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Old 06-15-2021, 10:30 AM   #1
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Eaton GFCI failure and search for replacement

I’m embarrassed to post this thread because it took me approximately two full days to finally get this problem resolved and it should have taken an hour or two and a trip to a Lowes and fini !! For no discernable reason, one day Dee wanted to wash some clothes and she said that the washer was not working. Of course, the most likely culprit was the circuit breaker. On my Cornerstone, there are two Circuit breaker boxes above the driver’s seat. The left box is composed of all loads that are run directly and exclusively off of shore/commercial power. The right box is composed of loads and circuits that are powered by the Magnum inverters and are powered off the house batteries or the Magnum inverter bypass. The circuit I was looking for was then in the left box for commercial power only and marked “washer”. There are twelve circuits in that box, and 9 separate breakers. Three of the breakers are GFCI circuits with test buttons to provide additional protection from bad grounds and potential shock or electrocution. The Washer GFCI was thrown. I tried to reset and it immediately kicked right back off. Obviously, a problem in that circuit or appliance. I first accessed the duplex plugs in the rear of the coach behind the temporary panel in the closet. The top duplex had the dryer power cord and the bottom duplex had the washer power. I first unplugged the washer and swapped it with the dryer and this time the dryer GFCI did not trip. Then I plugged the dryer into the washer duplex and the circuit kicked off.. That told me conclusively that the problem was the Eaton GFCI. Easy!!

So, off to Lowes in State College to buy an Eaton GFCI 20 amp breaker, exact replacement. . Problem was that they didn’t have any!?! Lots of Eaton regular breakers but no GFCI. So off to Home Depot and again, no Eaton 20 amp GFCI. So, then off to an electrical supply company to buy a breaker and they didn’t have any either. So I powered the washer through an extension cord and waited until we arrived in Allentown to hit the bigger, better stocked Lowes. Guess what? NO 20 amp Eaton GFCI there either. Then I noticed some Eaton breakers all by themselves hanging in blister packages. They were about $70, and reading through the packaging I discovered that now they are a three of four function circuit-breaker that does ground fault plus detection of sparks, and at least one other function. Maybe those would work, but I wasn’t sure. Decided to wait until I could call Middlebury. Called Middlebury parts and explained that Eaton apparently did not make a GFCI breaker any more and the parts lady said “No problem, look for a 20 amp Siemen’s GFCI breaker, Model QF-120A”. So off to Lowes once again and they had it, but it was again around $60 and that seemed high. So checked Amazon, and they had the Siemens QF-120A and they were about $45 each, so bought two with Prime and had in two days.

Now, here is the most important part. Probably all Entegra coaches through 2019 and I would bet through 20 or 21 have a bunch of those Eaton GFCI breakers in the boxes. On my coach, there are 6 of them total. In the left commercial power box there are three and in the right inverter box there are three more. As of this fiasco, I now carry an extra spare circuit breaker to replace every type of circuit breaker that is in the bus…. Every size and type. And if you ever have a 20 amp Eaton GFCI fail, it would behoove you to have at least one Siemens QF-120A GFCI in your basement if you don’t want to go through the problems I had to find a replacement. Mark that down my friends…… Siemens QF-120A. In hindsight I probably could have gotten the sophisticated Eaton in the blister pack and been fixed a few days earlier but it was expensive and I believe it had an extra push-on connector on the back that would have prevented it from it being installed in our boxes. I didn’t buy it so don’t really know. One final comment, the correct Siemens come with a curled/coiled solid conductor (not stranded wire) coiled nicely behind the breaker. That bothered me as the OEM Eaton did not seem to have it, however, I realize that you just nicely uncoil the pigtail and it is the wire that does go to the neutral. Don’t be afraid of the pigtail…. Just unwind and straighten and cut off what you don’t need..

