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Old 10-09-2013, 01:20 AM   #15
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Another thought, RV manufacturers use the cheapest and worst kind of 120VAC receptacles in the world. Mac the Fire Guy at his demonstrations shows them off, they are garbage, wires get lose in them, fall out, and so although this is a suggestion, you might have a bad receptacle in the inverter powered/pass through devices circuit in the entertainment equipment.

In my coach I think there are four receptacles up front behind the cabinet door/panels. There are two on the driver's side and at least two on the passenger side. One of those is causing a short in the entertainment breaker, which also takes out the inverter breakers which tripped. Breakers are made to do exactly what it did, trip, so a fire does not occur. The breakers are made 1000% better than the receptacles they are designed to protect. If you don't check them, and continue to power those circuits, I suspect a fire will happen.

For now, leave the entertainment area breaker off, take the cabinets doors off, then the panels holding in the pieces of equipment, You can do one side at a time, remove the driver's side first since it's the hardest one to gain access to, because of the steering wheel, etc. As you remove stuff and disconnect wires, make a drawing, unless you know what wires do what. You might luck out, and have enough room to slip hands between devices and get to the receptacles, to just unplug the devices and then remove the covers and look inside, pull it out, check those connections, you will find a burned one, lose wire, or maybe it already started to melt from the heat. To replace, if it's in a half height box, then you can go to an electrical supply house, and get one (not RV type-crap) use a residential type, but take the old one with you to compare for depth/height, you may have to change the box it's in so it fits.

Now my reason for sending you to this area is your opening comments on this problem, to quote your statement "We were happily sitting in our living room when we heard a loud pop and several lights went out. Bottom line... the main inverter breaker (on the left side of the breakers) and the inverter breaker and one general purpose breaker on the right, were tripped." You had the stereo on, or the TV on, and the amplifier running, all those are "pass through" devices on the inverter side of the house, and one of them is in trouble, hence the Inverter side breakers tripping. If the problem was not an inverter circuit, then only the troublesome 120VAC breaker (non- inverter circuit) would have tripped, leaving the other stuff alone. Not all the AC circuits in the house are inverter circuits, some are direct from the gray panel, as they don't need power when the coach is not running on genset or inverter.

If you are not electrically handy, or not audiophile handy, then my suggestion is to not use a RV technician who does not have a shop, this is going to take at least a day to take apart and find the offending receptacle, and then repair that, and put all the stuff back in, a very long day. If I was close, we could do it together to save you some money, I am not close. If you are handy, I suggest you do this yourself, then you can stay where you are for a while and remedy this problem taking the necessary time to label stuff so it works when you put it back together. The other suggestions are valid, but the way you describe the problem, leads me down the path I have described here.

Let us know what is found, what it takes to fix.
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:25 AM   #16
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As an aside, if the transfer switch was at fault, doing as EM suggested, run the unit on the generator, and see if the trouble occurs. If it does, it's not the transfer switch, as it is transferring AC power to the house from the correct source. In RV's the priority is: 1) Genset powers coach; 2) Shore power provides power; or 3)Inverter power devices hooked to it through the inverter breaker panel. If the TS does the correct switching, it's not causing the issue.

But, with all power off, no generator running, no shore power hooked up, and the master switches OFF. Remove the cover from the TS and check the tightness of all the wiring connections inside, many owners have reported lose connections in that box, and I found several in mine which were, tighten then good, replace cover, and turn on master switches, and let the inverter power coach, no genset, no Shore power. If the problem reoccurs, you know it's not the TS, and also not bad shore power. Read my post above, I think I hit it on the head.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLMunsil View Post
My guess is that it's the inverter transfer switch that's bad. Seems that it has to have the entertainment breaker on to provide a load for it to short out. Try turning the entertainment breaker off and run the microwave to see if the inverter breakers trip.
I am currently running with every breaker on EXCEPT the entertainment center breaker, and all the other stuff works... microwave, refr, and all the outlets NOT on the entertainment breaker.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:44 AM   #18
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Thank you all for the help. Some of this is, while not beyond my capability, beyond my comfort zone. I have an appointment with an authorized Xantrex service center in Knoxville later this month. I'm running fine except we have no satellite and no front TV. I plugged the back TV into an extension cord running to an outlet that works, and we have cable. The wife gets priority.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:48 AM   #19
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Jerry-
There are a coupla Gen purpose brkrs on the black panel, I assume "moved the wire" means tech moved the ent sys output from its brkr to another on the black panel & it tripped just like the ent sys brkr. If that isn't right let us know.
Right. Also, none of the breakers were temperature hot.

