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Old 12-06-2011, 10:50 AM   #1
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blowing GFI switch when plugging in trailer.

I'm having a problem with plugging in my 2012 Keystone Cougar TT. I have it at a storage facility and when I got to plug it in to the provided power outlet the GFI outlet pops. I just recently had it winterized. It work before that, so not sure if the RV service center did something. I called them, but they said that they didn't mess with any fuses or outlets.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:48 PM   #2
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When you say you are blowing the GFI am I to assume you mean the GFI at the Storage facility or in the Trailer? There are a few different reasons this may happen. If you are plugging into a 110volt outlet this will only supply about 15 amps depending on how many other storage units are sharing a breaker. The first thing I would check is the thermostate setting for the A/C. If when you plugging it in they are already calling for power. Heat pumps and firplace options may also do this if so equiped. Also inspect the end of your power cord if you have the twist lock detachable cord on your rig. I have seen thoise come loose. When you twist it to secure it to the camper end it crossed the ground wire if not properly trimmed when installing the yellow plastic end that plugs into the camper itself. Let me know if this works....if not I will talk with one of my techs to see what else may cause this type issue.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:20 PM   #3
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I will try out those suggestions this week when I get over there to the storage on my way home from work. And yes I was talking about the GFU switch at the storage facility. They have covered storage and on each of the poles there are 4 GFI outlets. As for the " twist lock detachable cord" you mentioned, I dont have one. My cord just comes out of the hole on the side of the trailer.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:55 PM   #4
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Also, if the outlet has a breaker that you can turn off before plugging in, that may help. On our TT I have a surge protector hard wired in and if I don't do that, quite often the surge protector will trip, then I have to wait 7mins for it to reset. If I can get the plug straight enough for all cotacts to make contact at the same time it doesn't do it.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:24 PM   #5
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A GFI breaker does not really care of much current is going thru. It will trip when the current coming in on the black wire is not equal to the current coming back on the white neutral, ie current is 'leaking' elsewhere (maybe someone getting a shock). I have only seen GFI on 15 amp breakers (circuits) so the breaker (not the GFI) will trip if you're trying to draw more than 15 amps but that's a different issue. My last two motorhomes would always trip a GFI and I was never able to use one. An electrician told me that this was because I am using an inverter/charger and as such current is 'dissapearing' inside the coach, thru the inverter (as if there was a current leak). Maybe an electrician on IRV2 can offer further clarifications. You might try turning off your inverter/charger just for a test... (I know you need to be running it to charge your batteries)
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:52 PM   #6
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I tried turning the inverter on and off, but no luck. I know that before I got this thing winterized I had i stored and had no problem with plugging it in. I use a dehumidifier during the summer and it was hooked up prior to me getting it winterized. If the things you guys suggested don't work, I will just take it to the dealer. It is under warranty I've only had since August.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:14 AM   #7
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I will run your scenario by a couple of my RV techs here at the dealership and see if they can give me some feedback for you. I now know enough about your issue to properly relay it to them. I will try and post again later today, hopefully with a more accurate assessment of possible issues.
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:02 AM   #8
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Any chance the hot water heater was on electric (and on) when you drained the tank? That would likely cause a GFCI problem. Here is my suggestions as to how to find the problem:

There are two ways a GFCI will trip - a fault between the hot & ground and for newer GFCIs a fault between the neutral & ground.

The bottom line is that it should be possible to plug your RV into a GFCI protected receptacle without tripping it. If it trips, something is wrong, and it should be corrected. I know there are those that will give all kinds of reasons why it is OK, but it isn't.

If the fault is between a hot & the ground, it is fairly easy to find. Shut off all your secondary breakers, plug the RV into a GFCI receptacle & turn on the circuit breakers one at a time. If one of the breakers causes a trip of the GFCI, you have found the circuit causing the problem. Typical faults include moisture in a receptacle, a bad hot water or refer element, a bad appliance, or a loose connection (although a loose connection that causes a low resistance hot/ground fault should trip the breaker rather than the GFCI). If the problem circuit has individual appliances plugged into it, unplug all of them & plug them back in one at a time to identify the problem appliance.

If the campground GFCI trips with all the breakers off, you have a neutral/ground fault.

A neutral/ground fault is a bit more difficult to find because shutting of the breakers won't prevent the GFCI from tripping, so finding the circuit is more difficult. If your or anyone else has modified circuits in the RV, it is worth checking that the neutral & ground have not been intentionally combined anywhere in the RV. The only place the neutral should be tied to the ground is at the campground's service entrance. If you tie it in the RV, the campground (or home) GFCI will trip.

Ground/neutral faults can also happen unintentionally. Again, a failed hot water heater or refer element can cause a fault as well as water in a receptacle, a screw hitting a wire, etc. The problem is an RV will function normally with a neutral/ground fault when plugged into a non-GFCI receptacle. This may be why some feel there is nothing wrong. In a worst case situation, if the RV ground pin (or any part of the grounding system, RV or campground) fails, a neutral/ground fault will place the chassis & most metal in the RV at the neutral potential. This produces a shock hazard to any real ground such as the campground water pipe, the RV parked next to you, etc. It also causes another interesting problem - The neutral current is split between the neutral & the ground. Again, with a failed RV ground, you might receive a shock disconnecting your water line from the campground faucet!

Finding a ground/neutral fault involves digging into your breaker panel. If you are not comfortable doing this, leave it for an electrician. If you want to do it yourself, unplug the RV, make sure an inverter or generator is not powering the panel, and shut off all the breakers, including the main. Disconnect the neutrals (white wires) one at a time (don't include the main). With a neutral disconnected and all the breakers off, plug the RV into a GFCI receptacle. If it trips, the problem is not that neutral. Reconnect it, & try another. Eventually,you will find the neutral that, when disconnected, prevents the GFCI from tripping. Follow that neutral to identify the circuit, and check the circuit for the problem. Again, this may be more than a non-electrician wants to get into, but I don't know a better way to find the problem.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:53 AM   #9
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Vermile, Thanks for sharing that, I learned more than I knew before on how to chase down this issue. Appreciate the info...good to hear the tech end of the issue. Good luck ....Miw1971
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:30 AM   #10
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Did it rain or did you wash the trailer? I ask only because many outside outlets don't seal well and water can create a whisper short popping the GFI.
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Old 12-13-2011, 12:15 AM   #11
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No, I didn't wash the trailer, and it's in a covered storage. I've tried several of the suggestions, but no luck. I'm also not that knowledgeable when it comes to electrical wiring. So I'm just going to take it to the dealership. I've only had it since August, so it's still under full warranty. Besides, the problem didn't exist until AFTER I got it winterized at the dealer.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vermilye View Post
The only place the neutral should be tied to the ground is at the campground's service entrance.
Isn't the neutral connected to the ground in the 120 panel in the RV?
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBeauchamp View Post
Isn't the neutral connected to the ground in the 120 panel in the RV?
No. Each has an individual buss. That is why there is both a neutral & a ground pin on the trailer connector. Again, in an electrical installation there is only one place that the neutral is tied to ground & that is at the service entrance of your house (or the campground).
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:28 PM   #14
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Well I'd like to thank everyone for you help. I really appreciate the support and effort that went into all of your suggestions. This site is a very useful and enjoyable tool! I also wanted to let everyone know that I finally took the TT into the shop. They told me it was a "bad heating element". Now what I would like to know is how could the heating element go bad so soon? I got the trailer in Aug of 2011 and it was a brand new 2012 model straight from the manufacturer.
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