Circuit Breaker problem in motorhome.


  #1  
Old 09-03-04, 10:13 PM
bum4evr
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Question Circuit Breaker problem in motorhome.

Hiya,

this is the circuit box in my motorhome:




The 30 amp circuit with the yellow "push to test" button no longer works. At first the breaker would only trip when I used the microwave and I had to fidget with the yellow button and switch the breaker up and down about 10 times to get it to reset, then one day it just started to trip as soon as I reset it. The motorhome this box is in was made in 1979 and they dont make those circuit breakers any more or I would just buy another one, and hiring someone to come in and replace the whole box would be expensive.

That breaker runs 4 outlets in the motorhome, and when I switch off the other 30 amp breaker in the picture, it cuts power to the broken one as well.

What I want to do is simply bypass the broken breaker and just have those 4 outlets run off the other 30 amp breaker, which looks to be as simple as removing a wire or 2 and attaching it somewhere else or something like that, I just dont know which wires to attach/cut/etc... I had the broken breaker out once but then put it back.

I understand the need for the yellow switch thingie and I will just buy outlets which have the same thing so I wont lose any protection, i think they are called ground fault circuit interupters which cut power quickly in case of emergency and i have seen outlets with those I can buy.

Can anyone help me figure out how to rewire this so the other 30 amp breaker runs what the broken one used to? That 30 amp breaker runs all the outlets anyhow, its just wired through the broken one first.

thanks for any advice you can give.

(my guess was to remove the black wire from the top of the broken one and attach it to the black wire on top of the working 30 amp circuit, but i figured i better be certian or I might screw something up)
 
  #2  
Old 09-04-04, 04:57 AM
R
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It is hard to tell from this picture exactly what you are describong.

The breaker with the push to test button is a GFCI breaker. It is tripping because it has malfunctioned or because there is a true ground fault. Before doing anything else I would verify that you do not have a ground fault. Unplug everything from the outlets on the circuit and see if the breaker still trips. If it does not then something plugged in is in need of repait or replacement.

I am concerned about those breaker sizes. 30 amp breakers should not be protecting regular circuits. What size wire is on those circuits?
 
  #3  
Old 09-04-04, 06:43 AM
E
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You can try and remove the white and black wire from the gfci breaker (make sure that all power is off to the trailer first)
Re energise the power and then try to reset the the breaker. If it does reset test it with the yellow button to see if it trips. if it does then reset it and shut the power off again to the trailer. You then have a problem somewhere else.

If the breaker is faulty I am noticing from your picture that the 15 amp breaker is not being used. (from what I can see) Connect to that breaker then use the gfci outlet to cover the other outlets. Connect it to the first one in line that will then protect the rest in the system.

Hope that helps.

Anyone else have any input?


***IMPORTANT**** make sure the whole trailer is de-energized so there is no chance that you may be electricuted!!!!
 
  #4  
Old 09-04-04, 07:36 AM
J
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As Bob says, there are several things here that are of extreme concern. Don't ignore what he said. I think you'll agree that making it work again isn't as important as making it safe. You may wish to consider having a professional check this out.
 
  #5  
Old 09-04-04, 11:43 AM
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The unmistakable look of Federal Pacific... I had a similar situation with a 15 amp FP GFCI in a previous house. It got so loose that it wouldn't hold when reset. This panel isn't right. Even if the wiring is #10, 30 amps on an outlet is too much. And outlets wired on 2 breakers?? Someone's messed around with this. How expensive/hard could replacing this whole panel possibly be? How expensive would it be to replace the whole motor home. I've been to that scene. They burn extremely quickly... Not the place to take chances. Please consider having a professional evaluate it in person and tell you how everything should be. Then you can evaluate it and possible do the work yourself.

Doug M.
 
  #6  
Old 09-04-04, 01:14 PM
bum4evr
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problem sorta solved I guess

Ya someone must have messed with this in the past.

What I did was, I went and got some beer, so I would be more brave hehe then I took the black wire off the broken breaker and connected it to the top of that 15 amp breaker and now all the outlets work. I guess power passes through that 30 amp breaker first and then through the 15 amp one cause if I switch either of those off the power to the outlets goes off. But that 30 amp breaker runs other stuff as well such as the front air conditioner. (odd the rear AC is the same model but there is a another box and breaker for that one labeled "rear AC")

This motorhome is my house cause I live and work at an animal rescue kennel and I cant afford another one right now so I gotta make this one last, but its 33 feet long and used to be a luxury motorhome in its day (dodge vouge) and has cool features like leveling jacks, power step, lights that come on when you open a cabinet, ONAN 6.5KW generator, a blender built in to the kitchen countertop etc... I just bought this 2 months ago for $3800 but might have talked the guy down even more if I had seen the roof.

safety is a big concern of mine so I unplug the power whenever I am not home (except for the fridge which runs off a cord that comes through a window thats connected to a power strip with a breaker on it, not sure how much protection those give me though) and I have a new smoke detector and fire extinguisher.

One of the outlets of the 4 is behind the slot where the microwave goes, so hopefully 15 amps is enough for a microwave. , I might just post a picture of the roof of this motorhome in one of the other forums (big open crack that runs across the roof LOL)

Thank you all for your help

bum

edit: oh one thing I forgot, first I removed both the black and white wire from the GFCI and added the black wire to the 15 amp and it didnt work, then I put the white wire back on the GFCI where it was before and it did. I know there is probabaly a place I can put that white wire to where I dont need that broken breaker anymore but I guess at least its workin.

edit again: the wires say 12 AWG on them
 

Last edited by bum4evr; 09-04-04 at 01:28 PM.
  #7  
Old 09-04-04, 04:33 PM
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You can try and remove the white and black wire from the gfci breaker (make sure that all power is off to the trailer first)
Re energise the power and then try to reset the the breaker. If it does reset test it with the yellow button to see if it trips. if it does then reset it and shut the power off again to the trailer. You then have a problem somewhere else.
Did you ever conduct the test of the GFCI breaker? If you did not then you have a real posibility of a dangerous wiring fault.

If you did not test the GFCI breaker then stop and do so. If you did and it will not reset even with nothing supplied from it then go to the next paragraph.

There is a white wire that comes from the defective breaker and goes to the buss bar were all the other white wires terminate. With the power off remove the white wire between the breaker and the neutral buss bar. Remove the white wire of the circuit from the GFCI breaker. Connect the circuits white wire to the neutral buss bar. Restore power.
--
Tom H
 
  #8  
Old 09-04-04, 05:15 PM
E
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Originally Posted by bum4evr
I guess power passes through that 30 amp breaker first and then through the 15 amp one cause if I switch either of those off the power to the outlets goes off.

It is acceptable to use a small breaker panel to supply power to other circuits. This is done by sending power to the circuit breaker first. I am assuming that is the 30 amp breaker. This then supplies power to the bus bar on the panel. The other breakers are attatched to the bus bar and then the wire is attatched to the breakers to supply power to the circuits.

What I am concerned about now is that that breaker should be cleary marked as "MAIN" (power input) and there should be another breaker or shut off device with fuse at another location.

Also 15 amp breaker is enough for a microwave, or a toaster or a coffee maker. You may trip the breaker if you turn both on the same time. But it is easier to learn form that than to install a higher breaker amp or fuse.

Remember breakers are there to protect the wiring keeping them from being overloaded and possibly catching fire.

Keep us informed with what the electricians say.

Bum I would really get a few electricians to assess the wiring. You will learn more on how it is all connected and and get a free estimate of how much it would cost to repair. And ask questions they will answer them...there is no cost to that.
 

Last edited by Exile; 09-04-04 at 05:28 PM.
 

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