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Old 08-25-2017, 04:44 PM   #1
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Electrical question

We are currently out camping in a small campground which is fairly new and only a few campers. We had the AC running and turned the water heater to electric. Nothing else in the TT was on. After 10 minutes, the 30 amp breaker on the outside pedestal tripped. We turned off the water heater and reset the breaker and everything is fine. This happened the last time we were out. We have nothing on except the AC and water heater on electric.

Any ideas what we should check? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:04 PM   #2
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First thing to check is the voltage at the pedestal. Also what is the amperage or wattage rating on the AC and waterheater?
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Old 08-25-2017, 06:15 PM   #3
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I assume you weren't at the same place last trip so that should rule out the supply (unless both sites were not correct). Have you tried to turn on just the water heater without the AC and wait to see if it trips? It could be too much pull when they both turn on, but it could also just be a problem with the water heater.
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:11 PM   #4
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Voltage is good at the outside panel and the outside temperature is not that hot so the AC is not working hard. The issue just started the last 2 times out at different campgrounds. The water heater will heat the water to very hot in 10 minutes on electric which seems awfully fast to me. We don't have an issue running other multiple items plus the AC. I'm thinking there is a problem with the water heater on electric since it trips after 5-10 minutes. We'll just use gas until we get it checked.

Thanks for the replies so far.
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Old 08-26-2017, 06:20 AM   #5
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Do you have a Progressive Industries EMS pt30A which provides surge and low voltage protection? If not, I highly recommend you do so. I always plug mine in first then plug the trailer into the PI EMS PT30. Not only does it provide surge and low voltage protection, it will also detect things like open ground, etc. It provides error codes too.

If you had one of these, it would probably let you know what was happening that caused the breaker to trip.

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Originally Posted by 2nOZ View Post
We are currently out camping in a small campground which is fairly new and only a few campers. We had the AC running and turned the water heater to electric. Nothing else in the TT was on. After 10 minutes, the 30 amp breaker on the outside pedestal tripped. We turned off the water heater and reset the breaker and everything is fine. This happened the last time we were out. We have nothing on except the AC and water heater on electric.

Any ideas what we should check? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-26-2017, 06:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nOZ View Post
We are currently out camping in a small campground which is fairly new and only a few campers. We had the AC running and turned the water heater to electric. Nothing else in the TT was on. After 10 minutes, the 30 amp breaker on the outside pedestal tripped. We turned off the water heater and reset the breaker and everything is fine. This happened the last time we were out. We have nothing on except the AC and water heater on electric.

Any ideas what we should check? Thanks in advance.
I had that happen on 30 amp and I simply switch to 50 amp and no more tripping breaker.
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Old 08-26-2017, 07:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlee View Post
Do you have a Progressive Industries EMS pt30A which provides surge and low voltage protection? If not, I highly recommend you do so. I always plug mine in first then plug the trailer into the PI EMS PT30. Not only does it provide surge and low voltage protection, it will also detect things like open ground, etc. It provides error codes too.

If you had one of these, it would probably let you know what was happening that caused the breaker to trip.
I am using a Progressive Industries SSP-30X protector. Thinking of upgrading it to the digital.
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Old 08-26-2017, 03:08 PM   #8
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I had that happen on 30 amp and I simply switch to 50 amp and no more tripping breaker.
As an electrician I suggest you NOT do that. That's how fires start. There is a reason the breaker is tripping. Switching to the fifty is like using pennies under your fuse because it keeps blowing. Excuse the lecture but as a professional I am just trying to get people to use safe and sane electrical practices.
I'm glad the OP passed on using the water heater on electric and going to gas until he gets the water checked out. This is the correct way to handle this problem.
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Old 08-26-2017, 03:28 PM   #9
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As an electrician I suggest you NOT do that. That's how fires start. There is a reason the breaker is tripping. Switching to the fifty is like using pennies under your fuse because it keeps blowing. Excuse the lecture but as a professional I am just trying to get people to use safe and sane electrical practices.
I'm glad the OP passed on using the water heater on electric and going to gas until he gets the water checked out. This is the correct way to handle this problem.
I took it as him saying switch to the 50amp side because the 30amp side of the panel was his problem - The OP said he was at different campsites so the supply side shouldn't be his problem as he said. I agree with you, that no one should switch to the 50amp to get more supply (like you said it's like putting pennies in a switch), but it could point out a bad 30amp supply if you switch over to the 50amp (not in this case because the water heater looks to be the problem). When I say switch to the 50amp, I mean use a 50-30amp adapter, not rig something to the 50amp supply for your 30amp cable.
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Old 08-26-2017, 03:35 PM   #10
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Are you adding in the amperage from the converter.
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Old 08-26-2017, 03:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicr View Post
As an electrician I suggest you NOT do that. That's how fires start. There is a reason the breaker is tripping. Switching to the fifty is like using pennies under your fuse because it keeps blowing. Excuse the lecture but as a professional I am just trying to get people to use safe and sane electrical practices.
I'm glad the OP passed on using the water heater on electric and going to gas until he gets the water checked out. This is the correct way to handle this problem.
The main breaker in the RV will limit the amperage to 30 amps. Sort of the 25 foot tap rule.
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Old 08-26-2017, 04:05 PM   #12
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The main breaker in the RV will limit the amperage to 30 amps. Sort of the 25 foot tap rule.
X2 Willing to bet you are drawing to much amperage by running both at the same time.

