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Old 12-02-2021, 01:44 PM   #1
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All the sudden, GFCI breaker in RV is tripping the GFCI outlet in barn

We have 2008 Keystone Outback. We have it hooked up to adapter which goes through heavy duty extension cord and has been working fine for 6 months...(we don't use heater or AC)

All the sudden, the RV keeps tripping the CGFI in our barn.

We narrowed it down to a circuit breaker labelled GFCI on the camper. If we turn other breakers on, it is fine.
We unplugged fridge, that didn't fix it..

but, all else except A/C is on and some of the outlets work...

So, I have a few questions:
1. Any theories on how to troubleshoot? Its not the cord, or the adaptor as the other items work in the camper, its just anything under the GFCI breaker in the camper. soon as we turn on, our garage GFCI outlet trips.

2. I read a few posts on this forum that suggests that the RV camper should NOT be plugged into a GFCI outlet in our barn? or is this not the case? if we plug into a non GCFI outlet, doesn't' the camper have its own GFCI of its own to protect from water accidents?

It hasn't rained lately, and survived 2 storms with no issues, only difference is its a lot colder...

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Old 12-02-2021, 02:18 PM   #2
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First off, welcome to IRV2!

Generally, RVs do not play well with GFCI outlets. If it's worked on that outlet in the past and all of a sudden starts tripping, then something has changed such as condensed moisture, sensing a ground or a different adapter that has a bonded (neutral to ground) connection. Plugging into a non GFCI outlet is your best bet as the RV's GFCIs will protect all of its outlets. The circuit breaker on the non GFCI outlet will protect it from shorts or overloads. Normally, refrigerators and large appliances are on non-GFCI circuits.
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Old 12-02-2021, 02:25 PM   #3
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I agree it sounds like something is damp or damaged in your GFCI circuit but I do think you should figure it out and not just plug into a non GFCI circuit (which you won't find in a barn or outdoor location wired to code unless it is a 30 or 50 amp RV hookup). Another thing it could be is a critter chewed some wires, check that circuit over carefully.
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Old 12-02-2021, 02:35 PM   #4
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Thanks Lt Dan & bigb56,
I was thinking that RV shouldn't necessarily be plugged into GFCI outlet, but also agree, something has changed. I looked all around for rodent chew or wet areas...

I am a pretty decent DIY'er, what should I do to "check that circuit over carefully?"

there is only 1 outlet in the RV I can find that has a reset/test in the outlet and that outlet IS working.. so would I power off the RV, battery and pull the breaker box out and look at all the wires it goes to? or maybe run heavy duty extension cord to NON GFCI outlet, and use a GFCI tester on each outlet?
or pull each outlet box out to make sure wires are wet/chewed?

or all of the above

thanks! direction to start with is appreciated.

Good news is half the outlets work, so we have heat and lights, just no fridge and other outlets. Also, I unplugged the fridge and it still tripped so that isnt it.
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Old 12-02-2021, 03:01 PM   #5
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Do you have an inverter aboard?
Just read another thread that talked about similar issue and a response indicated that inverters passing through shore power can be an issue. They recommended leaving inverter on and I believe that fixed the OPs problem.
That could be a change and easy to give it a try.
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Old 12-02-2021, 03:24 PM   #6
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hmmm, I don't believe there is an inverter, but it got me thinking. Its hooked up to a car-size battery to charge,etc.. wonder if the battery goes bad or cracks if that can trip the GFCI. I will unhook and try out...
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Old 12-02-2021, 03:28 PM   #7
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GFCI Breakers trip on imbalance between hot & little a 5ma difference with cause the trip

What is that RV 15A CB circuit feeding........anything plugged into outlets fed by that CB??
That 15A CB should feed general service outlets in the RV
The GFCI outlet in RV being one of them on that circuit

The RV GFCI CB is NOT tripping...correct?
The RV GFCI would be 'looking' downstream from it.....

The Barn GFCI would be 'looking' downstream of it thru extension cord/adapter and up to RV Main AC Power Panel

Typically the RV fridge Circuit causes the GFCI supply CB to trip due to 'leakage' at Fridge AC Element
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:06 AM   #8
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answer to your ?

So here is the funny thing. The outlet in the bathroom with the reset/test button WORKS. its the breaker on the electric panel that isn't happy, so we have it off at the moment.

I unplugged all items plugged into the outlets...

I will need to pull the panel out and make sure all connections are tight, see what is on that breaker (with power off of course :0)

To answer your question, the The RV GFCI CB is NOT tripping, but turning it ON, is tripping the GFCI outlet in my barn that the RV is plugged into.

and I unplugged the Fridge from outlet and still trips, so can't be the fridge, right? thanks again for all your thoughts, theories, I am what my kids call an RV noob :-)
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:12 AM   #9
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I hate to be a parts changer, prefer to trouble shoot the actual problem, but...

How expensive is that RV GFCI breaker? I would replace it and see if that solved the problem, based on what it sounds like you have checked so far.

I should also add, I am not an electrician, just a DIYer myself who has probably broken laws in at least 2 states and multiple city/county jurisdictions by wiring up outlets, adding and replacing breakers, etc. However, typically, I think most electricians would say my work meets or exceeds code.
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:53 AM   #10
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That breaker looks like a standard 15A breaker......Label indicates GFI so I suspect it feeds the circuit that the GFCI outlet is on in the bathroom and any other outlets daisy chained downstream

I also suspect 'imbalance' issue is occurring between the 15A CB and the GFI Outlet...hence the GFI Outlet doesn't trip but the Bard GFCI CB does trip.
Could be wiring AT the GFCI outlet in bathroom....line side (from CB) not Load side (going out of outlet)
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Old 12-07-2021, 08:26 PM   #11
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Try drying out the gfci with a hair dryer, then swap out the outlet with a high quality Leviton outlet as they do go bad sometimes. Remember there is leakage from ground to neutral thru the air and it doesn’t are much humidity or change the resistance of air. Also there are I^2 R losses that is proportional to total circuit length. Try using a shorted extension cord
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Old 12-08-2021, 04:13 AM   #12
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Is there a chance you ran the water heater with low or no water ?

An overheated element can cause a ground fault. Switching off the breaker only disconnects one side of it.

With power off, find the water heaters neutral wire and disconnect that, along with the breaker switched off and see what happens.
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Old 08-23-2022, 07:50 PM   #13
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Hope this helps somebody.
I had the same problem. GFCI outlet tripped whenever I plugged in my motorhome.
Turns out, the ground connection from the romex cable at the roof air conditioner was corroded, causing a ground loop the GFCI didn't like.
Cleaning the wire, connection point, new screw fixed the problem.
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