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Old 09-23-2021, 07:14 AM   #1
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Circuit breaker -charging shorted

My LT18 #5—15amp circuit breaker has 2 leads to it. One is frig and the other is charging. It keeps tripping and I isolated it to the charging side. Frig is fine. The black wire to this breaker “charging” runs out of the power converter into a harness then into a wall cavity between my bath and closet. I can’t find where it comes out and what it’s function is. It is black, solid strand. This breaker flip was intermittent but now it’s solid failure due to this wired being grounded someplace. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Where does it go and what does it do? All other electronics are functioning as designed but need to bring back this battery charging circuit or buy a separate battery charger.
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Old 09-23-2021, 07:19 AM   #2
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My LT18 #5—15amp circuit breaker has 2 leads to it. One is frig and the other is charging. It keeps tripping and I isolated it to the charging side. Frig is fine. The black wire to this breaker “charging” runs out of the power converter into a harness then into a wall cavity between my bath and closet. I can’t find where it comes out and what it’s function is. It is black, solid strand. This breaker flip was intermittent but now it’s solid failure due to this wired being grounded someplace. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Where does it go and what does it do? All other electronics are functioning as designed but need to bring back this battery charging circuit or buy a separate battery charger.

If you do not what the wires purpose is, how can you know it is for charging?


Does your RV have a residential refrigerator as I don't know what a LT18 is, that might had an inverter for the fridge?
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Old 09-23-2021, 09:47 AM   #3
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If you do not what the wires purpose is, how can you know it is for charging?


Does your RV have a residential refrigerator as I don't know what a LT18 is, that might had an inverter for the fridge?
The circuit breaker is marked “frig-charger”. My battery is not receiving any charging from my power converter because the “charger”wire to the breaker is shorted to ground. The second wire to this breaker is for the frig and it works fine. The LT 18 is a Work and Play camper.
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Old 09-23-2021, 09:51 AM   #4
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The circuit breaker is marked “frig-charger”. My battery is not receiving any charging from my power converter because the “charger”wire to the breaker is shorted to ground. The second wire to this breaker is for the frig and it works fine. The LT 18 is a Work and Play camper.
The black wire is the power load line going to converter . converter bad replace
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Old 09-23-2021, 09:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Warren G lt18 View Post
My LT18 #5—15amp circuit breaker has 2 leads to it. One is frig and the other is charging. It keeps tripping and I isolated it to the charging side. Frig is fine. The black wire to this breaker “charging” runs out of the power converter into a harness then into a wall cavity between my bath and closet. I can’t find where it comes out and what it’s function is. It is black, solid strand. This breaker flip was intermittent but now it’s solid failure due to this wired being grounded someplace. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Where does it go and what does it do? All other electronics are functioning as designed but need to bring back this battery charging circuit or buy a separate battery charger.
Only three possibilities as I read this. One is that the breaker has failed. Was first intermittent and got worse until it's "permanent". Next is a short along the wire although these often end up with smell, smoke, and something "hot" when touched (the item the wire is shorting against). Last would be a faulty Converter/charger.

I would try to isolate the converter and feed it from a separate power source to see if it operates properly without tripping the other source's breaker.

Next, just replace the breaker. They're inexpensive and easy to replace.

Last, if the other steps don't do the trick, it will be necessary to expose the wire and possibly replace (or just run a new wire, disconnecting on each end and putting a wire nut on unused wire ends (just in case).

When teaching the basics of electricity the "water analogy" is generally used. The difference is however that with a "water circuit" any "leak" is easier to find. With electricity, no puddles are left to show where and unless there's smoke or flame, you can have a tough time finding where the fault is when wires aren't exposed.
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Old 09-23-2021, 05:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Warren G lt18 View Post
The circuit breaker is marked “frig-charger”. My battery is not receiving any charging from my power converter because the “charger”wire to the breaker is shorted to ground. The second wire to this breaker is for the frig and it works fine. The LT 18 is a Work and Play camper.
Does your converter plug into a receptacle? If it does unplug it and see if the breaker still trips. If not disconnect the black wire feeding AC into it to see if it relives the short. If it is plugged into a receptacle make sure something else is not plugged in to the same receptacle that could be causing the problem.
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Old 09-23-2021, 08:43 PM   #7
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What else

The converter does not draw a lot of power, unlike the microwave or water heater, for example. On many trailers (including mine) there are other things on the circuit along with the converter. I'm not near the trailer right now, so I can't say exactly what. Maybe some of the non-GFI outlets. Your situation is like this.