Could be issues with a loose connection in the converter on one of the breakers or at the box. When checking connections make sure you ARE NOT CONNECTED TO A AC POWER SOURCE.

I hard wired a Progressive Industries surge protector as show in the video. It has a remote display that cycles thru and shows voltage, current draw, hertz.

Well worth the expense because it protect for more things than power surges.

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Old 08-26-2017, 07:44 PM   #13
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Yup, good point John.
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Old 08-26-2017, 09:38 PM   #14
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I've stayed at 22 different campgrounds this year. Of all of them several had no power (boondock/dry camp) and 2 had 30 Breakers that had seen better days. At those locations I plugged in my 50->30 cable and called it good. At one place the breaker was so worn after it popped it wouldn't latch back up up (State park that only had electric hookups). The other place had a wonky 30A receptacle that had high resistance and wouldn't reliably make contact (detected on my franken-kill-a-watt tester before I even plugged into that one). That last one was a fire waiting to happen.

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Old 08-26-2017, 09:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicr View Post
As an electrician I suggest you NOT do that. That's how fires start. There is a reason the breaker is tripping. Switching to the fifty is like using pennies under your fuse because it keeps blowing. Excuse the lecture but as a professional I am just trying to get people to use safe and sane electrical practices.
I'm glad the OP passed on using the water heater on electric and going to gas until he gets the water checked out. This is the correct way to handle this problem.
You can't draw more power than 30 amp as others have said. It is very common to have issues with receptacles being worn, which appears to be your issue. Also because your going to be running close to your 30 amp draw, if the campground has power issues it will more likely show up on the 30 amp side. If there was an issue with your trailer, you would of blown the RV main breaker before the pedestal breaker. I monitor voltage continuously and it's not uncommon to show 110 volts or lower in warm weather with many using the AC. The lower the voltage the more amps you will pull to do the same amount of work. Obviously the pedestal breaker tripping first indicates an issue with it. Your RV breaker is most likely in much better working order than the pedestal.

Using the 50amp outlet will not cause you any issue. I do agree a progressive industries EMS (electrical management system) will monitor your power and disconnect if an unsafe issue is detected, and is well worth the cost.

I would try and time my usage so I'm not trying to heat water at the same time I am trying to cool my unit. As you said it takes very little time to heat your water, so I would suggest waiting till your rv is cool before turning the hot water heater on.. Once the water is hot it takes little power to maintain the temperature.

Happy Camping.
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Old 08-27-2017, 02:49 PM   #16
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You can't draw more power than 30 amp as others have said. It is very common to have issues with receptacles being worn, which appears to be your issue. Also because your going to be running close to your 30 amp draw, if the campground has power issues it will more likely show up on the 30 amp side. If there was an issue with your trailer, you would of blown the RV main breaker before the pedestal breaker. I monitor voltage continuously and it's not uncommon to show 110 volts or lower in warm weather with many using the AC. The lower the voltage the more amps you will pull to do the same amount of work. Obviously the pedestal breaker tripping first indicates an issue with it. Your RV breaker is most likely in much better working order than the pedestal.

Using the 50amp outlet will not cause you any issue. I do agree a progressive industries EMS (electrical management system) will monitor your power and disconnect if an unsafe issue is detected, and is well worth the cost.

I would try and time my usage so I'm not trying to heat water at the same time I am trying to cool my unit. As you said it takes very little time to heat your water, so I would suggest waiting till your rv is cool before turning the hot water heater on.. Once the water is hot it takes little power to maintain the temperature.

Happy Camping.
Thanks to everyone for their response. I need to do a little troubleshooting or have the dealer look at it since I am still under warranty. Then again, I may not have a problem. But I'm baffled. We have owned the camper almost a year. We have done a lot of camping in numerous parks in all conditions. In Nashville, we ran the AC, tv, lights and water heater on electric. The campground was full and it was over 90 degrees and humid. No problem for 10 days. These last two times, the campgrounds were new, a handful of campers, 80 degrees temps. The AC had been on for half the day. Trailer was cool. Other than the AC and refrigerator, there was nothing else on. Turned on the water heater on electric and in about 5 minutes tripped the outside panel CB and the GFI in the camper. This happened at two different, new, barely occupied campgrounds. In the next few days, I'm going to try just turning on the water heater and nothing else to see if it trips. Hard to believe that the AC and water heater would draw more than 30 amps. Again, thank you for everyone's input and a digital PI protector is on its way so I can monitor things more closely.
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Old 08-28-2017, 08:02 AM   #17
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Listen to Vic.
Don't mess with potential dangerous situations.
Have it checked out, better safe than sorry.
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Old 08-28-2017, 09:22 AM   #18
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Here is a guide that may help: RV Tech Library - Appliance Load Chart

Add up the ac, the water heater and the converter and you will be very close to 30 a. If its hot and the ac is cycling more often, you could easily exceed 30a and even a better chance if the voltage is low.
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