Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-22-2019, 03:26 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
2018 22' Sport
Walker , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 8
GFCI breaker tripping w/nothing plugged in

Hi all,

New to the forums and Airstream in general. Have a 2018 Sport 22fb for about a year now. Camping for the last 5 days and last night the 20amp GFCI tripped. Unplugged everything on the circuit including fridge, still tripped. Checked all outlets for dirt and condensation (except fridge outlet due to hard to reach location). All appear fine. Replaced GFCI breaker. Still trips! Moved from 30 amp shore power to 50amp w/dog bone. No luck. Anybody have some standard troubleshooting steps that may help? I’m not an electrician but do have a background in digital electronics maintenance and know my way around a DVM.
__________________

aikenjt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2019, 04:11 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Currently Looking...
Gainesville , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 7,054
Blog Entries: 2
Campground pedestal?
__________________

xrvr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2019, 05:23 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
A W Warn's Avatar

 
2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 4,001
When that happened to me I found moisture had gotten into the outdoor receptacle.

Welcome to the Air Forums!
__________________
Alan
2014 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 5.3L maximum trailering package
A W Warn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2019, 07:45 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
 
SilverWind's Avatar
 
2017 25' International
1968 17' Caravel
Los Osos , California
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
When that happened to me I found moisture had gotten into the outdoor receptacle.

Welcome to the Air Forums!
I'll second that.
SilverWind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 07:59 AM   #5
1 Rivet Member
 
2018 22' Sport
Walker , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 8
Thanks everybody for your posts and warm welcome! Oddly enough I was tinkering with it late last night and after turning off the A/C I found I could reset the GFCI breaker and it stuck. Even after turning the A/C back on! I don’t know how that could have affected it (A/C not on this circuit) but it hasn’t tripped since. Thanks again. I’ll post back if anything changes. Moving to another spot in same campground this morning. Maybe shore power is to blame after all.
aikenjt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 08:11 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
Currently Looking...
Gainesville , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 7,054
Blog Entries: 2
Makes perfect sense. Never plug in with the air on if that is what you did.
xrvr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 01:00 PM   #7
Classy Roscoe
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 214
Welcome aboard Vcc. Was most likely Alpha partial bombardment. White fur and a chicken claw will set it straight. )
Jekerrville is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 01:21 PM   #8
Moderator
 
DKB_SATX's Avatar

 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,356
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 7
On my '17, I got really frustrated with the GFCI breaker opening all the time, even when I had nothing plugged in on the circuit. I replaced the expensive Siemens GFCI breaker and it hasn't happened since. Not once in 20+ nights of camping since then, when it was happening every hour or two before. As it happens, my fridge is on the GFCI and that frustrated me, but even with the fridge plugged into the campsite post with an extension cord the OEM breaker would pop. Good riddance to bad rubbish, it was just a bad breaker.
__________________
— David

Zero Gravitas — 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto — 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
DKB_SATX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 01:32 PM   #9
1 Rivet Member
 
2019 22' Sport
RATHDRUM , Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 6
Hey Folks,

I thought I would try to shed some light on GFCI Breakers/Outlets and how they work. When GFCIs were first introduced and required by codes they got a bad reputation and were considered a nuisance by many. That bad reputation was totally undeserved in most cases. A GFCI breaker or outlet works by measuring the amount of current in the hot leg (red or black wire) that is going out to a circuit/load and comparing it to the amount of current coming back in the neutral leg (white wire). These should be the same, unless somewhere in the circuit/load some of the current is leaking to some other path to Ground (we call this a Ground Fault). If the difference between the outgoing current (hot leg) and the current coming back on the neutral leg exceed the trip point (typically this is approximately 5 milli-Amps) the unit will trip or open the circuit and cut the power. GFCIs have saved many lives and part of the reason that they got a bad reputation in the beginning was there was current leakage that was still too low to be felt by people but was enough to cause the unit to trip.

So they only work on what is downstream (towards the outlet or load) from them. Moisture on the campground receptacle will not cause the GFCI to trip unless the GFCI is in the pedestal and wired up-stream from the receptacle.

