Trailer House Electrical Mains

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Old 06-17-11, 06:44 PM
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Trailer House Electrical Mains

We are trying to troubleshoot my son's trailer house electrical supply. He has a main box in the yard that has a pair of main breakers & 2 smaller single breakers that each say 50 on them. They both have very small gauge wires running from them, far less than what looks like would carry 50 amps. One of those small breakers was off. I can get 110 from either main to neutral & 220 across the pair. When I turned the one 50 breaker that was off I couldn't read anything on that side. As soon as I turned it off I could read 110 again. Can anyone provide feedback on why this is set up this way & what might be going on?

Trailer Electrical pictures by Texas-Fire - Photobucket

In the inside breaker panel, there are some small 15A breakers & some wide 15A breakers. What's the difference electrically? Do the smaller ones do the same thing? Are the wide ones "heavy duty"?

Thanks

TexasFire
 
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Old 06-17-11, 07:25 PM
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How odd.

Okay, it looks like the main feeders (always live) come from the top of the main panel. Then there's a 100A breaker to the subpanel, which is backfed into the 100A breaker. So far, so good.

You are likely correct, that looks like 12ga wire, which has no place being on a 50A breaker. Do you know where it goes? Air conditioner maybe?

I have no idea how turning on the one breaker would give you 0v to ground/neutral without causing a direct short and either a tripped breaker or fireworks. Maybe I'm missing something... but it certainly doesn't make sense. Can you figure out where those wires go? It's odd that it goes into the same conduit as the feeders to the subpanel.

As for the different size breakers, they are called "tandem" breakers. You can install them on panels that accept them to get you more breaker spaces. As long as the panel is designed to accept them (the model number of the breaker will be something like xxxx16/24 meaning it can accept 16 full-size breakers or 24 using some half-size or tandem breakers).
 
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Old 06-17-11, 07:26 PM
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Is the first picture on the pole and second in the trailer.






There are multiple problems the 50a breakers are wrong because of size and they apear to be uses as a 240v breaker but you can't use two single pole as a double pole except maybe handel tied and they aren't.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-17-11 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 06-17-11, 08:24 PM
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That GE breaker doesn't belong in the Siemens panel.

There shouldn't be a wire bonding the neutral and ground buss.

The feed should go into the 100A breaker, and the trailer should be the buss lugs.

The 50A breakers should be no higher than 20.

Fpe panel needs to be replaced, due to high failure rates.
 

Last edited by Justin Smith; 06-17-11 at 08:27 PM. Reason: removed comment.
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Old 06-18-11, 08:22 AM
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There looks to be some splices not shown. Look at the large white neutral in the service panel. Now look at the color when it gets to the interior panel.

TF, is this service panel fed from the top or bottom?
 
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Old 06-18-11, 09:31 AM
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We are trying to troubleshoot my son's trailer house electrical supply
Exactly what problem caused you to start this troubleshooting? If it is because of one 50 amp brekers being off, or tripped, what problem leads you back to the main disconnect panel for the trailer. The wires leading to the two 50 amp breakers appear to me to be #10s, still too small for 50 amp breakers. I would suspect these wires go to an outbuilding or well pump. Do you not have any water to the trailer?
 
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Old 06-18-11, 09:35 AM
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I have no idea how turning on the one breaker would give you 0v to ground/neutral without causing a direct short and either a tripped breaker or fireworks. Maybe I'm missing something... but it certainly doesn't make sense. Can you figure out where those wires go? It's odd that it goes into the same conduit as the feeders to the subpanel.
It appears to me the smaller wires (NM cable) don't go in the same conduit as the feed to the trailer, but to a separate conduit at the bottom left of the main disconnect service panel.
 
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Old 06-18-11, 01:31 PM
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It would make sense to have these two 50's be a well because in the event of a fire you want your well pump for a fire pump.
 
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Old 06-18-11, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
There looks to be some splices not shown. Look at the large white neutral in the service panel. Now look at the color when it gets to the interior panel.

TF, is this service panel fed from the top or bottom?
Trailers usually have a j-box on the outside under the skirt where they hook up to pad power. If you look at the inside panel, you'll see the wires from the added on GE breaker go into the conduit with the main feed.. It was probably easier to run a new piece of conduit from that j-box under the skirt to wherever the dryer was installed, than ripping the walls open.. More than likely the meter is on top of the disconnect.

Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
It would make sense to have these two 50's be a well because in the event of a fire you want your well pump for a fire pump.
Not really. When was the last time you heard of a fire dept hooking up to residential water?? Fire hoses are 4-6", vs the 3/4" or 1" you'll get off a well head. Come on dude, you obviously have a brain but you throw some off the wall things out there!
 
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Old 06-18-11, 03:28 PM
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I was thinking in more of using a garden hose for a very small fire until the fire co.comes with the trucks. I guess that's what a fire extinguisher is for, though.
 