Think I'll just leave things the way they are for now...
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:37 PM   #20
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Based on post#17, another load on the inverter xfer switch won't invoke the problem. Gotta be in the ent brkr circuit. Look for burn marks, discolored wire ends, & sniff for smoke at the junction locations after intentionally tripping the breaker.
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:34 PM   #21
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gator67, have you found a solution to this issue? If so, could you please tell us?
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:51 PM   #22
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It seems gator67 has swapped their Alpine for a new Holiday Rambler.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:50 PM   #23
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I guess that closes the loop on that one :(
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:48 AM   #24
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gator67, have you found a solution to this issue? If so, could you please tell us?
As the last post mentioned, we traded in the Alpine for a fifth wheel. However, I will add this:

We took the motor home to Buddy Gregg in Knoxville and they ran everything all day and never encountered the problem. We never encountered the problem again, either, and we lived in the coach for almost another two months. All we could think of was that there was some glitch with the power at the RV park in Williamsburg, VA. I sent them an email suggesting that they check the circuit, but I never heard from them. As the previous person suggested, the loop is closed. Now I deal with a new set of glitches with a new RV.
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Old 01-10-2014, 02:22 PM   #25
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You would be surprised how often the power in an RV park is not good. Most if not all the coaches have a surge guard protection device, and it will tell you if the park power is good/bad. You should always make sure the pedestal breaker is OFF prior to plugging in the shore power cord to the coach, once plugged in, turn on the breaker, then check the surge guard. Lots of folks use an external device to protect their coach, if you don't have one built in, get the external protection device to protect your electrical system. Sometimes the Surge Guard does not find bad power even though it's not stable, so you should also check the contacts with a meter at the pedestal before plugging in, both legs should have equal voltage or at least within a couple of volts of each other.

Oh, do a search on here for electrical defects, generator causes fire, etc., and you will note the electrical QA of everything after (and maybe before) 2005 year, was suspect because the fellow who did the work failed to tighten down the connections, so checking all the breakers in the panels, surge guard, generator where it meets the coach, and all grounds should be checked for tightness, I have found lots and lots of them which were lose.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:34 AM   #26
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I am reserecting this thread. Today, I hooked up to SP in the TT Park in Vegas, and after a while I smelled something burning in the coach. Isolated it to the cabinet that has the microwave 20 Amp Receticle. Disconned the M/W, and turned that breaker off, and the burning smell went away. Opend up the thing to see if it was melting, recteacle it looks fine, turned on the breaker, and wiggled the recetacle, and the following hapened:

In the inverter panel
1. M/W convection oven breaker tripped.
2. TV Breaker tripped-this one might be a fluke.
3. Inverter breaker tripped.

In the main a/C panel:
1. Main Breaker Tripped.
2. Inverter Breaker tripped.

Hmmmmm, smoke smell is gone, left Convection breaker off, ran heavy extension cord to power M/W from recetacle below, it works fine, no smoke smell. Turned on the M/W breaker, wiggled the thing, and again all heck broke loose, all the above tripped again, plus took out shore power breaker. TV did not go out this time, had I not checked the A/C status, I would never have known SP was off. Reset everything, except the M/W breaker and all is working. I have a short in the 120 12-3 wire which supplies the M/W cicruit, it's the only thing on that breaker since that was wired to code, it appears. Cannot find the 120 V a/c wires in the slide nor where they go. At a loss, but as a try and see if that fixes it, going to see if I can get a recetacle from Home Depot/Lowes which is the same size but of a residential quality so I can keep those wires held into it better. Have been running a/C's to cool off MH all evening, everything is working now. It could be a bad source of Shore Power, but the smoke smell although gone now is a worry, so there is more going on here. Ideas please would be appreciated, but think I have it nailed down.

