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Old 11-24-2013, 06:39 PM   #1
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GFI problem

I have a 2001 36 footer with a problem I don't understand. I have lost the GFI circuit before, and replaced the GFI with no problem. That was 5 years ago and have had no problem since, until today. Lost it all again, went down to the local hardware and purchased a new GFI replace it and same problem. What I don't understand is that when I check the voltage at the GFI I get 120 VAC on both the white and black wires from the line side, that's with both wires disconnected from the GFI and with the volt meter from each wire to the ground. Whats more troubling is when I take the white wire to ground everything seems to work. Anybody have any ideas?
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:35 PM   #2
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If you have the "line's" black and white wire disconnected, only the black should have 120v on it. The white is a neutral. Sounds to me like you have a compromised neutral and need to check it upstream to find the problem.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:51 PM   #3
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GFI problem

I understand what you are saying, but why does everything work when I hook the "hot white" wire to ground, it seems to me I should kick a breaker
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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I understand what you say but why does everything work when I hook the "hot white" wire to ground, seems to me I should kick a breaker
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Old 11-24-2013, 08:47 PM   #5
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If the white wire is not connected to neutral but "floating" it will show 120v if there is anything connected on that circuit. The GFCI usually has multiple sockets connected downstream and anything plugged in to these could cause that condition. The neutral in a motorhome is not bonded to the ground but connects to ground through the campground pedestal. Are you having this problem at a campground, at home or while using the generator? You need to make sure the supply you are connecting to is not the problem.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Algoma View Post
If the white wire is not connected to neutral but "floating" it will show 120v if there is anything connected on that circuit. The GFCI usually has multiple sockets connected downstream and anything plugged in to these could cause that condition. The neutral in a motorhome is not bonded to the ground but connects to ground through the campground pedestal. Are you having this problem at a campground, at home or while using the generator? You need to make sure the supply you are connecting to is not the problem.
It's my understanding that he disconnected both the black and white wires from the GFI outlet before measuring...so there should be nothing on the white wire as it would not be connected to anything downstream unless both (all) GFI outlet's "line" neutrals are tied together between them and the circuit breaker and in this case all the neutrals would have 120v on them.....but I do agree: he needs to check the pedestal first and make sure there is no voltage on the neutral line and eliminate that possibility first.

OP, have you checked the voltage on the neutral of the other GFI outlet?

I would start tripping the breakers one at a time and checking the malfunctioning GFI white wire until the voltage disappears, might help in figuring out where this is coming from
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:42 AM   #7
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If non-GFCI outlets are working correctly then the most obvious answer would be a broken white wire to the GFCI. That solid conductor wire is easily broken if the outlet has been removed a few times and the break may be hard to see if it is several inches from the outlet. That recently happened to me on an outlet at home.
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Old 11-26-2013, 05:06 AM   #8
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Just want everyone to know we found the problem, something must have failed in the inverter. We bypassed it and all is well. I still don't understand why the neutrals in the circuit breaker panel for the inverter was hot to ground. In my way of thinking that's a dead short. Thanks for all the advise and I hope if someone else has this problem they will read this and not run around with their hair on fire the way I did. Thanks again
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:58 AM   #9
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Rom- try re-testing the GFI feeders; you should now have 120-black-to-ground-or-neutral/0V-white-to-ground. I concur with the above that the source of your reading could have been electronic (i.e. your volt meter (if its a good one w/1mega-ohm resistance) pulls effectively zero current so a teeny backfeed thru an electronic circuit could show 120V w/no load), or it could be a backfeed thru the neutral which completes circuits on both hot legs in the coach. If you put a load on that (faulty) neutral-to-ground 120V circuit, the volts might have disappeared. Also, your transfer switch in the inverter could have snafu'd & simply shorted the lines together.

I'm not sure what you meant in the original post by "when I take the white wire to ground everything seems to work." If you hooked up the GFI per mfgr's req'mts to 120-black/120-white/gnd, it should have tripped (i.e. worked). Is that what you meant? Otherwise I'm missing what you actually hooked up & what "worked."
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