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Old 04-24-2016, 01:23 PM   #1
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Question House GFI trips when plugging in shore power

Hi, seems I have a problem with my camper's charger/converter circuitry. When I plug into the house GFI outlet, the GFI trips. If I use the battery disconnect then I have no problem. So I'm thinking I have an issue with the converter/charger network. Also, If I don't use the disconnect switch and disconnect the battery terminals I have no problem. Any suggestions/ideas? I do not know the charger/converter mfg. I also suspect this might have something to do with the network's neutral and ground....possibly being shorted-reason I believe could be possible for the GFI to trip.

Thanks,
Bernie
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:47 PM   #2
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Not sure if this is your issue, but something you can try out.

When I first started to plug in my shore power, I noticed a pop and a spark, so I started to turn the main breaker off inside my trailer BEFORE I hook or unhook shore power.

It seems like, even with everything off, when the plug goes in, it still surges into the trailer.

Just recently, I bought an inline surge protector, basically a giant GFCI TEST and RESET button. So now, instead of having to go inside the trailer to turn the main breaker on and off, I just hit TEST, and it kills the power to the entire trailer before i plug or unplug the shore power.

Hope that helps...
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:11 PM   #3
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I am interested in this thread also. I have the same problem. We have a 2000 Georgie Boy (F53) and we built a car port for it. I routed an electrical circuit to it just to keep batteries charged, lights, and the refrigerator running. I ran the curcuit off an old, unused hot tub 50 amp GFI breaker. It would trip as soon as I turned on the main breaker in the coach. I bought another non-GFI breaker and am currently using it with no problems. Do not know why the GFI would trip.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:20 PM   #4
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Could even be the refer if you have an absorption one. Personally I've found that you're better off not plugging into a GFCI due to the grounding in the RV.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:33 PM   #5
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GFCIs sense a difference in current between hot (narrow slot) and neutral (wide slot) of outlet. They trip if the difference is more than 5 milliamps. Any one item is allowed some leakage current as follows:

Double Insulated not grounded appliance 0.25 mA
Grounded Hand Held Device 0.75 mA
Grounded not hand held movable device 3.5 mA
Stationary device 3.5 mA

For this reason an RV, which has many devices, should not be plugged into a GFCI. As few as 2 non-defective devices in the RV that meets saftey standards together can cause a GFCI feeding the whole RV to trip. You could try to figure out what is causing the > 5 mA difference by plugging the RV into a 120 V GFCI outlet with an adapter and opening one breaker at a time in the RV then try to reset the GFCI and isolate which branch circuits generate the leakage current that causes the trip. Things that are known to cause it include the DSI 120 volt hot water heater element.

Something in the RV has a leakage current from hot to ground that is causing the difference. If you plug into a 120 volt GFCI outlet with an adapter, you can isolate which branch circuit in your RV has the leakage by opening one breaker at a time and seeing with which one open the GFCI no longer trips.

One known cause that it could be would be the heating element in your DSI hot water heater, if your RV has one. That heating element is not on a GFCI so if it gets a partial short to ground nothing in the RV would trip or alert you to the danger. That would be worth finding out and fixing, as if your RV ever did not have a good ground, you could get a shock from water use.
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Old 04-24-2016, 05:06 PM   #6
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Thx for all your responses! I am almost sure, reading all the responses from you and other blogs that the problem lies between residual current between the neutral and ground. Having said that, I feel that the chassis is properly grounded through the shore pwr cord and that the residual won't pose a threat. Unfortunately, To charge the batteries thru the house, I will have to use a non-GFI outlet
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Old 04-24-2016, 05:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by In Pursuit View Post
I am interested in this thread also. I have the same problem. We have a 2000 Georgie Boy (F53) and we built a car port for it. I routed an electrical circuit to it just to keep batteries charged, lights, and the refrigerator running. I ran the curcuit off an old, unused hot tub 50 amp GFI breaker. It would trip as soon as I turned on the main breaker in the coach. I bought another non-GFI breaker and am currently using it with no problems. Do not know why the GFI would trip.
I had this problem once, and ended up shutting off the converter/charger. Seems that something in how the converter/charger is wired kicks out the GFI.
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:01 AM   #8
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It could be the converter grounding is not correct.

If the person wired it wrong maybe.

Safety ground should not be connected to neutral.

It is possible that there could be issue with how the converter works or a wire in wrong place.

A gfi tripping indicates broken...
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:43 PM   #9
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Ours has always done it. I plug in, the gfci trips, I reset it and all is fine. Ours seems to only trip it on initial plug in, or if i start the gen and the bus transfers over to the gen. I think it is the transfer switch is just not fast enough on the transfer and tricks the gfci into tripping. I have double and triple checked all the wiring and connections and everything is correct and tight.


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Old 04-26-2016, 08:50 PM   #10
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A transfer switch certainly can false a shore gfi but then not common to run genny or inverter if shore present.

Good troubleshooting tool is either a factory gfi cord (expensive) or home made one by adding a bell box with a gfi outlet to an extension cord then plug things into that cord to test.
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:33 PM   #11
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Good info here.

RV Electrical Safety: Part IV – Hot Skin | No~Shock~Zone
and here

http://noshockzone.org/category/rv-safety/
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:34 AM   #12
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Again, my thanks to all the responders. I'm 99% convinced the issue lays within the charger network. If I enable the 'battery disconnect'-no GFI trip. If I disable the 'battery disconnect' and physically remove the battery-no GFI trip. Now this all occurs at the shore power from my residence. I can't recall this happening at campgrounds. This could be attributed to a lack of GFIs at the grounds or the GFIs at the grounds have a higher tolerance to trip from residual leaks.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:48 AM   #13
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FWIW I replaced my GFI with a pair of wire nuts for the outside socket for the MH. There are reasons why the MH sockets in campgrounds do not use a GFI.
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Old 12-01-2021, 10:24 PM   #14
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Tripplite inverter/charger

My Roadtrek 210P also trips shore power GFCI outlets. I trouble shot the issue to the inverter. If nothing is plugged in to the 3 inverter outlets in my rig the GFCI does not trip. I called Tripplite support and they were incredibly great to talk to - but they said their inverters cause a GFCI to trip when current passes through them to the connected outlets. The work around is to turn on the inverter to provide inverted power to those outlets and them plug the RV in, as long as you leave the inverter function ON the GFCI will not trip. Of course, this is not needed when plugging into non GFCI power sources.
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