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Old 03-19-2017, 12:07 AM   #1
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Flipping breakers in trailer when plugging in

In the owner's manual it says something about flipping off the main breaker before you plug into shore power. And reversing that when you unplug.

When I looked at our electrical panel I didn't see one switch for everything so I flipped each one over to off when I plugged in last weekend for my first outing in the trailer.

How important is it to do this every single time you plug and unplug from shore power? I don't remember reading about this in any other threads (if so, yep, I've forgotten - no surprise there), so I was rather surprised to read that in the manual.

Thanks folks!
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:29 AM   #2
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Never done it.
Just plug in. Hundreds of times.

I think the key sentence is: Do not plug in shore cord while under load.
If there is little to nothing turned on in the trailer when you plug in, there should be no issue.

I believe there is an issue with using breakers as switches. They don't like being abused that way. I defer to those with electrical knowledge, but my memory cells tell me I've read that several times
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:44 AM   #3
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I flip the 30A breaker on the campground power pedestal OFF before plugging in and connecting to the trailer (with removable power cable), and back on after connected at trailer and pedestal. At home, when connecting to 15A in the garage, I get a good spark if i plug the trailer into a live outlet. I never like to plug things in when they are switched on, and the converter in the Escape is always on.

Not sure if you were saying you switched off breakers in the trailer, the breaker to flip is on the campsite power pedestal. If you can't identify the 30A breaker, flip them all off.

Those folks who have surge protectors may have a different answer.

PS. I switch the pedestal breaker OFF before unplugging, and leave it off. I frequently encounter breakers that are OFF, so it is not only me that does this.
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:58 AM   #4
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In the manual they show you a picture of the breaker area when they're talking about flipping them off when you plug into shore power.

I don't have anything turned on in the trailer when I'm plugging in to shore power, so it's not under load. Least I don't think so.

And yeah, I turn off the switch at the shore power post before plugging in, as well as removing the cord.

Thanks. I can now sleep tonight without worrying I did something wrong.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:10 AM   #5
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I tend to flip both trailer and pedestal fuses. I also usually test with the multimeter.
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:47 AM   #6
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So far the $260 surge protector ETI installed is doing it's job, like Bags I just plug in.

I do however find that someone must go around before I get to a site and turn off the breakers on the pedestals knowing that I won't do it, often as not they are in the off position.
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:19 AM   #7
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I always turn the breaker off at the campsite's power pole when plugging in OR when disconnecting. The only breaker inside the trailer I ever operate is the one for the water heater, which I turn off before draining the water heater and stays off until the water heater is again filled.


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Old 03-19-2017, 08:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
I always turn the breaker off at the campsite's power pole when plugging in OR when disconnecting. The only breaker inside the trailer I ever operate is the one for the water heater, which I turn off before draining the water heater and stays off until the water heater is again filled.


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I'm with Carl on this one! Additionally we flip the breaker for the water heater off when we get underway as a "just in case" even though there is generally water in the heater tank - unecessary most times but keeps it off in case I decide to drain it when we get home. Adding a seperate switch is on my mod list to avoid abusing the breaker switch.
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:20 AM   #9
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Hi: All... I couldn't "Flip" the breakers off... as I'd never remember why things don't work any more!!!
"Of all the things I've lost in life, I miss my mind the most". Alf
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:21 AM   #10
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Perhaps the manual was implying the campground breaker, it is common practice to insure the power is off at the pedestal, plug in your camper and then activate via the pedestal cg breaker, this eliminates any speaks or arcing between connections which can happen with 30 amps.
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:52 AM   #11
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I learned a lot about what I know about camping from my Dad. I was taught to always flip the power bush off before plugging in. Easy enough to do. Plug in, flip on and THEN go inside the trailer and turn on a light to see if there is power.

In 13 years of towing an all-molded trailer, twice I've had a site with a bad pedestal. In both cases, the camp hosts moved me to a different site.

I was grateful that I hadn't completely setup and unhooked before realizing I wouldn't have electricity.

Thanks Dad!
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:58 AM   #12
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Donna brings up a good point, that there is a logical sequence in unhooking. I have seen some people that disconnect from their tow after leveling and then plug in.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Perhaps the manual was implying the campground breaker, it is common practice to insure the power is off at the pedestal, plug in your camper and then activate via the pedestal cg breaker, this eliminates any speaks or arcing between connections which can happen with 30 amps.
On page 39 of my manual, 2nd paragraph:

"Do not plug in shore cord while under load. MAKE SURE ALL APPLIANCES ARE TURNED OFF AND THE MAIN BREAKER IS OFF PRIOR TO CONNECTING SHORE CORD. After plugging in the shore line, restore the main breaker to the "ON" position, then turn on the desired appliances."

I didn't see what I would consider a "main breaker" that would turn off all the breakers. Just separate breakers for each device.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:24 AM   #14
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At the risk of being labelled a smart ass, the main breaker is the one labelled MAIN.

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Old 03-19-2017, 09:24 AM   #15
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Like most seasoned campers, (phat daddy's rub, thank you), I switch off the breakers on the campground post, plug in, walk around and open the camper door and watch my surge protector run through the diagnostic and stabilize showing the inline voltage. That's when I take the camper off the hitch. I will level side to side before plugging in but that's it. We carry a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter, in case the 30 amp breaker on the power post is not working or sloppy. I turn all breakers off when leaving, only the 30 is turned on when I hook up unless I need the 50. I've got a 20 amp to 30 amp adapter too but haven't used it in a camping situation very often.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
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At the risk of bring labelled a smart ass, the main breaker is the one labelled MAIN.
HAHAHAHAHA!!

The labels are very hard for me to read and I'm basically having to read them sideways/upside down (my knees don't like getting down that far to shove my nose next to it to read). The MAIN didn't stand out from all the other stuff on the panel. I know, obvious now, but not when I was looking at the thing.

So, yeah, this time around I won't call ya a smart ass.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:36 AM   #17
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Hi: Jim Bennett... Would the "Kill switch" be enough of a breaker? It's more conveniently located in the 5.0TA.
We always use our portable surge protector at the "Currant bush". Alf
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:38 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Hi: Jim Bennett... Would the "Kill switch" be enough of a breaker? It's more conveniently located in the 5.0TA.
We always use our portable surge protector at the "Currant bush". Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
The kill switch only shuts down the 12V DC circuit, not any of the 120V AC circuits.

Still, I would do as many have stated here and just use and abuse the breaker on the pedestal in the campsite.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:52 AM   #19
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Hi Alf
I have never been much of a fan of currant bushes but I like a good gooseberry pie
and a bush ripened quince is hard to beat but easy to eat. Rose hips, wild plums, elderberries, I've plugged into all of them over the years. Ever had a salad made of day lily flower buds? Tasty
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:46 AM   #20
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The main thing shutting off the main breaker before plugging does is insure there is no load connected. This will prevent arcing of the connector, resulting in a linger life.

Shutting off the "Power Bush" or pedestal breaker accomplishes the same thing as shutting off the trailer's main breaker, is easier to do, and puts the wear & tear on the campground breaker rather than your trailer's.

If you have the Progressive EMS installed, it provides a delay when plugging in, doing the same thing as shutting off the breaker. It does not do the same for unplugging, so I wouldn't depend on it.

I have found a few campgrounds that do not have a pedestal breaker. For those rare occasions, I don't bother to shut off the trailer breaker (however I do have a EMS that does the same thing, at least for plugging in). Since I have made the bed in my 17B permanent with storage underneath, getting to the breaker panel is a chore!
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