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Old 07-21-2018, 12:32 PM   #1
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Main breaker keeps tripping

One our first actual trip in our camper and weíre in Panama City Beach. Today, A/C was running and we tried making something in the microwave and the main breaker tripped every time we pressed start on the microwave. Ended up flipping the water heater breaker off and it would stay running long enough to heat up the kids corn dogs but is this normal? I have read that the microwave and fireplace wouldnít run at the same time but wouldnít think you would have to shut the water heater down just to run the microwave.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:07 PM   #2
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What are you plugged into for power?
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:16 PM   #3
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I do not know if your camper is 30 amps or 50 amps.
But from your description I would say 30 amps. Your AC is drawing about 14 amps your converter is drawing about 6.2 amps your microwave draws about 10.4 amps and your electric water heater draws about 10.4 amps when it is on.
So when you are running all of that you are well over 30 amps so it is little wonder your main breaker is tripping.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:22 PM   #4
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Itís 30amp. That makes sense, just didnít know if thatís the norm.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:24 PM   #5
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Simple answer. Overloaded. Reduce loads and carry on. Do some demand management as needed.

One important thing to do, esp. in the heat of summer, is to monitor the voltage. Low voltage can damage AC units and cause appliances to under-perform. Low voltage will cause AC units to draw a bit more current too. A permanently mounted voltmeter is recommended. Depending on how low voltage gets, an autoformer can be a good solution. An EMS is highly recommended.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:26 PM   #6
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It could also depend on the quality of the shore power. If it is weak it could have surges that interfere with your systems if you do not have a surge protector on your plug. One of our earlier campers had that breaker-throw problem at several campgrounds that we frequented. We would just turn off the compressor on the AC by adjusting the temperature higher any time we used the microwave. A bit inconvenient but we never threw the breaker once we started doing that.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:49 PM   #7
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Turn off the electric water heated and run it in propane as needed.
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Old 07-21-2018, 04:09 PM   #8
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Turn off the electric water heated and run it in propane as needed.


That is what we are doing now. Thanks everyone for the help! Still learning the camper life.
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Old 07-21-2018, 05:35 PM   #9
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30 amp will trip unless you manage loads. Google "RV Amperage chart" and you will get some info that might help. Water heater on electric will cause issues. I would use propane unless you are taking long or back to back showers then use propane and electric.
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Old 07-21-2018, 05:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JSLayton View Post
That is what we are doing now. Thanks everyone for the help! Still learning the camper life.
Thats a good move keep in mind on hot days the campground may be experience low voltage because of use which will cause your equipment to pull more amps. If you have kids and all taking showers you can run your water heater on both electric and propane for faster recovery just don't start the microwave. good luck
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:02 PM   #11
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Itís 30amp. That makes sense, just didnít know if thatís the norm.
It's so normal that my 1994 Sunline had a switch in the galley that toggled between water heater and microwave.
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:17 PM   #12
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Normal enough that it is probably one of the biggest reasons there is now 50 amp service in a lot of RV's.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:11 AM   #13
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Welcome to the world of 30 amps at 120 volts. Look at the amp draw of your appliances in use including water heater and add them up. On start up ac units draw about 6 tines the run load amps on the unit. You have to juggle what you use. You can get a power meter that will show how much you are drawing in total. I never used one in my Rv but sure others could recommend one. You may want to search for Ohms law on the internet to better understand watts amperage and voltage.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:15 AM   #14
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One way to help manage your electric load is to simply turn the breaker for the WH off when you are not going to be using it. We seldom use hot water at the same time as we are cooking so by leaving the WH off we eliminated that load while cooking.

Just turn it on about 30 minutes prior to wanting hot water.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:24 AM   #15
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Camping in an RV is an exercise in management. Unless you have full hookups with 50A service, you may need to manage, electric use, fresh and waste water use, shower time, and fridge open time.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:35 AM   #16
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Camping in an RV is an exercise in management. Unless you have full hookups with 50A service, you may need to manage, electric use, fresh and waste water use, shower time, and fridge open time.
Agreed. Our previous camper was 30 Amp. Every time DW used her hair dryer it would pop the main if anything else was running.