Took way too long to simply replace a circuit breaker

Pix #1; OEM failed Eaton GFCI breaker to washer.
Pix #2: New Siemens QF-120A GFCI breaker.
Pix #3: left side, Line-Powered circuit breaker box. The new Siemens replacement is next to last far right.
Pix #4: right side, Interver-Powered circuit breaker box.

Gary
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Old 06-15-2021, 10:47 AM   #2
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Gary, no need to be embarrassed! Great job going through the process of troubleshooting and tracking down the correct part. Now you may save one of us those two days in the future
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Old 06-15-2021, 10:56 AM   #3
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One more thing. I found that this bad breaker (and it was not the cause of the problem) had a problem that I first saw within a day or two after I left NIRVC when I picked up the coach and it absolutely drove me nuts trying to figure out what the problem was. I have included a picture of the two white wires coming out of the old Eaton circuit breaker. Notice the amount of insulation that was stripped off the wires. The one on the bottom is pretty good. Remember, that wire is going to be pushed into one of the grounds or neutrals of the Eaton GFCI or the buss. The wire on the top in the picture has approximately half of the insulation stripped off of it that it should have stripped off, and if it was installed quickly, that wire might never make an electrical connection with the grounding buss. Now, this circuit worked for three years so I dont think that it was what caused the GFCI to keep kicking off, but it is the exact same problem that drove me nuts when I first bought the coach with a wire that had even less insulation stripped off the solid copper center conductor and in that case, the wire was definitely NOT making any electrical connection. Whoever did the electrical assembly and installation work on this coach simply did it so quickly that they never looked at how much insulation they were removing from the wire and in the earlier case I am discussing, there was so much insulation still on the wire, that the wire never made contact with the circuit breaker it was inserted into. Easy mistake, but just indicates sloppy, quick work.

Gary
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2013 Honda CR-V toad, Demco Excali-Bar II,
Demco Baseplate, Demco Toad Light system, 73 de W5FI
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Old 06-15-2021, 02:33 PM   #4
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All the OEM Eaton GFCI breakers in both boxes except for the new Siemens Washer breaker have the white. "test" button near the bottom. The new Siemens, (second from right-most in the third picture) has that white test button replaced with a small, circular test button in the lower left of the breaker. There is an LED in that button that also tells you the main reason that the breaker has tripped.

This wording is from the Lowes web page for this product. It also explains to me for the first time why the breaker has been forced to change to this Siemens' type
-------------------------------------------

"The dual function circuit breaker combines GFCI and AFCI, protecting against both arc faults and ground faults. This, along with the new self-test and lockout feature, makes it the first in class in electrical safety for homeowners. The 2014 national electrical code (NEC) now requires both arc fault and ground fault protection on kitchen and laundry circuits. Dual function circuit breakers combines GFCI and AFCI protecting against both arc faults and ground faults

The 2014 national electrical code (NEC) now requires both arc fault and ground fault protection on kitchen and laundry circuits

Exclusive LED trip indicator pinpoints cause of trip

Wire range: #14-#8 AWG copper or #12-#8 AWG aluminum"

Gary
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2013 Honda CR-V toad, Demco Excali-Bar II,
Demco Baseplate, Demco Toad Light system, 73 de W5FI
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Old 06-15-2021, 02:55 PM   #5
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If the code changed in 2014 why were they installing the older ones in a coach probably built in 2018? Inventory grandfathered in?
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Old 06-15-2021, 03:15 PM   #6
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Good Question

Maybe the Eatons were dual function also, but I have never seen it referred to that way.... Eaton dumping old stock...... lots of possibilities.
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Old 06-15-2021, 05:07 PM   #7
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"And if you ever have a 20 amp Eaton GFCI fail, it would behoove you to have at least one Siemens QF-120A GFCI in your basement if you don’t want to go through the problems I had to find a replacement. Mark that down my friends…… Siemens QF-120A."


Question: Should this be added to the "sticky" for all the spare parts, belts and filters on the Entegra home page?