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Old 06-18-11, 08:51 PM
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OK.... 1st, Thank ALL of you for your great input, that's what makes this (all of the DIY forums!) so awesome...
I went back & took a much closer look & made some determinations. To answer some of the questions, the power comes in from the top & goes to the two side lugs. The feeders coming out of the breakers on top go to the sub panel inside the trailer. Those two individual 50's on the bottom fed the AIR CONDITIONER. They were in 220 service, not ganged & whoever stated that the wire looked about 10, well it was probably 12... WAY undersized. That unit burned up several years ago, no doubt from sucking low volts all that time. I killed the other one & will probably remove those.
The jumper wire from the ground buss to the neutral buss was removed. It's arced slightly so there was a small amount of potential leaking through there. The wires coming in to the sub panel are all black & two that leave the main panel (ground & neut) were white so there has to be a splice some where. I didn't crawl under the trailer to see where the conduit ran.
The two ganged 30's in the sub panel fed the heater air handler motor & a 220V outlet for a dryer in the utility room. Some testing determined that the dryer outlet was on the Siemens breaker & the HVAC blower on the GE breaker. A gas dryer is in service so the 220V outlet is not needed so we swapped the wiring for the HVAC blower to the Siemens breaker & just disconnected the wiring from the GE breaker & turned it off.
Now for the kicker.... While checking all of the various circuits I noticed that one buss seemed to be quite a bit hotter than the other one. Further checking showed that some of the breakers had a low output while the ones on the other bus were a bit hotter. Measuring across the 220's showed a good 220 but individually one was hot & one weak. I went all the way back out to the main post & checked the feeders coming into the main breaker. There's an OBVIOUS difference in potential on the feeders coming in. This makes me think there is a problem with the transformer or maybe an open neutral, allowing the voltage to float across both busses..... We are going to call the power company & have them trouble shoot it from their end.

I took some more pictures & added them to the Photobucket album, including 2 shots of my voltage test on each buss. You'll see what I'm talking about. So HOPEFULLY this is a problem on the power company side that they can address & get this right!

Trailer Electrical pictures by Texas-Fire - Photobucket

TexasFire

As for the water for firefighting question (I am a 30 year FF), the same water that feeds your house is the same water at the hydrant, same pressure but much bigger lines for fire hoses. A typical supply hose from the hydrant to fire truck is 5" withe the most common standard fire attack lines being 1 & 3/4". A small fire can be contained with a garden line (we joking refer to them as thumb fog on a green line) but should NEVER be sprayed at anything that is live electrical! :NO NO NO: That's where a fire ext comes in. Best thing to do is kill the power, removing the potential. We're likely going to do that when we arrive anyway!
 
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Old 06-18-11, 10:28 PM
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I would have a look at the nameplate on this air handler, because unless it is a room unit that has an a/c compressor/heat pump built in and/or it has an electric heating element (this is common in heat pump setups, especially the hotel style "Zoneline" units) I can't imagine it needing a 240v 30A circuit. Furnaces almost always run on 120v 15A. If it is electric, it would probably be worth it to change it out for a gas unit since gas is available. I dont know about there, but here it costs about 3x more to run electric appliances than gas. I changed out my electric stove for gas, and my electric bill went down a lot more than the gas bill went up. The water heater is next.
 
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Old 06-19-11, 07:26 AM
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There's an OBVIOUS difference in potential on the feeders coming in. This makes me think there is a problem with the transformer or maybe an open neutral, allowing the voltage to float across both busses..... We are going to call the power company & have them trouble shoot it from their end.
I am surprised to see it, but I see you have access to the unmetered power in the pedestal. Normally the power company seals these parts of the equipment and the customer cannot access. In pictures 6, 7 and 8 I also see the underground lateral connections in the unmetered section of the pedestal that look pretty crummy, water has been getting in there. I agree, call the POCO. I am thinking they will find their problem right there in the pedestal in those corroded connections
 
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Old 06-19-11, 09:54 AM
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JerseyMatt, it is a gas furnace / air handler with the AC comp/coil outside. The blower motor in the unit inside is a 220V motor but not sure why it needs to be on a 30A circuit. I will double check that today.
CasualJoe, I too was surprised at ready access to incoming power. This is a trailer park, & there seems to be a common pedestal at each plot all set up the same way. Two rusty 1/4" head scews & I was in the back side. I did get unbalanced readings at the very first junction terminal (bottom) on the power coming in... I was suspect of the corrosion on the connections but I'm thinking it should have read good at the 1st set if that were the case. I took those unbalanced readings at the first junction....

Happy Fathers Day all!!!