My solution was to install a 20 Amp receptacle in the side of the sink cabinet which was in the bedroom and where she did her hair drying.

I ran this outside to a plug which I then used a 120 volt 20 Amp extension cord to plug into the 20 Amp receptacle on the pole. This effectively took the hair dryer out of our energy management. The rest was easy peasy!

I must admit though, 50 amps is the way to go. No more worries about what is on or when.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:49 AM   #17
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I ran this outside to a plug which I then used a 120 volt 20 Amp extension cord to plug into the 20 Amp receptacle on the pole. This effectively took the hair dryer out of our energy management. The rest was easy peasy!

Just an FYI. This may not always be a solution to energy management as some/many campgrounds have 100A breakers upstream that protect the wiring to three 30A sites. As more and more people use this trick, it is possible to trip the upstream breaker which is usually in a locked location ( campground staff involved). I saw this happen last summer and one camper lost a fridge full of food when his neighbor tripped the 100 A breaker with a griddle and coffee pot along with AC and WH.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:04 AM   #18
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Also...

One of the reasons more and more campgrounds and RV parks are starting to charge extra for electricity is due to RVíers using things like Cheap Heat and electric fireplaces to heat their rigs instead of running the heat with LP to save themselves some money and let the park pay for the electricity.

Of course, that will either come to an end (RV parks eating the cost of electricity) as they either charge us separately or just raise their rates to reflect the extra cost of juice.

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Old 07-23-2018, 09:06 AM   #19
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A lot of good advice here. But really, it sounds scarier than it really is. Yes, you can trip the main on 30A when running everything, but it doesn't happen all the time. Used the last TT for 5 years on 30A and I think I only ever tripped the main from overusage once. And that time, I had tried to run the Microwave at the same time as the Keurig and had the AC on.

I never had the need to run my HW on propane, or selectively turn things off, as long as I was aware that things take power. For example, if you're using the hot water, got the exhaust fan running on the range hood, got the exhaust fan running in the bathroom, got the AC blowing, have the TV and the radio on, and try to run the microwave, you're going to trip something. But, if you time the microwave until just after the AC cycles off (by sound) you've got a pretty good chance you can finish heating whatever it is you're heating up before the AC cycles back on. And if not, like if you're heating something for 10 minutes or so, then you can easily just flip the thermostat off, it's usually right there in the kitchen/living area at eye level. No need to run around and shut down HW or bending down to kill circuits or any of that. And definitely no need to use up your propane on the HW or fridge just because the kids might want a corn dog.

We just got back from a 1/2 week at Provincial Park where we only had 30A service, ran everything like normal, all on electric, even use the electric FP to take the chill out of the air a couple of mornings instead of using the furnace, and never tripped. Even when I was using the microwave to heat up some leftovers, and had the AC running at the same time, we didn't trip. But, I was also not constantly in the fridge, or running hot water, or running the exhaust fans (which almost always guarantees my converter needs to run) at the same time.
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Old 07-23-2018, 05:29 PM   #20
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Normal enough that it is probably one of the biggest reasons there is now 50 amp service in a lot of RV's.
The reason is because RV manufacturers and dealers make more profit. Both in a 50 amp equipped RV and in being able to sell a larger/fancier RV than can draw more power (allegedly).

Up until 2005, the NEC only required 5% of CGs to have 50 amp pedestals and then it was changed to 20%. In the latest edition of the NEC (2017), it was increased to 40% of a CG that requires 50 amp sites. I don't think many CGs have been built under the new 2005 NEC rules compared to all the older ones around the US. And I can't imagine many of us finding ones built under the new 2017 NEC rules. There are some CGs/RV parks out there that may have built above the min. code rules like casinos and some gov't facilities, but overall doubt there are many in comparison.

The RV manufacturers and dealers never tell anyone how difficult it can be to find 50 amp pedestals in CGs. There are tons and tons of 50 amp RVs in CGs using 50/30 amp adapters. However, this causes CG electrical systems to be drawing far more current than what the code required when they were built. The NEC has NO provisions for the demand of 50 amp RVs using 50/30 amp adapters. The end result is low voltage and in some cases, even tripped feeder breakers.

Some CGs are apparently even turning away any RV that is 50 amps because their systems can't handle the increased power demand.
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