1993 travel trailer 12 volt exterior circuit breaker help - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 09-03-2018, 12:49 AM   #1
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1993 travel trailer 12 volt exterior circuit breaker help

I've got a 1993 travel trailer and I'm trying to understand the reasoning for using 2 circuit breakers in series. The first breaker is mounted to the frame at the front and is fed directly from the battery, I'm assuming it's 30 amp. When I took this breaker apart, the metal contact inside it is stamped with "30" on it. This breaker was damaged and getting replaced. The second breaker is inside of the junction box for the 7-pin harness connections and is fed from the first breaker, this one is labeled 40 amp. EVERYTHING in the 12 volt system is fed from the 40 amp breaker. That's what's confusing to me, I can't see the 40 amp breaker ever getting tripped. It's as though it's acting as a junction block and not a circuit breaker. If that's the case, I'd rather just remove it. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I can post pics if that would be helpful.
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Old 09-03-2018, 01:35 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by CousinEddie View Post
I've got a 1993 travel trailer and I'm trying to understand the reasoning for using 2 circuit breakers in series. The first breaker is mounted to the frame at the front and is fed directly from the battery, I'm assuming it's 30 amp. When I took this breaker apart, the metal contact inside it is stamped with "30" on it. This breaker was damaged and getting replaced. The second breaker is inside of the junction box for the 7-pin harness connections and is fed from the first breaker, this one is labeled 40 amp. EVERYTHING in the 12 volt system is fed from the 40 amp breaker. That's what's confusing to me, I can't see the 40 amp breaker ever getting tripped. It's as though it's acting as a junction block and not a circuit breaker. If that's the case, I'd rather just remove it. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I can post pics if that would be helpful.



It protects the main feed (in and out) from the battery should anything short it (like a tire blowout or something else). I would definitely keep it, besides, what caused it to mess up in the first place? Besides, DC voltage is different than AC voltage in the respect that it uses more amps to operate devices. You may have an inverter in your rv to deliver 12 volts that is capable of 40 amps. The 12 volt system inside the rv is a branch circuit off of the 120 volt shore power. When you dry camp, you run off the battery and the inverter does not come into play (I don't believe).
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Old 09-03-2018, 03:15 PM   #3
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It protects the main feed (in and out) from the battery should anything short it (like a tire blowout or something else). I would definitely keep it, besides, what caused it to mess up in the first place? Besides, DC voltage is different than AC voltage in the respect that it uses more amps to operate devices. You may have an inverter in your rv to deliver 12 volts that is capable of 40 amps. The 12 volt system inside the rv is a branch circuit off of the 120 volt shore power. When you dry camp, you run off the battery and the inverter does not come into play (I don't believe).



sorry, should be converter not inverter... inverter is 12 to 120 converter is 120 to 12.


my bad. In my business, we call them power supplies and just want to know what voltage in and what voltage out.
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Old 09-03-2018, 03:31 PM   #4
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It seems like to me the 40 amp breaker would be first, just as a main breaker in a residential application. The 40 acting as the main and the the branch circuits protected by the smaller breaker, the 30 amp and so on.
There is a difference between DC breakers and AC breakers. Using an AC breaker in a DC application isn't recommended.
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Old 09-03-2018, 05:20 PM   #5
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I wonder if one of them was set up to protect against reverse polarity? Or possibly one went bad and they previous owner just wired another one into the circuit?

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Old 09-04-2018, 02:16 AM   #6
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Thank you for the reply. I understand the reason for circuit breakers, but what doesn't make sense is having 2 of them in series with different amperage ratings. The lower amperage breaker is always going to be the one to trip. That's what happened to mine. I got home from a 3 hour drive, and the 30 amp breaker was continually tripping and re-setting. The cause was the main large red 12 volt wire running into the camper was pinched between a floor joist and the frame of the camper. I had to slice open the underbelly plastic and go hunting. I'm assuming it's been that way since day 1 and just now chafed through the insulation to cause the short. Mine does have a converter with a built-in battery charger, but that shouldn't matter for my question.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:21 AM   #7
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It seems like to me the 40 amp breaker would be first, just as a main breaker in a residential application. The 40 acting as the main and the the branch circuits protected by the smaller breaker, the 30 amp and so on.
There is a difference between DC breakers and AC breakers. Using an AC breaker in a DC application isn't recommended.
I see your point and that would make more sense. But I still don't see the 40 ever tripping. If the 30 is the one tripping, it just seems strange to me to even have a 40 in the circuit.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:27 AM   #8
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I wonder if one of them was set up to protect against reverse polarity? Or possibly one went bad and they previous owner just wired another one into the circuit?

Aaron
I was wondering about the possibility of someone prior adding a second breaker. Based on the connections and mounting, it looks like other stuff on the camper, which is why I'm guessing it's original :confused. That's why I was hoping someone out there with a similar vintage might chime in. Thanks for the reply though.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:29 AM   #9
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I see your point and that would make more sense. But I still don't see the 40 ever tripping. If the 30 is the one tripping, it just seems strange to me to even have a 40 in the circuit.

Here's my take on why there are two of them. The 40 amp will disconnect the battery from everything. In the event you wanted to remove/replace the 30 amp breaker you would only have to throw the 40 amp one, instead of physically removing battery cables for safety purposes.


You could delete the 40 amp breaker and go with the 30 amp one. Or you could get serious and break out all the circuits on the 30 amp one and fuse each branch.


Why they do what they do or what a previous owner does is not easy to answer. You have options to make it your way.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:09 PM   #10
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Thank you all for the replies! I'm going to put it back together with the 40 amp breaker in place, mainly because it isn't hurting anything. I was just looking for opinions as to why it's there.
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