Best

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Old 06-15-2021, 05:33 PM   #8
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There are really only three styles of breakers. Eaton and Cutler Hammer are interchangeable. There is the GE style and then Square D. If you have a breaker go, take it out and take it with you. The big box stores handle them all. I blew a Eaton while I was in Mexico. Only one style there. GE. Got to Tucson and walked in with the Eaton and not an Eaton in the store Cutler Hammer is the DIY version. Plenty of them. I carry 3 different 50 amp and 3 different 20 amp with me. I would have had one, but it would not have been GFCI. You'd have to risk it until you got the right one.
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:27 PM   #9
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Mike

There is so much outdated and inaccurate information in that sticky that I am not inclined to add it to that list. Maybe people will find the information by searching for GFCI or similar.

Gary
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Old 06-16-2021, 09:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garysfb View Post
If the code changed in 2014 why were they installing the older ones in a coach probably built in 2018? Inventory grandfathered in?



My bet is a national code adopted for S&B is not necessarily used as an oversight/check when dealing with a motorcoach build. I am sure Entegra doesn't schedule a framing/plumbing/electrical inspection with the city for each coach. So Entegra gets a good deal to help the Eaton's of the world work through (in this case) breakers that can't be used in residential building any longer.
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Old 06-16-2021, 10:08 AM   #11
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Might as well complete every aspect of this thread.

I did pay about $60 for a Eaton GFCI at an electrical supply store that I am not using and pretty sure that it will not work at all in the box that is mounted above the driver seat.

The first picture shows the circuit breaker from the front. It appears to be a general match to the one that I took out except for the small round test button at the bottom rather than the big white test button on the ones in the panels in the coach.

However, in the side view of this same breaker, notice the additional clamp sort of connection on the back. The connection appears to be designed to slide into a bar that would be located on the back of the box. Never seen this before and dont really understand it, but that is my guess.

Also, there is no coiled pigtail or even pre-soldered wire out the back of the breaker.

I'm pretty sure that I am now stuck with a $60 Eaton breaker that I will never use and probably give to Goodwill....

Any real electrician, what do I have here?

Gary
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Demco Baseplate, Demco Toad Light system, 73 de W5FI
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Old 06-16-2021, 02:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary.Jones View Post
Might as well complete every aspect of this thread.

I did pay about $60 for a Eaton GFCI at an electrical supply store that I am not using and pretty sure that it will not work at all in the box that is mounted above the driver seat.

The first picture shows the circuit breaker from the front. It appears to be a general match to the one that I took out except for the small round test button at the bottom rather than the big white test button on the ones in the panels in the coach.

However, in the side view of this same breaker, notice the additional clamp sort of connection on the back. The connection appears to be designed to slide into a bar that would be located on the back of the box. Never seen this before and dont really understand it, but that is my guess.

Also, there is no coiled pigtail or even pre-soldered wire out the back of the breaker.

I'm pretty sure that I am now stuck with a $60 Eaton breaker that I will never use and probably give to Goodwill....

Any real electrician, what do I have here?

Gary
I am not sure about Eaton but if like Square D they make two types of breakers Ones that have a buss bar for the neutral so when you plug the breaker in the panel it gets it hot from the phase buss bar and the neutral from the neutral buss bar in the panel. This panel has only been out for a few years now.

The other breaker with the pig tail is made for panels that do not have the the neutral buss and only have a neutral bar with screws that the pigtail is attached to.
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Old 06-17-2021, 08:04 AM   #13
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^^ Correct. All the primary manufactures of load centers are building these new style panels for convenience to installers and provide a cleaner installation. Then new electrical codes being adopted by many municipality's require afci in all areas of the home along with gfi"s as required. The early requirements of afci were bedrooms. So, yes, be careful what you buy.
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Old 06-19-2021, 08:42 AM   #14
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Alternately, Entegra will be happy to sell you just one of these little gems for $119 including shipping.

Gary
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