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Old 09-10-2008, 10:51 AM   #1
ehmcfarl
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Wireing problem

I am having a problem running my small 2hp 110v air compressor in my 3400RL. I have it plugged into the basement receptacle. When it starts up it will run for maybe 15-20 seconds and then trip the circuit breaker. The circuit that it is on is labeled "Bedroom" in the distribution panel. It is the 15amp side of a 15/20 amp double Square D type HOMT breaker. After it trips the breaker I can reset the breaker and it will run for another 10 seconds maybe. Each time I reset the breaker it will run for less time. I have nothing else turned on on the circuit. I checked with my dealer today and he said I should look for a loose connection either at the breaker or receptacle. I checked the breaker and it was tight. The receptacle is a ground fault type and I believe Keystone could not have found a cheaper one to use. It uses the "plug in the wires" type of connection. They do seem to be tight. Does anyone have any idea what might be causing the breaker to trip off other than being a bad breaker or just pulling too many amps. The info plate on the compressor says it pulls 12 amps.

Thanks for any info anyone might have.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:37 AM   #2
Charlie
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Did you check the connection for the ground wire. This would do the same as a loose wire on the breaker. The more often the breaker trips the weaker it becomes. Also check incoming voltage to the trailer. Is a high draw system such as the A/C running while you are trying to run the compress?
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:58 AM   #3
Exnavydiver
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We had the kitchen breaker start doing the fast trip thing last fall, I just went to Lowes and got several new Square D dual 20 amp breakers. I eventually replaced them all with 20s. The 15s seemed like crap and since I have done the upgrades we haven't had a popped breaker since. As a side note when we first got the rig most of the wiring on the breakers was loose.... Dave
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:49 PM   #4
noneck
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Oh, no Dave. I believe that is not recommended as the wiring in RV is 14 gauge which needs to be protected by Circuit Breaker of maximum 15 amps. It it were wired with 12 gauge then its acceptable to use 20 amp Circuit Breaker's.
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:54 PM   #5
ehmcfarl
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All the wiring including the grounds were tight. I suspect it is just a weak breaker. The run of wire from the breaker to the receptacle is only about 10 feet, so I would think you could go up to a 20amp with no problem. So Dave, you replaced your 15amps with 20amps? And Lowes had the HOMT type of breakers? Thanks for the info guys.

Hey Noneck, I didn't see your reply before I posted this reply. Your right they use 14 gauge on the 15amp circuits and 12 gauge on the 20amp circuits. So you think I shouldn't go up to a 20amp breaker on this circuit even though it is a very short run?
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:27 PM   #6
noneck
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No...14 gauge short or long runs not more than 15 amps.
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Old 09-10-2008, 02:56 PM   #7
bsmeaton
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Exnavydiver

We had the kitchen breaker start doing the fast trip thing last fall, I just went to Lowes and got several new Square D dual 20 amp breakers. I eventually replaced them all with 20s. The 15s seemed like crap and since I have done the upgrades we haven't had a popped breaker since.
I'm with Noneck here - Upgrade is not the word. I would change them back Dave! You are putting yourself at risk, especially in these crates.
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Old 09-10-2008, 03:15 PM   #8
Exnavydiver
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When I pulled the panel there were ONLY 12s, no 14s at the breakers, That is why I went with the 20s, and yes they did have the HOMTs at Lowes, they also have them at Home depot... Dave
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Old 09-10-2008, 03:56 PM   #9
ehmcfarl
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Thanks for the info guys, I will go to Home Depot or Lowes tomorrow and get a new 15/20 amp double breaker. I suspect the new breaker will keep the 15amp side from tripping. And I won't change any of the 15amp breakers to 20amp where they are using only 14 gauge wire. I knew as always you guys would come through with some good info.
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Old 09-10-2008, 04:26 PM   #10
jimcol
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You didn't say if you had tried the compressor at another power source. Might try it on a different 15 or 20 amp power supply to insure it is not a problem with the compressor.
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Old 09-10-2008, 05:28 PM   #11
David Salzman
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The problem is not the breaker but what you have pluged into it. If the compressor pulls 12amps than this is too muck for the ckt. A 15 amp ckt is only good to 80%, so 80% of 15 is 12. That means your at the max for 15amp. Plug it into a 20amp ckt and you won't have a problem, but DO NOT change the breaker to a 20 unless the insurance is paid up and you want a new camper.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:16 AM   #12
Ozz
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Another thing to check, is that there may be another load on that individual circuit that you are not aware of. A 15 amp circuit should take a 12 amp load with no problem, IF all the wires are tight; good connections. I agree that the receptacles are junk.
Without an amp meter to check the loads, it's all guesswork.
Good luck.
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:24 AM   #13
ehmcfarl
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I had never heard the part about 80% before. Does this mean that a breaker is set to trip at 80% of it's rated load? If so, then that means that a 20 amp breaker should trip at 16 amps. So, does that then say that the max amps that a 20 amp breaker would allow on the circuit would be 16 amps? If this is true, then it indicates that a 20 amp breaker on a 14 gauge wire would trip at 1 amp over the wire rating. Not wanting to argue, just trying to understand the mechanics here. Thanks for your info on this problem David.