You need to isolate whether there's a short or low-resistance connection in the converter, or in the other loads, or whether the breaker is bad and tripping too early.

First see if it's the breaker. Use the water heater breaker for a test if it has the same rating as the suspect breaker. Turn both breakers (Charging and water heater) off. Swap the wires on the two breakers. Turn power back on. Make sure the water heater electric portion is turned on, and run some hot water, so cold water enters the tank and causes the heater to heat. Use another breaker if you can't use the water heater breaker, but make sure it's a circuit you can load with at least a few hundred watts.

If the tripping stays with the breaker that was originally Charging, the breaker is bad.

If the tripping moves to the breaker that was originally the water heater, then it's not a breaker issue; either the converter or the mystery load is drawing too much power. Put the wires back on their original spots.

The fault could be in the converter or in the cable leading to the other load (as you originally suggested). At this point your only option is to cut the wire where part going to the converter separates from the part going to the other load and connect each part independently to the breaker.

A word on breakers. A breaker needs to trip on a big overload (500-1000%) in milliseconds. But it has to be able to withstand a 110-120% load for minutes to accommodate the starting loads of motors. The way they make this happen is with two tripping mechanisms. There's an electromagnet which opens the breaker in milliseconds on large overloads but does not react to small overloads. And there's a thermal spring that eventually trips the breaker when it gets hot enough from light overloads. The problem with a tandem breaker (two breakers in one case) is that the two halves are so close together that the heat from one side can influence the other. If both sides are running near to full load, you might have nuisance tripping.

Let us know what you find.
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Old 09-24-2021, 08:24 PM   #8
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Breaker #5 tripping

After hours of checking and not finding even one LT18 wiring diagram—-i found my problem. That breaker has 2 leads feeding 120vac —-1 was going to the frig and the other feeds the power controller (which includes the battery charge). Turns out The feed to the frig outlet was a dead short flipping the breaker thereby shutting down the controller battery charging. The frig display lights come from 12vdc so i thought the frig was ok but in fact, the 110outlet was dead. It had ground, neutral and a shorted power line. The black lead in that cable is shorted somewhere but—-it starts at the breaker, runs out the back of the power controller, into a non visual route upward towards the ceiling and probably across and back down to the frig rear 110 outlet. No fixing that!
I ran a “shore power” extension cord to the frig rear plug and it runs fine—so does the LP cooling mode.
So the 2 wire joined connecter at the breaker sent me down the wrong path when the controller stopped charging the battery. Now, everything is working as designed. Just need to run a new line to the frig rear outlet. I could have figured this out quickly if i had a wiring diagram😏 a separate breaker for the frig and one for the controller would have also been a much better design. 🥸
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Old 09-25-2021, 08:59 AM   #9
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Aha!

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Originally Posted by Warren G lt18 View Post
After hours of checking and not finding even one LT18 wiring diagram—-i found my problem. That breaker has 2 leads feeding 120vac —-1 was going to the frig and the other feeds the power controller (which includes the battery charge). Turns out The feed to the frig outlet was a dead short flipping the breaker thereby shutting down the controller battery charging. The frig display lights come from 12vdc so i thought the frig was ok but in fact, the 110outlet was dead. It had ground, neutral and a shorted power line. The black lead in that cable is shorted somewhere but—-it starts at the breaker, runs out the back of the power controller, into a non visual route upward towards the ceiling and probably across and back down to the frig rear 110 outlet. No fixing that!
I ran a “shore power” extension cord to the frig rear plug and it runs fine—so does the LP cooling mode.
So the 2 wire joined connecter at the breaker sent me down the wrong path when the controller stopped charging the battery. Now, everything is working as designed. Just need to run a new line to the frig rear outlet. I could have figured this out quickly if i had a wiring diagram😏 a separate breaker for the frig and one for the controller would have also been a much better design. 🥸
When I read your original post, I thought you were describing a "tandem" breaker--two half-size breakers in the same case. What you actually found--fridge and converter on the same breaker--makes more sense and is actually not unusual.

