Crazy Electric Setup

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by kansascamper, Jul 28, 2015.

  1. kansascamper

    kansascamper New Member

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    Hello I am new to the site and am new to being a pop up owner as I just got my first one last week so hello.

    The power converter in the unit blew out when we got a little too excited and plugged it into a 20 amp plug and tried to run the AC and a few other things. I am not to sad about it as I am an IT guy and bought the unit in the hopes I can do a my long awaited solar project on it, so I was going to replace it anyways but it does put me in a pinch as we would like to use it soon and with it as hot as it is I will need to get the AC and blinkers functional before I can move it and go camping in the 100+ degree heat. I have been doing a ton of digging trying to get an idea of how to start this project where I deck out the whole unit with an RV level power setup but at the same time just try to get a few things functioning before I take it out.

    So my first question were is the best place to go for finding knowledgeable staff who sell and service more complicated power setups that involve rewiring the unit and work with adding solar? The second question can I just go to the AC unit in the mean time and cut it out of the power converter and add the three prong 20 amp connection on to it and plug it directly into the campsite (Given I use a short low gauge cable) if the site support that hook up type?
     
  2. darrenandmelissa

    darrenandmelissa Member

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    Are you sure you blew your converter. Overloading a circuit will not blow your converter. Most likely you blew the breaker.
     
  3. Heartman_wa

    Heartman_wa Active Member

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    Need more info like make, model and year. but normally you won't blow the converter running the ac just pop circuit breakers
     
  4. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    I agree that you probably did not blow the converter , Usually it trips a breaker, you should plug into a 30 amp circuit, and if you use an extension cord of any type it should be heavy enough to carry the load (not a 12 or 14 gauge ) but at least 10 gauge.
    But to answer your question, you can hook the A/C up direct with an appropriate cord and plugs.
     
  5. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    I can't help you with your problem, but wanted to jump in and say "hey" from one Kansas camper to another! :)

    Where are you located?
     
  6. kansascamper

    kansascamper New Member

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    Hello kcsa75 glad to hear from another Kansas camper! Originally from Topeka but no live in Lawrence.

    As for the info on the camper I updated my account to reflect what I have but I will post it here as well:
    2011 Coachman Hunter 106 st
    The power converter is a Centurion 3000 Model# CS 1200 (12 AMP)

    I checked the Coachman's site for a manual on it as I did not get it with the camper to help trouble shot the issue but apparently they don't seem to want to acknowledge it ever existed as there no manuals for any Hunter camper around that time. But I did check the breakers and reset them (i even pulled the breaker out and bypassed it) on the power converter and also on the house, then I checked all the fuses on and around the converter and all though I did only do a visual check as my multi meter was in Lawrence and the camper is currently in Kansas City (so a bit of a problem there) but things looked fine on that end. So I did some checking online and found someone had mentioned there may be a glass fuse in the converter that may have popped. The problem is I am lazy and it is 100 degrees outside and even hotter in the camper so I didn't want to cut the whole thing out to break into it with a dill as it is riveted but I may go back this weekend and have to do just that even if I can power the AC off of at 20 amp connection because I need to get the blinkers working to get it on the road.

    I think I will need to get this converter working fast or replace it fast and since I wanted to replace it anyways and redo my whole setup to work more like an RV level of setup with a 4 stage charger, and eventually add inverter, solar generator, transfer switch, along with all the fancy read outs to let me know how full the battery is and what amount of electricity I am currently pulling pulling. I did some looking into replacing the current converter with something that would allow me to add all of these things down the road but when I looked at places like Go Power I found something that seemed to handle the AC charging part like this unit the GPC-35-MAX:
    http://www.amazon.com/Go-Power-GPC-35-MAX-4-Stage-Converter/dp/B007GN4T2E

    but looking at it I don't see a place to hook in all the blinkers and DC equipment for it to manage like I think I see looking at the old converter? This is where it gets beyond my current knowledge and I am having trouble finding anything online to explain what else I would need to manage the DC side of things if this newer more modular style converter/charger only handles AC and charging the battery and not managing DC connections. Is there another component I need for managing DC? Is there a place I can call to get more info on getting the parts I need giving what I want to do with power management in the future and not just go with an in place replacement all-in-one converter like I have now?
     
  7. gruss

    gruss Active Member

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    By blinkers do you mean running lights brake and turn signals? Those don't run through the converter, separate wiring up to the tongue.

    Get the running gear going first so you can move it, use a heavy extension cord if you want to run the AC....then you could do the converter swap comfortably at least.
     
