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Old 10-10-2016, 12:16 PM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
Barren Springs , Virginia
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GFIC breaker tripping?

Has anyone had trouble with their GFIC tripping on a 1979 31 ft center bath model. In my closet there is a electrical box two breakers on top, a 30 amp breaker on bottom left and a 15 amp GFIC breaker on the bottom right. All breakers will stay on Except for the GFIC. There is no 12 volt power without this GFIC breaker on, and it keeps tripping. Does anyone know why the converter power would be on a GFIC breaker? And if the converter went bad would it have tripped this breaker? I have no 12 volts at all in the Airstream without this GFIC breaker on. When I do reset the GFIC the 12 power red lights on the controls above the range that shows battery power etc will flash just a 1/2 a second or less. Anyone else have this problem? It's been raining very hard and the shore extension 120v cable has been in wet grass for 3-4 days. Maybe grounding?m
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:36 PM   #2
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The convertor does not need to be on the GFI. Not sure who put it there.

First thing to do is unplug everything that is on the GFI. That should only be receptacles within 3 ft of a water source but in your case you may have to look further. Once unplugged see if the GFI still trips. I so replace the GFI. If not start replugging things in one at a time. If the breaker trips that item may be your problem.

Generally anything that has a filter capacitor across the line before the any transformer will trip a GFI because of the charging current of the cap. That is a problem that goes way back and should not be the case today but needed noting.
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:53 PM   #3
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I have the same model year and floor plan of trailer. It was maybe six years ago that I would get random tripping of that GFI breaker and I spent a lot of time checking for wiring faults only to come up empty handed.

I suspect that like mine, yours is simply worn out. I was able to buy a replacement GFI breaker at Lowe's. It is a standard GE breaker and should be easy to find at any big box store by the other circuit breakers. Super easy to replace, just unplug the shore power first.

Regarding that loss of 12 volt power when the GFI breaker trips, on my trailer and I suspect yours as well, the power converter is plugged into an outlet up front, which is on that GFI breaker. Whether or not it needs to be plugged into something GFI is debatable, but there is no other outlet close by.

Assuming you have good batteries, you would still have 12 volt power after the GFI trips, though you would be slowing draining the batteries and might not know it.

Getting just a brief flash for battery power on the display panel tells me you have no batteries, they are dead, or maybe the main battery fuses are blown. Sort of like an empty holding tank, the display will give that quick flash of all the lights, just to let you know they are working properly.
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Old 10-10-2016, 02:16 PM   #4
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See if an outdoor receptacle is on that circuit.

If it has been raining perhaps water has seeped in around the cover and the recip is wet.



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Old 10-10-2016, 02:27 PM   #5
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GFIC breakers do seem to 'wear' out over time. Might simply need to be replaced.
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:18 AM   #6
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1979 31' Sovereign
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follow up

Here's what I found after checking closer. The bottom left breaker (30 amp) will stay on by its self and I have 120 volts. When I flip on the GFIC beside it the GFIC trips. If I turn off the 30 amp breaker and turn on the GFIC it will stay energized. And when I turn them both back on the GFIC trips. The 30 amp will never trip, only the 15 amp GFIC. I'm going to replace the GFIC breaker since it's not that expensive. But the odd thing is even with the 30 amp breaker on and I have power to the receptacles on converter end of the Airstream the 12 volts don't work. I'm going to switch batteries and see if there is a bad battery causing this. The funny thing about it'll it all is I had a productive buyer come look at it two weeks ago and everything was perfect. After they left I unplugged everything and when I plugged it back it thid happened.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:32 AM   #7
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The 30 amp breaker you speak of is the main for the panel. I suspect that while you can reset the GFI with the main off, the GFI doesn't have any power to it. You could try plugging in some lamps or a boom box to check.

There is definitely something wrong with the 12 volt system. Do you have any batteries installed? Have you checked the 12 volt fuses located in the panel below the front window?
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:07 PM   #8
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Gfic re

I replaced the GFIC breaker with a new one and it still trips. Usually I can hear the converter hum when the power is on it. My battery was dead so I am assuming the converter is attached to the GFIC circuit. I also am guessing the converter is shorted is the reason the GFIC is tripping. The power console above the range works fine after I removed the battery and charged it. So my next step will be to get to the converter and have it checked out. By the way there is no easy way to access the converter. My luck. I'm just wondering why the converter is on the GFIC???
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:37 PM   #9
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Have you checked the exterior outlet yet? You mentioned it started after a big rain. I had similar issues after big rains and like JD stated above, found the exterior outlet wet. I replaces the cover and gasket and it fixed my issue.
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:47 PM   #10
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You can use an extension cord to plug the converter into a non GFI outlet until you can get the GFI sorted.

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Old 10-26-2016, 06:18 PM   #11
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Access to the converter does stink. Once you get to it though, an interesting test might be to unplug it from the outlet behind the gaucho, then reset the GFI breaker and see if it trips once again. Maybe that converter is shot.

Regarding why the converter is plugged into that GFI circuit, based on its location, under the front window and between those battery boxes, it is such a notorious area for leaks that go undetected for a long time that a GFI makes a lot of sense.

I realize it sounds like a smart-a.. answer, but think about it, Airstream put it on that breaker for added safety.

On a serious note, please post an update. I am curious to know how this turns out.
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Old 11-09-2016, 11:34 AM   #12
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Fixed

Problem fixed. It was the converter shorted. I picked up a new one at "Out of Doors Mart" my closest Airstream dealer in Colfax NC. It was actually $60 less than the local rv dealer wanted for exactly the same thing. It was a honey to get to. These need to be in a accessable location that's for sure. Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
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Old 11-14-2016, 07:47 AM   #13
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I appreciate you posting the follow-up. Yeah, getting to the converter stinks but considering how often that is necessary, that is probably an okay place for it.

Don't think you wasted money on that GFCI breaker. Given the age of your trailer, that was probably worth doing anyway.
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