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Old 08-04-2022, 11:43 AM   #1
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Coleman Mach Basement AC tripping breaker

2002 Winnebago Adventurer 32v.
30 amp power.
Purchased in 2020 used in excellent condition, never had any issues with cooling.

I've taken it on 3 trips this summer; first was memorial day and weather was cool and AC seemed to be working fine. Second was late June during a cool spell and AC was barely needed during the day and not at all during the night, appeared to be working fine.

Third trip was two weeks ago and AC did not work well at all.

Like usual I went to get it out of parking, fired up the generator and started the AC. I started taking wheel covers off and getting ready to take to my house and it seemed like AC took a lot longer to come on than it usually does. While at home I plugged it into a dedicated 20amp outlet that only has our garage door on it and set my EMS to 20amps and ran the AC overnight to make sure the coach was cool in the morning. We were going in and out a lot but in the morning I woke up and the coach was a nice 70degrees.

The 3 hour drive to my parent's lake house was miserable. The generator was running but the AC could not keep up. It was mid 90s out and mid 80s in the coach. We had cool air coming out but not blasting out like usual.

When I got to my parent's house hooked up to their dedicated 20amp outlet with nothing on it, set my EMS to 20amps and turned the AC on. The fan came on, compressor 1 came on then compressor 2 tripped the breaker in their house. Reset the breaker and same thing, this had never happened before. Before I reset the home breaker I had noticed the breaker in my load panel in the coach was tripped. See pic below. This is labeled as the AC Circuit #2.

I then figured out if I left this breaker in the coach in the off position that it would not trip the 20amp circuit in the home and the unit ran all weekend on just the 1 compressor, which was not great but kept the coach a decent temp and cooled right off at night.

As we prepared to go home I started the generator and at that time noticed this breaker was tripped. It must have been tripped the whole way down on Friday.

It would not reset until I shut the generator off. I reset it, fired up the generator, disconnected from the shore power and then fired up the AC. After a minute or two the fan came online, then the generator throttled up a bit and the compressor 1 came online. About a minute or less later the generator throttled up again but then the 20amp circuit in the gen tripped immediately. We drove the whole way home and it was miserable, 90+ and humid out and very hot in the RV. Kids and wife were not happy.

When I got home I did some trouble shooting. Opened up the panel on my air conditioner. I have verified with my multi meter that i have 120v at both the lines in below the AC circuit board so it appears my stage 1 and stage 2 have power to them.

On the suggestion of others I replaced my start capacitors with new ones that included the PTCR kits. I fired up the generator and again confirmed that the power to the AC unit was 120v at both 1st and 2nd stage.

I turned the fan to "on" and the blower fired right up. I then set the fan to Auto, turned the thermostat to Cool and waited. I was outside while I told my son to watch the EMS panel. He thinks he saw the panel jump for a second or two to 23-24 amps then settle down to 17-18. Cool air was coming out of the vents but not blasting out. About 1 minute later he thinks he saw 50amps for a second and the 20amp circuit on the generator tripped. Then checking my multi meter there is no power to the 2nd stage coming into the AC unit.

Looking at the AC panel while it was running I do have 1 red light but did not pay attention to what it means.

Today I went over to my rig and took off my power transfer case cover. All the wires look good, no signs of a short anywhere and all the wires are tight.

Posting in IRV2 is has been suggested this could still be a bad run capacitor. I may just order 2 new ones as mine are most likely 20 years old. Or I could try swapping the stage 1 and 2 power lines from the capacitors/relays making my stage 2 now my stage 1 and vice versa. If that happens I would expect the 20amp breaker in my coach to trip if my compressor is bad (the one on the far left in the at the start of the thread labeled AC unit 1). If after the swap the compressor fires up then I would assume that would indicate the trouble is in either the capacitor or the relay.

If anyone has any other suggestions I might try or trouble shooting I am missing any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-04-2022, 04:11 PM   #2
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Sounds logical to me but I mighttry adding one small detail as capacitors can often give a clue when they are failing/failed.
Try giving a close look at the capacitors to see if there is any swelling on the ends. they have a chemical in them and do often swell before going totally bad.
Maybe compare good with suspect and if you see swelling or a "dome" shape, you can go with it being bad!
Any signs of leaking, definite bad!


Other than that, you are well ahead of me!
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Old 08-04-2022, 05:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
Sounds logical to me but I mighttry adding one small detail as capacitors can often give a clue when they are failing/failed.
Try giving a close look at the capacitors to see if there is any swelling on the ends. they have a chemical in them and do often swell before going totally bad.
Maybe compare good with suspect and if you see swelling or a "dome" shape, you can go with it being bad!
Any signs of leaking, definite bad!