  8. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    kansascamper

    are you suggesting the air conditioner is hard wired (no plug)? That would be unusual for a popup. Generally there is a dedicated 20A outlet for the air conditioner, it may be hidden or under a seat or who knows where. The popup 30A cord to shore power is basically and extension cord to a 15A breaker for the outlets and a 20A breaker for the air conditioner.

    Loose connections in the power center and elsewhere can cause HEAT, melting of insulation, smoke and fire, hopefully a breaker trips before the fire!

    The 12A rating is for the DC item like lights water pump furnace

    A friendly electrician might be a choice considering rv stores are likely booked solid with repairs this time of year.
     
  9. kansascamper

    kansascamper New Member

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    Yep mine is hard wired to the Converter, since I can see the AC unit power runs along the inner side of the roof of the camper and not actually inside the roof itself makes me suspect it may have been a after market job some time after it was manufactured but I don't know that may be normal.

    So if the wiring for the running lights are then powered off the towing vehicle and not the coach battery? If so then that is one less thing I have to worry about, I will have to test it this weekend when I get back up there to mess with it. That would be a big relief so then all I would need to worry about is getting a camp site with the proper hook up if I decide to bypass the converter and just stick a standard house plug on it.

    I called a couple RV places and they said they don't do electrical and thought that was strange but I will keep looking. I also email the Go Power guys but it would be nice there was a place that specialized in this kind of stuff and sold devices along with staff that could answer questions like these. I like getting in and messing with this stuff but every time I figure out one thing it brings up 10 new questions so I was hoping there was an official place to go the get more info but looking around I have not found any one place that talks about all your electrical options.
     
  10. gruss

    gruss Active Member

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    Well if you want a new converter anyway, install a plug on the AC and wire a 20 amp outlet for it to plug into, that's how most are set up nowadays. It's nice too, because if you camp when it's chilly out, and your camping with hookups you can actually run a couple electric heaters without popping breakers.

    Correct, running lights are powered from the tow vehicle, completely different system. Only thing you NEED the battery for while rolling is if it has electric brakes, need it for the breakaway switch to work in an emergency.

    For the electric if your not comfortable, find an electrician, doesn't have to be an RV place. Camper stuff isn't complex, any competent electrician should be able to make short work of it.
     
  11. George Rose

    George Rose Member

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    I don't mean to hijack the thread but I have a question for gruss. Please explain what you mean by installing a 20 amp outlet for the AC to plug into. Where is that outlet going to get power from?
     
  12. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    kansascamper

    I wonder if you can find the detected 20A outlet supplied by the PU maker and look for 20A plug? I was surprised to find mine under the seat behind the power center, used it all the time for electric heat.
     
  13. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    George Rose

    like kansas, you likely have a 20A outlet already. If your power center has a 20A breaker, then there should be a 20A outlet somewhere designed for a roof top A/C.

    Rooftop a/c are dealer add on but the PU maker prewires either a box ready for an outlet or an outlet. since 199? or so.
     
  14. gruss

    gruss Active Member

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    From his new converter, or current one. They usually have a 15 amp breaker and a 20 amp breaker in them. 15 amp for the camper outlets and the 20 amp for the AC. Currently he says his AC is wired direct, newer campers have an actual outlet for it to plug into even if it isn't visible, mine is under the galley for example.

    Power would actually come from the power post or his garage or whatever.
     
  15. kansascamper

    kansascamper New Member

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    I will take a look again as the power equipment is under the seat and I did take the time to follow the AC cable into the seat but it got lost in all of the mess with the rest of the power cables so maybe it is then routed out of that seat to somewhere else to an actual 20 amp outlet but I know there is not a standard 20 amp outlet in the seat with the converter box but there are two house outlets on each side of the camper that I believe must wire into that seat as well. Something tells me I will be in there all weekend with a wire toner and a laptop with Visio mapping where all this wiring is going just so I can get some clue of how it all works.

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to chime in I am sure once I drive down over the weekend to mess with it I will be back here with even more questions than when I started the whole thing [;)]
     
  16. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

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    Take a pencil and notepad with you. Crawl under, over, and inside everything while writing down brands, model numbers, and serial numbers of everything.

    When you ask for advice, include the brand and model number of the item you need help with.
     
  17. Strikeouthhh

    Strikeouthhh Member

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    Another posibility is fuses - there are a couple associated with your distribution & converter - not sure about this particular model but they'd likely be on or near the back side of the converter.
     

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