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Old 07-19-2020, 05:23 AM   #1
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THOR #17375
Eaton C/H BD3020 circuit breaker overheating

A hot day going south on I-5, overnighting in Yreka CA, 104F on arrival. Plugged in to shore power and started up the A/C. After awhile my 20 amp breaker tripped, turning off my A/C. Discovered that I have a BD 3020 double breaker, where the 30 amp side is my main supply breaker, and the 20 amp side is for my A/C. Seems like not a great idea, having the two highest power circuits flowing through one molded case breaker block. It was pretty hot, so I removed the panel covers, moved an adjacent breaker to another slot to allow more heat dissipation, reduced the A/C load by closing most of the vents, but directing most of the cold air to the breaker panel area. This all helped quite a bit, but still managed to trip the breaker a few more times. When I get time I plan to put a separate 20 amp breaker in an empty slot and use that for the A/C, and probably replace the BD3020 as well, since it's obviously weakened. Hoping it works. Has anybody else experienced problems with these BD3020 units?
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Old 07-19-2020, 09:31 PM   #2
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A hot day going south on I-5, overnighting in Yreka CA, 104F on arrival. Plugged in to shore power and started up the A/C. After awhile my 20 amp breaker tripped, turning off my A/C. Discovered that I have a BD 3020 double breaker, where the 30 amp side is my main supply breaker, and the 20 amp side is for my A/C. Seems like not a great idea, having the two highest power circuits flowing through one molded case breaker block. It was pretty hot, so I removed the panel covers, moved an adjacent breaker to another slot to allow more heat dissipation, reduced the A/C load by closing most of the vents, but directing most of the cold air to the breaker panel area. This all helped quite a bit, but still managed to trip the breaker a few more times. When I get time I plan to put a separate 20 amp breaker in an empty slot and use that for the A/C, and probably replace the BD3020 as well, since it's obviously weakened. Hoping it works. Has anybody else experienced problems with these BD3020 units?
I may be wrong on this and others will straighten me out if I am but, I believe you need a 30A breaker on the AC circuit. Unless some improvements have been made to the A/C units used, it will eventually trip a 20A breaker. That said, you need 30A coming into the coach for it to do any good. If you don't have that, you'll have to fight with it?
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Old 07-19-2020, 10:07 PM   #3
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I may be wrong on this and others will straighten me out if I am but, I believe you need a 30A breaker on the AC circuit. Unless some improvements have been made to the A/C units used, it will eventually trip a 20A breaker. That said, you need 30A coming into the coach for it to do any good. If you don't have that, you'll have to fight with it?
30 Amp coming into the RV, 20 Amp going to the Air Conditioner. That's what he has but they are in the same physical double breaker (not ganged).

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Old 07-20-2020, 03:58 AM   #4
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30 Amp coming into the RV, 20 Amp going to the Air Conditioner. That's what he has but they are in the same physical double breaker (not ganged).
OK. Different from mine. I have a 30A and no 20 beside it. If I flip it, only the A/C shuts down.
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Old 07-20-2020, 05:03 AM   #5
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Yes I have the tandem 30A/20A breaker. The 30A side carries all 120V incoming from the power cord, while the 20A supplies the rooftop A/C unit. Bad arrangement really, because that one breaker assembly carries nearly the entire load in both directions, and it was getting very hot. My panel has a couple of spare slots, so today I bought a new Eaton BD2020 breaker at Lowes. I plugged it into the slot furthest away from the 30/20 breaker, and moved the wire for my A/C to the new breaker. Works great now. All breakers are running cool, and I now have a couple of spare breakers in case I ever need to run something temporarily.
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Old 07-22-2020, 03:42 PM   #6
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Quite possible the 30/20 breaker itself was the problem. Breakers do go bad. Breakers get hot with a problem, not because they need cooling airflow.
I had a ganged 50 amp go bad, dead giveaway when it started to sizzle as I flipped it on.
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Old 07-22-2020, 04:17 PM   #7
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breakers can grow 'weak' over time, replacing one is a very simple and easy solution if you find your 20amp breaker tripping - it should NOT be.

now, as to whether you have a 'double-pole' breaker, or a 'tandem' breaker is actually NOT really in question - as there is NO SUCH THING as a 30/20 'double-pole' breaker.
I suppose you've simply meant, though, that it is a tandem breaker in the same 'format' as a single pole 'normal' breaker - these are used REGULARLY in the RV industry and nothing to be concerned about.

You may also simply have a LOOSE wire coming out of your 20amp side - you might try removing power and simply TIGHTENING this wire before you go to any 'trouble' to do anything else.
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Old 07-22-2020, 04:18 PM   #8
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Old 07-31-2020, 04:48 PM   #9
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I agree. I know from some hair-raising experience that breakers do go bad. I'll be replacing that 30/20, but right now it operates much cooler with only the 30 amp incoming side being used, and it has never tripped (at least not since I've owned the RV).
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Old 07-31-2020, 04:53 PM   #10
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Thanks for that. Yes it's a tandem breaker. The A/C supply wire was not loose, nor was the 120V incoming wire on the 30 amp side. I think the breaker was just weak as you suggest. The RV's prior owners mostly were in Southern California & Arizona, so probably using the A/C all the time, and that breaker assembly carried a lot of ampere-hours. I'll be ordering a new one soon.
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