People often ask if the GFCIs will work if there is not a good Ground/Earth connection. The answer is YES, they do not rely on a connection to Ground/Earth they are only looking at the current in the two lines and comparing it. Like I said the currents should be the same and if they aren't then current is definitely finding its way to Ground by some other path (you don't want that to be you!)

I hope that helps.

By the way, I am an electrical engineer and have extensive experience with this and other sparky things!

Later,

Bob
NIdaho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 02:30 PM   #10
1 Rivet Member
 
2018 23' International
Penland , North Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 18
So Bob,

I'm having the same problem in my 2018 International 23FB with the GFCI breaker refusing to stay engaged.

You said moisture in the campground receptacle can not be the culprit, but I believe SilverWind and A W Warn were talking about the outdoor receptacles mounted on their Airstreams, not the campground's pedestal receptacle. If there is excessive moisture in the Airstream's outside receptacle, could that cause the breaker to stay tripped? And how could that problem be diagnosed and cleared?

Thanks for any advice you can offer,
John
dumbclub is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 02:56 PM   #11
Moderator
 
DKB_SATX's Avatar

 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,356
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
On my '17, I got really frustrated with the GFCI breaker opening all the time, even when I had nothing plugged in on the circuit. I replaced the expensive Siemens GFCI breaker and it hasn't happened since. Not once in 20+ nights of camping since then, when it was happening every hour or two before. As it happens, my fridge is on the GFCI and that frustrated me, but even with the fridge plugged into the campsite post with an extension cord the OEM breaker would pop. Good riddance to bad rubbish, it was just a bad breaker.
To be clear: I replaced the expensive Siemens breaker with another expensive Siemens GFCI breaker with 100% success at eliminating the false-positive problems.
__________________
— David

Zero Gravitas — 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto — 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
DKB_SATX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 03:34 PM   #12
3 Rivet Member
 
Eric 26 Argo's Avatar
 
Knoxville , TN
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 123
Bob is correct in his description of the function of GFCI breaker. If you have a wet outlet you can potentially get current leak across the water surface to an alternate ground but it would really have to be pretty wet. Kind of why they are required with in a certain distance from water sources in kitchens and bathrooms. More than likely the GFCI is faulty.
Eric 26 Argo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 03:45 PM   #13
1 Rivet Member
 
2019 22' Sport
RATHDRUM , Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 6
Yes, you will find GFCIs that go bad mechanicals age and wear out, and in our situation vibration is hard on things. So replacing may be a solution. 15 Amp GFCI outlets are about $15-20 and 20 Amp GFCI are $25 to 40. GFCI breakers are considerably more. Most GFCI outlet can be wired so that any addition outlets after it in the circuit are protected. Those outlets should be labeled as GFCI protected with a small label that are included with most GFCI outlets.

If the outdoor receptacles are downstream from the GFCI outlet or breaker (code says that they MUST be GFCI protected) and they have moisture and or dirt then then may be the reason for the continued tripping. (Moisture and dirt will conduct electricity and provide a path for current to reach a path to Ground/Earth.) It doesn't take much moist dirt/dust to be able to conduct a few milliamps of current.

Also the GFCI must be "powered up" in order to stay engaged.

To diagnose a bad GFCI outlet or to determine if the problem in downstream requires taking the outlet out and disconnecting some of the wires to it. I don't recommend that you do this unless you are comfortable with working with electricity. When in doubt have someone else (qualified!) do it!
  • First de-energize the circuit (turn off the power or better yet disconnect the trailer from shore power and turn off the inverter).
    Now remove the outlet from its mounting.
    On the back of the GFCI receptacle there are 2 sets of terminals. One is labeled line and the other is labeled load.
    Remove the lines on the load terminals.
At this point the GFCI outlet is the only device in the protected circuit. If you re-energize the circuit and the GFCI stays engaged you know the GFCI is probably good and the problem is further downstream.
De-energize the circuit and then go back an reconnect the wires to the load terminals and re-install. if the units will not stay engaged when the circuit is re-energized you know that the problem is further down the line.
NIdaho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 05:10 PM   #14
1 Rivet Member
 
