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Electrical shore power entry problem. Input cable shows 120v, but nothing inside.

showme
Explorer II
Explorer II

Hey, folks, I've got a weird situation with our 2000 Keystone Monaco that's parked on our property. We've built a solar set up on the property in preparation for building our home there. Until it was completed, we would use a generator to power any AC, which wasn't on often, since the 5th wheel is mainly used as a tool crib and rain shelter for our work down there. A few weeks ago, when I got the solar up and running, I turned on the 30A breaker in the shed where the PV equipment is housed, which feeds a 30A, 10ga 100' extension cable to the 5'er. It didn't have a battery in it at the time, as I had pulled the old one to bring home and check it, but everything kicked on as it should (lights, AC and furnace fan, and I could hear the hum of the converter even though it had no battery connected). Yesterday, after doing some tweaking on the system's charge controllers, I once again flipped on the 30A breaker on the service panel beside the PV set up. Went over to the trailer and there was no power, except for the DC side (I installed a new Grenerer LiFePo 100A battery when I got there, so it was doing fine). I used my Fluke 117 multimeter and checked voltage at the socket mounted on the outside of the power shed, which is about a 5' line run from the service panel, and had 120v on one leg of that outlet. Then I checked the other end of the 100' line to the 5th wheel, and it showed 120v, also. But inside, there were no lights, no HVAC fan, no converter hum and no power at the 110 outlets. I then checked to see if all the breakers were closed, both in the "breaker box" at the door, and also the breaker at the rear wall where the power entrance is located outside of that spot. There's a 2 pole and a single pole there, and someone previously stuck a label 'water heater' there, although it's in the center of the two sets of switches, so I'm assuming the double pole is the water heater. Although we've never used the wh in the 4 years we've owned this 5th wheel, the whole trailer was gone over by a local rv sales and service shop and it was working then. Anyway, before I start removing and inspecting breakers in the trailer, I'm wondering if anyone here has heard of this happening, or maybe can tell me something I'm missing. Our PV (photovoltaic) system is 8kw of panels fed through two Midnite Solar Classic 150 charge controllers, two Trace SW5548 inverter/chargers and a rack of (5) SOK 100AH LiFePo batteries that are fully charged. 

Since the system did fine just a week or so ago, I'm not sure where the problem is. What would be the steps in the troubleshooting procedure for this? I'm sort of thinking it may be the breaker in that box under the rear window, which means I need to pull it out and test it. But if anyone has a suggestion, or hopefully, someone may have had this problem at some time, I would really appreciate hearing about it. I'm able to dismantle and check anything in the system (that's not buried in the walls or floor), but it's pretty nippy here in southeast Missouri this week, so I'm trying to be smart and get help from the experts, which would be all of you. Thanks in advance for any comments and ideas. Lee 

4 REPLIES 4

showme
Explorer II
Explorer II

Let me check the manual when i go down there next, but as I said, since I've had to put an adapter on it to use my 30A generator, I would say it's 50A. 

nickthehunter
Nomad II
Nomad II

It sounds to me like that double pole breaker (rear wall) that you assume is for the "water heater", is really the "main disconnect", and the single pole breaker below that is for the "water heater". RV water heaters are generally not 240V (i.e.: double pole breaker). That may be where the problem is. This "main disconnect" box probably feeds the other "distribution" box (at the door) you mentioned.

In any event, you need to get your meter out and check for 120V power incoming into both breaker boxes by taking the cover off the boxes and checking directly on the incoming wires. And while you got the cover off, you can also check for power on the back side of each circuit breaker in the boxes. You need to isolate where "power is" and where it "isn't" to the shortest possible stretch of real estate; and go from there.

This all assumes the solar system you have is solely tied into the 12V side of things (you did not mention an inverter)  and not the 120V. If it's tied into the 120V system, then you have to figure out where, how, and if a transfer switch is involved. All this is a whole new ball game.

showme
Explorer II
Explorer II

I have a 30A adapter on the input due to the fact we've had a 30A rated portable generator there at the property. We bought it for the purpose of having a place to store power tools and as a shelter while we're down there working on the property. (If I posted a pic of the interior, filled up with chain saws, backpack blower, reels of electrical wire, lp gas line, and building supplies, I'm afraid the folks on the forum would be shocked) We bought it and took it directly down there for that purpose. I'll have to check next time I'm there, but I think it's set up for 50A, since I had to buy that adapter. Would this make a difference? It has worked fine on 30A power for 4 years, though. Even the AC does it's job. We don't even turn the water heater on. 

nickthehunter
Nomad II
Nomad II

So is this a 120V 50 amp RV or a 120V 30 amp RV?