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Old 08-21-2017, 05:09 PM   #1
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Breaker modification

On our last trip, we were using an electric heater to keep warm and had problems with the breakers tripping. Turn on the microwave - POP. Use a hair dryer - POP.
Got to digging around the electrical system and found the issue. The breaker box has two 15 amp breakers feeding four branch circuits. Two circuits to each 15 amp breaker. Well, that's the problem!

Easy fix though. I went to Home Depot and bought two tandem 15 amp NCL breakers and replaced the single 15 amps. Now the microwave, the kitchen, and the receptacles at the base of the u-shape and the one at base of the bed are all on their own breakers.

Great! Now I can run the microwave and an electric heater at the same time without tripping!
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Old 08-21-2017, 05:52 PM   #2
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Good idea

I too have noticed the trailers are wired for minimum usage. A couple of bucks saved for ETI though.
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:15 PM   #3
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Just as a point of information ; Eaton /CH circuit breakers are not approved for use in a Siemens Circuit breaker panel.
To comply with the NEC and the UL listing only Siemens circuit breaker should be used in a Siemens Panel .
From a practical standpoint mixing breaker types is rarely a problem except if the installation is subject to inspection or there is a fire.

Just because the breaker fits the panel doesn't mean it's legal or safe to use.
As far a commenting on Escape's wiring methods , I have NO comment.
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:26 PM   #4
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Just as a point of information ; Eaton /CH circuit breakers are not approved for use in a Siemens Circuit breaker panel.
To comply with the NEC and the UL listing only Siemens circuit breaker should be used in a Siemens Panel .
Eaton was the brand that I removed from the panel and the only brand available in stock that was NCL. So, I put an Eaton back in.

I see that you missed that the panel requires NCL breakers - that has been illegal in the US since 1965 (UL Standard 67). But Canadian panels do not have the notch for CL breakers so NCL it is.

Basically, the entire panel is illegal in the US.
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:54 PM   #5
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Well, that's a potential liability mess if that's the case.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:23 PM   #6
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SQ D makes & sells NCL breakers as do several other breaker manufacturers but not all of them fit the Siemens panel and none are legal for new installations
As my trade school instructor often said , " The kindest thing I can say is "It Works" .
To be fair , I helped a friend of mine repair / alter the wiring in his new $45,000 5th wheel. The wiring looked like it was done by someone that was heavily under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The trailer proudly displayed a RVIA sticker which evidently has little or no value.
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:16 PM   #7
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Tom, how were two branch circuits connected to one breaker - were two wires stuck under one terminal screw?

This small panel is used by Escape to handle the circuits which are powered from the transfer switch, so they can be powered by the inverter in an all-outlets inverter installation. When on shore power, the transfer switch gets its power from a branch circuit breaker in the main panel, which is typically a 30 amp breaker.

I'm pretty sure that neither RVIA (the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in the U.S.) nor CSA (the standards organization based in Canada which publishes the standard to which RVs are built here, Z240) inspects each unit built. To be certified, the trailer's design, and perhaps production methods, would need to be compliant. Assuring and controlling the quality of the product is the manufacturer's responsibility. If someone changes the wiring design and doesn't tell RVIA or CSA, they have no way to catch a problem.

The same thing applies to UL and CSA standards for devices used outside of RVs. The certification is no guarantee that the item is actually built properly.
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:40 PM   #8
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Tom, how were two branch circuits connected to one breaker - were two wires stuck under one terminal screw? .
Again another bit of information ; The terminal lug / screw on a circuit breaker is designed and UL listed for the connection of only one conductor . Some breakers such as the SQ D QO breakers have a terminal plate designed and UL listed to accept 2 conductors.
Terminating 2 wire in a lug / terminal designed for a single conductor is never a good idea . ( Line , Grounded or Grounding)
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:55 PM   #9
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Tom, how were two branch circuits connected to one breaker - were two wires stuck under one terminal screw?
The two branch circuits were joined with a wire nut and a pigtail from the wire nut went to the breaker.
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
The two branch circuits were joined with a wire nut and a pigtail from the wire nut went to the breaker.
Thanks
I assume that was all inside the panel, which is likely fine (but I'm no expert on that). Separate breakers still sounds preferable.
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Old 08-22-2017, 12:00 PM   #11
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Thanks
I assume that was all inside the panel, which is likely fine (but I'm no expert on that). Separate breakers still sounds preferable.
The wire nuts were inside the panel and were done correctly.

The whole subject of whither the other manufacturer breakers are legal or not is mute. Very little of the electrical wiring in the trailer meets US electrical code. As I said before, the transfer panel should be UL approved - it's not. Per NEC code, 120vac and 12vdc wiring are not to be run together - a fault in the 120 wiring could feed into the adjacent 12v wiring and cause real problems. But that's the way all the wiring is run in the Escape. Splices/wire junctions are not allowed behind walls - take a look at your trailer and you will see them everywhere. I could keep going but what's the point.

But back to the original subject before we were diverted - the tandem breakers does make the outlet power a lot better.
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