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Old 04-21-2014, 07:40 AM   #1
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Miswiring issue? (non-Airstream)

Sorry that this is not specifically Airstream-related, but there seem to be a lot of knowledgeable people here on all topics, and with Thor as the parent company to both AirStream and Livin' Lite, there is at least some DNA in common.

When I got my CampLite 21BHS home, I tried plugging it into a GFCI outlet I have down by my pump house. It tripped immediately. At first I suspected the outlet, but two additional GFCI outlets, including one at a different location, both immediately popped as well.

Googling "Travel Trailer GFCI trips" shows its not an uncommon problem, across many disparate brands. I called Livin' Lite service and the fellow there told me it was normal.

It was suggested elsewhere I do a continuity test on the receptacle on the trailer. Here are the results:

CampLite 21BHS receptacle check - YouTube

It seems like there's continuity between the neutral and the ground. I had the battery disconnected throughout.

The only things on the AC circuit should be the converter, the refrigerator, the microwave, and about four outlets. Water heater is propane only. I tried unplugging the refrigerator and it makes no difference in the readings or the GFCI tripping.

At SpringStream everything worked when hooked up to the campground's 30A service. Our fear, of course, is possible electrocution if something is really wired wrong.

Hooking up to our Honda generator, the outlets give a normal indication:



Thoughts?

And if this is a real problem, anyone know of a reputable shop in N GA to troubleshoot it?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:48 AM   #2
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Your neutral and ground wires in the trailer should not ever be connected together. You will have to trace where that is happening and then your problem will be solved. Yes, this is a potentially dangerous situation.

It worked on a 30 amp park RV outlet because they are not GFIC protected. The situation is still dangerous.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:56 AM   #3
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Neutral and ground are the same point at the source so you will see continuity between them if you test across them.

While I don't think you have an electrocution potential i am sure you want to know why. GFIs are often expected to protect thing that can not be protected by there design. Any appliance that has a capacitor across the line before a transformer will kick a GFI because of the charging current of the capacitor. I suspect your convertor may be the culprit. Unplug the convertor and try again. If it is not the convertor unplug each of the other 110 items and test as you go.

If every 110 appliance is disconnected and the problem still is there you are going to have to get someone with the capacity to measure the actual current flow that is the problem. Not sure who would have that ability in the RV industry.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:22 AM   #4
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Thanks, guys.

A fellow just took delivery of a 21BHS like mine, and verified his did NOT fault his GFCI. So something must be up.

Let me investigate how to unplug the converter, and I'll try that.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:56 AM   #5
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Why is the trailer plugged into a GFI to begin with? If the individual circuits of the trailer are wired correctly and test good with your probe you are looking for a level of protection that is not necessary. GFIs were not meant to replace normal receptacle and often cause far more problems than they solve.The lawyers and salesman have convinced the public that we are all going to die. Yes we are all going to die but most likely not from electricity.

That was Thomas Edison' attempt to promote DC electricity.

Another thing you might try is to lift the stabilizer jacks and place a insulator under the tongue jack. The path to ground that is tripping the GFI may be there.

God help us if the Do Gooders ever require GFIs in the campgrounds
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:02 AM   #6
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In my case, the outlets by the pump house and hot tub (the two at home accessible from the driveway) serve wet areas, so GFCI outlets seemed a good choice.

Don't know why my hangar has all GFCI outlets, but it does. Maybe code?

In any case, that's where AC is available, in each case.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:43 PM   #7
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After floating the trailer as noted above and if holds the GFI that way wire a 30 amp standard receptacle for the trailer.
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
Another thing you might try is to lift the stabilizer jacks and place a insulator under the tongue jack. The path to ground that is tripping the GFI may be there.
It happens even with the stabilizers up, just resting on the tires and with the jack on a block of wood.
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:32 PM   #9
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Can I assume the block of wood is dry? We are talking milli amps here that will trip a GFI.

Have you unplugged the convertor?
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Old 04-21-2014, 02:49 PM   #10
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I will try making sure nothing is grounded - thinking about it the chains may have been hanging. The wood block is dry, but I'll insulate that with rubber matting.

I'm told the converter is hard wired and not easily disconnected, but I will check that for myself.
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Old 04-21-2014, 03:28 PM   #11
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If the convertor is hardwired disconnect from shore power and lift the hot 110 lead, most likely a black #12 wire. Just to be sure it was wired right at the factory lift both wires.

If not that unplug the refrigerator, then the microwave ,and any other 110 appliances.

The radio system is most likely 12 volt
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:03 PM   #12
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I just spoke with Matt at Southland RV where I dropped off my CampLite last week.

He says that having the neutral and ground "looped" is common to virtually all small trailers, and that all will trip a GFCI. He said companies actually sell a separate GFCI device because of that.

He said he discussed that "looped" neutral/ground wiring with Don at Livin'Lite and he confirmed that was normal - as he had told me prior. That that is just the way they are wired at the factory.

I did explain that some on another forum said their grounds and neutrals were definitely not connected, and that they did not trip GFCI's.

So, hard to know if my situation is "normal" or not!
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