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Old 09-17-2016, 10:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by John Geisen View Post
Then I thought I could isolate the problem one breaker at a time. I turned off the 30 amp breaker and the short went away but when I tried to power on it still tripped the breaker. Then I turned off all the breakers and the house breaker still tripped.
I need some clarification on these statements. Not sure why there would be a 30 amp breaker in your trailer unless it is a Main Breaker feeding the rest of the panel.

How many breakers and what current rating are there in your panel?

My comments about testing only the cable to the panel assumed your cable was permanently connected to the trailer. The 3 wires I suggested to be removed in the panel are the wires of the cable where they come into the panel.

Lets find out if this problem is in the trailer or the cable first. Turn off all of the breakers. Plug the cable in. If the house breaker trips the problem is before the panel. If your cable is removable from the trailer. disconnect it from the trailer and the house reset the house breaker and plug the cable into the house. If the breaker trips the cable is the problem.

If these tests don't not indicate a problem the problem is in the trailer. Now one by one turn on the breakers in the trailer till the house breaker trips. That breaker has a short across it. If in fact there is a 30 amp main breaker turn that on first to feed the panel.

Posy the results
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:01 PM   #16
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The 30 amp breaker is the main input breaker all the other breakers get power after it goes through that breaker. The wire from the back side of the trailer input plug goes to the 30a breaker which is connected to the panels hot bus bar to feed the other breakers.
Since the street side panel was replaced, check the wires on the back of the electric inlet plug are in there and tightened properly. Obviously with the power disconnected, take out the screws holding it on the trailer pull it out and check the wires on the back side.
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:09 PM   #17
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So frustrating! and thanks for your patience with me.

Since I've been trying to do this with a decent size 120 volt extension the 30 amp RV trailer cable had to be reduced from a 3 prong RV to a standard 3 prong extension cord. I decided to take the adapter plug and the RV cable to my closest RV store to see if they would test it for me. They looked at me like I was crazy and told me to come back on Monday. While there, I picked up another adapter (RV to house extension).

Upon returning home, I immediately plugged in the new adapter. With all the circuit breakers in the trailer turned off, the GFI in the house didn't trip... until turning on the 30 amp trailer breaker. So, out of frustration I removed the house extension cord from the GFI and found another outlet that was not GFI protected. I plugged it in and then turned on all the breakers one at a time until I finally turned on the 30 amp breaker. The trailer came to life. I don't get this at all. Before the dealer repair I could use the GFI for everything without a hitch. Now using it causes it to trip like a dead short. Of course, I've tried other appliances, including a commercial grade air compressor and it works fine. Plugging it into the trailer trips it like a dead short.

So, now I'm happy to have electric in the trailer but I'm wondering if it's possible that SuperTrouper might have touched on something by bringing up the possibility of a wire reversal as the shore input plug was changed by the dealer.

Do I forget about it or is there additional testing I should try?

Once again, thanks for all your support. The forum and your ideas kept me going.

John
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:22 PM   #18
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Just remembered.
The converter. Try unplugging or opening the breaker that feeds the converter. When it initially comes on there can be a mismatch in current as capacitors in it charge up. This could cause the gfci to trip.
Just another thought.
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Old 09-17-2016, 06:44 PM   #19
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If the trailer is powered now and the shore power connector was wired in reverse, there is an electrocution risk. Go to the hardware and get a simple tester like the link I sent. If, while powered, the tester shows a hot/neutral reverse, you may have voltage potential from the skin to earth. Stepping into the trailer with bare feet or In wet grass and grabbing the door handle or grab handle will produce anything from a tingle to an unhealthy jolt depending on how the neutral and frame grounds are tied in the trailer. With the trailer powered you can measure this potential from the skin or a frame to earth (metal rod or water pipe). Any potential of more than a couple of volts AC means you have a real problem. Proceed with caution. I think the dealer that did the repairs has some splainin' to do!


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Old 09-17-2016, 07:16 PM   #20
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I agree with the danger issue . I had a trailer that had a wire reversed in a receptacle and the trailer was live. Luckily just a small shock. A simple plug in tester available at any elec or building supply . It will light up diff for diff problems. Be careful. I have also found that the intelli charger coming on will trip a gfi . Good luck and be careful.
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:39 PM   #21
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If the OP actually measured a zero-ohm short between a flat blade and the round pin, that may indicate a problem. If it was low ohms, 10 or more, it may be normal, but not with all breakers off.

Is the ground supposed to be bonded to neutral in the trailer? I thought not. I thought the only ground to neutral bond was supposed to be in the house distribution panel. I think I have read (but not experienced) that a ground neutral connection in the trailer will trip a GFCI. Maybe whoever worked on the trailer made an "improvement". The wiring diagram for my trailer shows the AC breaker box has separate ground and neutral buss bars (although they may both be mounted to the steel box, I can't tell.)

With shore power off, take the cover off of the AC breaker panel and ensure that only bare or green wires are connected to the ground buss and white wires to the neutral buss.

Al
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Old 09-17-2016, 09:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by John Geisen View Post
With all the circuit breakers in the trailer turned off, the GFI in the house didn't trip... until turning on the 30 amp trailer I plugged it in and then turned on all the breakers one at a time until I finally turned on the 30 amp breaker. The trailer came to life. I don't get this at all. .

John
You need to do this in reverse order.
The 30 amp is the main breaker, the others will not have power until it is on.

