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Old 08-11-2019, 04:43 PM   #1
wiredgeorge
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main circuit breaker pops

We have a 2002 trailer with the original power converter (55A).* *It is PP Components Parallax 6300Q model.* When camping in warm weather, it tends to pop the main breaker now and again.* Have a Progressive EMS on the pole and it is not kicking any errors out.* The main issue is the when the A/C and microwave are both used the 30A main will pop.* The main and microwave are on the same paired breakers.* Probably not smart.* *

In any case, I put a 110V computer fan in front to add extra air flow.* This seems to help a bit but in REAL warm temps (triple digit) the main will blow with no issues at the pole.* Heat?* The converter is almost 20 years old.* Will buying a new converter solve these issues?* OR Should I find a new 30/15 and swap in the GFI circuit or similar next to the 30A and then get a 20/15A and move the microwave?* That won't fix the instances where the 30A blows with no microwave use.* Tips?
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Old 08-11-2019, 04:52 PM   #2
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If you're running the microwave and the AC you're probably pulling right around or over 30 amps so it wouldn't be unusual for the 30 amp main breaker to trip. I know I can't run my AC and microwave together.

The converter really has nothing to do with it other than being another load.

Are you saying in the last sentence that the main breaker trips sometimes even when the microwave is not running?

It could just be a bad 30 amp main breaker.
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Old 08-11-2019, 04:54 PM   #3
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You have a breaker issue, not a converter issue. It sometimes happens that tandem breakers trip if both are loaded.

You could do like you said or try moving the wires putting a lighter load on the tandem breaker.
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:11 PM   #4
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I'd replace the 30 amp breaker. It's nearly 17 or 18 years old, has "carried a lot of amps in its lifetime" and deserves to be retired.... My guess is that you're pulling very near 30 amps through the A/C, microwave, converter, 12VDC circuits in the refrigerator and any TV, lights, etc that may be on. So, if the current circuit breaker is "just a little weak" and trips with 28 amps (due to past use, wear and weak springs) that would explain why it's always the "inside circuit breaker" and not the "pole circuit breaker"....

Replace it and try to limit concurrent A/C and microwave use. Turn the A/C to "fan" to use the microwave, then back to "cool" once the microwaving is done....

Additionally, you might consider adding a 15 amp "auxiliary power line" to the trailer. You can buy a "power inlet" that mounts in a 1.5" hole and looks similar to the detachable 30 amp shore power inlets. Install it near the kitchen, then route the ROMEX up through the cabinets to the microwave area and plug the microwave into the "auxiliary power source" so it isn't drawing from the trailer's 30 amp supply....
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:12 PM   #5
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We can't really use the microwave AND A/C during hot months at the same time so we shut the A/C off while using the microwave. Since our trailer isn't wired/braced for 2nd A/C, we have an 8K portable A/C that vents out the window (fashioned a frame for the supplied exhaust hose). We run an extension cord out that window and to the 20A outlet on the pole. This is the only way to keep temps below 80F during 105F days. I will pick up a new 30A breaker and as they come in pairs (in this case 30A/20A) will put a 20A down the way away from the main to avoid heat and swap a 15A breaker into the paid next to the 30A. Worth a try.

The a/c is supposed to draw (compressor and fan) about 16A running; It doesn't cycle much during the dog days of summer (Dometic Brisk II - pretty new). The microwave; not sure; it is a Dometic microwave and likely around 1K watts to likely 7-9A draw. We are pushing 23-25A with just those guys running and with water heater electric on, battery draw for lights, fans running, tv on, etc, likely close as you point out.

Thinking that the rear kitchen with the converter on the back wall of the trailer might make it easy to put a single breaker box in and put the microwave or possibly the GFI circuit on it. Pretty sure that and new breakers would allow avoiding a new power converter.

Do "modern" power converters have any better tech than those from the 2000 era?
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:21 AM   #6
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In my 2018 272UFL Outback, the ems shows the microwave draws 11 amps, and the ac draws about 16 amps. If I put both on at the same time, that's 27 amps without considering the draw of the converter trying to charge the battery and run lights and the water pump, the fridge controller and the hot water controller. All that on a 30 amp system.
We turn the ac off when we want to use any other 110v appliances.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:25 PM   #7
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We are set up with 50 amp service, but when we have to park with a 30 amp service or dry camp with our generator, we switch the fridge and water heater to gas only, and even with this we never even think about running the A/C at the same time as the microwave. We have the hardwired EMS, and you will be surprised how much load each leg on a 50 amp connection there is, and when connected to 30 amps, the combined loads from each leg in the trailer is what is on the single hot leg of the 30 amp connection. Your converter is not the issue, and even after you replace the worn out breaker you should still limit your loading on a 30 amp rig.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
I'd replace the 30 amp breaker. It's nearly 17 or 18 years old, has "carried a lot of amps in its lifetime" and deserves to be retired.... My guess is that you're pulling very near 30 amps through the A/C, microwave, converter, 12VDC circuits in the refrigerator and any TV, lights, etc that may be on. So, if the current circuit breaker is "just a little weak" and trips with 28 amps (due to past use, wear and weak springs) that would explain why it's always the "inside circuit breaker" and not the "pole circuit breaker"....

