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Old 07-13-2020, 02:57 PM   #1
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Outlets good on geny, not shore

Hi all,

As soon as we connect to shore power, the breaker for our non-GFCI outlets trips. Sometimes it'll trip just the breaker for that circuit, sometimes the main breaker, sometimes the breaker on the power post. Nothing else trips. This happens at every RV park we go to.

Nothing is plugged in when this happens. I've checked the outlets and everything seems well connected.

The odd part is everything runs fine when we use our generator. It's only the one circuit and only with shore power.

Any ideas? Is this a ground issue? Maybe a wire in a wall somewhere? How do I track this down?

Thanks!!
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Old 07-13-2020, 03:59 PM   #2
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Your Auto Transfer Switch wires may be lose and shorting out.

Seen plenty of pictures of the wires burnt up in them.

Find it and remove the cover, with all power off.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:56 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tip. I'll see what I can find!
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:03 AM   #4
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Quick research indicates I don't have an automatic transfer switch. Our generator is not built in to the RV, we plug the geny into the same external 30A plug as the shore power.
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:39 AM   #5
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Got ya, strange that it trips shore power and not portable generator power.

OK, if you have slides, do you plug in to shore power before opening them and hook up the generator only after they are already out ?

Could have a wire under the slide that's worn bare and shorting while moving the slide.
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:40 AM   #6
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Which breaker is tripping?

T, it sounds to me like there is a dead short in one of your circuits, sufficient to blow the main. What's confusing hs that it doesn't happen when you are on generator.

Shore power has a bonded ground-neurtral, but the genny might not (it would have a 'floating' neutral if it isn't bonded). It's the only variable I can think of.

But getting back to the shore power issue: you say the non-gfi breaker (singlular) is tripping. T, all the breakers are non-gfi, so I guess you mean one of the breakers for a circuit with non-gfi receptacles is tripping. Yes?

Identify which circuit it is. Some of the circuits have stuff plugged into them that are drawing power all the time their plugged in.Try turning all of the 120v breakers off. Then hook up to shore power. Turn each breaker on. Which one trips? It could be the circuit for the microwave (it's clock is on when it's not in use). If that's the one, unplug the micro and reset the breaker 2. water heater (only works if the switch for it is on) 3. air conditioner (ditto) 4. refrigerator (and downstream outlets in your bedroom if yours is wired like our 21rbs). Our refr plugs into a recept accessed through the outside cover of the water heater, if this is the breaker, uplug the refr and reset the breaker.
Hope this helps.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:26 PM   #7
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Refr plug

Oops, senior moment. The refr plugs into an outlet in the refr compartment accessed through the black plastic panel on the side of the trailer. There isn't any recept inside the water heater access, just an on-off switch.
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Old 07-15-2020, 10:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T Money View Post
Hi all,

As soon as we connect to shore power, the breaker for our non-GFCI outlets trips. Sometimes it'll trip just the breaker for that circuit, sometimes the main breaker, sometimes the breaker on the power post. Nothing else trips. This happens at every RV park we go to.

Nothing is plugged in when this happens. I've checked the outlets and everything seems well connected.

The odd part is everything runs fine when we use our generator. It's only the one circuit and only with shore power.

Any ideas? Is this a ground issue? Maybe a wire in a wall somewhere? How do I track this down?

Thanks!!
It sure sounds like you've got a short between a hot wire and ground somewhere. BE CAREFUL because with this short, when you're connected to your generator, your trailer frame is likely to be hot, and lethal as your generator isn't supplying a ground path to protect you! The same would be true for a regular power connection, except that a breaker is blowing because of the ground path in the pedestal.

If you have an outlet tester, this would probably show up as a reverse connection error when connected to the generator (one red, one yellow light), or if you have a voltmeter, you'll find 120VAC between the neutral (wide plug) and ground on any of the outlets.

The short is very likely to be on the circuit for the non-GFCI outlets. Since that breaker, the main and pedestal breakers are in series, it's just a matter of chance as to which one blows first as you're exceeding the current ratings for all.

You can easily test this theory by leaving the non-GFCI outlets breaker off and then hooking up to regular shore power. Everything else should work just fine.

If you do have a short to ground, it could be almost anywhere, but with power off, I'd start by checking all of the AC connections in the converter. Make sure all of the hot, neutral and ground wires are fully tightened down, and that something hasn't come loose. Especially look for a ground (green) wire that may have come loose and be touching the breaker. I only suggest starting here because there's been a history of connections that were never tightened at the factory, and because this is an easy location to check.

After that, since you don't a bad device plugged into the outlets, then there's probably some place where the hot (black) wire has rubbed through the insulation against the frame, or a screw connected to the frame, or against some other piece of grounded metal and spot-welded itself in place.

With the power still off, and keeping with the theme of starting with the easy stuff, I'd pull each of the outlets and again check the wires for loose connections. Then use an ohm meter to check for a short between the hot and ground at each outlet while tugging on the hot line to see if you can break the short. Don't forget any outside outlets you might have.
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Old 07-16-2020, 07:19 AM   #9
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Great thorough post! Its obvious you know your way around electricity!
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Old 07-16-2020, 07:51 AM   #10
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Grounded Hot wire

All good advice except the OP has already identified the circuit with the problem. He has found a branch circuit that trips sometimes. That is the circuit with the problem. All other circuits are ok.

I agree with above posts. It is likely a short from hot wire in the identified circuit to ground somewhere. It could be an abrasion against the frame. It could be a loose hot wire end. There are lots of other possibilities. Use troubleshooting procedures to narrow down where it is. Then a careful search of that part of the circuit.

I expect the generator is not grounded. For safety, it should be. You would connect the generator neutral to the generator ground at the generator. I expect that would cause TT circuit breaker to trip just like it does when plugged into pedestal.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 07-17-2020, 04:03 PM   #11
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Thank you so much for the replies! Bob, I really appreciate your knowledge. I didn't realize that the frame is likely hot when running on the geny. Good point.

There is no slide-out. Also, I specify non-GFCi because those outlets are on a separate circuit. My power converter is also on its own circuit. 1 circuit for GFCI outlets, another for regular outlets, and another just for the power converter.

I'll keep the problem circuit off until I get it fixed.

Thanks!
Tony
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Old 07-18-2020, 03:52 PM   #12
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It is likely you have what is called "hot skin" on your rv.

Easily tested with a non-contact ac tester that beeps when it detects ac voltage on the metal parts of the rig.

Check out this website for more info and info about generators and grounding.
http://noshockzone.org/rv-electrical...iv-Ė-hot-skin/

Stay safe!
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