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Old 12-27-2008, 10:32 PM   #15
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We had the same problem with our trailer when we first purchased it. Turned out that the shore power cable was riddled with small cracks and dry rot. The problem was completely resolved when we changed the shore power cord. Additionally, since this was occurring, it ended up frying the AC unit. I would start with the cord. Quick continuity checks on each power leg of the cord to ground should help identify this problem.
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Old 12-27-2008, 11:30 PM   #16
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Totally agree with a new cord-could have gotten way hot or be corroded...especially if it trips the GFI when all the breakers are off. Another GFI culprit can be the refrigerator. Try unplugging it. VK
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:37 AM   #17
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OK
First thing, Disconnect the triler from shore power!
This is a real world example of why you don't ground the neutral leg in a trailer.
If for some reason the shore power should have the wrong polarity, you will energize the the trailer shell.

Now as to your troubles, if this problem has just started I would look at any recent repairs. Check to make sure that any recent repairs did not cause a mis-wire, or a screw driven through a wire somewhere. Look at ANY repair.
Check your 120Vac supply outlet for correct polarity.
Check your shore power cable to the trailer with an Ohmmeter. Check the Hot, Neutral and Ground leads to the trailer shell. If any lead but the Ground Lead has a connection to the shell you have a problem.

The easiest way to isolate a problem in the Hot Lead to the shell is to turn off the Breakers one at a time while reading the power connection with an ohmmeter. This will give you a direction to look.
The problem should be in the Hot Lead unless the shore power or your trailer shore power cord is mis-wired and your neutral is grounded in the trailer.
If you have a grounded neutral problem you will have to open the trailer service box and the remove the neutral leads one at a time until you located the offending wire with the Ohmmeter.

Once you have located the bad wire, Hot or Neutral, then you will have to look at where it is connected and disconnect whatever is connected to it. AC unit, refrigerator, toaster...
Chances are some appliance has a problem and will need to be corrected. If it is a wire with the insulation rubbed through, it will be a real tough repair.

I hope this will give you some direction in troubleshooting your problem.
Remember to Work with the Power Disconnected at all times.
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Old 12-28-2008, 12:31 PM   #18
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Mike

If you end up replacing the shore cord and it looks like a problem getting it through the trailer body consider installing a splice box just where the cord enters the trailer and splice in the new cord there.

Cut the cord just inside the body and test it to make sure there is not a problem in the body from there to the panel. If OK use that section of the cord and splice on the new one.

Short of someone driving a screw through the cord inside the body that section of the cord should not fail.

When I replaced a section of the floor I found 6 feet of shore cord lying in the belly pan. Pulled it out and now have an additional 6 feet of shore line.
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Old 12-28-2008, 12:44 PM   #19
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power cord

When a city power cord goes bad, why replace it with the original 25 foot cable. Actually, it's less than that since 5 feet or so of it is buried within the trailer.

We have the Canadian power cord, which is exactly the same, except it's 36 feet long.

Makes a huge difference in many hookups.

Andy
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:50 PM   #20
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So far I have found that there is no problem with the shore power cord. I have a neutral going to hard ground on one circuit. It appears to be the circuit that provides power to just about all of the AC outlets in the trailer. I have been disconnecting them, but so far I don't have the source of the ground. I will update you when I find it or burn the trailer to the ground trying to find it.

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 12-28-2008, 07:08 PM   #21
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Electrical

