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Old 08-08-2018, 10:14 PM   #1
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How many 120v circuits available in power center/converter?

The ETI diagram for the 5.0TA shows 8 standard outlet locations but does not indicate how many circuits in the power center are used/available. I assume most people that add another outlet somewhere, by ETI or custom, just extend/branch off an existing circuit - possibly because they are all in use.

But I need at least one and maybe 2 additional individual separate circuits:

One in the kitchen so I can use my Breville countertop oven (up to ~13 amp draw) in addition to whatever else may be used at the same time, including the microwave, convection burner or whatever. As long as the AC or an electric heater isn't also on then 2 high draw kitchen appliances do work on 30 amps.

The other potential circuit would be specifically for an electric heater (wall mount or toekick) and an outlet under the nose for a compressor ice chest and ice maker. These two are in the (empty) generator compartment of my 40' 5th wheel (home) or currently stay in the truck bed under the tonneau cover when I camp in my Aframe.

My microwave is also high draw (up to ~13 amps) so it's circuit shouldn't be shared much, either, potentially adding another circuit.

I believe that the power center that ETI uses has 5 branch circuits. Are they all normally used or am I going to have to substitute my own for ETI to install or even swap after delivery? Note- the power center I put in my Aframe has 7 branch circuits.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:58 AM   #2
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You may need a 50 amp set up if you use everything, this means increased hook up fees. what some owners have done is run a dedicated 15 amp line and cicuitwith it's own outside/inside connection. Then it's use does not impact the 30 amp capacity of the trailer. Something you will have to do after taking possession as ETI has to meed certain regulations for the trailer to be sold.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:56 AM   #3
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If Escape is still providing the same flexibility as when they built my 21, you can have additional receptacles added within limits of the converter. There are 4 full size breaker positions in the converter. Escape, as well as most manufacturers, uses double breakers for some positions so a total of 7 individual circuits (plus the 30 amp main) are possible, although US code limits it to fewer, so you may have to add additional circuits yourself.

If you have the factory installed inverter & transfer switch, there will be 2 breakers on the output of the inverter; one for the microwave & one for the rest of the receptacles. I had Escape add a breaker & receptacle fed directly from the converter (bypassing the transfer switch) for an electric heater. I did this to lessen the load on the transfer switch contacts.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:08 AM   #4
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I'm no electrician but here is what my WFCO power center looks like.

From top to bottom this is what I have:
30A: Main
15A: Fridge / Converter
15A: Outlets
15A: Elec Hot Water Heater
20A: Old overhead A/C circuit (now a dedicated outlet)
15A: New mini-split A/C unit
15A: spare

The 15A double on the bottom I added. The rest is factory.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
You may need a 50 amp set up if you use everything, this means increased hook up fees.
The usage I describe is what I currently have in my 30 amp Aframe. It just takes some management and not running everything at once. Reinforced by using a Honda 2000 when boondocking. I've overloaded the genny and a power strip but never blown the 30 amp main (knock on wood).

I put in a Power Management System in my 50 amp 5th wheel for when on 30 amps but that is overkill and requires separate circuits for each power hog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
what some owners have done is run a dedicated 15 amp line and cicuitwith it's own outside/inside connection. Then it's use does not impact the 30 amp capacity of the trailer.
I installed this in my Aframe and would be doing the same in the Escape. Not every site has a 20 amp receptacle so it can't be relied on. Just 2 days ago I split the receptacle to 2 sources (aux input & tapped into nearby outlet) so all I have to do is plug my cube heater into the desired side of the outlet. With a built-in wall or toekick heater I would install a selector switch.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
There are 4 full size breaker positions in the converter. Escape, as well as most manufacturers, uses double breakers for some positions so a total of 7 individual circuits (plus the 30 amp main) are possible,
That is the same as I put in my Aframe tho I use a full size breaker for the main, limiting me to 6 branch circuits. Using a double for the main adds one but still short of my ideal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
I had Escape add a breaker & receptacle fed directly from the converter (bypassing the transfer switch) for an electric heater. I did this to lessen the load on the transfer switch contacts.
I assume you mean fed by the inverter. I'm having trouble picturing how this works and why (except for the contacts). To eliminate the xfer switch would mean you turn off everything but the heater. I can't imagine running an electric heater off the inverter. Are you perhaps meaning a tap in the incoming shore power before the xfer switch?

