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Old 07-16-2010, 09:02 AM   #1
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Question Electrical Short?

I have a 1988, 21' Terry camper and I have an electrical short somewhere. When I plug my camper into my home service -- using the proper connector -- the circuit to my home breaker clicks off. I have disconnected the frig, heater, converter which are on the same circuit and it still pops the circuit. The AC unit is on it's own camper circuit and it does not pop my home breaker when I turn it on and have the balance of electrics on the other turned off.

I have taken the outlets out, looked at them and all seem fine. The GFI looks a bit corroded, but when I by passed the outlet by wiring them together, I got the same result. I want to take a trip with the kids with our camper in a couple of weeks and trying to figure this out. Can anyone be of help?
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:31 AM   #2
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I would start by turning off all of the breakers in the rig. Then plug it in and see what happens. Then if it doesn't blow, try turning on and off each breaker. This will at least isolate the circuit. Keep us posted...Phil
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:36 AM   #3
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I have done that. I have two circuits in the camper: Circuit one for the outlets the frig, heater, and converter and the other dedicated to just the AC (which works fine). I have unplugged the frig, heater, converter and camper circuit one, still pops my home breaker which is 15 amp breaker.

Do GFI outlets go bad? What else could be doing this. All the electrics have worked fine until this time....
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:40 AM   #4
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GFI's can go bad, but that usually will not trip the main breaker. Have you installed any new items. I am asking because you may have put a screw or nail through a wire. It happened to me, I put the fridge cover back on after cleaning and decided that it needed 1 more screw...Not good, it went right through a wire and shorted the electrical. Phil
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:43 AM   #5
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I have not installed anything new. The GFI looked OK to me. Where though would I buy a replacement, RV grade one?

Also, what would be the best procedure to chase this down?
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:45 AM   #6
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Unfortunately you have exausted my knowledge on this type of problem. As far as I know any GFI outlet will work as long as it is rated the same (amps). One last thought, maybe the breaker in your rig is bad???
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:47 AM   #7
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The process would be to eliminate all power loads via breakers, etc. Trace your shore power cable to where it plugs into the RV. Find if the Converter has its own breakers, fuses, etc. Look for loose connections, visual observations, etc. Finding electrical shorts without doing additional damage can take time. You'll need a VOM and wiring diagrams if the problem is not obvious. Have there been any wiring changes? Any newly added appliances? A 15 amp house power is not much if say your refrig or air conditioner is kicking on right when power is applied.

Sounds like you already know all of this
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:47 AM   #8
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Maybe I should replace that breaker and see what happens. I've never heard of a breaker going bad. Any other advice out there?
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:52 AM   #9
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Batman_777 has some excellent ideas. Before purchasing a new breaker swap it out with the other one (if they are the same amp rating) and see what happens.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:53 AM   #10
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There are two breakers for two circuits. One for outlets and outlets that power the frig, converter and I disconnected the wires that go to the heater itself. All those on one circuit/ breaker. The second circuit/breaker powers my AC unit it is a dedicated cuircuit and that works just fine -- it does not trip my home breaker.

I have plugged in and unplugged one at a time on circuit one and it still trips the home breaker. Nothing new has been installed. Everything is unplugged from the outlets. Once I turn on power to circuit one, it trips my home breaker.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:10 AM   #11
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With a meter, and all power removed, go to the shore power plug from the RV and check for any voltage on it (of course there should not be any). Meter for voltage from all three points on the plug. If there is no voltage found on any path from Hot to Common to Ground or from hot (black) to common (white) to ground. Then meter for ohms on all three. Do this with the breaker off and then with the breaker on while checking for voltage each time. Doesn't the RV supply current from the batteries when shore power is removed? Be careful.. Don't add problems. Check the wiring behind the breaker panel. Look for the obvoius and not so obvious (loose ground). Of course don't meter for ohms if there is any voltage present. GFI circuits can go bad but not a norm. Circuit breakers get a little weaker each time they trip.
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Old 07-17-2010, 01:26 AM   #12
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Bill, Batman is on to something. You probably have a loose wire on one of the outlets on ckt 1 - esp if removing the loads - refer, coverter, etc does not cure the tripping problem. You did not state this, but we are all assuming that your house ckt is GFI protected. If you are using an extension cord to run from the house outlet to the TT IT could have an open neutral wire. BTW GFI outlets look for a balance of current in the hot and neutral lines, if all is well, then the currents will be equal, if one is greater than the other it is assumed that the extra current is flowing to ground somewhere. GFI outlets do go bad, but not that often.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:13 AM   #13
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You may also try unhooking the battery as the charging system might be the problem. Just my 2 cents on the subject.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:25 AM   #14
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Just for the sake of asking, have you checked the "shore power" recieptical with another deviece ( drop light , radio, ect) ?
Next would be to look at what has changed since the unit was plugged in and known to be GOOD (sometimes it's the littlest bugg's that take the biggest bites).
IF you have never used a VOM or are not comfortable with the check-out procedure offered by "BATMAN" above seek qualified help.
BUT, above all else "BE CAREFUL" you do not want to become a "CRISPY CRITTER" while trying to find something that may be simple.
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