Electrical Wimpet Wonders Why? Breaker Trip? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-15-2013, 05:59 PM   #1
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Question Electrical Wimpet Wonders Why? Breaker Trip?

Okay, "The Shutdown" has driven this boon docker to a campground with an electric box. Question is why am I tripping the breaker in my CT 13?
The campground electric box had two 20 amp outlets and one 30 amp.
DUH...did not know what to plug into. The box was so far away from the camper I had to use an extension cord (12 gauge). When I plugged a very tiny electric heater in, it kept tripping the breaker in the camper. The heater will work and not trip the camper breaker when it is plugged into my household current. I can even run an air conditioner and not trip the breaker at home. Should I have used the 30 amp service at the campground? I have an adapter. Or was it caused by using an extension cord? Any answers would be appreciated.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:12 PM   #2
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What is the Amp rating of your camper circuit breaker? What is the Amp or wattage of the heater?

You could have an old circuit breaker that is tripping to soon.

Solution: Run the extension cord into the camper and plug the heater directly in to it.

Also: Do you have one of these? Electrical Receptacle Tester with GFCI Diagnosis

If so, test the camp ground electrical box first then after connecting to the camper, check the camper receptacle where you plug in the heater. This will tell you if the campground receptacle and your camper is wired correctly.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:20 PM   #3
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Diane, if a campground offers 30 amp service and that is what the main plug & service on your trailer is I would use it. Less likely to trip a breaker in the camper when running more than two items.

Will leave it to the electrical types to guess the cause but I wondered if you had run the electric heater at your home before without a problem? The extension cord in use with the heater might be an issue as well as some campgrounds are also known to have power issues so the combo the extension and the power supply may have been the problem.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:24 PM   #4
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Circuit Breakers wear out with age and use. When this happens they start tripping at lower and lower currents. Sometimes a 15 amp breaker will get down to tripping off as low as 6-8 amps.

If that breaker has also been used to turn the power off and on it is a goner.

Pull the old one out and take it to a decent size hardware store and get a replacement. It's less than a 15 minute job.



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Old 10-15-2013, 06:26 PM   #5
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I do not know the amp rating of the uhaul circuit breaker. I do not see it in any of the uhaul documents. All the wiring in my trailer is new and works fine and can run anything when the trailer cord is connected to my household current. I do not have a electrical receptacle tester and am no longer at the campground.
Please know I Thank you for your suggestions. Still pondering...
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:30 PM   #6
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The Amp rating is normally stamped on the breaker switch.
You should get one of those testers and use it every time B-4 you plug up to a campground receptacle.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:32 PM   #7
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Bob, thanks, but the breaker will not trip at home. Thanks for you suggestion.
Carol, I am wondering if I can connect to 30 amp with the adaptor. Any Ct 13 owners are welcome to chime in.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:33 PM   #8
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Darwin, if it is there I cannot see it. But I think I will take your advice and get one of those testers.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:34 PM   #9
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Yes, you can connect to the 30 Amp using an adapter. Should you not have one, you can purchase one at Walmart or Harbor Freight.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:36 PM   #10
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You have to click on the link below and it should take U there.

Search results for: 'receptacle tester'
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:08 PM   #11
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Darwin, Took a magnafiying glass and read the main breaker in the camper, it says 15 amp, 120 volt. Sorry I have a hard time seeing small print these days.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:45 PM   #12
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Possibly the camp ground had a voltage drop problem from say too small wires which could cause the breaker to see more current draw? Just an un-educated guess.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:57 PM   #13
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Do you know what the draw of amps the heater requires on start up? Did you have anything else going at the time, such as lights, fridge, micro wave?

Sometimes startup pulls a lot of amps and if anything else was on such as lights, fridge kicks on, coffee pot etc, the draw might have been too much hence triping the breaker.


Yes a extension cord could be the problem as the longer the cord the more drop in draw. Which if the heater requires a hefty draw on warm up you may not have been getting enough...
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:16 PM   #14
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10 amps is the max for a 12 ga extension cord, what is your heater drawing?
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
10 amps is the max for a 12 ga extension cord, what is your heater drawing?
Jim,
Shouldn't 12 ga. do 20 amps?
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:23 PM   #16
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The Uhaul breaker is not adequate to power a small electric heater. I found that out early on. First solution was to install a small fuse box separate from the rest of the system, namely the original power converter, and a couple 110 outlets off that fuse box. Since then I have scrapped the original power converter, installed a new one, and completely rewired the 110 & 12 volt circuits. We now can run a 1500 W heater, TV, lights, toaster, dorm fridge. For the size of the Uhaul cord, heavy duty, the original outlet with breaker is ridiculous. Diane, you would have been better off to get the extension cord from the campground electric box into the trailer somehow and plugged your heater directly to that, relying on their breaker. One time I ran a cord under the door to get power inside.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
Jim,
Shouldn't 12 ga. do 20 amps?
Russ
it should but with a 100 foot cord it may not!
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:18 AM   #18
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Have all new wires 110 and 12 volt, fuses and New PD 3 stage converter. Heater is packed away. Got to go to work, will retest everything and get back to you guys later. Thanks all.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:52 AM   #19
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Just a small point - the lower the voltage feeding the heater, the less current it draws. Unlike an air conditioner, a heater is a pure resistance load and follows Ohm's law - I=E/R. If the power cord drops too much voltage because of length or wire size there is less likelihood of the breaker tripping. That said, overloaded cords are still bad since the heating, particularly at the connectors, will cause problems. I'd suspect either high voltage at the campground, or a worn breaker.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:29 AM   #20
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What "I" would do at this point:

1. Get a polarity tester and check your inside outlets as well as those you connect to at home & elsewhere. Also check any adapters to be sure they are wired correctly when used.
2. Replace the existing 15 amp breaker(s) with NEW 15 amp breakers, after all, it (they) are OLD.
3. Have a long enough #10 main cable to reduce the chance you will need to use an extension cord.
4. After you have everything hooked up and working for about an hour (including that heater), check all plugs for any signs of heating up. If they are more than just very slightly warm they may also need replacement. FWIW: Molded-on plugs, both on your power cord and adapters, have a limited life expectancy.

And that's JMHO.....



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