Using this drawing of my Aframe system (some details & additions not shown) where would your heater fit in?
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
From top to bottom this is what I have:
30A: Main
15A: Fridge / Converter
15A: Outlets
15A: Elec Hot Water Heater
20A: Old overhead A/C circuit (now a dedicated outlet)
15A: New mini-split A/C unit
15A: spare

The 15A double on the bottom I added. The rest is factory.
I don't see the microwave in your list.

If there is a spare full size position for a double breaker after ETI installs all their electrical goodies then I might be able to have what I want.

My idea is something like:
1. Main, preferably a full size breaker
2. Fridge, converter
3. AC
4. Microwave
5. Electric heater
6. Water heater
7. Kitchen 1 (existing plug plus an added one)
8. Kitchen 2 (for my Breville oven)
9. General outlets
10. A spare would be nice

AC & heater could share a breaker, eliminating one. In my Aframe the microwave & Breville share and it is doable but not ideal. I have a small window AC in the Aframe so it doesn't need a dedicated circuit and no electric water heater.

Judicious extension of the high draw circuits to general outlets, eliminating # 9, would work electrically but be inconvenient for design, installation, troubleshooting & possibly not code.

Note: I'll be extending the kitchen counter over the P/S dinette seat for the Breville & Instant Pot which is where the #7 extension & #8 come in.
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:18 AM   #8
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I think it would be prudent to contact ETI and ask what they are willing to do as far as extra circuits/custom wiring go.
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StillCampin View Post
I assume you mean fed by the inverter. I'm having trouble picturing how this works and why (except for the contacts). To eliminate the xfer switch would mean you turn off everything but the heater. I can't imagine running an electric heater off the inverter. Are you perhaps meaning a tap in the incoming shore power before the xfer switch?

Using this drawing of my Aframe system (some details & additions not shown) where would your heater fit in?
The added breaker is in the converter, and bypasses the transfer switch.

I only use an electric cube heater when I have hookups, and not when dry camping. Again, the only reason for this additional breaker/receptacle is to avoid the high current load going across the transfer switch contacts when camping with hookups. Not really necessary, but it might make them last longer...
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:33 AM   #10
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NEC in the US limits a 30 amp RV panel to 5 circuits (Art 551.42(C). While it is physically possible to put up to 7 branch circuits & a main breaker in a standard 30 amp converter panel using dual breakers, code requires going to a 50 amp 120/240V distribution panel for more than 5 branch circuits.

Dual / Split breakers are available for the Escape supplied converter that have dual amperages, i.e. 1/2 30 amp, the other half 15 amps...
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PGDriver View Post
I think it would be prudent to contact ETI and ask what they are willing to do as far as extra circuits/custom wiring go.
That will definately be done but right now I'm just investigating what is standard and what I might need to propose to ETI, what I'll definately have to do myself and what I may ask ETI to do to accommodate my mods.

For example, I know from ETI's responce to me that I'll have to do my own kitchen extension over the P/S dinette. They provide an outlet in the P/S dinette seat face that I don't want down there but I do want one for my extension. They may accommodate me by installing under the seat & not thru the face; if not, then I'll delete it and do my own wiring. I fully expect to do the wiring for the Breville circuit but need the breaker space to do so. I am very comfy doing my own wiring as long as I can get a snake thru where needed and with a U-dinette even that isn't needed.
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
NEC in the US limits a 30 amp RV panel to 5 circuits (Art 551.42(C).
Looks like I may be adding a sub-panel to accomodate my "needs".
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
The added breaker is in the converter, and bypasses the transfer switch.
I'm still lost. Here is why:

Ignoring the EMS, an xfer switch would be installed with shore power and inverter as input with the output going to the converter. At least that is how I did it in my Aframe. I don't see how a breaker within the converter is bypassing the xfer switch. I could see a breaker tapped in between shore power & xfer switch.

