Sunday, March 11, 2012

All The Comforts of Home.....So You Thought

I have read and heard more stories about RV'ers not being able to run all of their air conditioners (some units have 2 or 3 a/c units) and their microwave and their coffee maker, well the list just keeps going on, at the same time.

In most cases you should be able to run all of your a/c units at the same time when hooked up to shore power or a big enough generator. But trying to run multiple ac powered appliances all at the same time, something is going to give. Usually a circuit breaker will trip.

When you were living at your house, did you ever have to reset a circuit breaker? Well your RV has them too. Just like at your house your RV has circuit breakers to help protect that particular circuit, such as your a/c unit. If you run too many items, it draws too many amps and a breaker will trip. Lets talk about this for a minute.

Every ac powered item that is in your RV has a rating of how many amps it draws or watts. The way this works is based on Ohm's Law. The basis of Ohm's Law is this, E over I times R.
Or in simpler terms E = Voltage over I = Current (Amps) times R = Resistance.

Now we want to do is add up amps or wattage. To find wattage you find the amp rating and multiply that times the ac voltage. For example: My a/c unit has a rating of 9 amps and runs on 120 ac volts so I multi[ply 9 times 120 and get watts. 9x120=1080 watts. OK, now that I have this information what do I do with it? You need to start adding this stuff up and see what you can run and not pop a circuit breaker. I have a portable generator which is rated at 3600 watts. Wait a minute look at that number again!! If I were to take 3600 watts and divide it by the ac voltage I would come up with 30amps. Guess what, that's exactly what my unit is rated at. Bigger units have a 50 amp rating, usually they have 2 or more a/c units.

Let me see if I can put it in perspective, I will use my 5th wheel and list some appliances giving the amps and wattage.

A/C - 9amps or 1080 watts
Coffee Maker- 7.5 amps or 900 watts
Microwave - 12.3amps or 1.48K watts (1480 watts)
Electric Heaters X2 (I have two of them) - 12.5amps or 1500 watts
Hair Dryer - 12.5amps or 1500 watts
Fridge - 2.7amps or 324 watts
Light Bulbs x8 - 1.3amps or 160 watts

Let me stop there. I just added everything up and here are the results:

Total Amps - 45.3 amps
Total Watts - 6944 watts

So if I were to run everything listed here I would be tripping breakers left and right. Now I know what you are thinking and you are right I would not be running two heaters when the a/c unit is on, but at least I made you think about it and you started to compute this in your head. It is obvious that we RV'ers can have all the comforts of home but just in moderation and finding that right combination.

If you are experiencing a circuit breaker that trips all the time try to find out what you turned on and look and see what else is running. There may not be a problem but to many items running at the same time. Circuit breakers do go bad from time to time and may need to be replaced. If so make sure the unit is not receiving any power, pop out the old one and get a new one. If it looks like one from the old house try Home Depot or Lowes to see if they have it ,if not off to the RV store you go.

I hope that this gives you a better understanding of what you can run in your RV and what combination you need to find. If it seemed to technical I am sorry but pop me a question and maybe I can explain it better.

Until next time..........Be safe.

No comments:

Post a Comment