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Old 03-01-2006, 09:58 PM   #1
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g f r & g f i problems.....for the well wired folks..

ok folks

these aren't contagious diseases....but they are a mystery....

i have a question for those who understand the inner juicey electical workings in modern airstreams...

i've searched here and not found an answer.......

twice while camping i ran into problems connecting my 05 classic to electricity....

on these 2 occasions as i would plug in.... the gfr/gfi would trip on the shore power side....on the power pole...not in the trailer.....

all power off inside the trailer...typical 30 amp plugs...
usually i connect the cord to the shore side first and then connect to the coach...
and at these 2 parks....the newly installed gfr on the shore side would trip...just by plugging in....

at one park they had a bank of brand new camping spots with brand new wiring....so after 4 hours of dinking around the electrician came out...and commented that the plugs needed to be rewired using "old code"...he did this on my site and solved the problem...i guess.

at the other site i finally used a 15 amp 2 prong adapter....with the ground post removed...and it worked.

can someone explain what my problem was/is....and how to avoid gfr/gfi issues going forward?

i've not had any other problems connecting anywhere...even with the 3 amp sort of daisy chains for rally....never had any circuits trip...all the appliances work fine...genset powers great...and so on.

05 classic, 30 amp, new marinco plugs/cord no unusual wiring mods (factory solar and gen set plug up front)and the usual assortment of dogbone and adapters...

cheer
2air'
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Old 03-03-2006, 06:40 PM   #2
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ok finally the lineman is listening....

can you explain my problemo' with the gfr posted here?

thanks
2air'
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Old 03-03-2006, 07:13 PM   #3
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air,

Are you doing one of 2 things (or both) when you plug in?:

1. Do you first turn off the breaker at the power outlet/pole?
2. Do you insert the plug straight into the receptacle with all prongs entering at the same time?

If you answer yes to both of these questions.....YOU WIN!!! (sorry, I got overcome by the Monte Hall syndrome for a moment!)

Actually, If the anwers is yes, there is a great possibility that the pole is improperly wired. I've seen it in a few spots, where the 'electrician' that did the wiring either did not use the ground wire at all or attached it wrong. If you carry an RMS digital meter with you (doesn't everyone?) you can test the hot to ground and nuetral connections to verify if they are right.
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Old 03-03-2006, 07:26 PM   #4
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thanks lew

on the 2 occasions above...one had a breaker and since the gfr was trippin....i tried it with all combos (usually i turn the breaker off before connecting)....and no matter what the gfr would click....i even turned all of the breakers and the 12 system off inside the trailer.....and the pole gfr would click...i assumed as you stated...the pole was grounded wrong.

at the other camp...there was no breakers on the pole....and i checked the connection with my volt meter which registered only 98-102 volts....so i just boondocked there. and wondered if the airstream was rejecting the low voltage somehow?

i failed to check the grounding...since sticking stuff in those power holes while i'm holdin on...makes me nervous...i will next time it happens...

besides incorrect grounding on the pole, is there anything else that comes to mind that can trip the gfr.....on a new airstream...

the park attendant said others with older rigs used the spot with no problems...

thanks
2air'
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Old 03-03-2006, 07:29 PM   #5
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We had the same problem with our 1979 from day one when it was new. It happened only at Army base camp grounds and Corp of Engineer parks. An electrician at Fort Campbell said we had to have a problem with the trailer, he checked it and couldn't find anything. We just avoided Army bases after that. We did notice that the ones it happened at had new wiring and new GFIs.
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Old 03-03-2006, 07:51 PM   #6
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I'm not sure how the ground connection plays in this, unless the ground wire is rubbing against the neutral or hot leg. GFCIs can operate with the ground wire disconnected.

On another note, I bought 2 GE 50a 240V GFCI breakers for real cheap. If anyone needs on, they are yours for $30 plus shipping. They are TBHQ style.
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Old 03-03-2006, 09:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I'm not sure how the ground connection plays in this, unless the ground wire is rubbing against the neutral or hot leg. GFCIs can operate with the ground wire disconnected.

On another note, I bought 2 GE 50a 240V GFCI breakers for real cheap. If anyone needs on, they are yours for $30 plus shipping. They are TBHQ style.
Mark is right. Not only can a ground rub on a nuetral, I've seen them JOINED in the same bus bar. I don't know where some peoples' heads are at sometimes
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Old 03-03-2006, 09:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster
Mark is right. Not only can a ground rub on a nuetral, I've seen them JOINED in the same bus bar. I don't know where some peoples' heads are at sometimes
hey come on now, this thread is about electrical wiring....not rubbin', hookin up in bars or where people put their heads...... that's trailer park talk ....

this rubbin/joinin must be going on in the shore power wiring....not the trailer right?
since janssvt and i have experienced the same thing....but not with most hookups?....and thanks for confirming it's not just me!!