TexasFire
 
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Old 06-19-11, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TexasFire View Post
JerseyMatt, it is a gas furnace / air handler with the AC comp/coil outside. The blower motor in the unit inside is a 220V motor but not sure why it needs to be on a 30A circuit. I will double check that today.
It's odd that the air handler and A/C compressor would be on the same breaker, and a straight 240v circuit with no neutral to boot. It's normally two separate circuits on a split system like that, especially with a gas furnace (240v/30A for the outdoor unit, 120v/15 or 20A for the indoor unit. It's possible that the installer took a (dangerous) shortcut and (improperly) tapped the circuit from the outdoor unit to run the air handler.

However, I also think it's odd that the trailer wouldn't be pre-wired for furnace electric (since the wiring is done at the assembly plant - you can see it has spray-foam insulation which pretty much rules out field wiring). Have you confirmed that the 30A circuit cuts power to the air handler and not just the outdoor unit? It would make more sense that the furnace runs off one of the 120v breakers, and the 30A circuit to the outdoor unit was run after the fact (maybe to replace the improperly fused circuit in the outdoor disconnect?).
 
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Old 06-19-11, 09:23 PM
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If it is all gas, then the compressor should be on a 2 pole 30 amp and the air handler should be on no larger than a 2 pole 20 amp. A single pole 15-20 amp sounds more appropriate.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 06-23-11 at 08:43 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 06-19-11, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
If it is all gas, then the compressor should be on a 230 and the air handler should be on no larger than a 220. 115-120 sounds more appropriate.

Note: 230= 2pole 30amp. 115=1pole15amp
Justin with your last secente that is kinda draw the line so please remove that last part I do not let anyone mess around with unmetered connections at all they are dangerous.

Merci,
Marc
 

Last edited by pcboss; 06-23-11 at 08:44 AM. Reason: removed for safety
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Old 06-19-11, 10:05 PM
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Justin with your last secente that is kinda draw the line so please remove that last part I do not let anyone mess around with unmetered connections at all they are dangerous.
Yeah, you should probably put the deadfront on the pedestal line as well so no one touches them, they are unfused. As marc said, it is safest to stay out of there.
 
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Old 06-20-11, 12:37 PM
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It's very possible that outdoor pedestal panel needs to be replaced too. The 100A main breaker or its stabs could be going bad, have some internal corrosion, etc. You might be off the hook for that one if it belongs to the park management. Also surprised you have access to it; the power company usually seals it up with a stainless steel lock instead of just a tag seal.
 
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Old 06-20-11, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
If it is all gas, then the compressor should be on a 230 and the air handler should be on no larger than a 220. 115-120 sounds more appropriate.

Note: 230= 2pole 30amp. 115=1pole15amp
In this type of setting it is best to stick with proper terminology and not use slang. All it's going to do is confuse people who aren't in the know, and given the nature of this forum, that's a lot of people.
 
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Old 06-20-11, 06:46 PM
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Unhappy

In this type of setting it is best to stick with proper terminology and not use slang. All it's going to do is confuse people who aren't in the know, and given the nature of this forum, that's a lot of people.
Sorry, I was tired.
More characters.
 
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Old 06-20-11, 10:57 PM
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Just want to give you a head up if you plan to replace the meter pedsteal you have to get a hold of both POCO and Licesnsed electrician to come out and deal with it due your meter pedsteal is on moble home park mangement side so they will have to get a hold of them and replace it.

Most case when they replace it they will genrally go with 200 amp rated socket instead of 100 amp rated socket and breaker due more and more mobile home I have see before they are getting common with 200 amp main breaker size.

So just let you know ahead of the time and POCO will not hook it back up until it is inspected by electrical inspector { that part you will have to check with county or city office for latest local change }

Merci,
Marc
 
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Old 06-21-11, 10:28 AM
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That old FPE breaker is over 200 bucks now for a new one...and that one is OLD.....They have been American Circuit Breaker labels for decades. Get that thing out of there....
 
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Old 06-22-11, 08:29 AM
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Well, the POCO came out on father's day (sucks to be on call but....) & determined that the neutral supply conductor was bad. They strung a new temp neutral above ground with plans to come back this week & bury it properly. Anyway, my son says that everything is working perfectly in the house now, & at no cost to us! I haven't been down to look at it since they came out but I expect they will properly seal the back side of the pedestal.
I'n not a fan of the old Federal stuff either, I have one of those panels in an old barn, may switch to GE some day. THANKS to ALL for all of the great input! I still intend to research how some of these circuits are run, including those 2 single 50's & will report back what I learn.

Regards
TexasFire
 
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Old 06-22-11, 03:10 PM
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Glad to hear things are being fixed. Is the pedestal being replaced, too or just the neutral? Also, I'm not a real big fan of ge equipment.
 
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Old 06-22-11, 05:49 PM
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I'n not a fan of the old Federal stuff either, I have one of those panels in an old barn, may switch to GE some day.
In my book, it's a toss up as to which is safer.
 
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Old 06-22-11, 08:18 PM
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In my book, it's a toss up as to which is safer.
The only breakers that trip in my panel aren't GE. They're either murray or westinghouse that ever trip. Personally, I like squared or siemens.
 
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