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Camper AC blowing 20 amp breaker

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    Camper AC blowing 20 amp breaker

    I have a camper that is blowing a dedicated 20 amp breaker with the AC on. Didnt have a problem when it was cold out and using electric heat to supplement the propane. I even tried running the fridge on a second cord on totally separate breaker, but it didnt help. I've never had a problem like this, but this is also a pretty big fifth wheel camper, much bigger than anything I have had before. Could it just need a 30 amp, or should I be looking for another problem? If I simply need a 30 amp breaker, is there a minimum gauge wire required, 10?

    #2
    Most camp sites have 30 or 50 amp connections. Running on a 20 amp breaker seems low to me. My camper kept blowing the breaker and in my case it turned out to be the cord I was using to connect the camper. Got a heavier cord and all was well.
    But..... I’m far from an expert in the electrical field.

    "Any man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled, and less than that no man shall have."
    President T. Roosevelt

    OUR FOREFATHERS WOULD BE SHOOTING BY NOW !

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      #3
      That camper needs a full 30A feed, and not through a long extention cord either, otherwise they will choke trying to run the AC.

      Comment


        #4
        I had a issue with my camper AC it ended up that some idiot in the factory put the wing nut wire connector barely on the wire and it couldn’t get enough juice through it and would pop the breaker every time I turned the ac on. I tore the unit apart until I found the connector was melted underneath electrical tape. These rv manufacturers slap them together and don’t care about the finished product.

        Comment


          #5
          You indicate you're using a "dedicated circuit" but then you say you switched a fridge to a different breaker so I'm not sure if you truly have a dedicated circuit or not. A dedicated circuit for the AC would mean just that ... the only thing powered on that circuit would be the AC, nothing else. Is this the case or are you powering other devices off this same circuit?

          Do not merely replace a 20A breaker with a 30A breaker and call it day ... potential fire hazard for sure. A 30A circuit requires 10 AWG wire minimum. If you are using 12 AWG or thinner wire with a 30A breaker, the excess current draw can heat up that thinner gauge wire and it can literally melt the jacket off the cable (along with anything else it comes in contact with), before the breaker has a chance to trip. The circuit breaker is intended to trip before the wires can heat up to a dangerous level, so if you're using a breaker rated higher than what the wiring can handle, that's how fires start.

          The breaker is tripping for a reason ... either you're overloading the circuit, there's a fault in the AC, or some other issue in the wiring for that circuit (short circuit, ground fault, etc). The cause could be something as simple as a dirty filter causing heat buildup in the AC, or a loose wiring connection ... the expansion and contraction with the change of seasons can often cause loose wiring connections. It could also be that the breaker itself is bad which happens over time. You can try replacing the breaker with a new 20A and see if it still happens.

          Since you are seeing the problem as the temperature outside rises, this tells me there is most likely a heating issue since heat increases resistance. Does the breaker trip as soon as the AC is turned on? Or does it trip when the compressor kicks on? Or does it trip over time, the longer the AC runs?

          If you have a clamp ammeter or can get a hold of one, that should tell you right away what kind a current draw you're pulling on the circuit. Measure the current with the AC off; measure the current when the AC is turned on; measure the inrush current when the AC compressor kicks in. If this all seems to be OK, keep measuring the current over time. Does the current steadily climb the longer the AC runs? That would be a sure sign of a heating concern.

          Troubleshooting is the process of elimination; I would start with the easy things first. Check the wiring connections, measure the actual current draw, change the breaker, etc.


          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by BillyBonds View Post
            I have a camper that is blowing a dedicated 20 amp breaker with the AC on. Didnt have a problem when it was cold out and using electric heat to supplement the propane. I even tried running the fridge on a second cord on totally separate breaker, but it didnt help. I've never had a problem like this, but this is also a pretty big fifth wheel camper, much bigger than anything I have had before. Could it just need a 30 amp, or should I be looking for another problem? If I simply need a 30 amp breaker, is there a minimum gauge wire required, 10?
            if you have an amp meter you can see what that unit is drawing before the breaker blows, what is the amp draw on the A/C unit? it should be printed on the spec plate...
            You cant cure stupid, only kill it......
            Of all the things I lost, I miss my mind the most.....

