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Old 01-27-2010, 04:31 PM   #29
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Hopefully that's not really the main breaker but rather one of the branch ones.

Breakers are, as they say, "serviced as a unit" and, if disassembled, should not be returned to service.

They are tested with a meter. It is rare for them to fail, though it does happen.

That's a GFCI breaker. The test button depresses only slightly and will not do anything unless the breaker is installed in a panel and powered up.

I would encourage you to involve someone local who has expertise in this area. It's one thing to fix cords, quite another to tear apart your breaker panel if you don't know what you're about.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:32 PM   #30
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Use the I got Money Method

As far as the circuit breaker goes, I doubt that is what is causing the problem since you have electricity at some of the outlets while not at the others. If you are concerned you can simply replace the circuit breaker. They do not cost very much and they can be found at any hardware store.

I see where you have already replaced the power cord. You could (notice I said could) try to replace the ground fault outlet and see if that fixed the problem down stream. I am thinking that there is another key here that we haven't found. Are you sure that the non functioning outlets are connected to the ground fault one? If not, they could be on a different circuit. By a process of elimination, you should be able to check all the breakers to see what controls what.

If you don't want to work that hard, just throw some money in the direction of the problem and go out and buy a new ground fault outlet. My dad used this system to fix our cars when we were teens. Start by replacing parts until everything is running again.

Not real scientific but it is an idea.

I had a similar problem with mine when the PO drove off with the cord connected and pulled the ground wire out. Everything worked just fine according to him but I found out that my converter was fried and my DVD player suddenly stopped working. Hmmmmm...

Good Luck
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:37 PM   #31
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can someone post how to open the breaker to get to the screws that hold the wires? there is barely room to get a test probe in to test the wire. i saw two plastic screws? but i wasn't sure what they did.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:42 PM   #32
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It's a GFCI breaker. The pigtail wire is non-removable and is considered part of the breaker. The other two wires can be easily removed by loosening the terminal screws from the front.

When I open circuit breakers, I use a 2 pound hammer, since once I decide to do that I know I'm not going to return them to service, and it's quick and easy.

I think you should involve someone who knows this stuff, though, for safety reasons.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:48 PM   #33
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So Jammer are you saying that the entire unit needs to be replaced then and there is no way to just replace the one breaker?

Sorry if this is a redundant question, but just wanted to clarify. Or, if you get that one open can you connect the pigtail wire to another GFCI breaker?
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:49 PM   #34
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everything is safe with the cord disconnected.

front of what? the screws that hold the wires in the breaker are covered. does the breaker come with a full set of pigtails?
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:58 PM   #35
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Look at the photo below.

The white wire on the right is the "pigtail." It goes to the neutral bus in the breaker panel, and cannot be removed from the breaker.

The two wires, one black one white, on the left side of the photo, are removable, and go to the outlets. You can see the threads of the screws that hold them in the photo. The screw heads are accessible from the front of the breaker, which is the side facing toward the brown, hinged panel door in the photo.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:02 PM   #36
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If you look in this photo, the two screws that hold the wires in place are visible on the left side, facing the camera.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:07 PM   #37
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Incidentally, one of the possible ways this thing could be screwed up is if the pigtail wire goes to the ground bus instead of the neutral bus. Combined with an open ground in the shore power cord, could lead to the outlets not working and 120 volts on the chassis.

Neutral bus = insulated from metal cabinet and has many white wires connected

Ground bus = not insulated and has bare and green wires, no white ones
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:19 PM   #38
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Spacepod, you don't have to replace the whole panel, just the breaker assembly, but again I doubt if it's bad. The pigtail wire is removed from the neutral bus by loosening a screw in the neutral bus, and the other two wires are removed as I described above. Easy peasy.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:21 PM   #39
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Hey Jammer,

Well good news is the "pigtail" goes to the neutral bus. Now, please humor me on this one; let's say the test button doesn't do anything now or ever since I got the rig in October. This breaker has tripped before and I had problems getting it to switch back on. As in I kept trying to reset only to have it not stick in the "on" position. Tried pressing the test button only to not be able to press it, like it was jammed or stuck or something. Any of these signs of faulty breaker?
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:26 PM   #40
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GFCI breakers do fail.

If you press the "test" button, the breaker should trip (not allow current). Pressing the reset button should restore current. If the breaker is tripped (not passing current) pressing the test button will not do anything.

If the breaker still passes current after the test button is pressed, it has failed the test and needs to be replaced. I'd suggest you shut off all power to the rig until the breaker is replaced.

If your can't reset the breaker (causing current to flow) the breaker needs to be replaced.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:32 PM   #41
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The test button doesn't depress much, just a tiny amount. They feel cheesy, basically. They won't do anything with the breaker off, or with shore power unplugged. But with the breaker on and powered up, the test button should cause a trip.

Usually, when a GFCI breaker won't stay reset, it's because there's enough leakage in the branch circuit it protects to make it trip. One way to find out is to remove both branch circuit wires, put it in the panel, close everything up safely, and see whether it keeps tripping then and whether the test button works. If it still trips, or if the test button doesn't do anything, then the breaker is toast and you need a new one.

Otherwise, there's leakage, and it can be hard to find. Start by unplugging everything. If it still trips, you have to go one outlet at a time. Usually there's a short between neutral and ground somewhere. It can also be caused by moisture or salt residue on an outlet.

If it trips only when a certain appliance is plugged in, then you have to look at that appliance. In addition to a short between neutral and ground, a bad MOV can cause nuisance trips. They are commonly used as a surge protectors in electronics, and sometimes fail after a lightning strike. Sometimes there are shorted components. I had a shorted engine block heater once that I had to replace because it kept tripping the gfci.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:33 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy99 View Post
If your can't reset the breaker (causing current to flow) the breaker needs to be replaced.
Not necessarily if there is a persistent ground fault in the branch circuit wiring.
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