2018 23' International
Penland , North Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by NIdaho View Post
To diagnose a bad GFCI outlet ......
That's a great help and sounds very straightforward. I'll check my outlets and report back.
Thanks,
John
dumbclub is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2019, 06:11 PM   #15
4 Rivet Member
 
bibbs's Avatar
 
1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
1973 21' Globetrotter
1975 26' Argosy 26
Vista , California
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 366
I would open the circuit breaker box, and tighten all the wire connections. Oh be sure to unplug first.
bibbs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2019, 07:45 AM   #16
1 Rivet Member
 
2018 22' Sport
Walker , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 8
Quick update...moved to another spot (same campground), all appliances off except fridge which is on the GFCI, nothing else plugged into GFCI circuit, plug in shore power and breaker pops again. Flip breaker and it trips immediately over and over. But, same as before, I can flip the breaker several times real quick (maybe 3 or 4 times) and it will finally stick. I can then turn on A/C and everything is fine for the rest of the duration I’m powered up. Brand new breaker too. Crazy stuff!
aikenjt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2019, 02:31 PM   #17
1 Rivet Member
 
2018 23' International
Penland , North Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 18
Before troubleshooting the individual outlets, it makes sense to me to confirm that the Siemens GFCI circuit breaker is working correctly.

I removed it from the WFCO panel, so it is definitely not energized. The ON/OFF switch springs back to the OFF position every time I try to engage it. Shouldn't it stay ON when I flip the switch? It also behaved this way when it was installed in the panel, with or without power applied.

Does that mean the breaker is bad?


By the way, I also tried flipping it repeatedly (and quickly) as aikenjt suggested, but still won't stay in the ON position.
dumbclub is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2019, 05:15 PM   #18
1 Rivet Member
 
2018 22' Sport
Walker , Louisiana
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 8
Thanks everyone for all of your input. Very helpful. It seems to have been the campground I was at (not positive, just a guess). Used 2 different sites at the original campground...both caused the symptoms I originally described. Moved to a completely different campground this morning and have had no issues at all. For the record I did check all outlets downstream of the GFCI breaker for moisture and dirt. Even took each outlet apart and reseated all wiring. Plus, as already mentioned, I replaced the GFCI breaker. Used socket tester...all tested correctly. Voltage registered at 114-115 with DVM. Nothing seemed to help. But, at this new campground all seems to be fine. Thanks again for all the valuable input and happy camping!
aikenjt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2019, 06:54 AM   #19
Rivet Master
 
KK4YZ's Avatar
 
2020 28' Flying Cloud
2017 23' Flying Cloud
Hiawassee , Georgia
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 663
NIdaho is correct in how GFCI outlets work. On thing to consider is these things can be very sensitive. I have experienced GFCI tripping because of turn-on transients...in my case from compact fluorescent lights turning on. There was no ground fault, just the transient from the power-on.

It could be the previous campground had a lot of “trash” on the power lines.
KK4YZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2019, 09:31 AM   #20
Rivet Master
 
Bigventure's Avatar
 
2016 30' Classic
Currently Looking...
Hinckley , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 737
Images: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by aikenjt View Post
Quick update...moved to another spot (same campground), all appliances off except fridge which is on the GFCI, nothing else plugged into GFCI circuit, plug in shore power and breaker pops again. Flip breaker and it trips immediately over and over. But, same as before, I can flip the breaker several times real quick (maybe 3 or 4 times) and it will finally stick. I can then turn on A/C and everything is fine for the rest of the duration I’m powered up. Brand new breaker too. Crazy stuff!


Try running a 110 extension cord to the pedestal. Plug it into the 110 GFIC on the post and see if it trips. This will confirm it not the fridge board.
__________________

__________________
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

I chose America
Bigventure is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
GFCI Breaker keeps tripping jbdelapp Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 6 08-01-2019 09:48 AM
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained chdeatley Airstream Classifieds 1 11-02-2017 07:37 PM
Plugged or Un-plugged in the Driveway clancy_boy Winterizing, Storage, Carports & Covers 25 10-02-2017 02:14 PM
Just got a '72; plugged it in and nothing ranchdog Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 4 07-11-2013 08:13 AM
Gen. GFCI tripping Cochese Generators & Solar Power 1 08-13-2008 06:54 PM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.