Other than that, you are well ahead of me!
Thanks. Here is a pic before I swapped out the start capacitors. I looked for any obvious signs of damage on the run capacitors but did not see any.



I am pretty much on the last step of the trouble shooting on page 20 of the manual for the unit which is a non working compressor #2. I have pretty much checked everything else.
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Old 08-07-2022, 02:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
Sounds logical to me but I mighttry adding one small detail as capacitors can often give a clue when they are failing/failed.
Try giving a close look at the capacitors to see if there is any swelling on the ends. they have a chemical in them and do often swell before going totally bad.
Maybe compare good with suspect and if you see swelling or a "dome" shape, you can go with it being bad!
Any signs of leaking, definite bad!


Other than that, you are well ahead of me!
Went back today and took a closer look. I triple checked that all connections were tight at my transfer switch and the power coming into the unit for both the first and second stages is 120v and no fluctuating.

I went to swap the run capacitors (since I already replace the start caps with new) to put the #2 run cap at #1 and vice versa. Saw this, the #1 run cap is definitely shot as you can see the top is swelled.



I tried anyway to swap them because my #1 compressor does fire up. After the swap same thing, #1 comes on then when #2 comes on breaker trips. To rule out the relays I swapped them as well so now my #2 relay is #1 and #1 is #2. This time I filmed my EMS while it fired up:

Fan only starting

#1 compressor starting

#2 compressor starting

I was thinking of swapping out the power leads coming from the caps/relays to the compressors so that my #1 compressor would be my #2 and if it worked then I'd know my #2 compressor is good, but that was a bit more involved then I wanted to deal with today. But I'm thinking my run caps are shot (they are 20 years old and one is clearly deformed) and need replaced anyway so I went ahead and ordered 2 new ones and also ordered an indoor blower motor capacitor as well as I figured might as well rule out them as being the issue. My basic understanding is that the capacitors are there to give the system a jolt or let their stored electricity out to help when there is an amp draw at startup. With my caps being shot I'm not getting that help.

From my EMS #1 shoots up to 39 or so amps then runs steady at 14 or so. Then when #2 comes on it probably is also trying to draw about 39 amps so add that to the 14 that #1 and the fan are using and you get 53amps, which is about what I saw on my EMS, and then the breaker trips on the gen under that load.

I'm counting on the new capacitors keeping this number from spiking during startup. Fingers crossed.
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Old 08-07-2022, 11:14 PM   #5
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I've been reading your same thread on irv2.com. Trying to run the unit on a 20A circuit will eventually kill the compressor; I say compressor because #2 compressor will not run on a 20A circuit safely.
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Old 08-08-2022, 07:42 AM   #6
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I've been reading your same thread on irv2.com. Trying to run the unit on a 20A circuit will eventually kill the compressor; I say compressor because #2 compressor will not run on a 20A circuit safely.
So about that, you are saying if I am somewhere that only has 20amp shore power available, which is rare, and I hook up and select 20amp on my EMS it is bad for the compressor(s)? If I'm in that situation and hooking up to 20amp would it be better off for me to throw the breaker for compressor #2 in the coach load panel so that #2 never tries to come on?

I guess I'm also a little confused about 20amp hurting compressor #2 when it is on a 20amp breaker in the coach when I'm hooked to shore power and when I'm using the Generator its on a 20amp circuit. Or am I not thinking correctly?
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Old 08-09-2022, 06:53 AM   #7
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A 20A circuit has a top limit of 20A,, compressor #1 + fans are pulling 14-16A. That only leaves 5-6A of remaining capacity IF nothing else on that circuit is running too.
This is assuming the incoming voltage has not dropped below 108VAC, which is the safe lower limit for appliances and motors, the industry standard is 120VAC plus or minus 10%, outside those parameters inductive motors and sensitive electronics may be slowly and permanently damaged until they reach the point of total failure.


IMO it is prudent to avoid running your air conditioner on a 15 or 20A circuit or low voltage if you value your equipment.
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Old 08-10-2022, 04:34 PM   #8
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You only have 20 amp to run everything . Starting amps are much higher ,then settle down to less than 20 amps . When # 2 goes to start ,your voltage will drop and amps go above 20 amp . That voltage drop will harm your unit as voltage will drop below minuimn. Replace that swelled cap and then try running on a 50 amp circuit or gen .
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Old 08-10-2022, 06:19 PM   #9
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I agree with Ray,IN about not running two compressors or two stages on a 20A circuit. However, if your cords are substantial (12 or 10ga) I would be inclined to test with a 20A circuit, rather than the genset. The peak amperage capability of a 20A shore power is likely greater than the generator.

