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Old 07-06-2010, 03:09 AM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
vancouver , BC
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Replacement breakers for a 79?

We've had some electrical issues over the years on the '79 sovereign, which I've addressed by

- buying a new univolt when the first one died
- replacing fuses when they blew out
- reducing the electrical load on the 15A GFI breaker which seems to be responsible for all electrical outlets & the univolt).

This last one, however, is getting weird -- specifically, the breaker trips even when there's basically nothing on (some but not all 12V lights, a laptop). (I'm not sure, but it's possible the fridge is also on the same circuit).

I heard a rumor that GFI breakers get weaker the more they trip. If that's true, after 30 years, that would explain why this breaker's got a hair trigger.

1) Is there any truth to that rumor?

2) If it's a reasonable idea to replace the breaker, where can I find one? Home Depot had nothing that looked like these (see pix). The box is labeled GE.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:37 AM   #2
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1983 34' Excella
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I found one at a local mom 'n pop hardware store. Home Depot should have them, doesn't mean that they are in stock. There are three HDs in Little Rock/North Little Rock. The one closest to me, on Baseline Road, is by far the worst about keeping their shelves filled and getting help. I often have to go to another HD or somewhere else.

Speaking of the age causing breakers to trip, it's true of all breakers not just Ground Fault ones. While you have the panel off, replace them all. The GFCI breaker is the only expensive one, the other three are inexpensive. All will be GE, as the box is GE, should be easy enough to find..
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:19 AM   #3
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Intelipower converters have been an issue for many when connected to a GFI breaker. You may want to take a look at this thread:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...gfi-43187.html
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:16 AM   #4
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While GFCI devices do fail it is unusual for them to become more sensitive to ground faults as they age. It is common for breakers to become more sensitive to overcurrent with age and in particular with repeated trips or switching under load, which increases contact resistance, leading to more heating inside the breaker.

Those are common breakers available from a variety of manufacturers. Look for GE or Square D "Homeline" or any breaker sold as a universal fit.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:04 AM   #5
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I had to replace my GFCI breaker. It kept tripping for no obvious reason and after checking everything possible I assumed it was just old.

I found a replacement breaker at Lowe's. It wasn't expensive, and while I didn't look, I assume they carry the non GFCI breakers too.

Since I replaced that breaker it hasn't tripped, other than when I periodically hit the test button.

Christopher
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:35 PM   #6
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I changed all the breakers on my '78 Ambassador. All my breaker troubles went away. No problems now.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:49 PM   #7
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1979 31' Sovereign
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Angry grumble...

I got a "square d" breaker, but it's not the same shape as the ones I have. Is "homeline" the key differentiator? The attached picture shows the old breaker in the back and the new square d in the front.
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:00 PM   #8
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Your breaker looks like the older style GE. What brand label is stamped on the cover of your box? That will tell you what brand breakers you need to purchase. Also take the old breaker in and try inserting it into the panels on display. The Square D and GE are real close, but not close enough.

-thomas
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:31 PM   #9
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My box is GE. It also kind of looks like your old one in back, the one with the pigtail line, says General Electric but it's out of focus so I can't really tell.

Is the new one a GFCI model? My replacement had the "pigtail" line attached.

See if you can exchange the Square D for a GE.
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