Electrical shut down - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-16-2013, 04:14 PM   #1
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Electrical shut down

Last trip I had electric and used my little space heater. It was very chilly. The electric shut down and so I shut all electric off and put the refrigerator on propane.

The next morning I tuned it back on and even used the heater on low and the refrigerator on electric. It worked fine.

Could you tell me what is going on in my little '82 burro? I'm heading out for another chilly camp out - this time at the ocean. I don't want to destroy my electrical system, but it would be nice to keep the interior at least up to 50 degrees or so!
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:28 PM   #2
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When you say you turned it back on, do you mean that you reset the circuit breaker in the trailer?

You may just have a 15 amp system and the heater overloaded it in conjunction with the refrigerator and other loads.

The ultimate fix would be to install heavier wiring from the post to the interior outlet and use a bigger circuit breaker.

A cheap, temporary solution would be to buy a 12 gauge extension cord and plug it into the post and run it inside under the door for the heater.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:32 PM   #3
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I don't recall if our 13' Burro had on onboard fuses or a circuit breaker panel. Do you know what your's has? Did you blow a fuse/trip a breaker/ or trip the external power panel at your site? It wasn't clear if you had to reset something. I know that running our fridge, hot water heater, microwave, and heating element in the roof AC unit tripped our main breaker last trip. In your case, you may have had a slight brown out that dropped the power overall, causing the shutdown. If you have screw-in glass fuses, you may need to update them. I've found old fuses blow more easily.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:40 PM   #4
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Possible there were other campers with electric heaters and the voltage dropped? Also your converter may have been operating at night and the draw was too much whereas in am the converter may have been off.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:12 PM   #5
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Click image for larger version

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this is what my one outlet looks like. I run a powerstrip off the outlet so I don't bump it in my sleep.

Click image for larger version

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This is the heater - it says if it quits to unplug. Wait 30 minutes and restart. Which would make sense, but the one 110 light (as opposed to two 12 volt lights) didn't work either.

I did push the reset button on the switch plate multiple times and couldn't feel a reset. It was just sort of floppy soft.

I guess what I really need to know is if there is any danger trying to run it again. And - do you have any idea what it would cost to upgrade the system?
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:16 PM   #6
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When my last heater did that, I got rid of it. I installed one of these in my camper, easier and safer, no cords. Amazon.com: Broan 174 750/1500W 120 VAC Painted Grill Wall Heater, White: Home Improvement
you have to wire this direct.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Possible there were other campers with electric heaters and the voltage dropped? Also your converter may have been operating at night and the draw was too much whereas in am the converter may have been off.
A converter charges the battery from a land hookup, right? We don't have that -- but wish we did! The car charges it when it is running.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
When my last heater did that, I got rid of it. I installed one of these in my camper, easier and safer, no cords. Amazon.com: Broan 174 750/1500W 120 VAC Painted Grill Wall Heater, White: Home Improvement
you have to wire this direct.
That would be nice! Guess I'd need to look at a total rewire for that. Hum.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin A View Post
I don't recall if our 13' Burro had on onboard fuses or a circuit breaker panel. Do you know what your's has? Did you blow a fuse/trip a breaker/ or trip the external power panel at your site? It wasn't clear if you had to reset something. I know that running our fridge, hot water heater, microwave, and heating element in the roof AC unit tripped our main breaker last trip. In your case, you may have had a slight brown out that dropped the power overall, causing the shutdown. If you have screw-in glass fuses, you may need to update them. I've found old fuses blow more easily.
Kevin! How funny! We do have a refrigerator, one light and an outlet. Hot water, ac, microwave and that roof heating element are still foggy future thoughts.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:25 PM   #10
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just need a 15 amp wire and outlet available to tap into. Not sure what your unit pulls, are on on a 15 or 20 or 30 amp hookup?
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:26 PM   #11
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This is nearly identical to the system used in my UHaul. Basically you have a extension cord wire that runs from this black box out the side of the trailer to plug into the campground power unit. Inside the box is a circuit breaker and an outlet.

To upgrade it you would need to install a heavier (12 gauge) cord, a 20 amp breaker and a 20 amp outlet. The parts aren't expensive, not sure how much it would cost to have it installed - maybe an hour's labor.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:30 PM   #12
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If you were closer I'd do it for a case of beer!!
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:32 PM   #13
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If you were closer I'd do it for a case of beer!!
If Sue and Henry pay my airfare, I'll do it for free.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:35 PM   #14
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particularly this time of year.....
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:46 PM   #15
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Sue, Sorry that didn't work for you. We have no fridg running and I set the heater on low because I was worried about running it on high. found it more comfortable running on low anyway. but we have not camped in really cold weather. I have the heater next to where I sleep and kick it on before getting up in the night to use the toilet. I may have left it on to cycle once but mostly feel more comfortable turning it on and off. Even running electricity while I sleep makes me uncomfortable. Don't know why, at home all electric things run all night. We haven't camped below 35 degrees.

Hope you solve your problem, I really like the electric heat.

Nancy
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue and Henry View Post
Last trip I had electric and used my little space heater. It was very chilly. The electric shut down and so I shut all electric off and put the refrigerator on propane.

The next morning I tuned it back on and even used the heater on low and the refrigerator on electric. It worked fine.

Could you tell me what is going on in my little '82 burro? I'm heading out for another chilly camp out - this time at the ocean. I don't want to destroy my electrical system, but it would be nice to keep the interior at least up to 50 degrees or so!
My guess is that since you used the heater on "low" you stayed within your 15 amp limit, and that's why everything was fine the next day.

A space heater on "high" can consume as much as 12 amps, and your fridge needs more than the three left over....the circuit tripped when it attempted to draw more.

Sounds normal to me for a 15 amp system... fridge on propane is my usual solution.

Francesca
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:37 AM   #17
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Maybe a couple of those airline tickets for Sunny Southern California and a few cases of beer, sounds like a plan to get "Eggbert" wired up
Elaine formally from cold OHIO.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:57 AM   #18
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If Sue and Henry pay my airfare, I'll do it for free.
Jim and Thomas - both very tempting!
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:02 AM   #19
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Jim and Thomas - both very tempting!
I'll call you from the airport.

But seriously, if this is only an occasional need I'd look into just using an additional extension cord.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:06 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
My guess is that since you used the heater on "low" you stayed within your 15 amp limit, and that's why everything was fine the next day.

A space heater on "high" can consume as much as 12 amps, and your fridge needs more than the three left over....the circuit tripped when it attempted to draw more.

Sounds normal to me for a 15 amp system... fridge on propane is my usual solution.

Francesca
The refrigerator on propane sounds like the inexpensive solution. I just filled the tank. Any idea how fast a fridge goes through a tank?
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