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Old 08-01-2011, 09:30 PM   #1
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Breaker tripping

I have a 94 Pace Arrow that I purchased used a few weeks ago. Since I am new to this forum and to the RV world I have an issue with the 20 amp breaker tripping on my panel in the house. At first I thought I had something running in the MH. After shutting everything off I still kept tripping the breaker. I disconnected the power cord from the HM, no trip. I traced the cord back in to an electrical box that had a GE CR355ADY5A CONTACTOR inside. I thought there was a short in the cord. I disconnected it from the contactor, no trip. I disconnected the load side of the contactor, from the circuit breakers in the MH and it still tripped the breaker. SO Im assuming the contactors are going bad???? But I am unclear as to why they would trip a breaker. I thought there is just a coil inside that energizes when power is applied. Any thoughts or ideas?
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:44 PM   #2
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If you're plugging in to a GFCI outlet try using an outlet that is not GFCI
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:38 AM   #3
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Welcome to irv2.
A defective electric heater element for your refrigerator will trip a GFI outlet if your using one for power to coach.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:37 AM   #4
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Ok...I moved the MH last night from the backyard (parked on grass) to the driveway (cement). I plugged it in to a NON GFI outlet and now everything works fine. no breakers are tripping, the AC unit is running, fridge on. Why would it trip the GFI breakers and not the other ones in the house? Im puzzled on this one. I thought the GFI was suppose to protect against wet conditions.
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:54 PM   #5
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The GFI is sensing a leak to ground some where.
Unplug your fridge and plug into GFI to see if it trips or not at least you will know its not the elements.
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:15 PM   #6
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The GFI is sensing a leak to ground some where.
Unplug your fridge and plug into GFI to see if it trips or not at least you will know its not the elements.
Just came back in from trying that, and I am still tripping the GFI outlet in the house. plugged it back into the outlet that has no GFI on it and nothing trips.
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:10 PM   #7
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Well I thought I was on to something but turned out I wasnt..maybe. I grabbed my GFI Circuit Ground Analizer and plugged it in to the GFI outlet..no issues. So I plugged the extension cord into it and check the other end and it showed I had a hot/neutral reverse. So I grabbed another cord and checked it the same way...no issues. I thought I was in the clear. Plugged the shoreline in and AGAIN i tripped the GFI. So I plug the shoreline into a NON GFI outlet and proceed to check all the outlets in the MH with my tester. EVERYTHING checked out good. I have even go so far as to unplug the shoreline from the MH. No trip on the GFI, but once I plug it back in, the GFI trips. Still clueless!!
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:27 PM   #8
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I found this that explains why it would trip the GFCI you are plugged in to.

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 - 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 heater 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! Even worse, if the source has reversed polarity (the hot & neutral reversed) and a missing ground, the chassis of the RV will be at line (120v AC) potential.

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 an individual 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 08-02-2011, 08:15 PM   #9
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Kix, I went ahead and followed your post. I found where the problem starts. I disconnected the (neutral) white wire coming in from the generator first. plugged the shore power in and no issues with the GFI tripping. However once I attach the white wire from the generator to the circuit, the GFI trips. So does this mean I have a short somewhere in the line from the generator? Thoughts?
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:48 PM   #10
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Kix, I went ahead and followed your post. I found where the problem starts. I disconnected the (neutral) white wire coming in from the generator first. plugged the shore power in and no issues with the GFI tripping. However once I attach the white wire from the generator to the circuit, the GFI trips. So does this mean I have a short somewhere in the line from the generator? Thoughts?
Nopes67.........I just found that info and posted it trying to help you solve your issue. I am not an electrician so please don't make the mistake of thinking I know anything about your system.

However, I really don't know what it means in that you are checking the lines from a power source (gen). Had you been checking a circuit from your moho panel I would say you have a circuit to look further in to. All that is based on my post with the quoted info in it. I think that when your auto transfer (I guess you have one) is NOT in the gen position the generator is totally discoed from the moho shore system. IF that is correct when you plug back into shore power the gen should be totally out of the conversation here. I just don't know if your transfer switch discos all the gen leads or just the hot ones. You could disco ALL the gen leads to get it out of the equation. If, then, all the neutrals in your moho panel do not exhibit a problem then I would suspect the gen.
Maybe someone with experience or schooling in this issue will chime in. I know how frustrating electrical problems can be. Sorry I can't be of more help.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nopes67 View Post
Kix, I went ahead and followed your post. I found where the problem starts. I disconnected the (neutral) white wire coming in from the generator first. plugged the shore power in and no issues with the GFI tripping. However once I attach the white wire from the generator to the circuit, the GFI trips. So does this mean I have a short somewhere in the line from the generator? Thoughts?
Nopes, you've done some good troubleshooting. Does your GE CR355ADY5A transfer switch look like this one?:

If so a very likely explanation is one of the relays is shorted and you are connecting your input Neutral to Ground via the generator connection, which is not supposed to happen. The GFI is doing it's job, it's sensing that connection and tripping. You will need to replace the transfer switch. This store is where I got the pic from, they have one in stock at $120, which is a reasonable price. As normal when working with electrical circuits, insure that shore power is disconnected before working on it and that the generator will not start (some coaches have auto gen starter controls on the generators)

In this case, the GFI may have saved you from worse problems later on by alerting you to the bad transfer switch.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:31 PM   #12
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Luv2Go...........How can Nopes67 "prove" it's in the transfer switch before he buys one?
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:48 PM   #13
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I used to have some of those contactors sitting around the house, but have recently moved so I can't get my hands on them to look at them. You may be able to see if the contacts are closed when they shouldn't be.

Another way would be to measure for continuity (using a DMM) across the neutral contacts of both contactors when the generator is off and shore power is disconnected. You should measure open circuit across both sets of contacts.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:05 PM   #14
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Kix, Luv2go, here's what I know so far.... after disconnecting the (neutral) white wire coming from the generator to the junction box which leads back to the transfer switch and then hooking up the (neutral) white wire back on the switch, the GFI DOES NOT trip. However once I hook up the other two (neutral) white wires coming from the generator into the junction box, the GFI will trip.

SO with that said, I checked continuity across those two wires coming from the generator and had it on one but not the other. I wanted to pull the one wire that DIDNT have continuity and replace it BUT I was almost picked up and carried away by our lovely state bird, the mosquito!!! This may also explain why Im not getting a inconstant spark when I try to start my generator, but that's a whole other issue to be dealt with later. Im guessing that wire is broke and rubbing against metal somewhere...Would that assumption be correct or do you think it may be in the neutral contacts of the transfer switch?

I guess either way I am going to check both...and BTW thank you both for all your help..I am definitely on to something here!! And YES troubleshooting electrical stuff can make a person go bald!!!
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