Beaver electrical problem

Discussion in 'Class A / Diesel Pushers' started by astropaul, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. astropaul

    astropaul New Member

    Hi,
    I have a 2001 Beaver Patriot Monticello with an electric issue. When plugged into shore power, I keep blowing the shore breaker even when there is "no load". I'm not blowing any breakers or fuses in the unit itself, just the shore power breaker. I've tried a couple other shore plugs to make sure that wasn't the problem... same thing. I can't get the unit started right now to take it to a dealer. I've tried brand new batteries but that didn't solve the problem either. Any ideas?
    Any help is appreciated!
    Paul
     
  2. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Beaver electrical problem

    Welcome to the forum!

    How fast does the breaker blow? Is it instantly as you are plugging into the power? If not, what action coincides with the breaker blowing? Can/have you try a different shore power outlet?

    Does it have a 'transfer switch'?
     
  3. astropaul

    astropaul New Member

    Re: Beaver electrical problem

    Thanks for the welcome!

    I've had it blow under varying circumstances... almost instantly, sometimes it lasts almost a whole day. Usually within an hour. I've tried several different shore power outlets. I suspect there is a transfer switch somewhere since there are multiple inputs, but I haven't found it yet.

     
  4. ironart

    ironart New Member

    Re: Beaver electrical problem

    Hi Paul and Paul,

    I guess the first question is has this been going on since you owned the coach..?? or has it just started to give you problems..!! Have you changed anything prior to the problems

    Sounds like it might be a floating short. If you are not having any problems with the gen set Loading up or changing speeds unnecessarily, it is probably in the "shore power side. They are the hardest to find....Just about the time you go to the Dealer...it will be perfect.

    It could be in the cord..( a defect ).... Feel for hot spots on the cord (that is if you can get it to work long enough. ...If you have a reel to wind up the cord, it could be there. Pull the entire cord out clear to the end and inspect it all the way up and especially where it terminates into the reel.....Try looking at the condition of the cord as it goes into the reel and what type of connection comes out. Pay particular attention to the end of the cord where someone had to take their knife and cut the insulation and skin the wires in order to make the connections. Often times if that worker was not paying attention the knife could slip a little and cut the insulation on the wires and it will not show up for years or until the cord is twisted in a certain way as to open up that little spot. The outlet part of the reel will terminate into a junction box and then to the transfer switch. If you don't have a reel then the junction box where the cord terminates sometimes can rub a little spot in the hot wire inside the box (vibration) or where the end fitting is that goes into the box.

    The location of the transfer switch varies from coach to coach....I have had them as an integral part of the distribution system (Breaker box) and others were "Stand Alone" usually near the generator.. Some, Like my present coach, don't use any transfer switch...The Generator power terminates in a plug in the cargo bay and you have to manually plug the shore power cord into the Generator outlet when not plugged into the shore power.

    I guess the first thing I would do is fire up the Generator and listen very closely to the sounds....If the gen set seems to lug down and then rev up the problem could be in the whole system or at the distribution box (House breakers) especially if the generator circuit breakers blow. If you can run the system on the Gen set without problems then go to the items I have outlined above...

    Good Luck....This is a tough one...
     
  5. astropaul

    astropaul New Member

    Re: Beaver electrical problem

    Thanks for the info! I'll get onto some of those suggestions

    A little more info:
    I've had the coach for two years now (love it!), the problem just started out of the blue about a month ago.
    The shore power cord is on a reel.
    It's a 50 AMP system


    I'm not sure what the transfer switch (or if I even have one, don't know how else they would handle switching inputs though) should look like - I _may_ have found it in my battery compartment - it has a bunch of relays on it.

    Again, Thanks folks!
    Paul
     
  6. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Beaver electrical problem

    A transfer switch separates the AC feed from the shore power and the AC feed from your onboard generator. It 'automagically' keeps them from trying to power your RV at the same time. It doesn't have to be very big. Look for something like the junction box where you hook up to shore power.

    You very well could be having trouble with the contacts in the power reel, too.
     
  7. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Beaver electrical problem

    Paul,
    As an electrical professional, I may be able to help you. my first question is, are you plugging into a 50A outlet, or is this problem only when plugged in at your house, via an adapter and to a house type outlet? Since you have had the problem for a month, I'll assume that it happens at an RV park as well as at home. Since your cord is on one of the cord reels, I would strongly suspect that it is where your problem is. The reel has to have some type of brush assembly to connect the cord to the power distribution panel. Can I safely assume that everything works just fine from your genset?

    The fact that the only breaker that is opening is the one on the power pedestal eliminates everything from the distribution panel in the RV on throughout the RV so don't worry about that. Since your batteries are 12V-dc and shore power is 120V-ac, the batteries being bad would have no effect on this problem. They could keep things like lights and water pump and appliances from working, but that is all. It would not effect the auto power transfer in any way, nor would it cause your present problem.

    Have you tried running things from the genset? If it works normally, you can then pretty well eliminate the ATS, but there is a very slight chance that it could do this. I strongly suspect the cord reel assembly. They are known to fail, in a number of different ways, of which this is only one. It may be that the brushes can be replaced and that it will correct the problem. I have only worked on one of them and it was not connecting one leg of the power.
     
  8. astropaul

    astropaul New Member

    Re: Beaver electrical problem

    Kirk,
    I am plugging into a 20A outlet; however, I'm keeping power consumption down to a minimum. I've had it on the outlet on and off over the last two years with no problems up until a month ago.
    I'm going to give the Gen a try and see what happens with that to rule things out; that being said, I'm working some odd hours right now so a good chunk of the time I get home much too late to look or try anything so it may be a day or two before I can give it a shot.
    Several folks have suggested the reel. I figure the Gen will tell me one way or the other...
    As to the batteries... the old ones had a long life and definitely needed replacing, so I didn't lose out there. I figured it was worth mentioning though just in case.
    Appreciate all the help! I'll get back over the next couple days after I get a chance to try some of your suggestions...
    Paul


     
  9. astropaul

    astropaul New Member

    Re: Beaver electrical problem

    Appears the problem is solved. After going through almost everything I could in the unit and not finding anything, I decided to check my shore power again. Made sure I was on a completely isolated circuit... and sure enough, things have been working just fine. It looks like the first time I was trying different receptacles on the shore power side, I inadvertently plugged into the same circuit. The good news is that I know the electrical paths on my unit much better ;)
    I appreciate all the help you folks gave...
    Paul
     

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