RV Circuit Breaker & AC Compressor Troubleshooting — My RV Works

— Guitar Riff Playing — Hi folks! This is Darren, with “My RV Works”! I 
want to welcome you to another session with “Ten   Minutes With An RV Tech!” This is an opportunity 
we put out on our YouTube Channel, where folks   with questions specific to their RV repair have 
an opportunity to ask a real live technician for   maybe some tips or tricks, or something like that. 
Like, “What would Darren do?” Kind of stuff.

So,   that's the nature of this. I don't have all the 
answers, but it might help you. So, if you like   this kind of content, you feel it might add value 
to you, subscribe to our channel, click the bell.   You'll get a notification, and certainly, share 
it with your friends if you feel it might help   them as well. So, without any further ado, let's 
jump right into some of the questions that some   of our followers have asked. Well, Byron’s got a 
question. Now, Byron has an older Holiday Rambler   Vacationer RV. It's a 1997. Now, he's had the 
unit for three years, and he hasn't had a problem   with any of his circuit breakers, but all of 
a sudden, he's telling us in his question, the   circuit breaker keeps tripping off every time he 
tries to load that circuit. So Byron, what I want   you to do (or anybody with these problems), let's 
help to see if we can troubleshoot that with you.   My first gut reaction is, you have a short to 
ground, but we need to prove that.

We need to   follow the trail. So, the first thing I 
want you to do here… Dakota, I’ll trade   you. I’ll give you my notes, and I’ll take the 
meter. Thank you. Okay. So, what we need to do…   Disconnect your coach from shore power, turn off 
your generator, make the thing dead in the water.   You can leave your battery connected, 
but we want to take it off of the AC   power. With the disconnector from the AC power, I 
want you to take the wire that is attached to that   circuit breaker when you take that wire off, okay? 
Then, using your meter (I’m using a Fluke 325, but   a Digital Multimeter), you're going to go into 
Continuity Mode. Now… Am I in the shot, Dakota?   Can you see my meter here? Okay. So… Continuity 
Mode is going to be the beep, beep, beep.   Or, it might even have the, the Omega (the 
horseshoe looking deal). So, you're going   to go in the beep, beep, beep mode, and you 
can look down here… O.L.

Means, “open loop”,   okay? And when you touch your two leads 
together, you'll hear it beep. See that?  Okay. Now, it's not enough just to hear it 
beep. You also need to look at the display,   okay? You look at the display 
when you're touching it together.   When the meter is in that mode, what I want you 
to do is, I want you to take your red lead and   touch it to the wire that you just took off that 
circuit breaker. Now, all the power is off. You've   unplugged it from everything, and the generator 
is off, so… It's just a piece of wire right now.   It's not energized.

When you take the red wire and 
hold it on to that black wire (that you just took   out of your breaker), and when you take the black 
lead, and I want you to touch it to the neutral   bus bar (and that's where all the white neutral 
wires are screwed to), okay? And I want you to   see if there's any continuity on your meter. It's 
going to show zero Ohms, or there's going to be a   value there (in a in a correct circuit it's gonna 
still say, “O.L.”, open loop in a correct circuit)   If you get a beep, or you get a value down 
here, that means that the white wire and the   black wire are touching somewhere.

a resistance value that's pretty high,   depending on the number, that doesn't really 
concern me. That might be induction going through   a motor winding, or something like that, but 
we usually don't find that too much in RVs. Um…   Not too much, but it could… You get a very high 
value, but if it shows “zero”, then you have a   direct short where that black and that white wire 
are touching each other (somewhere in the RV),   but we're not done with our test yet. Still 
holding the red lead on the black wire…   Now, I want you to move your black 
lead from the neutral to the ground.   In an RV… Now, this is different from a house. 
In an RV, your neutral and your ground should be   totally separate.

They should not be bonded. Your 
neutral underground should not be bonded in an RV.   In a house, they are bonded. In an RV, they are 
not bonded. Well, “Darren… Where does a bond take   place?” The bond takes place back at the point of 
origin of your electricity. If it's at your house,   it’s your breaker box where they drive that 
ground rod into the ground six feet. That's   where the ground of the neutral get bonded. Not 
in your RV. So, that's why I want you to test   this on the black wire that you disconnected, and 
then test it on the neutral.

Test on the ground   if you get a value here, that shows continuity 
that those wires are touching each other.   You have a dead short. I have another 
meter… I don't have it with me,   because I’m not… Camping… Um… But, this is 
my everyday carry. I go everywhere with this…   Halfway joking! Um… Another meter is a Fluke. I 
think it's a TS90. We'll make a link to that down   below. Um… What that meter… I use that meter. I 
will connect it to the the black and the white,   for example, and it'll tell me how 
far in wire distance that short is,   okay? Now, one more thing to mention. A circuit 
breaker… I had an Electrician explain this to   me one time.

pexels photo 11039667

It makes perfect sense, so 
I’ll share this with you, and then that'll   be the end of this… My thought on this, but a 
circuit breaker is designed to fail one time,   okay? And you're like, “Wait a minute. I can 
reset it as many times as I need to. Every time   it trips! Well… That is a correct statement, but 
let's say, I’m a manufacturer of circuit breakers,   and I sell you a circuit breaker, and then 
you… It trips.

