Can Low Voltage Fry the Breaker Switches? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-19-2008, 11:49 PM   #1
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Our electric into the Scamp stopped working while we were traveling this week. We were in 98 degree weather and needed the air conditioner. At the first stop when the air conditioner would not work, my wife looked at the breaker box and one was thrown. She flipped back ON and it started to work again. However, she did not turn it to OFF before pushing it to ON. It did not stay up on the ON position, but the air conditioner and light worked. At the second stop, it would not start again; she checked the breaker switches and pushed it to ON but it did not help. I turned them both to OFF then ON, but nothing helped. I am not sure if not turning the Breaker Switches all the way to OFF before switching them to ON would have an impact on them or not? It did get the air conditioner to work at the first stop. Also while hooked into shore power, I started the micowave while the air conditioner was working. But it was too much for the system and the micowave started to run sluggishly. I quickly turned it off.

I have turned the breaker switches off and on, several times, but still no power. The a/c powered light will not work as well as the air conditioner. A hair dryer plugged into the generator will work. A tooth brush charger plugged into the trailer did not show it was charging. I have plugged the shore cord into 30 amp box and no power inside the trailer as well.

I will see if I can get replacement breaker switches to see if this is the cause of the problem. Besides me in the first place.

I have just been informed that the problem could have been caused by low voltage due to not unplugging the shore line from the generator. It seems I have been doing some very serious No, Nos. I have not been unplugging the cord from the Honda before shutting it down and often I have plugged the cord into the generator or leaving it plugged in before starting it. I have heard that low voltage is worse than high.

Question: What are your opinions on all this.

AW
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Old 07-20-2008, 12:37 AM   #2
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In theory, low voltage would be more harmful to components than high voltage because as the voltage drops the amperage will rise if the same load is trying to be carried.

I'd be reading and rereading the manual, plus maybe asking questions of your local repair shop about what other components may have be stressed by this.
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Old 07-20-2008, 12:39 AM   #3
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Adrian W,
Have you checked the generator to see if there is a reset button? Our Yamaha generator has a reset to protect itself. Hopefully your problem is that simple to correct.

Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 07-21-2008, 06:05 PM   #4
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I was able to follow advise from some folks at Casita Club and worked my way down to replacing the two circuit breakers in the Scamp. After getting both replaced, I was getting power again (plugged into the house current). Now I need to see if I can follow the diagram that came with the circuit board to get it into the converter. It is my speculation, only one breaker was bad, the one working as the main breaker, if it has such a thing in the Scamp. Anyway, the light came on, one of the plugs was working and the AC would run.

I did not mention another misshap on our trip. After the night in Publeo with our electric on the way to New Mexico when we stopped for lunch, we found the cabinet above the side dinnette had opened and a small box we use to hold a few tools had flown out with some other things in there. The converter box cover was also on the floor. It seems the tool box was able to not only fly out but on it way to the floor hit and took out the converter cover. It has one screw holding it on. It broke off the plastic "extension" where the screw attaches the front cover to the box. After replacing the breaker switches, I glued the broken piece back onto the box. Tomorrow I hope it has attached strongly enouch. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

The glue claims to be for All Temperature & For bonds subject to rough handling and harsh conditions. Indoor/Outdoor - High Strength - Clear; Vibration and Impact Resistant. It is LOCTITE REPAIR EXTREME.

If the tool box did not hit the cover, I am not sure what could have snapped the "extension" off. Surely not the pressure of the two breaker switches which the cover keeps pushed into their places? At least I have not been able to get them to snap on to the "prongs" which fit the connections on the back top of the breaker switches

I will attemp the circuit board tomorrow.

AW
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:55 PM   #5
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Our electric into the Scamp stopped working while we were traveling this week. We were in 98 degree weather and needed the air conditioner. At the first stop when the air conditioner would not work, my wife looked at the breaker box and one was thrown. She flipped back ON and it started to work again. However, she did not turn it to OFF before pushing it to ON. It did not stay up on the ON position, but the air conditioner and light worked. At the second stop, it would not start again; she checked the breaker switches and pushed it to ON but it did not help. I turned them both to OFF then ON, but nothing helped. I am not sure if not turning the Breaker Switches all the way to OFF before switching them to ON would have an impact on them or not? It did get the air conditioner to work at the first stop. Also while hooked into shore power, I started the micowave while the air conditioner was working. But it was too much for the system and the micowave started to run sluggishly. I quickly turned it off.

I have turned the breaker switches off and on, several times, but still no power. The a/c powered light will not work as well as the air conditioner. A hair dryer plugged into the generator will work. A tooth brush charger plugged into the trailer did not show it was charging. I have plugged the shore cord into 30 amp box and no power inside the trailer as well.
Here is a theory:

First, when you set the circuit breaker back to on without cycling it off first you probably pushed the internal contacts together but without spring tension. That would make a light contact, probably with a little arcing to weld them together, especially if the a/c was on when the breaker was reset. It could get power to the load temporarily but, with no tension on the contacts the bi-metal strip couldn't trip the breaker if there was an overload and the contacts would hang on "by the skin of their teeth." The bouncing from the trip down the road to the second stop could have knocked the contacts loose again.

Since you mentioned that you replaced the breaker why not drill out the rivets on the old one and see what really happened?

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