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Old 08-31-2014, 08:23 PM   #1
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Converter cooling fan

The fan on our converter is not coming on. This weekend two breakers (one 15-amp for the converter and then later a 15-amp marked "micro" which I assume is for a microwave we do not have) kept tripping. The only load on the AC system was the air conditioner. The air conditioner breaker never tripped. When we took the cover off the converter box, the tripping stopped. I am thinking it is time for a third warranty repair claim since we purchased this new in April. Can anyone with more electrical experience confirm my overheating suspicion?

Thanks.
John
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:17 PM   #2
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The 120 volt loads should have no impact on the converter (assuming everything is wired properly). The 120 volt circuits are feed through.

The converter theoretically only produces heat when powering DC loads (battery charging, DC mode on fridge, lights, water pump, stereo, etc). My converter fan seldom runs at all unless the battery is pretty depleted. The fridge only operates in DC mode when I'm traveling, so the converter is by-passed.

So I'm doubting it's an overheat condition causing AC breakers to trip. When you uncover the converter - is it hot around it? Most likely you have a spurious overload on your AC side. One cause is stranded wires having a strand or two cross at adjacent terminals (crummy wiring). And these could be downstream at an outlet. Is there anything else plugged into any AC outlet? What else is running besides A/C and converter when breakers trip?

When you put the cover back on the converter does the tripping resume?

Other causes I can think of:

- where are you getting your AC power from? Is it a proper 30 amp supply with good solid connections at both cord ends? Running the A/C along with anything else is going to take more than a household 15-20 amp supply in most cases. Only the smaller air conditioners, such as my A-frame, draw less than 10 amps running (and more to start). Is the A/C compressor running when the trips happen? Or just the fan?

The mechanic is going to have trouble replicating, diagnosing, and figuring this out unless it is consistent under a particular set of circumstances. I am very worried about an unused circuit breaker tripping. That says to me there is a load on the wiring even if there is no microwave installed.

I would definitely look at the wiring connections and that circuit breakers are locked in place at your distribution point. And make sure nothing is plugged into any AC outlets while the tripping is happening.

If all wiring is good, and you are absolutely sure there are no other loads (turn off all circuit breakers except air conditioner and converter), the problem must be insufficient current and/or voltage coming in because the air conditioner draws too much. Or the converter has an internal problem.

One check of the converter is voltages at the battery. You should be above 13 volts when the converter is powered, and less than 12.5 volts when the converter has been off for over 12 hours.

Hope this helps
Fred W
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Old 09-01-2014, 03:22 PM   #3
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I am worried about a mechanic being able to replicate the issue.

The only AC loads on the system were the air conditioner fan and compressor, the frig, and on Saturday a cell phone charging using the inside GFI outlet. That day it tripped the 15-amp converter breaker and killed the air conditioner. It did not trip Friday night or Saturday morning, but mid-afternoon on Saturday. After we removed the cover and reset the GFI outlet, the tripping stopped. I reinstalled the cover later that night (so the dog wouldn't go nosing around the wires).

The tripping resumed around 11:30 Sunday morning. The first time the system tripped both the converter and the "micro" breakers (both 15-amp). After resetting both breakers and the GFI outlet, the converter breaker never tripped again. The "micro" circuit kept tripping, which killed the air conditioner. Without turning off the air conditioner load, the breaker would not reset sometimes (you flipped it to on and it immediately tripped). The breaker seemed stable with just the air conditioner fan on, but whenever we turned on the compressor it tripped again.

We took the cover off to swap out the breaker thinking perhaps it was weak, but the replacement did not fit. We reinstalled the old breaker, left the cover off and never had another problem, even with the compressor and fan jacked up to full blast to bring the camper down from 115 degrees to around 80 (yep, it gets that hot in SW Florida in September).

The air conditioner power is on a dedicated line with nothing else on it. A power cord runs from the converter area and plugs into an outlet which runs directly to the air conditioner. The breaker labeled air conditioner is 30 amp.

The other breakers are 15-amp for the converter, 20-amp for the frig, and 15-amp for the "micro". The frig and the air conditioner circuits never tripped. We never cut out the frig and air conditioner circuits and tried just running the two 15-amp circuits. We are home now, and I don't have a dedicated 30-amp outlet available.

The two 15-amp breakers are the outside breakers in this configuation (15, 20, 30, 15) which is why we were suspecting heat issues. The converter box feels warm to the touch, but not to the point where it will burn your hand. I can not see an evidence of plastic melting or anything.

I was worried about an overload from the 30-amp shore power box, but my surge protector was working fine. The other problem I thought about was a drop in current coming from outside, but why would it trip the converter circuit one day and the "micro" circuit the next? Any why would the tripped micro circuit kill the air conditioner? Unless someone wired the two things backward ...

