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Old 10-03-2011, 06:28 AM   #1
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Breaker Question

Greetings,

Have a question regarding adding a breaker and dedicated outlet for a space heater. While running the space heater this weekend, the breaker tripped a couple of times through the night. With the rear bunk (man cave ) so separated from the main area, it's nice to add a little heat towards the back of the camper in addition to running the furnace. Unfortunately all outlets available also run the heated bed controls, etc...so...overloaded. I have plenty of space in the panel to add a breaker, and would only add 1 outlet on the wall right next to it. 20amp breaker, 12-2 w/g wire. Am I looking at drawing more than the box can handle? Or would I be well within it's means. I would think that it should be a fairly doable mod. Thanks, as always, for your input!
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:21 AM   #2
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I suppose that would depend on the heater's rating; whether it is the only heater in the camper; what else is on that circuit; and which breaker is tripping.

Remember a 1500 watt heater draws 12.5 -14 amps (depending on voltage available - lower volts more amps used).

Two of them will trip your main (30 amp camper) if the battery charger in the converter powers up or the converter needs to run the heater fan.

Add up all the watts being used by beds, heaters, etc. on each branch circuit and divide by 120VAC to get amps on each branch. Then add all the branches up and if the exceed the service on your camper (30 or 50 amps) you will trip the main.

Don't forget the converter also supplies all your DC at the same time! It gets that power from one of your AC breakers. Your furnace fan when running draws about 6.5 amps DC or 80 watts from the converter.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:32 AM   #3
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I did what you are considering.
My panel had spare slots and I just bought a 15 amp plug in circuit
breaker at Lowes or Home Depot. I put the outlet in the toe kick area
right next to the panel and it only required about 5 feet of 14/2 romex.
Get a plastic "old work" outlet box and a duplex outlet and cover plate.
It's a 1 beer job if you have ever done anything like this before.

The 2nd dedicated outlet allows us to perk coffee and run a floor space
heater at the same time. Or toast bread and run a heater.
We've never tried to run 2 heaters at the same time.
I suspect Lou is correct in that might trip your 30 amp either in your
trailer or on the pole depending on what else is on.
IF your electric water heat element came on while you were toasting
and heating or microwaving it would probably trip.

We've never tripped ours knock wood

Also you can run an outdoor extension cord from the duplex outlet
on your power pole and snake it inside thru a slide seal or other hole
and power a heater like that with no modification at all.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:35 AM   #4
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We have been successful running one heater on high and one on low at night. But turn off things that draw large amounts of power, like the electric side of the water heater, etc.
No reason not to run another circuit if you need to. As far as what the box can handle, that depends on your total load for the trailer.
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:45 AM   #5
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Another approach may be using the 20amp outlet at the CG AC post (there is usually a 50amp, a 30amp and a 20 amp). Currently I run a lighted HD extension cord from this 20amp outlet into the trailer via the slide out. I use this to run a 1500w space heater.

However recently while in the Fla keys I saw a camper that the owner had installed one of these in one of the storage doors (I guess he didn't want to make a hole in the side wall!). Then just like your regular 30amp cord, he had a 20amp extension cord plugged into it and the CG 20amp plug. Oh, he of course installed an outlet inside the trailer powered exclusively by this plug. This solution is not as "integrated" as KyDan's but it is somewhat easy and you get to use all available AC power in the CG post.




Leviton 5278-C 5-15P Flanged Inlet Receptacle Industrial - White

PPL Motor Homes carries a similar purpose outlet.

Outdoor Receptacle for 110 Volt - PPL Motor Homes
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Old 10-03-2011, 08:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
IF your electric water heat element came on while you were toasting and heating or microwaving it would probably trip.
Dan and Richard, it never occurred to me he might have his water heater on AC electric. If so ONE 1500 watt heater would trip his main when the water heater turned on. That beast is a power hog.
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:02 AM   #7
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One other thing to think about. I have heard that some campgrounds only allow one cord to the post. I personally have not had this but?
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:22 AM   #8
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I plugged my heater into the WH outet. When using the heater I do not use the electric side of the WH. Did not have to add an extra outlet. I do not have room for an additional breaker. We also use the oil type heaters. They have 3 setting for watts (500, 800 and 1200). We use the low setting and the heater keeps the sleeping area warm.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:12 AM   #9
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my only suggestion is if u decide to add a breaker, take one with u to match it up. the buss bar slots are different. found a rv/mobile home supply had a better selection than my local home depot or lowes (which did have them).
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