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Old 08-06-2019, 01:33 PM   #1
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Hot main

Twice now I have had the main pop while doing things. The first time was having the AC and the water heater on. The main was really hot to the touch, and just now with the AC, a toaster and the microwave going it popped again. The breaker was warm, not as hot as the first time.


Two differences though, the first time was at home with a 100' heavy extension cord, 10 gauge wire. Cord itself was ambient when checked.



This time we are hooked to the campground power.



I also have a power surge, and voltage protector hard wired in, which works as I inadvertently tested it with a light duty extension cord that had corroded. So I'm not getting low voltage enough to trip the relay, but wonder it maybe the 30 amp main is weak or has an issue. I have ran the toaster, or a coffee maker and the microwave along with the AC before without issues, so wondering if the breaker is getting weak and needs to be replaced.



I have an infrared thermometer that I will grab next time it gets hot. I disabled the water heater breaker and just run on gas for now.
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:47 PM   #2
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With all you have operating at one time that 30 amp breaker is working at its limit. Weak or strong it is being taxed so it is doing its job.
Ambient temperature also adds to this equation, aging appliances draw more current as well.
You'll want to not use all those appliances at once.
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Old 08-06-2019, 03:01 PM   #3
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I would replace the breaker. While I agree with Sundanceís that you are putting a big load on your breaker with all those things running if it worked in the past it should still work now.

I was told that if a breaker pops one time it could lose effectiveness and pop more easily in the future. While that might be an extreme case it is an easy fix for you to try.

I donít like workarounds like turning off the A/C every time you use the microwave so try the new breaker and see if that works. It would be a different story if you had these issues from day one.

Good luck.
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Old 08-06-2019, 04:32 PM   #4
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Check for a loose wire connection, this will generate heat/resistance and cause your issue. All of us need to check our connections in the panel, especially on a new RV.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:00 PM   #5
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get one of these ...

https://www.amazon.com/Current-Amper...034ER8D5ZBW7T1
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by pctomlin View Post
Check for a loose wire connection, this will generate heat/resistance and cause your issue. All of us need to check our connections in the panel, especially on a new RV.



Good idea, slipped my mind about this one. It worked OK in the past with the AC and the water heater going at the same time when we first got it in 16.



The only time we popped a breaker then was having a coffee maker and toaster on the same circuit.


I installed a hard wired voltage protection/surge protector in 2017, so may be possible a wire is not as tight from moving the panel around, so will give that a look when we get back home. I will also replace the breaker while I'm at it, cheap insurance.
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Old 08-07-2019, 07:17 PM   #7
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If the problem is a loose connection that is heat damaged I would replace whatever is discolored and strip the wire back to the nice shiny stuff.
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:15 PM   #8
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No issues this morning using the microwave and toaster with the AC on, everything stayed cool. I will dig into it when I get home next week, provided I get home. This trailer has become a handful on the highway and I don't know if it is the trailer causing it, or just have too heavy a spring bar for the hitch. It's an issue for another thread.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:57 AM   #9
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Talking Overloaded

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Originally Posted by acdii View Post
Ö just now with the AC, a toaster and the microwave going it popped again. ... I have ran the toaster, or a coffee maker and the microwave along with the AC before without issues, so wondering if the breaker is getting weak and needs to be replaced.

Ö I disabled the water heater breaker and just run on gas for now.
You are overloaded with all those appliances running. Both the AC and toaster probably draw more than 10 amps each. Of course the AC cycles on and off so luck of the draw...
The microwave probably draws 10 amps. That all equals 30 amps, probably more. If you add the water heater it is way overloaded.

You need to manage your loads. Shutting off the water heater is a start, but a new 30 amp breaker is going to do the same thing. The breaker is working as designed.

Breakers are designed for multiple trips, but not hundreds of trips. So, get consumption under control.

It does not hurt to tighten connectors, but it is unlikely to help. Inspection for burnt wires is excellent preventive maintenance. Again, it is not going to help much with the overload issue.
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:18 PM   #10
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You are overloaded with all those appliances running. Both the AC and toaster probably draw more than 10 amps each. Of course the AC cycles on and off so luck of the draw...
The microwave probably draws 10 amps. That all equals 30 amps, probably more. If you add the water heater it is way overloaded.

You need to manage your loads. Shutting off the water heater is a start, but a new 30 amp breaker is going to do the same thing. The breaker is working as designed.

Breakers are designed for multiple trips, but not hundreds of trips. So, get consumption under control.

It does not hurt to tighten connectors, but it is unlikely to help. Inspection for burnt wires is excellent preventive maintenance. Again, it is not going to help much with the overload issue.



This is true, but we have been able to run all three without issues before.



