Dave, you are correct. I said gas, but its LP and 110v. I have a modern new one. On the LP setting it requires a 12v power source for ignition. It auto re-lights if the flame goes out. A small flame heats a chemical mixture that causes a chemical reaction that creates the cooling. It requires very little propane. On electric the same process is used but instead of a flame heating its an electric heating element. That's why it's so low power amperage.
Now that you have decided to upgrade your inlet you can decide the root you want to take. Going back to my unfinished thread, you can buy a connector like I did or just buy a 30amp power cord and cut the female end off and hardwire it like the photo in my thread. Search online for the best price for cords. I caught my 30 amp cord on sale at camping world and it was cheaper than Walmart.
You can source a breaker box at most hardware stores. If you are lucky enough to find a RV junkyard near you or someone parting out a camper or RV you can save a little money with used parts.
The issue I have with an "umbilical" cord is the (lack of) space required for storage because of the current location of the connector (which is the galley). For me, it's easier to have a separate cord that can be connected to the trailer/shore power and then stored separately.
While it would be nice to have a propane/electric fridge, they're pricey and I can probably get by with a simple Danby mini-fridge. As you mentioned, I can run the fridge when at home, to cool it down, when it's packed with goodies. And, I can make use of those re-freezable freezer blocks to help it stay cool while traveling. We don't plan to go far from home when we camp, one day's distance for the most part. The fridge should be able to still cool/cold for that amount of time. We do plan to do some longer trips but we'll be able to plug into shore power, at night, and run the fridge on 120vac.
I don't know of any RV junkyards in Chicago-land. There may be some but I think I'd prefer something new when it comes to electrical. You never know what a previous owner has messed with (as you pointed out in your thread). I have a very good 'industrial' hardware store very close to home (as well as the two big box home improvement stores). It would appear that a breaker box with one 30 amp main and/or two 15 amp breakers should do the trick (now that I plan to have the a/c unit removed from the in-trailer service).
I also plan to have LED bulbs in the 4 light fixtures. That means that I'll have low draw from the lights and can make use of the one receptacle in that 15 amp circuit (in addition to the receptacles in the other 15 amp circuit).
Last Edit: Oct 9, 2013 10:54:59 GMT -8 by bronco638
For a 30 amp system I use the Furion 30 amp inlet (chrome) and the 30 amp Furion cord. It's huge. Heavy too and has a little monitor light on it so you can tell that power is coming in from the park. They are big, clumsy and expensive but very much worth while.
The cords come in 25 to 36 foot lengths and are available at VTS....
God grant me the strength to restore the trailers I can, The courage to strip the parts off the ones I can't, And the wisdom to know the difference...
Here's an example of circuits in a vintage trailer with a 30 amp system:
1. Original 15 amp circuit, 110 lights and maybe a outlet or two.
2. New 15 amp circuit, a few outlets plus operate a fridge or other appliance.
3. New 20 amp circuit, kitchen outlet for microwave/coffee maker, etc. Also outside outlet.
4. New 15 amp circuit for extras such as a small air conditioner. The A/C can be plugged in by itself, bypassing the trailer system.
Old Electrician's Rule of thumb: since all circuits, outlets, fixtures won't be used at the same time, total amperage should be less than twice the incoming amperage. 30 amp/10 ga wiring to breaker box = circuits totaling less than 60 amps. Above is 65, too much, hence bypassing the trailer system for the air conditioner
NOTES: Most small vintage trailers have a 15 amp inlet (or dangling cord) and 14/2 wire thru out. To upgrade to 30 amps, the wire from the 30 amp inlet to the breaker box MUST be 10/2 with ground. One of the few trailers rated at 20 amps (12/2 wiring) are the mid 60s Aladdins. Amazing quality; 35 amp inlet. If you use common sense, it is easy to keep the electrical system in bounds. One major thing at a time.
I am keep triping my 15 amp breaker. Vixks and others in the know. I've entered this thread because it is the closest in theory to what I am struggling with. Last week at the rally we were using the microwave and it tripped my 15 amp breaker. It's done it before and I have not addressed it. It created and "fishy" smell to.. We had two lights on and that was it. Upon our return I started tearing into her and this is what I have.
It looks like I have 3 sets of wires running out ward from my box. One set clearly runs over head at the seam line and to this power strip. This the cubby where the microwave sits. I know the power strip was from the PO, but I dont know if the wire run was original. (It looks like the same size gauge is nit marked on it skin either) I assume one set goes to the outlets on the counter top and over the dinnet. The other to the lights. Does anyone know the common sequence in these? The power wire is right at the aluminum trim, the other stuf is TV and radio stuff.
When I started pulling all of this stuff apart. I took a closer look at the hot wire coming into the breaker and it looks like it has heated up more than once or twice... That is not tape on it either. It looks a little melted. The guage looks to light to me. Opinions please..
