Change 15A breaker to 20A? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-04-2012, 09:26 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Shaidah's Avatar
 
Name: Shaidah
Trailer: 81 Bigfoot, 17'
British Columbia
Posts: 24
Change 15A breaker to 20A?

Let me start by saying that I know almost nothing about electrical work.

The problem that I'm having is that whenever I plug anything into my trailer's electrical outlet that requires moderate juice, I trip the 15A push/pull breaker switch after about 30 seconds. This has happened with an electric coffee maker and also when I tried using a small space heater.

My question is, can I just swap out the 15A switch for a 20A? Is there a better solution?

Many thanks!
__________________

Shaidah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 09:35 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Dennis Clinton's Avatar
 
Name: Dennis
Trailer: Scamp 16'
Utah
Posts: 258
Registry
DO NOT JUST PUT IN A LARGER BREAKER!!!!!! You need to look at your wire size before changing the breaker size. For a 20amp breaker, you need at least 12awg wiring(if using stranded wire, I prefer 10awg). If your wiring is not the right size, your little trailer may go up in a puff of smoke!

However, in time, breakers tend to weaken, if the things you use do not pull 15amps, you may just need to put in a fresh breaker.
__________________

__________________
Dennis
Dennis Clinton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 10:23 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Jon Vermilye's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21
Oswego, NY
Posts: 1,852
Registry
2X on not switching breakers without also changing the wiring. A 15 amp breaker should hold for either a coffee pot or most electric heaters, however not both at the same time.

I'd also check that both the connection to the breaker & the respective neutral (white wire) are both tight. A poor connection will also cause tripping due to overheating...
Jon Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 10:38 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Name: Ron
Trailer: 2008 13' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 325
3X on not increasing the breaker size. That's akin to what they did in the old days when people placed a penny under the fuse to keep it from blowing

Ron
Ron in BC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 05:56 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
Senior Circuit Breaker

I can't imagine what you are plugging in that would blow a good 15 amp breaker unless there are a lot of other loads on already. As mentioned, try replacing the existing breaker. As they age, and every time a thermal type breaker is tripped, they start deteriorating and begin to trip at a lower and lower load. Also just using a breaker as an on/off switch will, after many cycles, reduce it's tripping point.
I have seen 20 amp household breakers trip at as little as a 5-8 amp load.
Now, if you have a 2000 watt heater, or a big microwave, or an a/c running, you may also need to look at modifying your loads, not your breaker. But replace the breaker anyway, if it has been tripping a lot, it's time to replace.



Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 07:46 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Casita 17 ft DLX SD & 21 ft SOB
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 3,642
Breaker tripping

A 15 amp breaker does not always trip at 15 amps . There is a margin either side of 15 amps that is within UL standards I have seen 15 amp breakers trip at 10 amps and not trip at infinity (DEAD SHORT) Change the breaker ,and check the connection point where the breaker attaches to the bus bar in the panel . I would also check the outlet and wire connections where you are plugging in the load . A 15 amp breaker will run a coffee pot but not a coffee pot and toaster. If your really interested you can look up the time ,current trip curve and the ambient compensation chart for your breaker
steve dunham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 07:56 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Name: john
Trailer: scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 1,318
as everyone said,,,,wires may limit your breaker size.

first put a fresh breaker in, they don't cost much, while your doing that, clean the wire ends, and pull your outlets and clean the wires and connections.you might even replace those old outlets, they could be coroded inside . a little corosion can cause a lot of resistance and pop your breaker.
i bet you will then be good to go
john warren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 08:00 AM   #8
Raz
Senior Member
 
Raz's Avatar
 
Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
Posts: 4,574
I would agree that trying a new breaker is the first step. As you have indicated a lack of knowledge, you might be better off consulting an electrician as your next step. Just a thought. Good luck, Raz
Raz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 10:50 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
Shaidah's Avatar
 
Name: Shaidah
Trailer: 81 Bigfoot, 17'
British Columbia
Posts: 24
Ok, well it's pretty clear that my brilliant idea wasn't so brilliant.

Thanks very much for the advice. I'll try a new 15A and see what happens. The current one certainly looks old and is likely the original 1981 breaker.

I'll let you know how it goes.
Shaidah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 10:51 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,738
Registry
You may want to take a look at the condition of the receptacle you are plugging into - I had one that had some corrosion happening at the connection points and one of the wire connections in the box had become a little loose so it was giving me occasional problems - replaced the receptacle and all good since.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 11:34 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Lil M.'s Avatar
 
Name: Lil
Trailer: '84 13' Scamp & '14 homebuilt Benroy Teardrop
Minnesota
Posts: 343
Registry
OK , it's my turn to show my lack of electrical knowhow, i.e., a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...