Here is something I did find out though and probably the root cause. The campground we were at had blown a transformer the night before, and was running on reduced power. They had replaced it the night I originally posted, and we have not had an issue since. The breaker does run warm with just the AC on though. I have the fan on all the time, but the compressor only runs as needed. I'm still going to inspect the panel though just to be safe. I may have loosened a connection when I pulled the panel out to install the surge/voltage protector.
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Old 08-09-2019, 11:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by persistent View Post
You are overloaded with all those appliances running. Both the AC and toaster probably draw more than 10 amps each. Of course the AC cycles on and off so luck of the draw...
The microwave probably draws 10 amps. That all equals 30 amps, probably more. If you add the water heater it is way overloaded.

You need to manage your loads. Shutting off the water heater is a start, but a new 30 amp breaker is going to do the same thing. The breaker is working as designed.

Breakers are designed for multiple trips, but not hundreds of trips. So, get consumption under control.

It does not hurt to tighten connectors, but it is unlikely to help. Inspection for burnt wires is excellent preventive maintenance. Again, it is not going to help much with the overload issue.
I can't agree with these statements enough.

Breakers do have the ability to hold more than they are rated for. This is not a safe condition. I've actually seen a 30A breaker hold 50A before for a measurable amount of time (not in the RV industry, but a survey in my line of work); yes, it tripped as designed, but this elapsed time would have been sufficient for an a/c compressor to be running, then shut off before anyone noticed an issue. No, there wasn't anything wrong with the breaker. Breakers will more likely trip with a spike in the load (say when the compressor kicks on) than with an even load for a short period. (I could find you some nice breaker trip curves to illustrate, but it's too early for that crap yet!)

Please, please, please don't be tempted to 'fix' the problem by upsizing the breaker. The feeder wire is surely not sized for a 50A breaker. Overtime you will fizzle at the connections (even tight ones), melt the insulation, then cause a fire.

The campground running at an under-load situation due to the transformer issue will not trip your breaker. Undervoltage issues from the campground service will affect how your appliances operate (the toaster might not burn as hot, an electric oven would take longer to get to temperature...), but none of that would cause a tripping condition at your RV main.

Be mindful of what you're running. Just because the manufacturer put all of this equipment in the unit I will guarantee that they did not do a proper load study to make sure it can all run at the same time. Check the nameplate ratings on all of the appliances and do the math.
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Old 08-09-2019, 11:35 AM   #12
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Good advice Pam. I've seen folks use larger breakers because the one they had kept tripping. When I worked with SqD on Precision Breakers, it was a common site to see in some data centers.
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Old 08-09-2019, 11:38 AM   #13
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Good advice Pam. I've seen folks use larger breakers because the one they had kept tripping. When I worked with SqD on Precision Breakers, it was a common site to see in some data centers.
In data centers?!

There are so many regulations in data center design (these days at least) that us "regular EEs" won't even touch them! LOL

(And, yeah, I've been guilty of upsizing breakers in my home back in the day.)
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:05 PM   #14
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No worries, done enough electric, including 3 phase to know where the limits are! My main concern is that I have had the AC, water heater, Refer and coffee maker all running without issues in the past for 2 years. This is something it hasn't done before, in fact I locked out the water heater and run on LP only since it first tripped at our house and the main was scorching hot.



The AC blower, microwave and toaster should not have tripped it, the compressor was off at the time. The coffee maker is 1050 watts, less than the one we were using last year, which was 1400 watts. Yesterday ran the toaster, microwave and AC kicked on without tripping. See why I asked? It normally doesn't trip with these going and that was with the water heater on. This is something it just recently started doing.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:12 PM   #15
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In data centers?!

There are so many regulations in data center design (these days at least) that us "regular EEs" won't even touch them! LOL

(And, yeah, I've been guilty of upsizing breakers in my home back in the day.)
YEah, I do alot of UPS, generator, electrical and cooling design in Data Centers.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:25 PM   #16
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I am going to get out my campfire popcorn and stand by.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:36 PM   #17
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YEah, I do alot of UPS, generator, electrical and cooling design in Data Centers.
The more power to you (pun unintended, but amusing nonetheless!)

I'm stuck in retail design. Power and lighting "design" for, lately, various mall-type stores. Quite light on true design when means my technical muscles are quite weak anymore.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:44 PM   #18
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RCDD, doesn't have the power of the EE but... until I got into the UPS/Data Center stuff, didn't work with anything over -48v
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Old 08-09-2019, 03:08 PM   #19
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@OP, you seem to have a handle on the situation. If everything worked for two years and then it started giving you problems I bet it is the breaker or a loose connection. Replace the breaker (a very cheap trouble shoot) and check all your connections (even less expensive!). I have a feeling that will solve your issues.

It sounds like you arenít trying to run 50 amps worth of current on your 30 amp circuit.

Good luck.
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Old 08-09-2019, 03:16 PM   #20
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Question, when you installed your surge protector, was it made for an RV or was it a whole home unit?
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