For example, the WFCO 8955, one of the most popular converters, draws a little less than 8 amps. A residential refrigerator draws around 5 amps. Generally there's no reason these two can't share a 15 amp breaker. Shorted wiring is surely an unusual and rare condition.
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Old 09-25-2021, 01:06 PM   #10
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Braker tripping

Can anyone explane to me the theory behind the 30amp feed—-we have 3 legs coming in—2 separate 12o vac and a ground. One ac goes to “white” bar, one goes to power “black” and one is the unshielded copper ground. I always kind of thought the neutral was tied to ground at some point but if we have 120 vac going to the white neutral buss— how is this not a short if tied to ground?
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Old 09-25-2021, 02:16 PM   #11
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On north American 120 volt single phase power the neutral and ground conductors are only tied together at the main entrance panel. They are purposely kept separate in all other panels. So you are correct that they are tied together. Neutral and ground have zero potential (volts) between them so shorting the neutral to ground doesn't cause an issue.
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Old 09-25-2021, 03:23 PM   #12
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Technically

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O In north American 120 volt single phase power the neutral and ground conductors are only tied together at the main entrance panel. They are purposely kept separate in all other panels. So you are correct that they are tied together. Neutral and ground have zero potential (volts) between them so shorting the neutral to ground doesn't cause an issue.
That's a good answer for beginners.

In practice, as soon as you start using appliances that draw current, there will be a voltage drop across the neutral wire and it will rise a few volts above ground at the load.

To see this, plug the microwave oven or coffee pot or toaster into a duplex outlet. Start the appliance. Plug your AC voltmeter into the other outlet portion, one lead in Neutral (the wider slot) and one into Ground (the D-shaped contact). You will see a few volts difference.

Shorting Neutral to ground will have two undesirable consequences:
  • Some current will flow in the ground conductor (maybe a 50-50 split with neutral) and cause any upstream GFCI to trip.
  • The trailer skin will rise a few volts above ground. This is probably not enough to cause more than a tingle if you are barefoot with one foot in the dewy grass and one on the dewy metal step. I would not care to test this with my grandchildren.
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Old 09-25-2021, 04:19 PM   #13
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Can anyone explane to me the theory behind the 30amp feed—-we have 3 legs coming in—2 separate 12o vac and a ground. One ac goes to “white” bar, one goes to power “black” and one is the unshielded copper ground. I always kind of thought the neutral was tied to ground at some point but if we have 120 vac going to the white neutral buss— how is this not a short if tied to ground?

After your statement which I emboldened in red above, can I ask what you are plugged into for shore power to the RV? I have some doubts now that you fully understand that your 30 amp RV is 120 volts only (not 240 volts).


In a 30 amp 120 volt AC circuit (or what you are calling a "feed"), there are not TWO separate 120 volt lines. Just one


Please read this link below, as your statements show you do not understand this yet.


https://www.myrv.us/Imgs/PDF/30-amp%20Service.pdf



Look at these schematics so you can understand the ONE hot line (black), the ONE neutral (white), and the ONE safety ground (copper) on a 30 amp RV feed/electric circuit from the shore power.















Also the electric panel inside the RV is what is called a subpanel. The white neutral (which is called the grounded current conductor) and the safety ground (bare wire) are not bonded together and must be kept on separate bus bars.


The neutral and safety ground are ONLY bonded together at the first main electrical panel feeding the shore power.
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Old 09-25-2021, 05:30 PM   #14
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Well, you are correct. I could have swore I checked the external cable and showed 2 —-120 vac lines and perhaps what I did was check the + to ground and the + to neutral? Anyhoo——my cable connection is correct and you straightened my dumb ass out. Now it all seems to make sense.
So, don’t know how or where my black feed line to my frig 120 outlet shorted to ground but——I will bypass that cable and run a new one. Right now I have a 4’ exterior rated extension cord feeding my frig 120 plug sourcing from an external receptical on the camper, the frig is running at 38-40 degrees and it’s happy!🤓

Thanks to everyone who helped.
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Old 09-25-2021, 05:43 PM   #15
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Well, you are correct. I could have swore I checked the external cable and showed 2 —-120 vac lines and perhaps what I did was check the + to ground and the + to neutral? Anyhoo——my cable connection is correct and you straightened my dumb ass out. Now it all seems to make sense.
So, don’t know how or where my black feed line to my frig 120 outlet shorted to ground but——I will bypass that cable and run a new one. Right now I have a 4’ exterior rated extension cord feeding my frig 120 plug sourcing from an external receptical on the camper, the frig is running at 38-40 degrees and it’s happy!��

Thanks to everyone who helped.

