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 > GFCI not cooperating with me

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Gdetrailer

PA

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Joined: 01/05/2007

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Posted: 11/25/20 09:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

obiwancanoli wrote:

Yes, Gdetrailer, my water heater is both electric and propane, and I have two GFI's - one over the sink, another in the bath... both won't reset, and both seem to be on the same circuit. Can plug in at home, but I'm not there... boondocking northern AZ


Both won't reset pretty much rules out the GFCIs being the issue, highly doubtful that BOTH have had sudden failure at the exact same time.

However, having two GFCIs on the same circuit (one upstream and one downstream) is not recommend. Suspect those will be on two separate circuit breakers.

I suspect since you most likely have a factory inverter installed that there is a ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) that transfers some circuits to inverter when no shore power is present.

In this setup, sometimes manufacturer will provide a separate small breaker panel for those inverter circuits which may give the appearance that both are on the same circuit from the main panel.

I am not sure you are really going to be able to trouble shoot this while camping, may require a lot of work in the breaker panel to isolate circuits and in the end, it is possible that the inverter may be at fault..

Try unplugging everything from every outlet, if no joy, then try pulling the fridge 120V plug (typically located in the outside access area).

If no joy, you will need to isolate the converter which may be hardwired in the main panel or could be plugged in..

If no joy or no converter, the converter may be built into the inverter which makes troubleshooting a bit difficult..

If no joy continues then you would have to remove and isolate every hot and neutral in the main breaker panel one at a time..

Not really something I would want to do while camping and the reason I mention needing to plug in to shore power to verify all systems are good to begin with..

Can you just plug an extension cord into the inverter for now and limp along?

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 11/25/20 05:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Agree to unplug everything from every outlet to make sure those things are not the issue. If one item is wired backwards (black and white wire switched) then it will trip.
Also, though unlikely in your story, that the inverter is wired in backwards.
By backwards I mean the two flat prong male plugs, one has a wide blade and will only fit in the wide slot... Your appliance will work backwards or not, electrically it does not matter, but to the GFI outlet it does because the ground wire cares how the black and white wires are wired.
There could be a short to ground that does not matter electrically, but is a big safety concern and that trips the GFI outlet also.

3 tons

NV.

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Posted: 11/26/20 11:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just saw your post...Prior to this trip (where all was previously fine) was there any work performed on your electrical system??

3 tons

obiwancanoli

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Posted: 11/26/20 12:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

3 tons wrote:

Just saw your post...Prior to this trip (where all was previously fine) was there any work performed on your electrical system??

3 tons


No, everything had been fine

3 tons

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Posted: 11/26/20 02:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

obiwancanoli wrote:

3 tons wrote:

Just saw your post...Prior to this trip (where all was previously fine) was there any work performed on your electrical system??

3 tons


No, everything had been fine


Question, do the GFI’s trip when on inverter power only or when genny is running??...Try to exclude one or the other - either can be impacted by a nagging floating ground issue...

Also, If you have modest skills, inside the main breaker panel you’ll see a buss bar where all the return white neutrals connect to (i.e. the inbound whites). By disconnecting one neutral at a time (each time with power off), while resetting the GFI’s, then powering up the system again - this will one at a time help ferret out the actual source (whether circuit or appliance) that’s causing these nuisance faults..As previously mentioned, it could even be a water heater or refer element, or moisture in an exterior 120v receptacle ...

Good Luck,

3 tons

sayoung

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Posted: 11/26/20 07:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

3Tons last post reminded of the GFI problem I had a couple of years back. 2011 Jayco 5er we bought new and never had a GFI problem until about 2 yrs ago. I simply put a new one in and it worked for a few days then again started tripping occasionally again. I started looking for cause and after about an hour of looking was back looking at the panel wiring for that circuit and finally noticed my White neutral tied to the Gnd bus and the bare Gnd on the neutral bus. Corrected wireing and put my old GFI back on and it's still working.

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