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Old 03-05-2019, 06:27 AM   #1
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Fireplace heater trippin’ !?

So I’m plugged into 50A at campsite. When I turn on the electric fireplace, it runs for about 10-15min roughly and then it shuts itself off. But by ‘shutting itself off’ I mean it trips the breaker.

What gives?

This has happened now multiple times at multiple different camp sites. I’m always hooked up to 50A so this shouldn’t be an issue.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:00 AM   #2
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I'm not sure how they have it wired either a home run or if it is like mine it is tied in with the electric water heater, it transfer power by a relay, so when the water heater turns on it will turn off the fireplace. The water heater takes top priority. Now if you have it on a home run, it could be a couple simple things, first a loose wire at the breaker which will cause heat and trip the breaker, or it could just be a bad breaker, they do go bad..
Hope that helps you a little, a third thing could be pulling to many amps I would guess it's on a 15 amp breaker, you would need a amp probe to measure that draw.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:58 AM   #3
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...'which' breaker are you referring to?

- campground pedestal 50amp breaker?
- your own main panel's 50amp breaker?
- the main panel's individual breaker for the fireplace?
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:10 AM   #4
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...this topic comes up quite often on these forums, as the confusion is generally one of 'why' does the fireplace not provide heat as long as it is switched ON.

The consensus is that a Fireplace is a secondary 'heat' source, maybe more for ambiance versus true coach heating, like the furnace. The factories therefore 'share' the fireplace with another 'heat' or large draw item, usually either the microwave or the water heater, since there is generally not enough 'room' in the main panel for another separate and individual breaker for just the fireplace.
Because these two 'large amperage' appliances can't operate at the same time on this single breaker, there will be a relay inline that turns it off while the other appliance is operating, keeping the breaker from tripping.

Annoying? yes, I would be too, but I suppose that once you realize what's going on, it makes more sense. If it's shared with the microwave, then it's probably easier to realize when it's happening, but when it's shared with the Electric Water Heater element, it's only effected with the water heater element turns on to reheat the water... but that's not something you readily 'see' happening, which makes it feel as though the fireplace is just 'shutting off' for no reason.

Some older rigs with this same configuration actually used a separate switch, a manual switch, that the owner would need to switch ON to use the fireplace, or second roof air conditioner, and switch OFF in order to use the microwave. The current-day internal relay basically does this 'for' the owner, but it can be a little confusing, at first.


This may not be your issue, as you could also have a loose wire at your fireplace breaker, making the wire 'arc' when it heats up, causing the breaker to trip.
Or, you could have a loose wire at your main 50amp breaker, or even the campground breaker, which amounts to the same problem.
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:26 AM   #5
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...I'll also add another explanation of your Main electrical panel, at least for us with 50amp double-pole breaker (100 amps total) RV service...

Since the total service is actually 100amps of usable power from your rig, the two 50amp breaker are tied together with a common trip handle. Your main panel's 50amp breakers are designed exactly like the campground's 50amp breakers - exactly the same.

Because you actually are using two 120v lines coming into your coach, your Main panel splits this to serve two SIDES of your coach. Usually your main panel will have the 50amp breakers in the middle, with individual breakers on both the left and right sides. (some of us have a more custom breaker panel, with the 50amp main breakers at the left side, but that is because it is designed more like a home's breaker panel, only horizontally configured, versus vertical, and we have a built-in Inverter sub-panel, generally the breaker to the far right)

Since you have two SIDES, each with 50amps of available power, but a common trip handle between them, either side can trip the whole panel if it exceeds 50amps. The factory then tries to divide the typical power 'usage' equally on each 'side', generally having one roof air conditioner on the left side, and the other on the right. Also, the Battery Charger might be on the left, with the Water Heater on the right, etc., etc., so that each 'side' has somewhat of equal usage while items are being used at the same time.

Now, rigs with the additional FIREPLACE heater have to be concerned with this in the electrical wiring scheme. If the fireplace was on it's own separate breaker, the 'balance' between the two 50amp sides might tip too far, in favor of one side, possibly causing nuisance tripping of the individual breaker, or even the 50amp double-pole main breaker for the whole coach... the factory therefore 'shares' this appliance with another device, on the same breaker, but installing an inline relay so that neither can work at the same time.


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Old 03-05-2019, 10:20 AM   #6
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Fireplace heater trippin’ !?

Quote:
Originally Posted by formerFR View Post
...'which' breaker are you referring to?

- campground pedestal 50amp breaker?
- your own main panel's 50amp breaker?
- the main panel's individual breaker for the fireplace?


The 15A breaker that tripped is the one at the foot of the bed. I’d call that the main breaker box. The 15A breaker is labeled ‘fireplace’ and nothing else.


I don’t know if it’s wired as a dedicated circuit or not. Seems that the people that built this coach don’t know anything about it.


I try to think to myself what else the coach was doing at the time this happened. Since this has happened multiple times, I don’t remember the previous ones but this morning the only thing running at the time was ONE of the heat pumps on roof. That’s it. And the fireplace ran for about 10-15min tops then just cut out.

I don’t remember if the previous times it tripped if I had any Heat pumps going at the same time or other electrical suck items. I don’t think that should matter though.
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:25 AM   #7
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I wouldn't necessarily reason that just because it only is labeled as 'fireplace' that it is the only thing on that circuit - you might also have a TV, or something else plugged into the same outlet, or the same circuit...

a tripped breaker is a result of too much heat within a wiring line that prompts the breaker to trip, a safety feature. If tripping is occurring, then the fireplace, with the heat ON I assume, is drawing too many amps for that circuit breaker, or other things are also being powered at the same time on that circuit.

Do you also have an individual breaker for the Microwave? and the Elec Water Heater?

(edit: also, trip your main breakers, pull the front panel of the electrical box,
and remove the 15a 'fireplace' breaker and check the tightness/connection of the outgoing wire - these are known to easily come 'untight' after a little usage from the factory)

it's a fun diagnosis, and annoying, but when you find the answer, it will become clear!
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:30 AM   #8
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An electric resistance heater that trips the breaker after running a few minutes is usually from the element heating up and sagging or warping a little, and touching the enclosure. That creates a short and trips the breaker.
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formerFR View Post

Do you also have an individual breaker for the Microwave? and the Elec Water Heater?

Here’s a pic of the breakers. And my water heater is the truma tankless which I believe is only fired by propane and has really no electricity usage to speak of. It clearly has an on/off switch and a little green ‘on’ light but it doesn’t use electricity to heat water

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Old 03-05-2019, 11:16 AM   #10
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sounds like a loose wire at the breaker, then....
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