Can you get two circuits by putting a dual breaker in place of the single breaker?
Like the one shown here: 15 Amp Dual Circuit Breaker # Q1515 by Siemens Energy

Then you could have two circuits to run two big power draws at the same time, right?
Would you have to replace the breaker box to do so?
How complicated is it to connect the incoming line to a dual circuit breaker?

Please be gentle. I'm dumb, but sensitive. And I guess the only way to learn is to ask questions.
__________________
Lil M.
Updates and improvements to LilScamper here
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ― John Muir
Lil M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 11:51 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Name: Greg
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 SD
Washington
Posts: 1,396
Registry
Just be sure that your breaker panel accepts Siemens breakers. (I don't know what brand panel you have, but not all breakers are interchangable, so just be certain to get one to match your manufacturer). With the addition of a double breaker, you will still need to run new wiring to feed whatever you are intending to run off of the new added capacity. I may be wrong, but I'm sensing that you may be thinking about putting larger (i.e. higher current draw) appliances in your trailer? If so, you may want to revisit your decision and just upgrade your service feed to 20 Amp breakers. This will, as has been mentioned, require installing larger wires to not create a fire hazard. For 20 Amp breakers, the wires should be minimum 12 ga.
Casita Greg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 12:04 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Lil M.'s Avatar
 
Name: Lil
Trailer: '84 13' Scamp & '14 homebuilt Benroy Teardrop
Minnesota
Posts: 343
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
Just be sure that your breaker panel accepts Siemens breakers. (I don't know what brand panel you have, but not all breakers are interchangable, so just be certain to get one to match your manufacturer). With the addition of a double breaker, you will still need to run new wiring to feed whatever you are intending to run off of the new added capacity. I may be wrong, but I'm sensing that you may be thinking about putting larger (i.e. higher current draw) appliances in your trailer? If so, you may want to revisit your decision and just upgrade your service feed to 20 Amp breakers. This will, as has been mentioned, require installing larger wires to not create a fire hazard. For 20 Amp breakers, the wires should be minimum 12 ga.
Thanks Greg, your answer helps a lot. I'm also building a teardrop trailer and am stuck at the electrical. My No. 3 Son's friend is an electrician, so I'll probably get him to do or help me with the wiring. I just want to know enough that I can understand what he's doing, and so I can troubleshoot if need be.

Right now the biggest drawing appliance I have in mind for either the Scamp or the teardrop would be my Breville Espresso Machine. Everybody takes theirs camping, right??
I'd just have to make sure I wasn't using the toaster at the same time.
__________________
Lil M.
Updates and improvements to LilScamper here
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ― John Muir
Lil M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 12:08 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Casita 17 ft DLX SD & 21 ft SOB
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 3,642
Twin breakers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil M. View Post
OK , it's my turn to show my lack of electrical knowhow, i.e., a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...

Can you get two circuits by putting a dual breaker in place of the single breaker?
Like the one shown here: 15 Amp Dual Circuit Breaker # Q1515 by Siemens Energy

Then you could have two circuits to run two big power draws at the same time, right?
Would you have to replace the breaker box to do so?
How complicated is it to connect the incoming line to a dual circuit breaker?

Please be gentle. I'm dumb, but sensitive. And I guess the only way to learn is to ask questions.
They make 1/2 space and piggyback breakers (15-15 or 20-20 or 20-15)
They vary in cost from $10 to $40 based on mfg. Breakers are not interchangeable from mfg to mfg , some will not physically fit and it is illegal to use a breaker in a panel that it was not designed for or UL listed for that purpose . Most panels are designed to accept only so many circuit breakers so the piggyback breakers will only fit in certain spots or not at all in many panels. If you must install a piggyback breaker in a panel get one that is NON CTL listed and it will fit where a standard piggyback will not. Also limit the load you apply to a piggyback breaker . They do not work well with large cyclical loads such as an AC ( Look for the NON CTL label on the side of the breaker)
steve dunham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 12:13 PM   #15
Moderator
 
Frederick L. Simson's Avatar
 
Name: Frederick
Trailer: Fiber Stream
California
Posts: 8,173
Registry
Send a message via AIM to Frederick L. Simson
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
This will, as has been mentioned, require installing larger wires to not create a fire hazard. For 20 Amp breakers, the wires should be minimum 12 ga.
Look at the wire insulation between the breaker box and the 110 volt AC outlet. Is there printing on it? If there is, it should include the wire gauge (size). I am assuming from most of the comments that many trailers can be wired with 14 gauge wire or even 16 gauge.

