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Old 06-21-2008, 02:29 PM   #1
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I know there are a lot of posts on this subject. I believe I read all of them. My problem is a little different I went camping this week end and the only power available was a 20 Amp GFI outlet. I have never tried this set up before with a GFI. It popped immediately after the surge protector delay. To get through the week end I switched out the GFI receptacle for a non GFI one.

I installed a GFI 20 Amp receptacle today in my garage for testing problems. I usually use a 30 or 50 and have no problems. I turned all breakers of on my panel including the main into the panel. It would hold until the surge protector kicked in and the GFI would blow.

The only 2 things that were not shut off were the TRC Surge Protector model 34560 and the Parallax Generator switch model ATS 5070. With everything shut down it would appear to be a problem with one or the other.

Has anyone else had a similar problem and if so how did you get it resolved? Any input would be much appreciated.

Don
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:29 PM   #2
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I know there are a lot of posts on this subject. I believe I read all of them. My problem is a little different I went camping this week end and the only power available was a 20 Amp GFI outlet. I have never tried this set up before with a GFI. It popped immediately after the surge protector delay. To get through the week end I switched out the GFI receptacle for a non GFI one.

I installed a GFI 20 Amp receptacle today in my garage for testing problems. I usually use a 30 or 50 and have no problems. I turned all breakers of on my panel including the main into the panel. It would hold until the surge protector kicked in and the GFI would blow.

The only 2 things that were not shut off were the TRC Surge Protector model 34560 and the Parallax Generator switch model ATS 5070. With everything shut down it would appear to be a problem with one or the other.

Has anyone else had a similar problem and if so how did you get it resolved? Any input would be much appreciated.

Don
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:59 PM   #3
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Could it be the GFI switch has gone bad?

A friend of mine had that happen to his motorhome last fall. He went to Home Depot and got a new one, installed it and has not had any problems since.
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:53 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RV_Boy:
Could it be the GFI switch has gone bad?
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I tried 3 different ones at the campsite and installed a new one this morning in the garage.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:17 PM   #5
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Does your surge protector have an indicator light that verifies a good ground? If so this is probally what is tripping the gfi, The current flow of the light, or sensing circuitry may be enough to make the outlet think there's a fault.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:57 PM   #6
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Check your coaches load center (breaker panel). You may have the neutral and ground tied together there, or one of the neutral (white) wires may be connected to a ground terminal instead of the neutral terminal. Either one would cause a GFCI to trip. You could have a similar problem in the transfer switch or the shore power cord itself, i.e. a ground and neutral reversed.

Surge protectors shunt excess voltage to the ground (usually though a device called an MOV) and that would trip a GFCI, but that should not be happening in normal operation.
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Old 06-22-2008, 03:23 PM   #7
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Iagree with RV Roamer. I have had several friends who had the neutral and the Ground bonded or tied together and GFCI units do not like this. Usually this is done at the inverter or converter.
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:06 PM   #8
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Thanks guys for your thoughts. I checked my power panel and the grounds and neutrals are all separate. In fact the grounds have plastic sleeves on them. I checked the box that supplies power from the inverter and that looks all separated. I checked the generator transfer switch and the neutrals are all separate from the grounds. The only thing I have added is the Surge Protector. It is hard wired and looks on the outside as wired correctly.

My thoughts are like Hillbilly2. There may be some circuitry that the GFI does not like. If it is not the Surge Protector that my 2nd guess would be the Transfer Switch. I have never plugged into a GFI before so I am not sure if it ever was any different.

Don
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:15 AM   #9
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There is the possibility that a bad heating elememt in the water heater or ref can cause this problem. I recommend you isolate these heaters one at a time to determine if and which one is shorted to ground. This can happen and not trip a circuit breaker and even continue to work on non GFCI protected circuits.
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Old 06-23-2008, 04:41 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RV Wizard:
There is the possibility that a bad heating elememt in the water heater or ref can cause this problem. I recommend you isolate these heaters one at a time to determine if and which one is shorted to ground. This can happen and not trip a circuit breaker and even continue to work on non GFCI protected circuits. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Mike, I shut off all breakers on the master panel including the line in. Would this procedure eliminate the possibility of anything beyond the panel causing the shut down?
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:26 AM   #11
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With all the breakers off, including Line In, you have eliminated all the usual appliances and branch circuits. That points to the surge protector, transfer switch, or EMS (Energy Management, if you have one) or the main power cord as the culprit because these are all wired in ahead of the load center breakers.

The GFCI only cares that the amps going out on the hot leg are ALL coming back on the Neutral. If there is any difference at all between Hot and Neutral it will trip. Somewhere, some (probably tiny) amount of current is going to either the Ground pin or to some other ground (e.g. the earth). I think I would disconnect the Surge, since that is one thing that has changed since the coach was built.
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:01 AM   #12
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I used to think that by turning off the breaker to a circuit would completely remove this from the remaining grid but one day found out otherwise when it come to GFCI feed. Alternating current has no polarity and therfore if you have a slight current leakage on a circuit just removing the hot leg does not completely isolate the "path" and this can trip a GFCI upstream. I ended up fininding a bad water heater element that had a path from filiment to chassis ground; not enough to trip a breaker but enough to trip a GFCI if the coach we to be plugged into one. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:28 PM   #13
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Today I removed the wire feed from the generator transfer switch to the master panel. The GFCI held. This should mean that the problem is not in the Surge Protector or the transfer switch. I have a Xantrex Inverter/Charger. That also monitors the line in. Would there be any circuitry in that which would trip a GFCI?

If my knowledge on this is correct I must have a current loss from the neutral circuit to the ground bar. In trying to debug the main box can I disconnect all the ground wires except the main ground feed and check for a voltage reading between the ground wires and the bar? It would seem that if some current is being transferred from neutral to ground I should get a reading.

Thanks for the input;
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:38 PM   #14
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I have fixed the problem. I called Winnebago and the Service Adviser said he remembered a Service Bulletin on my model year with a 2000 watt inverter/charger. It had to do with how the unit ties the neutral and ground together under certain conditions. I had to rewire a neutral that was hooked up between the main panel and the inverter panel causing a direct connection to ground through the inverter.

Thanks everybody for all your suggestions.

Don
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