As mentioned above a bonded neutral can cause a gfci outlet to trip. It senses an imbalance between load and neutral since current can flow thru ground.

You need to check with 30 amp on and others off then turn on others one by one. If gfci trips with only 30 amp on then problem is in breaker box or power cord.

If it trips when you turn on other breaker then the problem is probably in the wall.
My guess would be that someone wasn't careful when drilling.
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Old 09-18-2016, 04:23 AM   #23
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All your symptoms perfectly indicate a swapped neutral and ground, likely on the back of the trailer inlet. Not of a short.

This is dangerous because your shell is acting like the neutral bus and can build up a possible voltage creating an electrocution hazard. Unplug it.

6am going back to sleep. I'll explain why later today. The electrical part, sleep part self evident.
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:04 PM   #24
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95% sure you don't have a short, but neg and ground are flipped on the new inlet.
1. You're not actually tripping breakers. Good sign that you don't have a short from the hot lead.
2. When you plug in with your described opening and then closing of the breakers, closing the 30a last you had a load as soon as you did that but still no breaker trip. Good!
3. When plugged into the gfci, the gfci trips. When plugged into the regular outlet it works fine. Good.
4. Gfci's don't care about the ground wire connected to them. Kind of a misnomer. They measure a difference in current between the hot and neutral, assuming that any difference is going to ground somewhere on the circuit. I.e. Through a person to the ground.
So what's going on.
As far as the trailer is concerned everything but the inlet is wired normally, outlet hot, neutral, and ground are all connected in your panel properly. Electricity doesn't see a problem because of this.
The ground and negative aren't bonded together in your trailer, they are not supposed to be. The ground and neutral in your house are bonded, they are supposed to be, which means that in your house the ground and neutral are electrically the same circuit!
When you are plugged into the gfci, with no load, it has no current to trip it.
When you close the 30a breaker in the trailer the load is applied and some current is applied. the hot flows normally, the neutral flows normally to the inlet back then gets redirected to the ground going into the house. This means 2 things, the gfci sees all the hot current, but no negative current coming back since it's going through the ground wire. This causes it to trip. This same scenario allows everything to work on a normal outlet because the ground and neutral are bonded in the house. So the flow is going from neutral in the trailer, to the ground wire in the inlet cord and outlet in the house, and back to the bonding between neutral and ground in the house circuit breaker. Electricity doesn't care what you call a wire, what color it is. It just wants to flow. Since the neutral and ground are bonded in the house electricity sees it as one and the same circuit. This means that current is essentially flowing 'normally' inside the trailer up to the inlet wiring. It couldn't care less.
Is this dangerous. Not normally since the shell ground is essentially always connected to the house neutral through the bonding in the house panel. This ensures all stray voltage can leave the trailer. When this can be dangerous is if there is not a good bond between the hot and neutral in the house. This 'break' in the circuit would prevent any voltage leaking to trailer ground to stay there, leaving a path through someone touching metal and the ground or any other path.
Hopefully this makes sense I know electricity can be confusing. It gets me once in a while.
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Old 09-18-2016, 07:01 PM   #25
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Thank you for taking time to give me this thorough explanation. It makes perfect sense but so does your comment about the initial surge when the converter first turns on.

Now that it appears I'm somewhat in business this is what I'm thinking and I'd appreciate your opinion on this. I've replaced the shore input receptacle once before and know what a pain it is. Thee just isn't enough wire to pull the receptacle out to work on it. Also, I have to worry about sealing it again.

So, I'm thinking that I will try the GFI receptacle again. I'm hoping it won't trip. If it does, then I have to believe that ground and neutral are reversed or the GFI needs replacing. They seem to go bad with some regularity. I can also test the GFI wiring as you suggested. I know I have the tester here somewhere.

So, please let me know if this makes sense?

Thanks again for all your help.

John
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Old 09-18-2016, 07:47 PM   #26
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John,
Makes sense to me.
Try the easiest routes first.

Plasticoat may interfere with reading so give the prongs a quick check 2 spots touching skin before hand to check zero resistance is read.

One quick thing to try is to connect the multimeter to the inlet prong on the trailer that has the ear on it, that is supposed to be the ground. Touch the other end to some metal where you can get good electrical contact with the skin, screw holding outlet to trailer is a good spot. If you get much more than zero resistance then the ground is swapped. This is because the ground from the breaker box is connected to the frame and shell, therefore there should be a clear electrical path from the ground prong through the wire to the breaker box to the frame and shell and back out to the multimeter. If you're reading high or over limit resistance then your ground is likely swapped.

This will take a few minutes before going to buy another gfci.

Sucks AS doesn't leave any slack back there.

Plus it makes me use my brain. Retirement is boring. And I like problem solving.
Joe
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Old 09-19-2016, 08:35 AM   #27
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Hi Joe,

Think I'll order the tester. Can't seem to find my other one. I took the measurements you suggested with all the breakers on. I simply unplugged the shoreline cord and took the reading. Using the meter as an ohm meter I read between ground (pin with the ear) and one of the mounting screws. Meter read the same as when touching the two leads together which was .3 ohms. The meter is set to "auto" mode so I guess I could change the settings to get a better read. I was in a hurry to get to work but wanted to try something.

John
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Old 09-19-2016, 11:23 AM   #28
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.3 ohms sounds like it should be good. I may be wrong it might be a bad gfci. Have you tried plugging anything else into the gfci to see if it trips with something else as well.

I hate electrical gremlins!
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