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Old 08-03-2019, 01:32 AM   #1
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THOR #16214
AC Shore Power Disappeared.

Hi all. I am new to the forum. Hope I am posting in the right place.
I have a 1997 Thor Pinnacle 35' with slideout. I am replacing the rubber roof. Worked first day, tear off, all good. Second day worked again and came inside. No AC. I'm a mechanic so I can generally figure things out. I did not disturb any wiring. Had AC into the fuse box red, black and white depending on where I place my ground lead. I searched all over and could not find anything amiss. But no ac out of the breaker box.(breakers all ohmed good) So I went to the last receptacle on the circuit. I made a cable with plugins at both ends. Placed one into a fused strip and the other into the receptacle. All the power to the rv front came on and batteries started charging. Went to the bath and reversed the wires to the gfi., because now the power comes from the opposite direction. All the rest of the ac started working with fridge, micro and receptacles. I went outside and measured voltage at the shore power plugin.(with no power plugged in). It is live. The whole circuit is working all the way back out to the plug. I would like to run the power the right direction again. Anybody know what the heck might be going on? Maybe the transfer switch? Which I have no idea where it is. Appreciate any help or tips. Thank you, Robert
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:34 AM   #2
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THOR #16214
Just to clarify, by AC I mean 115v shore power.
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:38 AM   #3
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Troubleshooting with a suicide cord? That's different.

Normally I would have said check the ATS connections but if you are backfeeding 120 VAC all the way back to the input cord connection then maybe it's the input cord?
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Old 08-03-2019, 02:28 AM   #4
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THOR #16214
Well, the "suicide cord" was activated by me with the fused switch on the strip. My concern, of course, was short and fire, so I was ready to shut off immediately if fused strip had not acted. Fire extinguisher at the ready.
The shore power cord was the 1st place I checked with the multimeter. Voltage in and at the output also. Am wondering if the ats might be behind the breaker box. Obviously, running backwards, the circuit is complete.
Perplexing. Reply appreciated. Robert
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:39 AM   #5
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Hi, I am not familiar with your 1997 coach AC power system at all. You said you have AC power working into the “fuse box” OK, but no AC out of the “breaker box”...... are these actually two different power boxes in your coach or are they the same thing? Probably separate.

The breakers are good, but if the power buses they plug or bolt onto have no AC power feeding them then nothing comes through. So what is between the “fuse box” and “breaker box”......transfer switch perhaps? Not sure but it sounds like your cheater cord bypassed whatever is supposed to connect the “fuse box” to the “breaker box”.

What happens when you start your generator? Usually 30 seconds after the gen starts you should hear the transfer switch operate.......try to determine where that sound is coming from to find the transfer switch and check it out. If your cheater cord was connected to the shore feeder (“fused strip” you called it) side of the transfer switch then you bypassed the transfer switch.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:20 AM   #6
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THOR #16214
Thank you for your reply. Sorry, I was not being too clear. There is just one box. Above the bed. And it has breakers not fuses. One side is ac and the other side is 12v. The fused strip I used was just a plugin strip you might use with your computer and it has a fused shutoff. My final receptacle is under the entry stair at the 110 to 12v inverter. I plugged in there.

Interestingly, my generator would not start up. It was running great a month ago. I think you may be right. My reverse feed bypassed the transfer switch. Next two days will be mostly roof work, and I will make some time to find the ats. I greatly appreciate your input. Robert
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Old 08-03-2019, 02:02 PM   #7
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Interesting problem(s)......clearly understanding your electrical system layout is important for folks to help you out. Now we know fuse box and breaker box are the same thing:
I have re-read your first entry multiple times and I assume while on shore power you said: “Had AC into the fuse box red, black and white depending on where I place my ground lead. I searched all over and could not find anything amiss. But no AC out of the breaker box (breakers all ohmed good)”.


So you are saying you measured AC voltage Ok on the 50 amp feeder cables terminating on the 2 pole 50 amp main breaker and neutral bar (white wire) in the breaker box; (120vac red to white; 120vac black to white); breakers ohmed good (while power off of course); but no AC was measured on the output of the breakers? So I must still be missing something........power into breaker panel main breaker; good continuity through the main breakers; no power on breaker panel bus bars? I would trip that main breaker and re-close it.......measure again.