Replace it and try to limit concurrent A/C and microwave use. Turn the A/C to "fan" to use the microwave, then back to "cool" once the microwaving is done....

Additionally, you might consider adding a 15 amp "auxiliary power line" to the trailer. You can buy a "power inlet" that mounts in a 1.5" hole and looks similar to the detachable 30 amp shore power inlets. Install it near the kitchen, then route the ROMEX up through the cabinets to the microwave area and plug the microwave into the "auxiliary power source" so it isn't drawing from the trailer's 30 amp supply....
The 30/20 breaker is on the way. Found the power inlet on etrailer.com if anyone is interested at:
https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/...20-amp_55-8987

There is a 15A and 20A version. Probably will buy the 20A as it is basically the same price as the 15A. Will wire direct to the 20A microwave breaker using 12ga Romex. Hope we can then use our microwave while not having to shut off A/C.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingAroundRV View Post
In my 2018 272UFL Outback, the ems shows the microwave draws 11 amps, and the ac draws about 16 amps. If I put both on at the same time, that's 27 amps without considering the draw of the converter trying to charge the battery and run lights and the water pump, the fridge controller and the hot water controller. All that on a 30 amp system.
We turn the ac off when we want to use any other 110v appliances.
Scott, those are about the numbers I came up with... I have a Progressive EMS that hangs from the pole box. How do you read individual breaker use with your EMS? Doesn't seem like this would be possible to my techno challenged brain!
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiredgeorge View Post
Scott, those are about the numbers I came up with... I have a Progressive EMS that hangs from the pole box. How do you read individual breaker use with your EMS? Doesn't seem like this would be possible to my techno challenged brain!
My thought would be to turn off ALL the circuit breakers in the trailer, then turn on the MAIN breaker. Turn on each individual breaker, one at a time, read the amperage draw, turn that breaker off, turn on the next, read the draw, etc until you have them all recorded with the "normal draw" under whatever load you typically have on that breaker....

Another way: Turn off all the breakers, turn on the main, turn on the first, record draw, turn on the second, record draw (then subtract first from second to get the draw of the second) turn on the third, (then subtract the draw of #1 and #2 to get the draw of #3). This seems more complicated to me than the first procedure of only turning on one breaker at a time and reading the draw, then turning it off and moving to the next to repeat the process.....
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by wiredgeorge View Post
The 30/20 breaker is on the way. Found the power inlet on etrailer.com if anyone is interested at:
https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/...20-amp_55-8987

There is a 15A and 20A version. Probably will buy the 20A as it is basically the same price as the 15A. Will wire direct to the 20A microwave breaker using 12ga Romex. Hope we can then use our microwave while not having to shut off A/C.
That PPL link lists the 20 amp Marinco inlet for $28.99 + 9.99 shipping Total $38.98. Amazon has the same Marinco 20 amp inlet for $22.59 with free 2 day PRIME shipping (if you're a PRIME member). https://www.amazon.com/ParkPower-Mar...ay&sr=8-6&th=1 Might save a couple bucks that way ???
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:31 PM   #12
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Problem with buying this sort of thing (Marinco inlet) is that search doesn't turn up stuff as you would like. I tried a number of things on Amazon and couldn't find it. I found the one you pictured on etrailer.com and used its description to find it on eBay where I bought one (not etrailer) due to cost. $22.63 with free shipping; I am not an Amazon prime member so would have ended up likely having to buy something I didn't really want or need to make it to the magical $25 minimum for free shipping by Amazon.

Sadly, as a motorcycle mechanic, my multimeters are limited to $6 units from Harbor Freight and good for voltage and resistance but not AC current. I really don't need to go farther in this direction if my new 30/20 breaker is works out and the Marinco inlet keeps the microwave happy. If not, I will head to HF and get a $10 multimeter that can measure current and start doing more investigating. Still don't know how anyone could use an EMS to measure current on circuits downstream from the breaker. Just curious in that regard.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:41 PM   #13
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Our EMS has an "current amperage" readout that displays on the LED status window. So, for us (and most people who have a Progressive EMS) all you have to do to determine "current amp load" is isolate that breaker by turning all the others OFF and look at the amp load on the EMS display.