My Fiber Stream uses regular house-type Romex (3 individual solid wires {Black, White, and Bare} encased within a white outer sheath) for the 110 volt AC circuits, and individual stranded wires {Red & White} for the 12 volt DC circuits.
__________________
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
Frederick L. Simson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 01:53 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Name: john
Trailer: scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 1,318
the double breaker is mostly for when you need one more circut and are out of space in your box. you still have to run a wire for it to operate.
but generaly speaking no matter how right we are,,,,ask a licensed electrition if you can. saves on funny looking hair do's from making an error with juice.
john warren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 06:58 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Lil M.'s Avatar
 
Name: Lil
Trailer: '84 13' Scamp & '14 homebuilt Benroy Teardrop
Minnesota
Posts: 343
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by john warren View Post
the double breaker is mostly for when you need one more circut and are out of space in your box. you still have to run a wire for it to operate.
but generaly speaking no matter how right we are,,,,ask a licensed electrition if you can. saves on funny looking hair do's from making an error with juice.
My Scamp's box only has space for one breaker, and for sure I'll talk to an electrician before I do ANYTHING. My hair is funny enough looking, I don't want to make that problem worse!
__________________
Lil M.
Updates and improvements to LilScamper here
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ― John Muir
Lil M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 08:46 PM   #18
Junior Member
 
Name: Candace
Trailer: New Burro Owner
Texas
Posts: 10
Additional amps the easy way!

Just a thought (try to get around the mountain rather than going over the top kind of thinking here...).
I have a "new to me" 13' Burro with a 15amp box. I ran an additional 110 AC cord into the trailer (most campsites have 2 hookups for electrical) & tied it to an outlet on the right side of the Kitchen area (the original 110 AC outlet with the breaker is on the Left side of the Kitchen area). This way, I get the 15 amps dedicated on the Left & an extra 15 amps on the right side.
The port hole (under the sink area) for the electrical cables is more than generous enough to accommodate both cables going to the outside.
Did a "maiden" camp out in the garage this past weekend & ran a space heater off of the 15amp & a coffee maker & iPod charger off of the other new line -- nothing tripped off.
As an additional option, you can also put in a 12 Volt DC outlet (tied in from your from your marine battery) that could run small stuff too.
Armymomma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 09:42 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Mouse's Avatar
 
Name: Brooke
Trailer: U Haul CT13
California
Posts: 292
I redid the 110 input power wiring and added a GFCI outlet directly connected to it.

I now have 110 outlets on both sides of the kitchen.

The original 15amp input breaker still protects all the 12 volt wiring.

From what I have been reading I will update the original input breaker to make sure it is working correctly. That is a really good idea! I hadn't thought about it degrading over time and usage.
Mouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2012, 10:27 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Roger C H's Avatar
 
Name: Roger
Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
Washington
Posts: 2,208
Registry
Cool Electrical

You not only need correct wires downstream from the breaker, but upstream as well.

There may be 'ghost' loads on that breaker. Maybe your battery charger or some other thing, refrigerator? is wired into that circuit also. Anything else would decrease the load you could place in the outlet served by the breaker. Even your idea light bulb.



Actually, it would be a good idea to have a licensed electrician check your entire rig out. I have worked on houses that POs have done some creative and dangerous things to.

Fred, I am surprised that you have solid wire on your rig. Solid is good for houses but trailers should have stranded. Solid wire is not very accepting of movement. Just like taking a wire and repeatedly bending it in order to break it. A trailer is like a house with a continuous earthquake! I had fire shooting out my furnace once. It turns out the vibration caused by the 60Hz current eventually caused the connection to loosen and cause the sparking.
__________________

__________________
A charter member of the Buffalo Plaid Brigade!

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
Roger C H is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


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
Breaker - Battery to Converter Carl G Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 8 10-17-2010 11:47 AM
circuit breaker Ken & Sherry B. Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 11 10-16-2007 08:18 PM
breaker works too well Paula Bindrich Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 13 07-06-2007 10:48 AM
Circuit Breaker overload? TorreyT Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 10 05-20-2007 02:33 PM
Where does the circuit breaker go? Legacy Posts Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 7 07-17-2003 08:47 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
×