Sounds like the typical converter/AC breaker and 12vdc fuse panel box is above the bed. I would expect the shore power cable to terminate directly onto the 50 amp transfer switch, which should then feed this above bed converter/breaker panel. So if you had AC on the main breaker of the breaker panel you have continuity through the transfer switch from shore power.


You also said the gen wont start......wont crank either? If no crank, you may have an open DC breaker between the coach batteries and the starter motor for the gen. In newer coaches there is typically a 100 amp re-settable breaker near the coach batteries that feeds the gen starter and the hydraulic jacks 12vdc motor. Not sure what your coach uses. I suspect though that even if your gen starts OK and transfers AC to the breaker panel, you will not get AC on the output of your breaker panel.......I wonder if this is a main breaker issue?
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Old 08-03-2019, 02:46 PM   #8
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THOR #15553
Start with the pedestal and verify proper electricity. Work your way back checking every place there ids a connection. you will find the problem every time.
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Old 08-03-2019, 02:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 55Pont View Post
Well, the "suicide cord" was activated by me with the fused switch on the strip. My concern, of course, was short and fire, so I was ready to shut off immediately if fused strip had not acted. Fire extinguisher at the ready.
The shore power cord was the 1st place I checked with the multimeter. Voltage in and at the output also. Am wondering if the ats might be behind the breaker box. Obviously, running backwards, the circuit is complete.
Perplexing. Reply appreciated. Robert
I'm not complaining about the use of the suicide cord, It's just a different approach that could certainly prove useful.

Generally, the ATS is between the SP cord inlet and the breaker (distribution) panel.

Can you clarify if you have a 30 or 50 amp system? It could certainly make a difference on your troubleshooting efforts and the help from this forum.
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:24 PM   #10
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THOR #4735
yes, same here - 30amp vs 50amp will make a difference, though I doubt at home you'd be plugged into 50amp RV service anyway - but it is TWO hot legs, and therefore sometimes folks will lose 'part' of the devices/appliances in their coach, while other things still work, which is fairly a big clue that one of the HOT legs has lost it's connection, sometimes at the Shore Power outlet, it's breaker, or even the Shore Cord connector itself.
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Old 08-04-2019, 01:10 AM   #11
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THOR #16214
Hi guys. I must say that this is a great site. I am glad I found it. So many helpful members here. I really appreciate you all.

I spent most of the hot day stripping off the roof, and I will do the same tomorrow. I took a break around 3:30, and after some shade and i/2 gallon of water, I grabbed the multimeter and started at the power source. That is where my problem lay. I do have a large 50 amp 3 prong cord which I have had to step down with two adapters to utilize my 30 amp home circuit. I took a wire brush and cleaned everything really well. Applied some contact cleaner too. Plugged in, and power was on. Your replies have been most helpful in helping me understand the ac system in the coach. I think my ats may be behind the breaker panel and I am going to try and locate it.

After finalizing the roof stripping tomorrow, (I have 40' of EPDM coming this week), I will play around with the generator. First though, I am going to replace all the 4x8 sheets up on the roof. Big job. Again, I thank you all for your help. Robert
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Old 08-04-2019, 01:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 55Pont View Post
Hi guys. I must say that this is a great site. I am glad I found it. So many helpful members here. I really appreciate you all.

I spent most of the hot day stripping off the roof, and I will do the same tomorrow. I took a break around 3:30, and after some shade and i/2 gallon of water, I grabbed the multimeter and started at the power source. That is where my problem lay. I do have a large 50 amp 3 prong cord which I have had to step down with two adapters to utilize my 30 amp home circuit. I took a wire brush and cleaned everything really well. Applied some contact cleaner too. Plugged in, and power was on. Your replies have been most helpful in helping me understand the ac system in the coach. I think my ats may be behind the breaker panel and I am going to try and locate it.