At that point, my liability   is done. I designed a circuit breaker, it was 
exposed to too much current, and it tripped off.   How do I know as a manufacturer what that circuit 
breaker was exposed to that caused it to trip??   You may have damaged my circuit breaker, um… So, 
yes, you could reset them all the times that you   need to, but just as a little side note… If your 
circuit breaker keeps re-tripping, you might want   to replace your circuit breaker. They get weak 
over time, and you may have fatigued a circuit   breaker with it tripping as many times as it has, 
okay? For the manufacturer, they only need to make   sure it trips that first time. Uh… After that, 
it's a nice thing that they add on to reset it.   So, I want to share that with you. So, 
take your wire off, check your continuity,   and see if you have a short to ground, all 
right? Thanks for your question, Byron! Our next question is coming from Rob, and it 
involves his Air Conditioner.

Now, he states   that when he turns his Air Conditioner on, the fan 
blows, and the compressor tries to start, but when   the compressor tries to start, it's tripping the 
breaker, and he's getting a reading of 48 volts,   which is kind of very low. It's 120 volts, not 48 
volts, so he's already replaced both Capacitors,   which was a good thing that I would have done 
first also is check the capacitors, and but,   he's already replaced the Capacitors and it's 
doing the same exact thing. So, any suggestions,   and so on… I did a refrigerat… um… A refrigerator 
video! An Air Conditioner! Did I say refrigerator   to start with?? I have Dyslexia guys, 
and I get these things mixed up.

Trust   me! I’m an RV technician! I’ll work on your 
refrigerator… Oh wait! Air Conditioner! Okay!   All right! Anyway! Air Conditioner… The thing up 
on the roof. Keeps you cold. Um… Gain access to   the Compressor. Screws up on the top. 
So, you're gonna take the cover off,   and you're gonna see this little cover. Take that 
cover off, and you can see three little screws   sticking up… Uh… Let me draw a picture, okay? Here 
we go. So, when you get your um… Your Compressor…   You're gonna have three screws sticking up, 
and if you look carefully, it's gonna say,   “S, C, and R”.

So, this is your 
start, run, and common, okay? Now,   you need to do your meter. You need to put your 
meter in Continuity Mode, and you need to verify   that you're going to get a reading between it. 
So, there's a coil between start and common… There's a coil between run and common. So, what 
I need you to do with your meter is, check the   continuity between the S and the C, and write that 
down. I’m going to come up with a number… Five,   okay?? I don't even know if that's even close 
to number, but for mathematical purposes,   go with me on this, and then, I want you to take 
your meter (this is on top of your compressor),   and check it from the run and 
the common, and let's say you get   two, okay? Okay! So, in this one, you got a five. 
This one, you got a two.

Then… I want you to take   your meter, and go from start to run. Five plus 
two equals … Uh… Dakota! What's five plus two??   Ninety-seven? Eighteen? Five plus two? Seven. 
Seven! Okay! So… Seven. You add up your S and   your R. Whatever that number is, you add your… 
You add to that. You're running your common,   and these two numbers. You add together, and what 
you've just done is you've done a triangulational   math puzzle. If this equals these two, then your 
compressor is fine. The next thing you need to do…   It doesn't matter the order you do this in, is 
check each one of these screws. Make sure you get   a good ground. Scrape, scrape some of the paint 
off to get a good ground. See if they're short   to the ground. It may be that your Compressor 
is bad, but this is how I check the Compressor   to see if the Compressor is good, okay? There's 
also, uh… I don't remember if it's start, or run.   You're gonna have this thing called… 
Don't make me a liar… It's got initials…   P.T.C.R.? P.T.R.C.?? Something like that.

When it's not running, you should have continuity   between this. RV techs are going to rag me for 
this, but it's either a P.T.C.R. or P.T.R.C.  Something like that, but basically, it's going to 
be on the blue wire. You want continuity between   that. So, these are some things you could check 
on your compressor (on your air conditioner).   If it turns out that any of these tests 
fail, I don't know of a solution to fix that   in the field. You would be replacing your entire 
Air Conditioner at that point, um, okay? Now, um…   I got all these notes here.  So, hopefully that helps you. If 
it does, leave us a comment below,   and thanks for watching! Well folks! That's all 
the time I have for today to answer some of your   questions, but feel free to leave comments below 
if you have questions specific to your RV repair.   If this was valuable to you, 
give us a thumb up! Like,   like it! Subscribe to our channel! Share it 
with some friends! So, until our next session,   this is Darren, with “My RV Works”! 
Signing off.

See you on the next video! — Guitar Riff Playing –.

As found on YouTube

You May Also Like