What am I not understanding about your setup?
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Old 08-09-2018, 01:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
If you have the factory installed inverter & transfer switch, there will be 2 breakers on the output of the inverter; one for the microwave & one for the rest of the receptacles. I had Escape add a breaker & receptacle fed directly from the converter (bypassing the transfer switch) for an electric heater. I did this to lessen the load on the transfer switch contacts.
I may have figured it out. It sounds like ETI is using the xfer switch with a breaker in the converter and not on the shore power cord itself. That would allow your heater to run off a breaker in the converter, separate from the inverter, easing the load on the contacts.
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Old 08-09-2018, 01:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StillCampin View Post
That will definately be done but right now I'm just investigating what is standard and what I might need to propose to ETI, what I'll definately have to do myself and what I may ask ETI to do to accommodate my mods.

For example, I know from ETI's responce to me that I'll have to do my own kitchen extension over the P/S dinette. They provide an outlet in the P/S dinette seat face that I don't want down there but I do want one for my extension. They may accommodate me by installing under the seat & not thru the face; if not, then I'll delete it and do my own wiring. I fully expect to do the wiring for the Breville circuit but need the breaker space to do so. I am very comfy doing my own wiring as long as I can get a snake thru where needed and with a U-dinette even that isn't needed.
All of their outlets are installed according to code and other than the refer and microwave, accessible via faceplate mounted on a vertical wall, no horizontal mounts on the under side nor inside cabinets. That said Escape is using the new type wiring where the outlet and wire is fused together, no wire nuts, no screws on the side, no push in connectors on the rear. There is a special machine used for wiring now, I encountered this on my 2016 Escape. You can read the discussion under Modifications to Prairie Schooner Prairie Schooner modifications
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Old 08-09-2018, 02:02 PM   #16
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Stock there are 2 circuits for plugs in the 5.0TA, including in them the microwave and exterior plug. I did add one for an electric heater and when building my galley added a spare cable which I doubt now I will ever make use of. Never have we had a breaker trip.

Here is my heater install.

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Old 08-09-2018, 03:38 PM   #17
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I am by no means an electrical wizard (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once) so bear with me. If the service into the Escape is limited by a 30A breaker, what advantage could there possibly be in having 5 to 10 separate circuits in your trailer, each with its own 15A breaker. You are going to have to limit the number of devices drawing current so that you do not trip your main breakers. If you have to turn off the microwave to run your electric toothbrush, why could they not be on the same circuit?
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Old 08-09-2018, 03:51 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by StillCampin View Post
Ignoring the EMS, an xfer switch would be installed with shore power and inverter as input with the output going to the converter. At least that is how I did it in my Aframe.
That's why you were confused (you assumed a different design), but you've figured it out correctly.

In Escape's installation, the transfer switch does not handle the entire shore power input. It handles only one circuit from the WFCO power centre's AC distribution panel, and the output of the transfer switch goes to a separate sub-panel with individual branch circuit breakers for the circuits which can be powered by the inverter. Although this could save load on the transfer switch, it is still a 30-amp switch, and so capable of handling the entire shore power service.

In the design used in your A-frame, when the inverter is turned on (and so the transfer switch powers everything from the inverter), the converter runs and tries to charge the battery with battery power. I assume that you manually turn off the converter when you turn on the inverter, to avoid that; Escape's design achieves two improvements:
  1. the converter can't get power from the inverter, so it doesn't need to be turned off, and
  2. the water heater, air conditioner, and refrigerator (and Jon's heater) can't be accidentally powered from the battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StillCampin View Post
I don't see how a breaker within the converter is bypassing the xfer switch.
It is bypassing the transfer switch because it is connected upstream of the transfer switch (which is fed from only one breaker of the power centre's AC distribution panel).
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Old 08-09-2018, 03:59 PM   #19
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Looks like I may be adding a sub-panel to accomodate my "needs".
Escape's optional "all outlets" inverter installation includes a sub-panel. To provide more separation in circuits which can be powered from the inverter, you would only need to use more breakers in that panel, or a different panel. The way this sub-panel is installed, it would be easy to remove it and replace it with a larger panel if required.
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StillCampin View Post
I may have figured it out. It sounds like ETI is using the xfer switch with a breaker in the converter and not on the shore power cord itself. That would allow your heater to run off a breaker in the converter, separate from the inverter, easing the load on the contacts.
Correct. A 30 amp breaker in the converter feeds the non inverter side of the panel, and the output of the inverter the other. Two 15 amp breakers in the sub panel, one for the microwave
& the other for all the trailer receptacles.
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