The neutral is grounded in your house power panel as it should be. Also in your trailer power panel and also tied to the frame and shell. This is to give any current that may be in the shell or frame a path of least resistance to ground instead of flowing trough your body while standing in a damp or wet location and touching the shell. If the current is great enough it will trip the breaker or blow the fuse in the power panel. The breaker or fuse is sized to protect the wiring from overheating not to protect you from shock. The GIF is to protect people from shock and measures current flow between "hot and neutral" looking for a in-balance. You need to make sure your trailer IS grounded at all locations and that the cords are properly polarized as Andy stated. Just because a cord is new dosen't mean it is good. I would turn all switches off and unplug the Univolt then using a clamp on amp meter at the fuse panel check each circuit one at a time until you find the one with current flow. It will be shorted somewhere. Good luck they are sometimes hard find.
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:57 PM   #22
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Our trailer tripped the GFI until I replaced the old power socket on the outside of the trailer with one made by Marinco. The old connector "leaked" to ground.
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ramp View Post
The neutral is grounded in your house power panel as it should be. Also in your trailer power panel and also tied to the frame and shell.
The Neutral and ground should not be connected in an RV. Please refer to: RV Doctor: RV electrical wiring and home wiring not the same , power systems, RV, Motor Homes ...
There is a difference in RV wiring and house wiring. Please read the following reference: http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealt...ForCampers.pdf and look for this section : "Do remember; the NEUTRAL MUST NOT BE GROUNDED ANYWHERE ON THE LOAD SIDE OF THE SERVICE ENTRANCES AND THAT THE EQUIPMENT GROUNDING CONDUCTOR (GREEN WIRE) MUST RUN FROM THE SERVICE ENTRANCE TO EACH AND EVERY ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT in a campground, including those in the RV itself."
There are many references on grounded neutral in RVs.
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:13 PM   #24
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Here is what I found today: The neutral wire on the circuit that feeds all of the AC outlets in the trailer was grounded. I could not find exactly where. It was not grounding at one of the outlets, although I found a badly corroded outlet below the refrigerator. I finally determined that it was grounded in the wall of the trailer somewhere. I traced the ground to a point that I found was in the wire running from the outlet above the sink (first on the circuit) back to the breaker box.

So, I abandoned the wire running from the breaker box to the first outlet and pulled a new piece of 12 gauge solid copper Romex down from the outlet box and then ran it in back, but somewhat below, the oven. I fed that right into the cabinet next to the head and wired it in place of the original line.

The new feed wire for the circuit works great, all outlets are working, show correct polarity, and no floating ground. I do still, however, need to replace the outlet at the refrigerator. That outlet is behind an exterior panel and I can see the seal is very bad and I am sure water has built up on the outlet. I will need to see about relocating it in a better spot.

Thanks for all of your help. I still have a few things to sort out, but the trailer is plugged in and the batteries are charging, I'm not being shocked and I feel I have found that the true meaning of vintage. I had supposed a vintage AS meant it was old, but what I know now is that it means you have a lot of work ahead of you.

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:32 AM   #25
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"I had supposed a vintage AS meant it was old, but what I know now is that it means you have a lot of work ahead of you."

Amen!
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:29 AM   #26
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"Vintage" Wiring

This is what I found "hidden" in the trunk/floor service entrance area when I started working on the '78 Sovereign:







and in the plug itself...



Note that the Yahoo who put the plug onto the cable had the black and white leads reversed from where they were supposed to be - this made the white lead "hot" - then notice which wires were worn through in the first pic - ouch!
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:22 PM   #27
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Monday update: Installed new duplex outlet in refrigerator access panel, tested all AC circuits. 110 VAC, correct polarity, proper grounding at all eight receptacles in the trailer.

Tuesday plan: Install new weatherstrip on refrigerator access panel and tune up hinge attachment and lock.

Thanks to all who shared their ideas for repairs with me. A collective mind is a terrible thing to waste...

Thanks,

Mike

Pic of the after duplex outlet installation complete with stainless steel cover for better oxidation protection...
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:55 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by weiss1957 View Post
Monday update: Installed new duplex outlet in refrigerator access panel, tested all AC circuits. 110 VAC, correct polarity, proper grounding at all eight receptacles in the trailer.

Tuesday plan: Install new weatherstrip on refrigerator access panel and tune up hinge attachment and lock.

Thanks to all who shared their ideas for repairs with me. A collective mind is a terrible thing to waste...

Thanks,

Mike

Pic of the after duplex outlet installation complete with stainless steel cover for better oxidation protection...
Two things from your photo.

1. You have restricted the vent for the reefer.

2. The LPG line to/from the reefer, should be copper.

Andy
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