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Old 11-23-2020, 01:22 PM   #1
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Breakers in RV and power source keep throwing

We had an electrician wire a 30 amp plug for us to plug our RV in at home but he wired it as a 220 and "pop" in the RV and several breakers threw. No burn smell BTW. This happened two years ago at a friends house and for some reason after waiting a day everything worked fine. This time the RV and source breakers throw every time I plug it in to a normal 110 with heavy cord and converter (not 30 amp) just to figure out the problem. The RV main and "general purposes" breaker throws and the one in the house. Everything in the RV is turned off, so I cannot figure out the problem. Maybe one of the RV breakers is toast from plugging to a 220? I don't see any burned connections in the main power board. I have read people saying that the initial "pop" could have been the power converter, but why would that cause the breakers to throw when plugged into a proper 110 even if it was damaged by the 220?
I am going to have a buddy with more electric knowledge than me come over, but he does not have an RV, any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!!
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Old 11-23-2020, 02:04 PM   #2
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Click off every breaker in the RV except the main one, then plug into power. Then turn each one on individually until the main breaker trips. That will narrow done the problem unless it is a dead short before the breaker panel.
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Old 11-23-2020, 02:23 PM   #3
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So I did that and the main breaker works as do all the others (micro and AC) BUT one 20 amp breaker called "General Purposes" trips every time. Perhaps that breaker got fried or something on that circuit got fried by the 220 so that is why it is tripping?
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Old 11-23-2020, 02:31 PM   #4
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Leave the "general purpose" breaker turned off and all other breakers on then plug in and check each 120v item in the trailer to see which one is not working.
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Old 11-23-2020, 02:33 PM   #5
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Hi jlillie! Welcome to the forum! I see this is your 1st post.

Well... you are not the first to have an electrician miswire a 30a R/V outlet.
There have been plenty of others here reporting the same.

In almost every case the converter gets fried and/or the microwave. Other things can be damaged too but those are the two most common.

Your breaker is probably popping because the converter is fried.
As mentioned, turn off ALL the breakers in the power distribution box including the main 30a breaker.

Then turn on only the main breaker and see what happens.
If it remains on, then start turning on the other breakers one at a time and see if they remain on, leaving the one marked CON(V) and MICRO off.

That should get you power into the R/V until a QUALIFIED electrician with R/V knowledge can test the converter circuit and the microwave circuit.

BTW... if the electrician that did the install is licensed and insured, they are responsible for any damages to your R/V. Make them rewire the outlet properly and pay for the damages. There are wiring schematics in the FAQ/library section you can print out and give to the electrician to be absolutely certain they know it is to be wired for 120v only!

You most likely will need to replace the converter (a part of the power distribution panel but can be replaced separately) and possibly the microwave. Once you get power to the rest of the R/V you'll be able to test other components.

EDIT: I see you have done some of this while I was typing.
It may very well be your converter is connected to the breaker marked General Purpose


Here are two 30a panels... one marked with a dedicated CON(V) breaker and one that simply says General Purpose... as you can see... not all R/vs are created equally!



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Old 11-23-2020, 02:39 PM   #6
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^ The OP has already done that and found the suspect breaker. It is marked "General Purpose".
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Old 11-23-2020, 02:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boondocking View Post
^ The OP has already done that and found the suspect breaker. It is marked "General Purpose".
Understood... see my EDIT as they were doing this as I was typing and gathering information.
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Old 11-23-2020, 02:52 PM   #8
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Thanks for the insight. If I disconnect the converter from the electrical system would most of the other systems be able to work fine until I get the converter fixed? We are not traveling with the camper this winter and just using it as an extra home/school office space for now so don't need the battery. Just need the electric to run lights and AC for heat for now. But the lights and wall plugs seem to be on that same breaker, so I am hoping that disconnecting the converter will stop that breaker from tripping so I can use the wall plugs. Thanks again!
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:04 PM   #9
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The lame-brained electrician had wired it for 220V and has sent 110V in on the neutral. Not good. You'll now have to go through the process of elimination to find the short. The first thing I would do is disconnect from shore power, turn off all breakers in the RV and probe the power cord for continuity between the HOT and Neutral, and the HOT and Ground to rule out a shorted power cord. If every thing is good, then turn on the main breaker and repeat the same steps. Do this for all the breakers and you will find the short. Just keep in mind that the short may not necessarily be in the panel. It could be downstream in a circuit, or a plugged in appliance such as a microwave or refrigerator.

This may seem a little time consuming, but it keeps you from going down the "rabbit hole".
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlillie View Post
Thanks for the insight. If I disconnect the converter from the electrical system would most of the other systems be able to work fine until I get the converter fixed? We are not traveling with the camper this winter and just using it as an extra home/school office space for now so don't need the battery. Just need the electric to run lights and AC for heat for now. But the lights and wall plugs seem to be on that same breaker, so I am hoping that disconnecting the converter will stop that breaker from tripping so I can use the wall plugs. Thanks again!
Unfortunately R/V electrical systems are made up of 120v AC items and 12v DC items. The 12v DC items run off the battery and the converter (when plugged in) and you are not going to get along very well without either.