After finalizing the roof stripping tomorrow, (I have 40' of EPDM coming this week), I will play around with the generator. First though, I am going to replace all the 4x8 sheets up on the roof. Big job. Again, I thank you all for your help. Robert
Do not use a 3 wire 50 amp outlet to power your RV. You MUST have a separate neutral and ground to avoid any chance of "Hotskin"condition.
someone could get hurt.
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Old 08-04-2019, 03:29 AM   #13
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Thanks for the heads up on that. I had never heard of it. Researched a little. There seems to be no clear information, step by step to remedy it. At least none that I could find. So I am unclear on just how to take care of this possibility. Any tips? Grounding the frame doesn't look to be the answer. Thanks, Robert
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 55Pont View Post
Thanks for the heads up on that. I had never heard of it. Researched a little. There seems to be no clear information, step by step to remedy it. At least none that I could find. So I am unclear on just how to take care of this possibility. Any tips? Grounding the frame doesn't look to be the answer. Thanks, Robert
Neutral and grounds are separate at the pedestal. For 50 amp 240 you must have 2 hots and a neutral and a ground. This must follow all the way back to you RV breaker panel.

for 30 amp 120 service you must have 1 hot 1 neutral and one ground.

Please use the quote button in the future so see know how you are replying to. People can be typing and responding in front of you. Happens all the time.
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Old 08-11-2019, 02:00 PM   #15
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THOR #6280
2 hour electrical issue limit

I use the 2 hour rule when I have any electrical issues with my coach. If I haven't found the problem within 2 hours I'm grabbing a beer and calling a repairman.

A few days ago we were preparing to go to Silver Lake Michigan to ride the RZR in the sand dunes. I hooked the trailer up to the RV and began backing into the driveway. The drive being slightly too steep caused the bottom of the trailer hitch to scrape over the trailer plug lead and cut it shorting it out. So now on the eve of leaving for a road trip I had no turn signals or stop lights on the rear of the coach. The running lights all worked, the third brake light worked, front turn signals worked and the tag trailer running lights all worked after replacing the lead and plug but no stop or turn signals on the trailer eiether. I spent a few hours going over everything looking for damage and checking all the fuses reading the manuals and looking over electrical schematics. (3 fuse breaker locations in a Sprinter) My neighbor the electrician came home and I waived him over. Pretty soon my other neighbor showed up and all 3 of us were looking and testing everything we could find for the next hour and a half. We googled, you tubed and called Thor's after hour line. The Thor after hour guy said he had no idea where a fuse might be for the back stop/turn signals but it sounded like it was a Mercedes issue and not a Thor issue.

Next day I drive the hour through heavy traffic with no stop/turn signals to the nearest Mercedes Sprinter service dealer. They check it out and declare the Mercedes wiring is good all the way to the end of the harness and the issue is elsewhere and a Thor problem. Asked them to fix it anyway and I would pay, they declined. So I head back home making calls all the way to try to find service. The nearest Thor dealer is more than an hour away so I get an appointment at the only RV dealer in my town (2 weeks out) on a whim I call a trailer place nearby and tell them about my problem. The guy tells me to bring it in next day and they will see what they can do and it may take some hours to run down the problem. Next morning I drop it off and get a ride home. 45 minutes to 1 hour later they call, it's fixed and ready to go $50.00

Turns out Thor installed a 15 amp fuse in a fuse holder and placed it under the drivers seat buried behind the fuse panel located there. You would never find it unless you knew it was there. Has to be the stupidest place ever to put a stop/tail lamp fuse. They could have easily placed it in the Mercedes fuse block right in front of it because it has at least 10 empty fuse locations.

So if your ever in need of electrical coach lighting repair in Northwest Indiana I highly recommend "Lot-O-Fun in Schererville Indiana.
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Old 08-11-2019, 03:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavie View Post
Neutral and grounds are separate at the pedestal. For 50 amp 240 you must have 2 hots and a neutral and a ground. This must follow all the way back to you RV breaker panel.



for 30 amp 120 service you must have 1 hot 1 neutral and one ground.



Please use the quote button in the future so see know how you are replying to. People can be typing and responding in front of you. Happens all the time.

And just to add... when powering a 50a rig from 30a 110v circuit (three wire - hot, neutral, ground) the adapter splits the hot lead to two wires giving the hot, hot, neutral, ground needed to connect to RV...
Most rigs don’t truly use 220v service - so this works...
Any true 220v appliances would not receive power this way.

Many older 220v outlets are hot/hot/ground and cannot be safely used/adapted to an RV (without running a separate neutral).
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