This is much easier than trying to use a multimeter or ammeter to do the same thing.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:22 PM   #14
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Never thought of that! Good tip and many thanks.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiredgeorge View Post
Sadly, as a motorcycle mechanic, my multimeters are limited to $6 units from Harbor Freight and good for voltage and resistance but not AC current... I will head to HF and get a $10 multimeter that can measure current and start doing more investigating.
If you can squeeze $15, here's what you really want. Trying to test current with a probe-type meter is an ethnic fire drill. This way you don't have to disconnect stuff just to measure it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiredgeorge View Post
Still don't know how anyone could use an EMS to measure current on circuits downstream from the breaker. Just curious in that regard.
You just turn every circuit breaker off except the one you want to meter, then run whatever is on it and read the EMS current display.
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Old 08-18-2019, 01:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Our EMS has an "current amperage" readout that displays on the LED status window. So, for us (and most people who have a Progressive EMS) all you have to do to determine "current amp load" is isolate that breaker by turning all the others OFF and look at the amp load on the EMS display.

This is much easier than trying to use a multimeter or ammeter to do the same thing.
Surge Guard also has a unit (34951) that can be used with a remote monitor (40301) that displays current, watts, voltage, and frequency.

Whichever monitor and method you use, remember that current flow is in part a function of supply voltage available. If the supply voltage drops under heavy load, the current flow will increase for most loads. So, if you have a shore power supply with under-sized wiring, it is quite possible to see the voltage drop significantly during heavy use. (We had an old 30A supply at the house that would drop voltage 10-15% when under heavy load.)

The "one-at-a-time" ON method provides general guidance. At the end of the test turn on as much equipment as your supply will support and make sure that the voltage doesn't drop significantly (e.g. 120 to 105). If it does, then consider a "one-at-a-time" OFF test to see the impact of current on a heavily loaded system.

Your EMS will kick off at some low voltage - the Surge Guard referenced above will open (shut off power) at 102 Volts. A load of 30A @ 120V = 3600 Watts. That same load in watts @ 103 volts will pull 35 Amps and trip your breakers. This is a case where you might find breakers popping in your trailer or at the pedestal with no apparent problem listed on your EMS. So, in running your tests, pay attention to the voltage as well as the current. [One of the reasons I really like the Surge Guard - provides KiloWatt readings on the remote monitor.]

You might find this issue in older parks or parks where the service was under-designed or poorly maintained [or in my back yard if connected to the old swimming pool wiring]. And the presence of a lot of "neighbors" on the same service in an RV park will only make matters worse.

Just something else to consider...
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Old 08-31-2019, 05:34 PM   #17
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On Monday, I won't be working so if it is cool in the AM, I am going to install the 20A plug and connect inside the trailer to the 20A breaker in the converter. Hot will go to the breaker lug, neutral to the neutral bar... what does Keystone do with the ground. I haven't dug around by the converter lately but don't recall seeing the 30A power cord ground terminated. How should I ground the 20A plug?

Just confirming but I think the cross type prong on the outlet is the neutral ground; is that correct? Still have to go to the True Value and pick uip a 20A power cord.
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Old 08-31-2019, 07:47 PM   #18
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main circuit breaker pops

The large prong (sometimes crossed) is the neutral, the small prong is the hot, and the round prong is the ground.

Unlike in a house, in an RV neutral and ground never share the same bus inside the breaker box. Ground has to go out the ground prong at the shore power fixture, and neutral to neutral.
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:29 PM   #19
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On Monday, I won't be working so if it is cool in the AM, I am going to install the 20A plug and connect inside the trailer to the 20A breaker in the converter. Hot will go to the breaker lug, neutral to the neutral bar... what does Keystone do with the ground. I haven't dug around by the converter lately but don't recall seeing the 30A power cord ground terminated. How should I ground the 20A plug?

Just confirming but I think the cross type prong on the outlet is the neutral ground; is that correct? Still have to go to the True Value and pick uip a 20A power cord.
If you are attempting to use a breaker inside the main panel for your microwave, it will not work. The incoming side of the breaker is the part that clips to the bus bars that are fed from the main breaker and the load side that would go to the microwave is the screw lug at the bottom of the breaker. You would be better off connecting the cable from the pedestal 20 amp outlet directly to the microwave outlet behind the microwave and just not mess with the breaker panel. Your microwave will use the pedestal breaker to protect that 20 amp circuit. If you want to maintain a panel breaker for the microwave, run the separate 20 amp line to a second outlet behind the microwave, and when you are using the new circuit, just swap the plug to the outside outlet, and back to the original outlet when you are not using the A/C and don't need the extra circuit.
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:41 AM   #20
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If I connect the neutral to the neutral bar on the converter box and the positive to the breaker, the microwave is already wired into the path of that breaker. My question is, where the ground is wired inside the trailer. Is my thinking off. When I get to a camp ground want to plug in this new circuit at the pole power box 15A or 20A plug.
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