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Old 09-16-2015, 03:13 PM   #1
epj
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Refer tripping GFI

I have a Norcold four door unit. I took the motorhome out to the semi local state park the other day when a campsite became available. I did a quick level job which wasn't probably much better than just leaving it alone. Anyway, the refrigerator was popping the GFI. The local repair guys told me to replace the GFI. I will do that when I get to the campground this afternoon. In the meantime, I did a more through job of leveling. Question is, is the unit being out of level a possible cause of the GFI tripping?
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:23 PM   #2
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I don't see how?
GFI's do go bad. But could also be moisture in / at the heating element.
Will it run on LPG? if so try letting it run for a while then try AC again.
Years ago I had a small pop up that when I took it out of storage it would trip the GFI till everything dried out in the refrigerator.
Have you proved it is the refrig? Keep it in LPG mode, or unplug it to verify?
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:36 PM   #3
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No, I'm out of level a lot and never had that problem.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:17 PM   #4
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Unplug the ice maker mine was tripping the GFI replaced it had the same problem started unplugging things to see what tripped it it was the ice maker bad heating element. The ice maker is the only 110 part of the refrigerator on the GFI 😎
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccrob View Post
Unplug the ice maker mine was tripping the GFI replaced it had the same problem started unplugging things to see what tripped it it was the ice maker bad heating element. The ice maker is the only 110 part of the refrigerator on the GFI ��
+1
Good call, Bob. It probably is the ice maker motor. However, my fridge cools on A/C when plugged into shore power.
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Old 09-17-2015, 09:45 AM   #6
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Yes it runs on AC but not through the GFI
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Old 09-17-2015, 10:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Yes it runs on AC but not through the GFI
That wouldn't be true if the whole RV is plugged into a GFCI outlet. Or if the outlet in the RV the fridge is plugged to is a GFCI. Yes, the Norcold 1200 has two power plugs (one ice maker, one for the 120v heater), but few RV makers provide separate outlets for them. They may, however, be on separate power circuits, one or both of which could have a GFCI breaker on the path. So, are we talking a GFCI outlet in the coach, or on the site power pole? If in the coach, is it a single outlet or tow. if single, has it been split to provide two independent power circuits, or just one?

Either the ice maker or the 120v heater can cause a GFCI trip. Personally, I think the heater is more likely. A bit of corrosion around the heater element will sometimes produce a high resistance path to ground, essentially a weak short. Enough current "leaks" to ground for the GFCI to detect that loss of power, but not enough leaks to trigger a short circuit (breaker trip) and the fridge continues to function.

My suggestion would be to remove and clean up the dual heater elements on the Norcold's boiler tube. Make sure the wire connection to the element does nave a stray strand of wire as well. It might be touching the surrounding metal frame and that would trip the GFCI too.
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:52 PM   #8
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Don't over think it the ice maker is the only part of the frig that runs through the GFI in the coach. Don't know of many 30 or 50 amp power stations that run off of GFI. In my house only the spa runs off o GFI breaker😎
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:45 AM   #9
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I have been in two parks with 30 amp GFCI breakers.. So they do exist (one only has SOME cites on GFCI)

Both the heat element and the ice maker can become slightly shorted to ground. This is true of ALL RV absorption cooling units (Norcold and Dometic) on Dometics there is a connections board in the bottom of the housing outside, that can get wet and if it does it will trip a GFCI as well.

Solution
If electric heat element.. Disconnect from control board and force GAS mode
If ice maker,, Disconnect

if connections board, Unplug entire fridge and force GAS mode

Then fix it soon as you can.
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:51 AM   #10
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Well, as it turns out, it has nothing to do with the refrigerator or ice maker. I unplugged both and the GFI still trips about every 15 min. There should be no load on the circuit at all, unless there is an outlet I don't know about. There is the plug at the bathroom sink, two plugs in the kitchen and the refer/ice maker. There is another gfi on the other side of the coach that runs the outside receptacle that's in the basement next to the steps. There are also a couple of plugs on the right side of the coach on that circuit that are seldom used. There is some sort of heater in the water compartment in the basement that may have a plug. I was thinking it was 12V but maybe it's 120V. Anything else I should be looking for? BTW, it has not rained here for days, and everything is bone dry.
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Old 09-20-2015, 08:17 AM   #11
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I hope everyone realizes that there are multiple outlets wired AFTER the GFCI so they can have the same protection with only the single GFCI to reset on the circuit.

At this point if you can't find anything else to unplug, I would take off the LOAD side wire off the GFCI, that way you eliminate anything down stream. If it stops, it's something down stream.
If it doesn't, you might check fluorescent fixtures. They can get a bad ballast, emit too much RF, and mess with lots of things, including GFCIs. Not common, but not unheard of.
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Old 09-20-2015, 10:11 AM   #12
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Check all of your ground connections
I had this problem finally found a small ground wire inside of the inverter that was not very loose I turned the screw not over 1/8 turn the problem disappeared
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Old 09-20-2015, 10:18 AM   #13
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You can buy or make a GFI extension cord and if you changed the outlet then make one.

You only need an old computer cord ( everybody usually has a few nowadays) and a bell box, cover and cord strain relief so about 10 bucks in parts.

You use this to test items by plugging them into the outlet then tapping or twisting device to see it it faults.

Not needed often but can help where the gfi is way over there and you are working at distance on possible causes.

Remember to plug the cord into a good non gfi source with good ground
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Old 09-20-2015, 11:25 AM   #14
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If not the fridge, the next most likely candidate will be the converter or inverter charger.

There is no magic bullet here - it's a process of elimination to find the circuit and appliance causing the problem. I would start by turning circuit breakers off to narrow it down. Once the circuit is identified, disable appliances or outlets one by one until the culprit is found.
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