So where to start? Should I just put in another 15 amp breaker and wire that overhead connection to it? Is existing wire to big of a hazard to leave?
By your picture it is hard to gauge the size of the wire. It could be too small or if the screw that held it in the breaker wasn't tight that can also cause it to heat up, it looks like it has been arcing do to a loose connection but again it is hard to tell from the picture. I would not use the trailer until I got someone who knows what they are doing to check it out, it could be very minor or it could be something that will burn the trailer down.
As an additional thought most microwaves and a light or two will operate on a 15 amp circuit but a microwave and a coffee pot will usually trip a 15 amp breaker. Again all things have different amp draws but that is a rule of thumb.
Post by pathfinder3081 on May 10, 2014 10:10:23 GMT -8
Rodger that Big Bill, The wire guage is 14.. I pull out my "electical stipping pliars", 14 guage fits the solid copper.. it's a match. I am gonna switch it out but I don't know if I can fish the wire out and replace it using a string or fish tape.. I dobt I can. I might disconnect and leave whats in place. Add a news wires and bypass this breaker box with a new one. Set the whole breaker box set up in the storage area as shown in this pic. I only have the traditional plug on this rig as well. I want to swap it all out.. Smelly electrical burns give me a very uneasy feeling..
That white wire going out of the top goes to another power strip. The PO by passed the breaker for this one and pulled straight to the shore power..
A 14 ga. should handle you lights you might just run a new 12 ga. wire to the outlet for the micro wave. I am rewiring my trailer while it is apart but the 14 ga going to the three factory lights is like new so I will reuse it then add three new circuits for the outlets, the microwave, and the A/C each with a 15 amp breaker. I am using a 60 amp load center With a 30 amp feed. This load center will replace the original.
I would say you need to upgrade the system with 10ga wire into the trailer and to the service box/load center. The existing load center can be 30 amps and a breaker added with proper ga incoming wiring.
1. 10 ga to the load center 2. Original circuit: 15 amp, 14ga wire. 3. New circuit: 20 amp, 12 ga wire, run specifically for the microwave. (called dedicated) I recommend a smaller micro, no more than 750 watts. You can add an outlet to this circuit but only one can be used at a time. Micro or: heater, small A/C, coffee pot, etc. 4. IMPORTANT: Your incoming cord should be no longer than 25 feet and be plugged into a 30 amp receptacle. Longer or light weight cords cause the problems you are experiencing. Check the plug end to be sure the prongs are tight and not discolored. (indicating overheating)
Also, some campgrounds have poor electrical hookups. They are worn and allow "arcing" and power failures. Sometimes, 4 trailers are jury rigged into one 30 amp hook up. That is not sufficient to run a microwave or air conditioner. Extension cords cause even more problems.
Wire the trailer properly, then use good judgement at the campground/rally. If a breaker keeps popping, it is trying to tell you something...
Post by pathfinder3081 on May 11, 2014 5:56:14 GMT -8
Thanks for the feedback you two. Yes everything from the main chord to the box is 14 ga. I am thinking; It should not be problem if I replace with a new 30 amp plug and chord, put a new box and breakers w/20 amp in the "chord area well"- last picture above. Connect to the wiring that goes to my box above the stove with another breaker and let it continue as it is for my interior lights and the two plugs that are in place. Those plugs being only for radio or fans, ect ect.
Then, make a couple of outlets fore and aft, perhaps a exterior plug as well. This way I don't have to tear into the wall and I can have the wire new wires in the cabinetry and what not. I do not want to try and fish tail the main line from the chord well to the box above the stove.The microwave is a 900 watts so I'll keep my eye open fro a smaller one while out and about.
I think you are on the right track but do not use over a 15 amp breaker on the original circuit. Make certain that all your connections are tight. Look at the wire coming off your original breaker and see if it looks like it is showing signs of arcing where it was fastened to breaker (pits burnt into wire) if so that says that connection was loose, which would cause the heat build up that melted the insulation on the wire. A 900 watt microwave only draws slightly over 8 amps so it will be fine on a 15 amp circuit.
I have had trouble more than once with a bigger microwave. It stems from the campground and overuse of one outlet. Also, everyone tends to cook at the same time, so the system is overloaded. We have a 600 now (takes longer to cook) but no problems...
While we are on this subject does anyone have any concern about their shore line talking a walk while they are away from their campsite and if so how do you secure it. I have never had any problems but with cost going up one never knows.
Last Edit: May 13, 2014 17:45:23 GMT -8 by bigbill
I haven't, but around here, 50 amp cords will take a walk if you're not on top of things...
I would think a person could wrap a chain around the cord several times and padlock it. The trouble is, it's at least 25 feet. Nothing to keep the neighborhood druggie from cutting it in half. Recycle places won't take copper from fly by nights; everybody has to be registered.