. It's a matter of figuring out what you can run together. We know now what that combo is for the most part. I can't offer an opinion though on being on tripping your inside breaker, switching to 50 amps, running the same things and then NOT tripping it. Are you sure the conditions were the same? Or maybe after switching, you managed to just stay below the threshold?
Hope this helps!
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Old 10-31-2017, 10:13 AM   #3
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Tripping of 20A GFCI Breaker

We own a 2017 Flying Cloud. We have had it out for about four adventures, one of them for 3 weeks. Just before our last outing we turned on the refrigerator Friday to get it cold for our Sunday departure. It came on although when we checked it later in the day it wasn't cooling and the LP light was on. I checked the breaker panel and the 20 amp GCFI breaker was tripped. I reset it and everything seemed fine however about 4 minutes later it tripped. After checking to make sure nothing else was plugged into the other outlets on this circuit I tried it again to no avail. Being that the trailer was essentially new I reasoned that the breaker must have failed. I bought a new Siemens breaker, however, I bought a GFCI/ARC fault breaker thinking it would be some extra protection for the duplex receptacles also on this breaker. Bad Idea!! The breaker worked fine initially and got us on the road. At our first stop I got to talking to a fellow camper who happened to be an electrician and he said "your going to have problems with that breaker it is way to sensitive". He was right it tripped a couple of times at our next stop. I went out and purchased an exact replacement GCFI breaker and so far no problems.
I do wonder why Airstream put the refrigerator AND ALL of the receptacles in the coach on one GFCI breaker. In a home the refrigerator is typically on a dedicated circuit. And why a GFCI for a refrigerator? Is it because the plug is outside the coach? We had a heating pad set on low plugged into a bedroom outlet but nothing else. It would seem to me it would make more sense to put the coach receptacles on a separate circuit. I know there are space concerns but the design could have been altered to accommodate another breaker or use a couple of slim-line breakers. Anybody else have a similar problem?
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Old 10-31-2017, 11:08 AM   #4
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Often the 30A receptacle in the pedestal is the most used and is corroded or not fitting well. That drops the voltage causing motor driven things like your AC in heat pump mode to draw more current than it normally would. I have a plug-in voltmeter in the trailer to ensure that I am receiving full voltage. When setting up I try to remember to check the voltage to be sure I am getting an adequate supply. Once I was only getting 92 volts when I should have been getting at least 110. Every time I have not had adequate voltage, I used my 50/30 adapter and everything was OK. The 50A receptacle is less used, and the wiring to it is larger, usually resulting in less voltage drop.

The 50/30 converter does not change the fact that the pedestal is capable of supplying 50A. You could still get 50A in your 30A plug and cord, but your 30A breaker should trip so it is a minimal risk.

Here is the meter I use:
https://www.amazon.com/Prime-Product.../dp/B002P48KLK

All that said, if you use everything AC powered in your trailer you will draw more than 30 amps, particularly when the AC unit compressor starts up. Power management is a part of camping unless you have 50A wiring and 50A service. Even then, if you have two ACs, 50A may not be enough for everything in the trailer and some added equipment like a portable induction cooktop.

Al
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Old 10-31-2017, 11:26 AM   #5
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After having several instances of the same issuenin older units , I added a second 20 amp power cord. On my 86 32 I brought it in thru the bumper compartment and on my 90 excella I came in thru the lower compartment next to the main power cord compartment. I went behind bed and cabinets and came up to the microwave and then down to the kick panel under the cabinets. I use this to power the microwave and Xtra heater . Just installed a separate receptacle behind the microwave and one in the kick panel. Don't scimp on the cord. In my 32 a 50 ft 12 ga was long enough.
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Old 10-31-2017, 11:31 AM   #6
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For me it is the converter, it is always powered up, no way to shut off to spread the load on stuff you need.

I have found that when my 30 amp main breaker pops from the AC, fridge, converter, I leave the breaker panel cover down to vent the breaker box. When it pops feel the warmth around that breaker, mine won't get that hot vented, cover down.
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Old 10-31-2017, 02:11 PM   #7
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Hi

Ok, we have all sorts of different issues getting lumped into one conversation. That's not at all unusual around here

Any time water and power *could* get together a GFCI is a really good idea. Fridge plug is accessible from the outside door? Put it on a GFCI. Does it protect somebody once every three years? That's fine, they still need protection. Being safe is always a good idea.

GFCI's can easily trip on a combination of moisture (think dew) and dirt (think road dust) in a socket. It does not take much of a path to make this happen. First suspect in any trip process is dirt when you are in an RV. The breakers don't much like surges. Again a good reason to spend money on a *good* whole trailer protector.

