Circuit breaker/fuse confusion - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-01-2014, 07:40 AM   #1
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Red face Circuit breaker/fuse confusion

My camper has two fuse/circuit breakers that I would like to better identify. One just after the battery (30amps) and one under the front bench(can't see amps). An online search calls these a circuit breaker, on etrailer.com there are 5 different kinds for sale. Some say thermal, some auto cycling, auto reset. Is there a difference? What should I order to have a spare?

Would anyone know what that fuse under the bench protects? I can't follow it.

https://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Acc...co-30_Amp.aspx

I've been having some intermittent 12volt problems with lights & fans not working. The water pump works (I think that hook up bypasses the converter). It's the original Magnetek electrical center. Checked the 12volt glass fuse, battery is good, cleaned the ground wire. Was examining wires and at some point it started working. I think there is a loose connection. Lots of those scotchblocks.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:16 AM   #2
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You are using mixed metaphors when you say fuse/circuit breaker. They are entirely different in many ways. Here's some clarifications that will certainly only confuse the issue:

1. Fuses
A fuse is a device that destructs when overloaded. Once it does it's job, it has to be replaced. In RV's these come in several shapes, tubular glass and two leg plug in are the most common. You can usually find out what they control by removing one and looking for what isn't working.

2. Circuit Breakers come in several different flavors:

Switch type Circuit Breakers: There are usually on your AC panel and protect the entire AC input as well as separate loads such as ac outlets, the converter and the air conditioner. They look a little like a wall switch and, when overloaded, they trip OFF to a mid point position and have to be turned fully OFF than back on to reset. Although commonly used as ON/OFF switches, using them as such will reduce their trip point and cause premature tripping.

Automatic Resettable Circuit Breakers
These usually look like a small cube shaped can with two threaded terminals. They are designed to trip OFF when rated load is exceeded and, after a short time, automatically reset. Some will have a small button to push to reset, but most in RV's do this automatically. The ones shown in the link all seem to operate automatically and, except for trip rating, are electrically identical.This tripping can usually be heard as a metallic clicking sound. Again, repeated tripping will reduce the trip point. About the only way their purpose can be identified is by disconnecting one of the wires and finding out what stops working. Unless one is travelling to a planet beyond Jupiter, reliability is usually considered high enough that carrying a spare isn't usually necessary.

About your problems: You do have a 20+ year old trailer and a lot of different electrical problems can be traced to loose connections, often overloaded circuit breakers and, the biggie, bad grounds. It's sometimes takes a lot of time and patience to locate the culprits, but looking at each and every connection and ground you can find it a good start.

As far as Scotch-Loc connections: I usually replace every one I come across in older trailers. As I am sure you will hear, some like em', I don't.

BTW: Replacing that original Magnetek converter with a modern power center/converter/smart charger will head off future failures that just cant be fixed in the field. It's old school, it's old and it's tired. Look at the Progressive Dynamics PD-4045 power chassis. Less than $200 and fairly easy to install.

Good Luck
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:04 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. So now I know they are circuit breakers,not fuses, and I suspect the one under the bench may be for the fridge.

After rattling around in the camper today, I think I've found at least one loose connection, in the cabinet where the 110 power cord stores. I was shoving the cord back in, and I could hear the Fantasic fan cutting in and out. That same storage space has a number of wires and connections passing through it, and they would take alot of abuse from the power cord being pulled out and pushed in. I am going to start checking all connections and make a little dividing wall to protect those wires better.

I did think about upgrading the power center. I noticed an upgrade for my current obsolete model.
6400/6600 Series (Obsolete)

Would the Progressive Dynamics 4045 be a better choice?
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:40 PM   #4
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That upgrade will upgrade the power section but it will leave the existing wiring in place. I installed two of them before I found the PD-4045 and found that they were fairly easy to install.

However, while installing the PD-4045 is a little more complicated, it provided more ac and dc circuits for expansion, and a smart charger at the same time.

Even in my little Hunter Compact-II I am using 8 DC circuits and 3 AC breakers. Basically it means that fewer circuits have to be tied to a single fuse. I have three fuses designated just for lights. If one blows, there are still a lot of lights left on.

When asked, I prefer to install all new rather than just upgrade. On the plus side you get to learn all about your existing wiring at the same time.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:20 PM   #5
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Cirucit breaker/fuse confusion

My first step would be to eliminate every scotch-lock and replace them with proper crimps and marine heatshrink. There's a good chance you will have to cut some wire back until you find some that's not corroded and splice a new length of wire in.

Scotch-locks are the devils work.

I put the 4045 in mine. I love it. Rewired pretty much everything I could get at, as I didn't like how scamp laid out the circuits.

Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:30 PM   #6
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You can purchase circuit breakers that are designed to be switched on an off frequently with no damage to the breaker . The breaker is rated and marked "SWD "
There most common use is to control lighting in commercial and industrial applications
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
You are using mixed metaphors when you say fuse/circuit breaker. They are entirely different in many ways. Here's some clarifications that will certainly only confuse the issue:

1. Fuses
A fuse is a device that destructs when overloaded. Once it does it's job, it has to be replaced. In RV's these come in several shapes, tubular glass and two leg plug in are the most common. You can usually find out what they control by removing one and looking for what isn't working.

2. Circuit Breakers come in several different flavors:

Switch type Circuit Breakers: There are usually on your AC panel and protect the entire AC input as well as separate loads such as ac outlets, the converter and the air conditioner. They look a little like a wall switch and, when overloaded, they trip OFF to a mid point position and have to be turned fully OFF than back on to reset. Although commonly used as ON/OFF switches, using them as such will reduce their trip point and cause premature tripping.

Automatic Resettable Circuit Breakers
These usually look like a small cube shaped can with two threaded terminals. They are designed to trip OFF when rated load is exceeded and, after a short time, automatically reset. Some will have a small button to push to reset, but most in RV's do this automatically. The ones shown in the link all seem to operate automatically and, except for trip rating, are electrically identical.This tripping can usually be heard as a metallic clicking sound. Again, repeated tripping will reduce the trip point. About the only way their purpose can be identified is by disconnecting one of the wires and finding out what stops working. Unless one is travelling to a planet beyond Jupiter, reliability is usually considered high enough that carrying a spare isn't usually necessary.

About your problems: You do have a 20+ year old trailer and a lot of different electrical problems can be traced to loose connections, often overloaded circuit breakers and, the biggie, bad grounds. It's sometimes takes a lot of time and patience to locate the culprits, but looking at each and every connection and ground you can find it a good start.

As far as Scotch-Loc connections: I usually replace every one I come across in older trailers. As I am sure you will hear, some like em', I don't.

BTW: Replacing that original Magnetek converter with a modern power center/converter/smart charger will head off future failures that just cant be fixed in the field. It's old school, it's old and it's tired. Look at the Progressive Dynamics PD-4045 power chassis. Less than $200 and fairly easy to install.

Good Luck
We have the original converter did not consider failure in the field thank good info
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