Right now I am thinking:

A) something is wired wrong in the camper; or
B) there is an internal problem with the converter; or
C) there was a drop in current from outside; or
D) there is an issue with the GFI wiring; or
E) perhaps a combination of two or more of these
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:04 PM   #4
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Do you have access to a amp probe or know someone with one? Without having a true reading of amps in those circuits you will only be guessing. Can your your panel built enough heat in it to trip 110v circuit I doubt it. Did you check the lugs that they are tight? a lose wire can also do as you have posted. If your pedestal or EMS is not tripping it's not a power source problem. I also read that you have a 30 amp breaker installed for the A/C that would be a first in my book and wrong size breaker. The A/C and what you are calling MICO, which I think is microwave should be on a home run circuit. meaning direct to the breaker. Also check all your ground lugs and common, which some will call neutral. I also agree with "B" only.
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gljurczyk View Post
Do you have access to a amp probe or know someone with one? Without having a true reading of amps in those circuits you will only be guessing. Can your your panel built enough heat in it to trip 110v circuit I doubt it. Did you check the lugs that they are tight? a lose wire can also do as you have posted. If your pedestal or EMS is not tripping it's not a power source problem. I also read that you have a 30 amp breaker installed for the A/C that would be a first in my book and wrong size breaker. The A/C and what you are calling MICO, which I think is microwave should be on a home run circuit. meaning direct to the breaker. Also check all your ground lugs and common, which some will call neutral. I also agree with "B" only.
I had not thought of loose lugs. The air conditioner and "micro" circuits I know are tight because we disconnected and reconnected them ourselves when we tried swapping out breakers. I can get back in there and check the commons once the rain stops and the temperature drops a bit (heat index is still triple-digits).

I may roll out my hurricane generator and fire it up and hook the camper to it and check the amps. I forgot that it has a 30-amp outlet. My neighbor should have an amp probe somewhere in his garage (along with my shovel).

Right now, I am leaning toward the micro and air conditioner circuits being wired backward or there is something wrong inside the converter. But, as my wife pointed out to me while we were discussing the potential issues, why would the problem be so intermittent? We had no tripping issues last night and through this morning as we were breaking down to come home. If it tripped because of being wired to a wrong breaker, wouldn't it trip when I increased the load to drop the temperature 30 degrees?
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:36 PM   #6
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I had not thought of loose lugs. The air conditioner and "micro" circuits I know are tight because we disconnected and reconnected them ourselves when we tried swapping out breakers. I can get back in there and check the commons once the rain stops and the temperature drops a bit (heat index is still triple-digits).

I may roll out my hurricane generator and fire it up and hook the camper to it and check the amps. I forgot that it has a 30-amp outlet. My neighbor should have an amp probe somewhere in his garage (along with my shovel).

Right now, I am leaning toward the micro and air conditioner circuits being wired backward or there is something wrong inside the converter. But, as my wife pointed out to me while we were discussing the potential issues, why would the problem be so intermittent? We had no tripping issues last night and through this morning as we were breaking down to come home. If it tripped because of being wired to a wrong breaker, wouldn't it trip when I increased the load to drop the temperature 30 degrees?
A load is a load no matter what you set your temp to. You can set your stat at 50 and it will be 100 degrees you are still only going to pull the same load if you set it at 80 degrees. You unit can only pull max loaded amps. Now your microwave is different should stay constant.
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:34 PM   #7
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Problem apparently solved. The wrong sized breaker was installed -- 15 amp instead of 20 amp. To top it off, the breaker box was mislabeled. The breaker for the system as a whole was labelled A/C. The breaker for the A/C was labelled "micro," which we don't have. That explains why the " micro" circuit was taking out the A/C.
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:48 PM   #8
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Problem apparently solved. The wrong sized breaker was installed -- 15 amp instead of 20 amp. To top it off, the breaker box was mislabeled. The breaker for the system as a whole was labelled A/C. The breaker for the A/C was labelled "micro," which we don't have. That explains why the " micro" circuit was taking out the A/C.
Glad you got it taken care of, do not believe anything on electrical until you trace it. If I said it once I said it 100 times there are no units wire the same, depending who is on the line that day. That's why they will not give you a diagram, FR really can't say pretty sorry if you ask me...... When I traced all my circuits they doubled my converter to the Microwave breaker. Now that's not to any code...
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Old 09-21-2014, 12:53 AM   #9
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The service manager said they had three more campers exhibiting the same problem as mine. Come Monday, they are going to check the the circuit breakers in those to see if that resolves those problems.

I know the dealer installed the A/C unit and not FR, but four units with the same issue? That tells me something wrong is coming off the factory floor.

Our old Fleetwood was built better than this.
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Old 09-21-2014, 02:39 PM   #10
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The service manager said they had three more campers exhibiting the same problem as mine. Come Monday, they are going to check the the circuit breakers in those to see if that resolves those problems.

I know the dealer installed the A/C unit and not FR, but four units with the same issue? That tells me something wrong is coming off the factory floor.

Our old Fleetwood was built better than this.
That's what happens when they push 35 units off the line a day. I was talking to a repair guy at the rally and he said they still have the quota of 35 per day. He also said, if they don't meet it on time to get off at quitting time they have to stay to finish. He worked on the Rockwood/Flagstaff line. I guess your A & B would have been the answer.
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