Popping 15 Amp Breakers at the campground.

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Popping 15 Amp Breakers at the campground.

Postby Gadget Man » Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:23 pm

HELP....
We just got back from a quick little two day camping trip (only the second trip out in the Weekender)
When we plugged into the power pole at the campground it would immediatley pop the 15 amp breaker. :(
I stretched my cord over to another pole and would pop that one also.
I even had the Park Maintenance Guy come replace the breaker on the pole, still no good.
I never had an issue once while building the rig at home in my own garage, but I was usually plugged into a 30 amp breaker.
The only thing I was trying to run was the converter for my electric Igglo Cooler. :?
I allready have a call into my Electcian neighbor who helped with the 120 volt power he thinks there is a short somewhere, but why now? and never before ??
Anyone have any quick ideas, since we are leaving again Saturday afternoon for the big 4th weekend. :thinking:

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Postby madjack » Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:46 pm

...didja try plugging in with absolutely nothing turned on..if so did it pop then or only when something was turned on...that might help trace the problem...does it still not pop when plugged in at home...that might indicate a problem with the CG electrical distribution sysyem...
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Postby Miriam C. » Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:49 pm

Gman
How many amps does you igloo cooler use?
How many does the converter use?
Did you use both at home on the 30amp breaker?
Do you have a 15amp at home you can test on?
Are you going through a breaker in your tear? Or straight to converter?

I thought someone said US campgrounds were 20amp.
Annoying questions huh.
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Postby Gadget Man » Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:09 pm

Aunti M

U-R-Da Man...I stand Corrected It was a 20 amp breaker...
And yes my power goes into a box with two separate 15 amp breakers, one is for the Air Conditioner only. the other is for everything else, they then go to the GFCI outlets. Everything else consists of...12 volt battery charger (2 amp), Microwave, TV-DVD player, one set of rope lights, and a little power booster for the TV antenna. Thats all I have for 120 Volt items.
I have no idea how much power one of those Igloo Cooler Converters draws, I'll have to look it up.
I have had the A/C and the TV both going at once at home. with no problems on the 30 amp breaker.

MadJack, Yes it would pop the second I plugger in even with nothing in the camper plugged in.
I'm going to go out now and try it all again since I'm at home now.
Could it be as simple as changing my two breakers to 20 amp breakers?
But it never poped my own breakers, only the 20 amp on the power pole.

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Postby madjack » Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:19 pm

...your 2 breakers shouldn't make it pop...didja use the same extension cord at the campground as you did at home...we hadda problem after our first trip with one of the wires in the power inlet on the side of the trailer coming loose, so be sure and check your connections...bump, bounce and vibration ya know....
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Postby Miriam C. » Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:29 pm

If you have 15amps, that is less than at the pole so your breaker should have gone first.

Look carefully at your plug, wire and inlet. Somewhere something is touching metal. At your inlet make sure all wires are clearly seperated. It only takes one tiny little wire. If you can check your plug for wires touching. Check for breaks!

it is doubful if you have used it but make sure going into your breakers you have:
Black to rear of breaker
White to Neutral bar
Green/bare to ground lug.

Edit: make sure they are tight and not touching the box or anything else. Stuff rattles loose.
Last edited by Miriam C. on Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Gadget Man » Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:32 pm

Madjack
That thought did go through my mind, the power cord thing.
and, no it was not the same cord, I'd say the one I use for the camper (while on the road) is a better cord, it's longer and thicker. But it has been around for awile. I did check ever inch for cracks or nicks and found none.
I did look up the Igloo Cooler converters, I found one site that said they draw 4 amps, and one said 5 amps.
So even at 5, thats not a lot.
I'm going to go out and try a few things, I'll let ya know what I find out.

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Postby Nitetimes » Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:07 pm

Something you might want to check out. Make sure the box your breakers are in does not have the ground bus bonded to the box (little green screw thru the bus into the box) and that you have the ground bus seperate from the neutral bus. If not and you plug it into a GFCI circuit it will blow it.
Found out the hard way...OOOPS
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Postby cracker39 » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:02 pm

Just for what it's worth, I have a 25 amp converter and have run it on both 15 amp and 30 amp circuits at home. I have a 30 amp main breaker before the converter as well, with two 15 amp breakers in the converter itself. I'd follow up on the suggestion to make sure your wiring doesn't have the neutral and ground wires connected in the breaker box and converter.
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Postby Gadget Man » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:05 pm

Ok Guys,
I'm now at home and I took the same cord, plugged it into a 20 amp circuit in my garage, plugged in the Igloo Cooler converter, the 2 amp battery charger, turned on the A/C and the TV, plus the 120 V rope lights...
No Problems...Everything is running just fine.
What gives???
Do you think they could have weak power at the State Park I was at?
I'm not going to go rip into my entire electical box for nothing if I don't have too.

Whatda' think? :thinking:

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Postby Miriam C. » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:26 pm

:lol: Lucky man. The problem had to be in front of your breakers. If you found no shorts and it works at home call the park dept and report a short. They might even check it.

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Postby madjack » Fri Jun 30, 2006 6:06 pm

I'd say that the park had some kinda problem, possibly a bad ground setup...you can't fix something that doesn''t exist on your side.........
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Postby Chuck Craven » Fri Jun 30, 2006 6:25 pm

That is where the plug in power tester will come in handy!
I would bet that the park had the hot and neutral reversed on their outlet.
Many times the state parks higher collage kids to do the maintenance work and they don’t know witch wire goes where. It’s a 50 / 50 oops. Also the breakers are GFI type and if wired wrong the smallest amount of current will make them pop! :x

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Postby Gadget Man » Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:00 pm

Ok Guys,
Here is what I found out so far...
I had my Electrican neighbor come over tonight, and after only two beers,
I showed him a printout of all your ideas here.
Well, when he read the reply from "Nitetimes" he set his beer down and did this little Aah-Ha thing. And said "Thats it" ! "get me a screwdriver and a cutter"
So we took the cover off the breaker box and he took out this little 4" piece of ground wire and said "There ya go, that otta do it".
Nitetimes idea of "having the ground bus bonded to the box" was the problem. {what ever that is}
So we had another Beer, (still a few shy of the night we wired it in the first place) and I'm back in Business. He said having it the way we did, made it "like it's own little circuit" ?? {not right}
We are off to the lake cabin in the morning.
Thanks to all who had imput into this quick fix on the Weekender. :applause:
I'll reply back next week to let you know if this did indeed fix the problem.

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Postby cracker39 » Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:04 pm

My ground wire in my main breaker is grounded to the box and to the frame per our resident electricians' advice (I think). Now, if I trip a campground breaker, I'll know what to do...disconnect the box ground and just go with the frame ground.
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