In debugging my HP (similar unit) I could actually kill the genset with a HP start. A 20A 25 foot extension did not trip the breaker, with a momentary 45 A draw. The operating voltage was 111V, but it did drop below 90V on the start.

Where did you source your capacitors?
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Old 08-11-2022, 08:04 PM   #10
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You only have 20 amp to run everything . Starting amps are much higher ,then settle down to less than 20 amps . When # 2 goes to start ,your voltage will drop and amps go above 20 amp . That voltage drop will harm your unit as voltage will drop below minuimn. Replace that swelled cap and then try running on a 50 amp circuit or gen .
Sorry, should have clarified, all this was while running on my generator. My rig is also only a 30amp for shore power. My generator has two circuits one 30amp that feeds the load center in the coach where the breakers are and one 20amp that feeds stage 2 of the ac. The 20amp circuit on the gen keep tripping.

I did some more work today including new run caps and had same problem. So I switched out the leads from the caps and the relay to the two compressors and effectively made the #2 compressor now the the #1 and vice versa. When the thermostat called for compressor 1 to kick on it tripped the 20amp breaker in the coach breaker panel (remember the 30amp circuit from the gen is feeding this). That told me I have a short or problem somewhere at the compressor wiring or in the compressor itself.

I then took my MM and Ohm tested the 3 leads going to each compressor from the access panel where the relays/control board/capacitors are. I tested #1 compressor by checking the 3 wires going to that compressor (White, red and black) by testing white to red; red to black and then withe to black. I got resistance readings on all wires.

I then did the same with the 3 wires going to compressor #2. On 2 of the 3 combinations I got the same Ohm reading as compressor #1. However on one combination I got a 1---- which my MM says means open line. So one of my wires is loose or disconnected somewhere between the access box with all the stuff in it and the compressor's connections. I now need to pull the whole AC unit out this weekend to find the problem.
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Old 08-11-2022, 08:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mongobird View Post
I agree with Ray,IN about not running two compressors or two stages on a 20A circuit. However, if your cords are substantial (12 or 10ga) I would be inclined to test with a 20A circuit, rather than the genset. The peak amperage capability of a 20A shore power is likely greater than the generator.

In debugging my HP (similar unit) I could actually kill the genset with a HP start. A 20A 25 foot extension did not trip the breaker, with a momentary 45 A draw. The operating voltage was 111V, but it did drop below 90V on the start.

Where did you source your capacitors?
I think if I'm hooked to 20amp shore power again I'm going to not only set my EMS to 20amp as usual but also throw the stage 2 compressor breaker to off so that it doesn't try to kick on, that is once I get this fixed.

See above comment, where after installing the new run caps that did not fix things and I did some more trouble shooting and now have to pull the whole AC to find the problem.

As for my capacitors, I got the run caps from rvupgrades.com. The start caps I got from unitedrv.com.
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Old 08-14-2022, 07:16 PM   #12
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bet your no.2 comp it toast.mine was doing pretty much the same thing.and i had an open wire on the comp.my brother in law works in hvac.so he said to pull the unit and bring it to him and he would fix it.so i took it to him he said comp bad but they couldn't find a compressor,so i got digging around and found one you will not find a direct replacement.what i ended up with is a tecumseh rga5510exa.this compressor is almost identical BUT the mounting flanges are closer to the compressor so you can't use all 3 mounting studs that come up from the bottom of the a/c unit ended up finding this out on my own as after i put the unit back in and fired both compressors i had a hell of a vibration,so i pulled the unit again and the top off and i see that when he put the compressor in he only used 1 stud and he had the compressor tight up against one of the other studs,(compressor needs to be able to vibrate in the rubber mounts)so i loosened the comp and drilled 2 new holes ran carriage bolts up from the bottom and lock nuts and washers to compress the rubber grommets.put unit back in fired up and no vibration and good and cold.one other thing i did was i had him add charge ports,and i cut out a 5 inch square hole in the front of the unit and made a cover over the hole.this way if i ever need to charge the unit i don't have to remove it.
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:56 PM   #13
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Yeah I pulled it yesterday. All signs point to compressor 2 being shot.
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Old 08-14-2022, 09:51 PM   #14
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You might want to check out this thread if you haven't already done so. He concluded that his #2 compressor was bad:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/sag...-c-496195.html
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Old 08-15-2022, 06:41 AM   #15
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You might want to check out this thread if you haven't already done so. He concluded that his #2 compressor was bad:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/sag...-c-496195.html


LOL yeah I've posted quite a bit on the last pages of that thread! I also put some pics of my unit out of the rig on there as well.
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