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Old 07-20-2010, 10:21 AM   #1
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Workhorse Chassis Owner
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Location: Savage, MD
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AC Circuit Overload

We've had our motorhome for 5+ years and up to a few weeks ago, no electrical problems with this AC circuit.

One circuit includes, 2 TVs, Inverter/Converter and refridgerator. There is also a open socket, which we rairly use. All these are all that is on the inverter if it is ever used, which is EXTREMELY infrequent.

Anyway, in past 4 or 5 weeks, we were having the braker kick off, then the circuit changed from generator to shore power. I initially though it maybe a voltage drop (causing a current increase, thus causing breaker drop out), so I have begin turning off the A/C when I go from generator to shore power.

Well 2 weeks ago, we could not turn on the television for more than a few minutes, before the circuit breaker kicked out. At that time I had forgot the fridge was on the same circuit.

First suspect was that the breaker had gone bad. Extreemly rare, but does happen once in a while. Changed breaker, and no change in circuit kicking out when TV turned on. (We even tried the bedroom TV, thinking it draws less current, but didn't matter.)

We did discover that we could watch TV, if the fridge was on gas. As we have two completely different AC circuit plugs in back of fridge cabnet, I plugged the fridge into another circuit. No problem with the TV now. (I'm pretty sure all that is on this "new" circuit the fridge is plugged into is bathroom outlet, outlet up under kitchen cabnets, basement outlet, and the outlet that is just forward of the entry door.)

What it is is baffeling to me is that the fridge is 99% DC powered, with just the AC heater using direct AC power. Why would it go 5 years before deciding to draw more current? (Or is something going wrong with the inverter/converter - [Heart Interface 2000 Watt - may be wrong name, but it is the delux inverter] that is causing it to draw more current? I would think if it was the inverter, that when I turn the TV on, it would kick off the breaker.

I thik the proof in the pudding is going to be if we run a hair drier, and for some reason I would have the air compressor on (which plugs into the basement AC outlet) at the same time and now see if the breaker kicks on the circuit that the fridge is now plugged into.

But back to what I think is the problem. It just appears that either the inverter or fridge is drawing considerable more current than they used to. Though both seem to be operating quite normally. Any thoughts?

One change that was made this spring, is that we had to have the water line (from selinoid to back of the ice maker) change this spring, and it has an AC heat trace on it. Dometic could not explain why this was manditory. (Except, I had to buy cheap 1/4 water hose from them, with an AC trace) at more than 100 times the cost, becasue they said the heat trace was necessary.

I could change the breaker on the orginal circuit from a 15 amp to a 20 amp breaker, but I don't know if the wiring is suitable for a 30% increase in power.

I really would appreciate comments.

Bill N8HDW & Nancy N8HDV
2005 Sea Breeze 8341 on W-22 Chassis
2008 Saturn Vue I-4
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:25 PM   #2
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You probably have two separate circuits for the fridge - one for the icemaker and one for the fridge itself. The icemaker circuit is typically supplied via the inverter, so you can make ice even if the fridge is on propane with no 120vac available. The fridge itself is typically not powered by the inverter. There is often one receptacle with two outlets, each powered on a different circuit.

Might you have moved the fridge plug to the other outlet recently?

Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition; 2014 Buick LaCRosse
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
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One of the rules for generator use is the breaker should never switch from Generator to Shore under load... TURN OFF evrything, or better yet trip the MAIN breaker, then turn off the generator, and once the ATS has TSed, turn main breaker(s) back on.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:42 AM   #4
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Generator Switching

Thanks for info on switching from generator to shore power and back. I have a surge protector, so once hooked up to shore poser, it is 2 minutes 16 seconds before the AC power really comes on.

Still would like some good guesses on what my problem might be.

Bill N8HDW & Nancy N8HDV
2005 Sea Breeze 8341 on W-22 Chassis
2008 Saturn Vue I-4
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