Pedestal electrical gear lives it's (often short) life out in horrible conditions. It gets rained on and water gets blown into it. I'm amazed the stuff does not explode in a ball of fire More often than not, the stuff has problems. Yes, some enclosures do a better job shielding stuff than others. Some installations are newer than others. Counting on a 30A breaker (any breaker anywhere) to trip at exactly 30A ... not so much. Maybe it trips at 60A on a 7 second long surge. That might be 120A. Maybe it trips at 20A after X years in the rain. Breakers aren't there for you to measure current with. They are there to make a "best guess" about protecting you from a fire. Clamp on amp meters are what you use to measure current.

One cute "feature" of breakers is that they have a finite life. Using them as a switch under load is a really good way to find out how small the number of rated cycles is. Having a breaker trip a lot *will* have an impact on that breaker. Ratings of a hundred cycles are "pretty good". Ratings down well below that are not uncommon. Breakers that trip a lot (or get used as switches) should be replaced. .... hmmm..... about those pedestal breakers ... yikes !!

If your converter is putting out 50A, it's probably pulling 6A. If your microwave is an 1800W unit, figure 15A. Single AC likely cuts in briefly at 45A and may pull 16A for quite a while. Toss in the water heater at 1200W and you have another 10A. Ummm..... errrr...... AC plus microwave went over 30A. All the rest is just making more trouble.

A proper 50A hookup supplies 100A at 120V (it's 50A at 240V). Wired down to a 30A plug, you get 50A at 120V. Maxing out a 50A AS trailer is a bit tough. Pulling more than you should on a 30A hookup - not very hard. Load management matters !!!!!

Is this some unique way AS does wiring? Nope, it's pretty common. Add up all the loads in your house. Go down and look at the main breaker. Turn almost everything on at once at full load .... you'll trip the main. One difference in your house is that you almost can't do that. In a small RV ... much easier.

Bob
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:51 PM   #8
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To the OP. It really sounds like you are pulling too many amps.... the AS breaker may be more 'accurate' to the loads. The 'pedestal' is regularly 'maxed out'...in my humble opinion... the breaker in there may not be as sensitive.... That's been my experience... but, there are TOO MANY variables to nail "generic specifics' here...

With you running ok off the 50A dogbone and failing on the direct 30A... that is a big hint to me. Right now, you need some kind of meter....

Do you have a VOM? How about this: https://www.amazon.com/bayite-BAYITE...words=ac+meter

it is a hardwired meter...

Our surge protector monitors and will shut off power when it senses a problem.. and the CB's will not open... power just shuts off and posts an error when the power corrects. So, when we have had 30A misbehaving, we get protection... which is the key...

Now, if you have a meter which can display and recall voltage and amperage, you will do yourself a good step in protection and system awareness.
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Old 11-01-2017, 07:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cwf View Post
To the OP. It really sounds like you are pulling too many amps.... the AS breaker may be more 'accurate' to the loads. The 'pedestal' is regularly 'maxed out'...in my humble opinion... the breaker in there may not be as sensitive.... That's been my experience... but, there are TOO MANY variables to nail "generic specifics' here...

With you running ok off the 50A dogbone and failing on the direct 30A... that is a big hint to me. Right now, you need some kind of meter....

Do you have a VOM? How about this: https://www.amazon.com/bayite-BAYITE...words=ac+meter

it is a hardwired meter...

Our surge protector monitors and will shut off power when it senses a problem.. and the CB's will not open... power just shuts off and posts an error when the power corrects. So, when we have had 30A misbehaving, we get protection... which is the key...

Now, if you have a meter which can display and recall voltage and amperage, you will do yourself a good step in protection and system awareness.
Hi

The start of the Amazon description of that meter raises a few flags for me.

If you are going to check against a breaker, you just plain want current. The whole "only measures power" is a flag. If it's only displaying after correcting for power factor, it is not giving you the number you need.

A clamp amp meter of some sort will do a fine job of monitoring. It will also let you check each load. That will let you work out what can and can't be on at the same time.

Bob
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Old 11-02-2017, 02:29 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:53 PM   #11
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The other reason your trailer breaker is more likely to trip and not the pedestal is due to voltage drop. The voltage drop in the trailer is higher due to the much longer cord between the plug and the breaker in the AS, with load the voltage drops...and amps go up. Devices are rated in watts (volts * amps), and the laws state that if voltage goes down amps go up and your breaker trips. The voltage sag is less on a 50-amp source circuit as the wiring up to where you are plugged in has less voltage drop, so it likely decreases the chance of the problem.

