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Old 09-23-2011, 10:03 AM   #1
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Need electrical help!

Hi everyone. I did something really dumb and now I have a dumb question about it. I have a Flagstaff 26' camper trailer. I forget the exact year of the camper... it's only 4-5 years old. I'm at work so I can't get to the paperwork for it right now. I'll try to make this as short as possible. I was having a problem getting the air conditioner to start a couple of weeks ago (turned out the only thing wrong with it was the fan motor was stuck and after I freed it up by turning the fan by hand the air conditioner started working.) Initially when it wouldn't work my wife's uncle was visiting. I had the camper plugged into a 30 amp outlet I'd wired on the side of a shop in my back yard. "Uncle Gene" looked at my wiring and told me I'd done it wrong because I'd only wired for 120 volts. He does this kind of thing all the time so I took him at his word. I went and bought a dual pole 30 amp breaker and wired my outlet for 240 volts. Do you see where this is going? So... I plugged the camper up to the 240 and it was probably plugged up to 240 for 15 minutes or so total. I had an oscillating fan plugged into an outlet in the camper during this time and it quit working. I put a meter on the outlet the fan had been plugged into and it read 250 volts. YIKES!!! I immediately unplugged the camper from the 240 volt outlet. I looked at the power cable and where it connects to the camper it clearly says it needs 120 volts. So... now everything electrical in the camper works GREAT off of battery power. But if I disconnect the battery (or it runs down) and I'm plugged into 120v 30 amp outlet, only the electrical outlets in the camper work. Nothing that is hard-wired will come on. I was inside the camper the entire time it was hooked to 240 volts and I didn't smell anything burning so I don't think the wiring got burned up. It's as if though there's a main breaker that is thrown somewhere or a main fuse that blew. I look at the breaker panel under the 'fridge and don't see a main breaker, just 6 small breakers for individual things like fridge, TV, etc. So I'm wondering if anyone can tell me where there might be a main breaker or fuse located in this camper (without calling me too many names like idiot, stupid, etc). Any other suggestions other than "Don't trust your Uncle Gene any further than you can throw him."? Thanks in advance for input.
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Old 09-23-2011, 10:09 AM   #2
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It sounds like you may have fried your convertor with the 240V surge. I am not aware of any other breakers than what are on the convertor box. I hope someone can chime in and give you a better anwser. Do you have Insurance?
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Old 09-23-2011, 10:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Danielflading View Post
It sounds like you may have fried your convertor with the 240V surge. I am not aware of any other breakers than what are on the convertor box. I hope someone can chime in and give you a better anwser. Do you have Insurance?
Hmmm... Yes... not sure it would cover this, though. Also have umbrella insurance policy. But... any idea of a ballpark figure of what something like this would cost to fix if I took it to a dealer and it was the converter that was fried? And also, what about a main breaker? Seems crazy to me that there wouldn't be a main circuit breaker somewhere on the camper or a main fuse at least.
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Old 09-23-2011, 10:30 AM   #4
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One of those breakers in that panel will be a 30 amp breaker. Usually on top, or far left, depending on the panel orientation. That will be your main breaker. Good luck on replacing everything, ax, microwave, heater in the fridge, if the fridge was on, converter, and probably some stuff I can't think of right now.
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Old 09-23-2011, 10:35 AM   #5
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There should be a main breaker in your converter, I am sure you don't want to hear this but from what I have always heard when a 30 AMP is hit with 240 the cost to repair will be extensive. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:12 AM   #6
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Progressive Dynamics - Inteli-Power 80 Amp Converter/Charger - Converter/Chargers - Camping World

this just the tip of teh iceberg, no telling what else is damaged due tp over voltage, AC, Microwave, Furnace, refrig, etc....

Sorry you are dealing with this. Good luck!
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:46 PM   #7
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Ugh. Thanks for the responses. I should have waited until Monday to ask. This doesn't make me cheerful for the weekend. Anyway, thanks again for the feedback.
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:52 PM   #8
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Oh by the way the microwave was definitely fried. I've already replaced it. Not sure what all else is messed up, too. Uncle Gene might be walking with a limp for a while. grrrrrrr.........
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:42 PM   #9
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check the fuses (and breakers) on the converter and see if by some chance they may have protected it. ur furnace may be the only thing to survive...it is dc.
u might try looking at the fuses in anything else that doesn't come on as well. it may be slim, but there is a chance.
u may check the fuse in the microwave u removed also.
does the frig still work on gas?
what abt the air conditioner?
hope is doesn't work out as bad for you.
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:31 PM   #10
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Don't feel bad Shag, I watched my neighbour do the exact same thing. He was in a hurry, took a look at the BIG plug, and just assumed it must be 240V. But he sure had a hard time jamming that plug in an actual 240 outlet!

All he burned out was what looked like a capacitor on the converter panel, but it DID smoke and made a cool hissing sound as it boiled all of the oil out it through a split in the casing. He went to some kind of electronics store, got the capacitor for peanuts, and fixed it himself. But he did not have anything 120V running in the camper.

If you have to replace the panel, I don't think it was outrageously expensive, $160 maybe? And you shouldn't have to replace the whole unit, just the electronics board, and maybe the cooling fan if it came on. You did mention you left it plugged in for a while.

But think of it this way, you could have burnt it to the ground!
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