Oh, jimcol, I did run the compressor on another 20 amp circuit and it ran OK.
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Old 09-11-2008, 06:49 AM   #14
bsmeaton
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no-no-no don't get confused by the 80% thing. An electrician or electrical engineer is required to observe the 80% of maximum load rule for laying out circuits based on anticipated use. That applies to branch circuits and even the main service feed. 15A still means 15A.
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:38 PM   #15
sailer
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Why not run a new plug from the circit bd from the washer dryer breaker its a 20 and nothing on it but the wasaher , so if its not runnibg your in luck ,,, sailer
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:01 PM   #16
ehmcfarl
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Good idea Sailer. I could just run a new circuit since I have room in the main panel for about 5-6 more breakers. I was just trying to get around having to snake a new wire down the wall and into the basement. The belly pan would probably have to be dropped in order to get the wire into the basement. With my knees this is just a little more than I want to try. I guess I could have the dealer run it for me. Has anyone had anything like this done by a dealer? Any idea what the cost would be? Thanks.
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by bsmeaton

no-no-no don't get confused by the 80% thing. An electrician or electrical engineer is required to observe the 80% of maximum load rule for laying out circuits based on anticipated use. That applies to branch circuits and even the main service feed. 15A still means 15A.
Brad is correct. Here is an explanation of why.
http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_sizing_circuit_breaker/
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:42 AM   #18
bsmeaton
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Buddy,

If your 3400 is like my 07, you shouldn't have to drop the belly. The base of the wall is accessible from under the stairs, and there is a direct horizontal shot into the basement. On mine, there is a direct access path through the existing holes made for the W/D plumbing coming from the basement (also feeds the toilet).

Those receptacles aren't designed too well to tap into, and walls aren't necessarily thick enough to put in a standard receptacle to replace the one for W/D so you can add to it. To me, it would be just as easy to continue up the wall into the space above the W/D and access the breaker panel directly. You should be able to even add a dedicated circuit if there is any spare places in your panel.
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:38 AM   #19
ehmcfarl
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Brad, are you saying that I should be able to feed a 12/3 Romex wire down thru the main breaker panel (where I have an empty space), and down the wall behind the toilet? You said that the base of the wall is accessible from under the steps. I am assuming that the base of the wall you are talking about is the wall next to the steps. It is here that I get lost. How do I snake the wire out of the wall behind the toilet around to the wall next to the steps so I can shoot it horizontally into the basement? Thanks for your help.
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:43 AM   #20
bsmeaton
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Buddy,

From the panel, go down the side wall common with the stairs, not behind the toilet. The space above the W/D (behind the electrical panel) is a huge void space with wires running down the side wall and into the ceiling (acually everwhere). I think if you take the screws out of the panel and pull it out of the wall, you'll see what I mean.

Down below, the wall is open to the area under the stairs, accessible by removing the wood return air grille.

Brad
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