130+ days for me last year with only 2 rejected connections....
no not that kind.....

cheers
2air
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Old 03-03-2006, 10:10 PM   #9
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I've been trying for days to get on the computer and update my main thread. I finally get the chance to do so and when I get the Airstreamforums mainpage, I see the title of this thread at the top.

Immediately my mind wonders via the way-back machine to the 1970's to a military callsign I was assigned, "R8J". I start to read down thru the thread and folks are talking about rubbing and railing and various body parts in the wrong places. My thoughts all kinda went down hill after that.

By the way, we had to switch to the alternate callsign after an hour or so. The screaming, hooting and hollering pretty much subsided after that.

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Old 03-04-2006, 12:30 AM   #10
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I'll chime in here. My experience here is that if there is even the slightest bit of moisture in the GFCI it won't work right. Is there any possibility of water getting in the outlet, like the cover left open in a rainstorm, for example ? I have also bought brand new GFCI's that didn't work right off the shelf. I bought a second one and installed it, it is still working fine to this day. Just something else to consider.

Oh yea, I have run across CG's that are wired improperly too. At least I know my reverse polarity light works !

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Old 03-04-2006, 05:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
can you explain my problemo' with the gfr posted here?

thanks
2air'
sorry i wasn't paying attention.

all of the advice given so far is good. i might stress a couple of points...

moisture. yes a damp plug set or outlet will trip a gfci. keeping a can of elctro contact cleaner or wd 40 handy for drying out your cord set could be of use.

your cord. take a couple of seconds with a volt/ohm meter and verifiy all three wire are seperate electricly, they should read infinity ohms between any two conductors. flex and twist the cord while doing this to see if there are any cracks in the insulation. especially if you have ever run the cord over with your truck or trailer by accident.

plugs. if you are adept mechanicly open each end of the cord and inspect for frayed or sloppy ternimation of the wires. (if the ends are pre molded skip this step)

socket on trailer. do the same as above, pay particular attention to the gasket on the cover. if it is getting wet it will trip and or corrode. check that all connections are tight.

polarity at camp ground. using a dog bone adaptor and a plug in polarity tester you can check your source before even plugging in. (you can use a volt/ohm meter for this if you know what is hot and what is not on a rv plug) if it is wrong you can save a lot of trouble by either moving to another spot or calling the problem to someones attention.

old style wiring/or wired wrong. open your panel in the trailer and make 100% certain your ground wires are seperate from the neutral buss. the neutral bar in your trailer has to be completely seperate from ground to keep from tripping gfci's. if you are unsure about this step have someone who knows what they are doing help you. (also, check for any rubbing and or loose connections while you are in there) believe it or not, most of the insulation for this buss bar is a piece of cardboard type material that keeps the ends of the wires from touching the case of the breaker box. look closely at this and double check it with your volt/ohm meter. (with the trailer unplugged and all breakers open) again infinity ohms is good.

breakers. they do wear out, and also just plain don't work right. keep some spares on hand. at home and on the road.

hope this helps.

john
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Old 03-04-2006, 01:08 PM   #12
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thank you john 'the lineman'

i will go over the trailer and cords as suggested....

because this only happended on 2 occasions all year...and i tried all 3 30 amp marineco cords that i carry...i really wanted the shore power to be at fault.

i don't have any spare breakers but i'll get some for the spares box...

while i might dig around inside the breaker box and inside the coach wiring whre i can see copper....i may just save touching or moving anything for the next factory trip..

thanks again for laying me a plan...lineman...

2air'
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Old 03-04-2006, 02:55 PM   #13
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no problem.

just remember, if you don't know what "it" is don't touch it.

old lineman adage...

john
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Old 05-22-2006, 04:31 PM   #14
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update on this issue......

hi john hd and others

i'm having some dealer service done in 2 weeks and called them about this issue....

it has happened at 2 more of my regular campgrounds this year, where they have recently upgraded the outlets with gfi plugs.....

as soon as i touch the plug with my 30 amp cord, a 15 amp cord or any 3 prong plug the gri/gfcr trips....

this happens even with ALL my breakers turned off AND the 12v main turned off.....

i've checked the park plugs and they are grounded properly and carrying proper voltage...also no one else camping nearby has issues....

the only way i can use power now in these locations is with an ungrounded adapter (ground plug removed) which i've done from the 15-20amp plugs but not the 30amp plug....

my dealer/service tech called j.c. and was told that basically the gfci on the newer trailers is triggering the ground/fault trip....and that THIS WILL HAPPEN in just about every newer campground that uses gfi/gfr outlets......

in other words this is NORMAL function for new airstreams and i will need to camp somewhere else!!!!

can this be correct info?
is this really true?

i wondered if the trailer wiring design wasn't tripping the faults....now i'm told IT IS and that's normal?

any electrical wizards wanna offer input? what can i do? with the a/c season about to start i'd like use 30 amp power....

anyone else having this problem with newer airstreams?



cheers
2air'
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