FWIW-This trip started in October of 2013, to date the following has broken or is in need of repair:
1. Passenger side windshield - Rock hit it broken in lower right corner.
2. Sewer electric tank valve is hanging up, new one in possession, waiting till home to fix in case issues arise.
3. Engine Coolant leaks when it's cold outside and use engine preheat on HH unit, when not cold, no coolant leaks. Leaks at both large hoses attached to radiator, clamps have no more tighting left.
4. Radiator shroud (outside of coach) bracket broke, and had to have that welded and new attachment method designed.
5. Jeep Windshield needs to be replaced rock hit it and it' cracked across the bottom.
6. Jeep Rear bumper needs to be replace, backed into tree, when moving sites, mad about coolant leaks which had to again be fixed by me in the cold morning.
7. Cummins replaced two HWH fittings last August, they are leaking again, and they won't fix them under warranty, even though I notified them within the period I thought they were covered under. That really pissed me off, cummins is off my list of places to have anything fixed period. Neverthless, the hoses or fittings need to be replaced.
8. Stopped overnight in Bahlormia, TX, heard hissing noise near the A/C condensor on the outside of the radiator, felt around best as I could, hissing changed some as I put pressure on a/c line to condensor, believe hose has failed, will have to have system checked and hose replaced, this was damaged in the accident, statement says new hoses installed, but I think they used the old ones and now it's failed. That repair alone is going to cost bucks because, it might be the one to the front of the coach, don't know for sure, until I have a place and time to have it fixed. Don't have vacuum pump, nor guage set to do the fix correctly, so no dash a/c.
8. Current electrical issue.
9. Kitchen sink started to let go and I had to silicone part of it back up.
10. Cannot reach under the kitchen sink slide to fix the incorrect flex hose issue, so having to pay cabinet person to take apart the drawer bank so that can be replaced, have parts in the coach. Floorplan is different than all of you, mid-door, large kitchen area.
11. Large slide continues to leak when rain coming in from the rear-drivers side, so again paying cabinet person to remove crown molding, and fixing the slide (common problem with alpines after 2005 I have been told).

This is more than a DIY project, and I cannot use words here to describe my level of hate for this thing, going to get all fixed, then it's going up for sale, and I am finished RV'ing period, this coach has runined my enjoyment of it for the rest of my life.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:50 AM   #27
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Wow - you have had more than your fair share of RV problems. I have owned many RVs over more than 50 years and in all that time, I have never had that many issues.

I think you need to get a supply of lemon decals and plaster them all over the coach. (Take then off before selling it) LOL:-):-):-) - does a black cloud follow you around? (Sorry. nothing to chuckle about, I share your frustration.)

But re your electrical problem. You noted the M/W circuit is in the slide? (I think) and when you wiggle the wires, the circuit breaker trips, but there is no apparant sign of burning in the receptical. Well as you said, there is likely a short to ground at or near that receptical and one would expect to see evidence of arcing where the short is.

Were you able to remove that receptical to see further down that wire? Such as where a clamp on the outer side of the receptical might be. Not knowing the cable routing I would also look for chafing or wear point where the wire moves about as the slide goes in and out but this is pure conjecture on my part.

I have a megger that will often detect problems where a normal ohmmeter will not. But of course the short is intermittant it may not show up with a megger, anyway I would recommend using some troubleshooting method other than applying 120vac to the circuit. Perhaps a simple continuity check with an ohmmeter or with a tone feature enabled might work as you move the wires about. Just some thoughts.

Re finding wire routing, I have a signal tracer that works great for finding wire routing and termination. Just put the tone generator on one end of the wire and use the probe to trace along the route. The tone in the probe unit increases in volume as you get closer to the wire.

Popping the shore power breaker is a conundrum if the M/W is protected by a 20A breaker. Something is amiss here that needs to be further investigated. Perhaps one A/C was starting just as the M/W line shorted out?? I assume you are 50A shore power with A/C units running.
I would find the source of that short before ever putting power to that circuit again which I presume you are you are doing.

Good luck.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:32 PM   #28
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I took the back of a cabinet apart to gain access to the wire as it comes down the wall, and it turns toward the rear and goes aft along the bottom side of the counter top in the kitchen slide. My fear is, WRV used solid 12-3 copper wire and did not terminate them in a junction box, splicing into stranded wire since its a slide. Because it's solid wire and they move, (supposed to be stranded copper wire for all wiring which might have movement), and it's broken someplace alongside it's length. Believe to fix it, the counter top will have to come out to gain access, but not sure. Going to Kustom Coach Works in Junction City, OR to have two other things fixed that require cabinets and molding to be removed to fix those items, so if the kitchen counter needs to come out, to get this circuit fixed, they can do it then. It's only money, when that is gone, I put it up on blocks at the farm, sell the tires, and watch it rot in place, I am that mad about this coach. It might be the 30A shore power I'm plugged into, but don't think so. Will check it out in the next RV park I hook up in, surge guard says shore power is qualified.
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