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by strongisland6 View Post
              You indicate you're using a "dedicated circuit" but then you say you switched a fridge to a different breaker so I'm not sure if you truly have a dedicated circuit or not. A dedicated circuit for the AC would mean just that ... the only thing powered on that circuit would be the AC, nothing else. Is this the case or are you powering other devices off this same circuit?

              Do not merely replace a 20A breaker with a 30A breaker and call it day ... potential fire hazard for sure. A 30A circuit requires 10 AWG wire minimum. If you are using 12 AWG or thinner wire with a 30A breaker, the excess current draw can heat up that thinner gauge wire and it can literally melt the jacket off the cable (along with anything else it comes in contact with), before the breaker has a chance to trip. The circuit breaker is intended to trip before the wires can heat up to a dangerous level, so if you're using a breaker rated higher than what the wiring can handle, that's how fires start.

              The breaker is tripping for a reason ... either you're overloading the circuit, there's a fault in the AC, or some other issue in the wiring for that circuit (short circuit, ground fault, etc). The cause could be something as simple as a dirty filter causing heat buildup in the AC, or a loose wiring connection ... the expansion and contraction with the change of seasons can often cause loose wiring connections. It could also be that the breaker itself is bad which happens over time. You can try replacing the breaker with a new 20A and see if it still happens.

              Since you are seeing the problem as the temperature outside rises, this tells me there is most likely a heating issue since heat increases resistance. Does the breaker trip as soon as the AC is turned on? Or does it trip when the compressor kicks on? Or does it trip over time, the longer the AC runs?

              If you have a clamp ammeter or can get a hold of one, that should tell you right away what kind a current draw you're pulling on the circuit. Measure the current with the AC off; measure the current when the AC is turned on; measure the inrush current when the AC compressor kicks in. If this all seems to be OK, keep measuring the current over time. Does the current steadily climb the longer the AC runs? That would be a sure sign of a heating concern.

              Troubleshooting is the process of elimination; I would start with the easy things first. Check the wiring connections, measure the actual current draw, change the breaker, etc.

              I have a pair of outlets on straight runs each to their own 20a breaker. Each outlet is a 20a GFI. The camper is plugged into one of those outlets. The camper seems to trip the breaker 5-10 minutes after the AC is turned on, the GFI never trips. My first guess was was maybe the fridge in the RV was causing the overload when the compressor started, so I ran another extension cord from the other outlet on its own dedicated circuit for the fridge, but it didnt change anything.

              I think I'm just going to eliminate those outlets and run a new 10-2 line from a new 30a breaker to a new RV outlet and call it a day.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by BillyBonds View Post

                I have a pair of outlets on straight runs each to their own 20a breaker. Each outlet is a 20a GFI. The camper is plugged into one of those outlets. The camper seems to trip the breaker 5-10 minutes after the AC is turned on, the GFI never trips. My first guess was was maybe the fridge in the RV was causing the overload when the compressor started, so I ran another extension cord from the other outlet on its own dedicated circuit for the fridge, but it didnt change anything.

                I think I'm just going to eliminate those outlets and run a new 10-2 line from a new 30a breaker to a new RV outlet and call it a day.
                If you are plugging into a 20A outlet, then you are accomplishing this with a 30A rv to 15/20A adaptor? If so, then that is your problem. Under load of start-up, that A/C needs that 30A feed. This is why you see so many RV'rs complaining about shitty generators that are barely 3000W, failing with AC usage. 3500W is really the safe low limit on RV gensets to avoid any issues. There's a reason why the blades on the RV's cord plug are considerably larger in size and depth, then a standard 110v plug. This is also the reason why you see most of the rv plug adaptors overheated/melted/distorted etc.

                Comment


                  #9
                  While we are on the topic, if we have any in house electricians that want to come by and tackle it for me, I'm happy to pay. I'm so busy with so many other things. I do need it done today or tomorrow the latest. I can have all the supplies waiting. The panel/wiring is in the barn, so it doesnt even need to be super pretty. If not, I will start tackling it tonight.

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