Has your Newell ever lost electric power and needed the shore power breakers reset, but you didn’t know why? In this article, I’ll provide some information and tips to help you understand your coach’s electrical system so you can manage its load more effectively.
The two ‘legs’ of your system
When your coach is connected to 50-amp/240-volt shore power, its electrical system has two circuits (“legs”) of 50-amps/120-volts that each feed about half of the coach’s electrical circuits. The two legs provide a total of 100 amps at 120 volts to share among the many loads, including those energy-hungry appliances that make life easier, more fun and more comfortable.
On Newell coaches the largest potential energy consumers are split between the two legs. Typically, the first and third roof air conditioners are on leg #1, and the second and fourth are on leg #2. There’s also an automatic override of the second and fourth air conditioners when the dryer or electric AquaHot mode is being used. So if you can’t get one of the roof air conditioners to start, check your dryer override switch or your electric AquaHot mode switch.
Different power requirements
Unlike resistance-type appliances such as coffeemakers and stove-top burners that use a relatively constant flow of electricity, air conditioners and refrigerator compressors are run by electric motors that require significantly more power when they first start. If several motors sharing the same 50-amp leg attempt to start simultaneously, it can mean “lights-out” and a quick trip to the shore power pedestal outside to reset your breakers.
Late-model Newell coaches include a Silverleaf galley display that shows your coach’s power loads. They also have a control system that automatically phases-in the starting of your roof-top air conditioners. The system doesn’t detect which appliances you’re using, so it can be overloaded if it tries to start an air conditioner while you’re brewing coffee and frying eggs. But in these situations, electrical breakers within the coach and at the outside power connection provide additional protection for your system.
Monitoring power quality
Newell coaches 388 and later come with a surge-protection system that monitors incoming power quality. If your exterior shore power voltage is too high, too low, or has other undesirable anomalies, the surge protector automatically disconnects your shore power to protect your coach’s electronics. If fluctuating campground voltage is causing ongoing power interruptions, we recommend that you use your generator until the local power supply stabilizes.
Also, if you temporarily need more power, we recommend that you use your generator instead of shore power. Most late-model Newells have a 20,000-watt generator (20KW). The 50-amp shore power pedestal is only 12,000 watts.
When a storm threatens
Another important tip: As soon as you hear thunder or see lightning in the distance, start your generator. Your coach is equipped with the ultimate lighting-strike surge suppressor—an extra-heavy-duty onboard power source. When you start the generator, the coach transfer box automatically disconnects from shore power. This isolates and protects your coach electronics and appliances from any high-voltage spikes the local power grid might experience during a storm.
Newell V.P. of Customer Service