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Inverter breaker


Guest Swsmitty535
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Guest Swsmitty535

The breaker on my inverter is tripping pretty often. Living in coach in ne Washington with temps in mid 20s to mid teens. Using 1 space heater to augment furnace. 50 Amp service. This morning with the micro running and turned on coffee pot and breaker popped. How do I test the inverter and/or the breaker?

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Yeah, a space heater, microwave, and coffee maker is going to be too much for the inverter breaker.

On my coach, the two bedside outlets don't go thru the inverter. If yours is the same, maybe you could plug your space heater into one of these.

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I have a 2006 Diplomat and have experienced similar inverter breaker trippings. As above,  try different outlets or turn off certain appliances (coffee, space heater) when needed.  

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What year, make and model coach do you have?  The differences are HUGE.  For example, our coach has a breaker panel like the one in your home, only smaller, for the shore power loads.  It has another breaker panel just like it for the inverter supplied loads.  Some coaches just have a hand full of breakers, total, and may only have one on the inverter for all of the loads that it supplies.  So coach info is crucial for telling people what you have so they can better help you.

Space heaters draw up to 12 amps.  The microwave can draw 10 to 12 amps.  The coffee pot can draw maybe 5 to 8 amps.  That adds up to around 30 amps.  That would be about 3600 watts, which is a lot for many inverters.

96 EVO's suggestion is a good one.  If you have an outlet or two that are on shore power only, you're golden, as that load won't go thru the inverter, at all.

Alternatively, you can use an H1 load management system.  That's the "Human One".  When you get ready to run the microwave, turn off the space heater until you have heated that chicken pot pie, then turn the space heater back on.

You question - There really isn't a good way to test either the breaker or the inverter, at least with it mounted in the coach.  The inverter will pretty much be good until it isn't, and when it isn't you'll know and you'll be grabbing your checkbook or your VISA card.  The breaker can get "tired" if it cycles TOO many times, but you're not likely to encounter that condition unless it really is tripping all the time.  If you want to do some "testing", the first thing I would do is document all of the significant AC loads in your coach and look at the nameplates to see what the rated load current is on them.  (Wal wart chargers don't add up, much, nor do laptops and cell phone chargers.  But plug-in appliances surely do, as do space heaters and possibly your home entertainment devices.)  I would also establish whether each is fed thru the inverter or directly from one of the shore power AC breakers in your panel.  Look at the KW rating of your inverter, and I would try not to plan to exceed perhaps 80% of that load on a continuous basis, although 100% of that load is what it is designed to supply, at least for short periods.

Circuit breakers are thermal devices.  They actually operate as a function of time and the square of the current.  A 20 amp breaker should be able to carry 20 amps for quite a long time.  It will probably carry 25 amps for several seconds.  It will probably carry 30 amps for perhaps a second.  But again, like I mentioned above for the inverter, 80% of rating is a nice value to shoot for, for the long haul when planning loads on a circuit.  The 80% number gives you some margin for short term events that cause you to go above your "normal" without causing a problem.

I hope I didn't go too far, but these are some ideas for you to consider.  96 EVO and STEVEN P had good suggestions.  Cheers, and happy RV'ing!

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@k7jv, all good points and good info.  The OP does have his coach info (2006 Diplomat) in his signature if that changes anything with the thoughts.   I have an 06 Diplomat also and mine has a Magnum 2000 ME inverter/charger.  The first time my inverter breaker tripped, we came back to a cold coach as I was new to cooler weather coaching and we left for the day w no heat running.  I turned on the heat pumps and plugged in 2 space heaters (2 cold teenage girls are not what you want to have in your coach, lol) and that was too much.  I searched on the coach for 45 to 60 minutes before searching on FB and found to check the inverter and Bam, heat again.  The second time,  it was cold again, but we had the coffee pot going and my wife turned on her hair dryer. 

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That'll absolutely do it, Steven.  We've all been there, for sure.  Another glitch I've encountered was learning to live with 50 amp service and what works and what doesn't, and most everything does. Then, one time, I tried to do that while on the generator, and BAM, I learned that the breaker pair on the generator were only rated for 40 amps and not 50.  Live and learn, right?  Gotta love these technological monsters that we herd up and down the highways.  😊 

Oh, one place where I have seen significant breaker deterioration due to lots of tripping or operating is in the breakers in RV park pedestals.  They get used as switches maybe even hundreds of times a year, not to mention the times that we overload them by accident (or on purpose), and they really do eventually deteriorate in their continuous current carrying capability.

Cheers, Steven 👍

PS:  Thank you for pointing out the signature reference.  I'll check that out, next time.  I guess I click on the icon to go to it.  Glad you mentioned that.

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Guest Swsmitty535

All good info from everyone. I was using space heater only because I was low on propane and did not want to pay $85 for a special delivery!!

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@k7jv

I'm not sure if yours shows them or not, but on my platform I can see the signatures below the posts?  I attached a screenshot of what I see. There may be a setting you need to turn on?

Screenshot_20210127-113439_Chrome.jpg

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