Things like lights and vent fans are 12v. Controls for the refrigerator, furnace and possibly the water heater are all 12v DC.

A converter takes 120v AC and 'converts' it to 12v DC and charges the battery. You will likely get back the outlets that don't work once the converter is disconnected but without it, your battery won't last long and many things will stop working.

While you could jerry rig some of these things to work using a battery and a battery charger (in lieu of the converter) I'm not recommending it unless you are mechanically skilled with electrical knowledge.
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:29 PM   #11
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If your converter is cooked you will only be able to use the lights until the battery dies. When your on shore power the converter operates the lights as well as charging the battery. Other things which operate from the 12vdc power will drain the battery are the refrigerator control board and panel, water heater control board, furnace control board and fan, CO/LP detector, vent fan and your thermostat for both the A/C and furnace. If you have a touchscreen panel for slideouts and stabilizers it will be drawing 12vdc too.
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:33 PM   #12
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I accessed the converter and there are no signs of damage to it. But there does not see to be an on/off switch or light or anything. Any ideas how to test it? It does not seem designed for easy maintenance. I guess I could disconnect it and take it to my local RV shop and perhaps they can test it. My guess is that is the problem since the other systems/breakers work.
Thanks again for your help.
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:40 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jlillie View Post
I accessed the converter and there are no signs of damage to it. But there does not see to be an on/off switch or light or anything. Any ideas how to test it? It does not seem designed for easy maintenance. I guess I could disconnect it and take it to my local RV shop and perhaps they can test it. My guess is that is the problem since the other systems/breakers work.
Thanks again for your help.
There is no on/off switch or lights typically. You won't likely 'see' any 'damage' to it. It is probably fried inside.

The way to easily test is to disconnect the 120v SUPPLY wires to the converter (at the converter connection lugs) and then see if the breaker remains on when turned back on.

I'm hoping you understand not to be doing any of this disconnecting with the R/V connected to shore power!

Disconnect the supply wires and be sure they are not touching each other or anything else before retrying the breaker!

If the breaker stays on and the other outlets have power, replace the converter. If the breaker still trips and/or the other outlets have no power, you need someone with electrical knowledge to start tracing electrical circuits with a voltmeter.
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:41 PM   #14
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If you have a multimeter set it for dc volts and place a probe on each battery post. If the meter reads more than 13 volts the converter is working.
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:46 PM   #15
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One thing to try is remove one of the battery cables. Leave all breakers on except for the "general purpose" one. Plug in and see if the lights come on. If no lights then that will tell you that "general purpose" breaker is for the converter.
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:46 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Scrapper View Post
If you have a multimeter set it for dc volts and place a probe on each battery post. If the meter reads more than 13 volts the converter is working.
They can't do this test because (supposedly, we don't know for certain) the breaker the converter is connected to trips and can't be latched without tripping.
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Old 11-23-2020, 04:16 PM   #17
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Disconnecting the converted solved the thrown breaker. First I disconnected the large red and white wires but then realized that those are output from the converter to the low power 12v system and battery. There was also a large copper wire. I assume that is the ground??? I was confused as to where the power cord to the converter was coming from but found it going into another compartment and it actually had its own three prong plug. So not hard at all to remove. That solved the thrown breaker. I will have it tested just to make sure the problem is not something down stream from the converter which seems unlikely since that is all low watt right so those items like GIF plugs and lights should not cause the breaker to throw. Thanks for all your help!!!
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Old 11-23-2020, 04:18 PM   #18
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Glad to hear that you got it solved. Thank you for the update.
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Old 11-23-2020, 05:06 PM   #19
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As mentioned... thanks for the update.

You still have a few things confused (low watt) but we won't get into them as I suspect your issues are all in the converter.

You are right, the large red and white wires are the OUTPUT from the converter to the 12v side of things and the battery. The GFCI outlet and those outlets protected by the GFCI outlet (they are daisy chained) are not part of the converter or the 12v system but rather the 120v side. They didn't have power because the converter was also connected to that breaker and causing it to trip.
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Old 11-24-2020, 11:37 AM   #20
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Fortunately you've found the converter and see how easy it is to replace!

Here's a good and affordable resource to buy a replacement:
BestConverter - Converters, Inverters, Electrical Supplies, Electronics

Change it out sooner than later. Right now all of your lights, vent fans, and furnace fan are all running off of your battery. Part of the converter's job is to recharge the batter and without being charged, the items I mentioned will likely run it dead fairly quickly.
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