Installing a hardwired surge protector/power monitor just changes this, as it may actually turn off the power due to voltage drop before any breaker trips (especially if connected to 15 or 20amp source).

Depending on trailer model, don't forget that you may be heating with a heat pump or electric strip heating in the A/C unit. The startup surge for any compressor can easily trip breakers when combined with other high loads (such as any electric heating element).
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:29 PM   #12
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When a breakers rated capacity is exceeded, it will trip. This will happen sometimes because a there is a problem and sometimes because a person wants more from it than it can deliver.

I run an amp gauge so I know my limits.
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:33 PM   #13
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One other thing go look for is any lose wires into the breakers. I had my EV car tripping tripping a 60amp breaker at 30amps, so I reduced it to 20amps and was still doing it. Turned out lose wires were causing voltage sagging and the breaker was getting hot. The electrician never tightened the lugs all the way, and apparently inspectors dont actually check anything.
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:17 AM   #14
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Help with breaker tripping, please

It is plenty hot in Florida right now. The airconditioner in the Airstream will run a few hours, and then the breaker trips.


Any ideas? A friend said the breaker is old and I need to replace the breaker. Agree?And if that is what I need to do, can I find a breaker locally or do I need to order from Airstream? Should all of the breakers be replaced while I am at it?



Also, handyman or electrician? Certainly not a job for me--biology teacher.



Thank you for your help.
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Old 07-05-2019, 06:41 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by sherrylynne View Post
It is plenty hot in Florida right now. The airconditioner in the Airstream will run a few hours, and then the breaker trips.


Any ideas? A friend said the breaker is old and I need to replace the breaker. Agree?And if that is what I need to do, can I find a breaker locally or do I need to order from Airstream? Should all of the breakers be replaced while I am at it?



Also, handyman or electrician? Certainly not a job for me--biology teacher.



Thank you for your help.


You've got something going on. If both the breaker and the air conditioner are working properly, the 20 amp breaker should never pop.

It could be the breaker, it could be the air conditioner, and it could be a lose connection somewhere between the trailer plug and the cooler.

(It could be something else weird going down, but it's way over 99% one of these three things. )

I'd change the breaker just to see if that helps, it's a cheap and easy attempt to fix that just might work.
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Old 07-05-2019, 07:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherrylynne View Post
It is plenty hot in Florida right now. The airconditioner in the Airstream will run a few hours, and then the breaker trips.


Any ideas? A friend said the breaker is old and I need to replace the breaker. Agree?And if that is what I need to do, can I find a breaker locally or do I need to order from Airstream? Should all of the breakers be replaced while I am at it?



Also, handyman or electrician? Certainly not a job for me--biology teacher.


Thank you for your help.
It might be a job for a biology teacher. Unplug from power. A few screws removed, the access panel then breaker cover comes off, the breakers pull lose pulling straight out, a one wire connection. Reverse the process you are done. If not you, a mobile RV technician should be very familiar.

Your trailer had a MagnaTec 7300 power distribution system/power converter when it was built. (see page G-4 in your owners manual) Breakers were Westinghouse. If you replace a breaker, make sure it is replaced with exactly the same breaker. Otherwise it might be a fire hazard.

My advice: If you consider DIY, call/talk to Randy at Best Converter. He is very knowledgeable about all types of converters and their components.

http://www.bestconverter.com/Contact-Us_ep_5.html

ps:
This is not an Airstream specific item. Any RV shop can take care of it. They will know the local mobile techs.
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:21 AM   #17
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Hi

There are a variety of reasons a breaker can trip. A worn out breaker is one of many. A dip or peak in the line voltage is another one ( do you have an EMS? ). Swapping out a breaker (with the right replacement) should do no harm and it might fix the problem.

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Old 07-06-2019, 03:35 PM   #18
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You need to measure the voltage. A drop in voltage will increase your amperage causing the breaker to trip. Also take a look at the plug and make sure it is in good shape. A worn plug or receptacle will also increase the resistance causing higher current draw. Without some sort of meter to measure your current and voltage it is tough to speculate further. But a proper functioning system will not trip a 20amp breaker. Cheap test is just swap the 20 amp breaker as others have suggested. The breaker on the 07 should be a Square D QO style breaker. Available at HD for under $8. I just bought 3 them last week. Make sure it's a QO not the newer Homeline. Remove the cover after you've unplugged your trailer. Find the 20 amp breaker and unscrew the wire attached to it. Pull the breaker out and plug in the new replacement and reattach the wire. It's that simple.
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