I have to ask again, what do you currently have your RV's cord plugged into for shore power?


We may have another problem that is not being addressed.
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Old 09-25-2021, 06:38 PM   #16
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Do you have a tandom breaker with two separate breakers in the space of one breaker position? If so, the black leads from the refrigerator would lug into one of the tandom breakers and the converter would plug into the other tandom breaker.

Or do you have a single breaker with both of the black wires plugging into it?

If the later my guess would be that it did not come from the factory like this.
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Old 09-25-2021, 07:18 PM   #17
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My external cable is plugged into a professional installed rv outlet which is connected directly to a 100amp panel in my barn. I had a licensed electrician do all the work on that. Its a dedicated 30 amp setup.

The power controller has 5 circuit breakers. #5 is 15 amp and it powers two black wires that are crimped together then mounted into the single breaker. Looks original. The one wire powers the controller and seems fine. The second went to the frig outlet but is shorted to ground. I opened the outlet and checked that black wire on that end and it too shows to be shorted to ground.
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Old 09-25-2021, 07:35 PM   #18
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My external cable is plugged into a professional installed rv outlet which is connected directly to a 100amp panel in my barn. I had a licensed electrician do all the work on that. Its a dedicated 30 amp setup.

This is what we really need to test for sure. We have many many instances of electricians mis-wiring the NEMA TT-30R outlet. They do not have enough experience with it sometimes, and mistakingly wire it up for 240 volts. When this happens, the first thing that burns up in the RV is the converter. This is why we need to make absolute sure that your outlet is wired correct that you are plugged into.


Please read this thread. I also implore you to test that shore power outlet again and make absolute sure you are not connected wrong.


You can also look at the circuit breaker in the barns electric panel, that feeds this outlet for your RV. We need to see if it's single pole and not double pole.


Please read all three posts in this link:


https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...let-27223.html


Let us know what you find out. Pics would help of the circuit breakers in your barns electrical panel to the RV outlet too.


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Old 09-26-2021, 08:42 AM   #19
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i am not an expert in this. but my understanding is that codes and practices only allow one hot lead to be installed into a single circuit breaker. i would expect the factory to have followed this practice. the fact that you have two crimped together and then inserted in the circuit breaker makes me think this was done by a previous owner. if the factory wanted to install two hot leads they could have used a tandom breaker. did you buy the rv used? could the refrigerator be a replacement from the original? if this is the case who know how the lead to the refrigerator is run and where the short is. if nothing else replace the current single breaker that you have the two leads inserted into with a tandom breaker so the refrigerator and converter circuit are not tied together. this would keep you converter working.
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Old 09-26-2021, 03:19 PM   #20
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i am not an expert in this. but my understanding is that codes and practices only allow one hot lead to be installed into a single circuit breaker. i would expect the factory to have followed this practice. the fact that you have two crimped together and then inserted in the circuit breaker makes me think this was done by a previous owner....if nothing else replace the current single breaker that you have the two leads inserted into with a tandom breaker so the refrigerator and converter circuit are not tied together. this would keep you converter working.
I agree that putting 2 hot leads on the same single circuit is at the very least a bad practice. But WFCO converter/panels come wired to do exactly that, and Forest River goes along with it. Certainly was true in my 2019 Flagstaff A-frame. Typically, the fridge 120V gets tied in with the converter, as neither one is going to exceed a 15A breaker - not even the 2 loads combined.

When I replaced my converter/panel with the Progressive Dynamics version, I replaced the 15 breaker with a tandem 10A (for the converter) and 5A for the fridge (my fridge only has a 180 watt AC coil). I separated the converter hot wire from the fridge hot wire. This made my AC distribution the desired one wire/one circuit breaker configuration.

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