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: 1,408
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: None
Trailer: None
None
Posts: 2,739
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: 1,320
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: 4,070
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 online now   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: 11,731
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: 333
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.
“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: 1,047
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: 333
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.
“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: None
Trailer: None
None
Posts: 2,739
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
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 12:47 PM
circuit breaker Ken & Sherry B. Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 11 10-16-2007 09:18 PM
breaker works too well Paula Bindrich Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 13 07-06-2007 11:48 AM
Circuit Breaker overload? TorreyT Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 10 05-20-2007 03:33 PM
Where does the circuit breaker go? Legacy Posts Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 7 07-17-2003 09:47 PM

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

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:53 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.