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Old 07-10-2011, 06:14 PM   #1
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Wiring problem

Completely rewired the trailer and everything seemed to work great until today. One of the receptacle was giving me a problem, thinking that a wire maybe came loose I pulled the receptacle and everything look wired correctly, but I did notice one of the white wires where black. I installed new receptacle, and in the process I touched the white wire (ground) and the interior panel and got a shock, I flipped all breakers off and this time used the volt meter, touched the white wire and wall panel and it read 115V, and that was with all breakers off. The below picture is how I wired the box. Is it possible that I wired Marinco 30A wrong...........any Ideas

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Old 07-10-2011, 06:30 PM   #2
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From the picture you posted it appears the incoming ground wire is only attached to the ground wires for the individual branch circuits. You need a ground bar mounted in the panel and a #6 bare copper wire to the frame of the trailer to establish a ground path. Call an electrician if you're not sure.
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:38 PM   #3
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Fiddler is correct . you definitely need to ground the system. But also re-check your Marinco connection for incorrect wiring. You should not get any reading between neutral and ground. This is dangerous. Check you cord as well. where do you plug into? is it a new connection at a campground or your house ? make sure it is not wired reverse..

REMEMBER, Safety first:unplug , turn of breaker and secure the connection before doing any work on the electrical system.

Since i guess you don’t have it : a reverse polarity indicator would be good : get a small 110V indicator light and hard wire it between neutral and the ground. mount the light somewhere visible close to your connection. if you ever plug into a wrong wired outlet, the light will go on, and you know, there is a problem. I used a small 110V buzzer before.
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassfiddler View Post
From the picture you posted it appears the incoming ground wire is only attached to the ground wires for the individual branch circuits. You need a ground bar mounted in the panel and a #6 bare copper wire to the frame of the trailer to establish a ground path. Call an electrician if you're not sure.
Will add ground bar to electric panel and run all ground wires to bar, will the #6 wire run from the new installed bar to frame or can I attach to wall.............thanks
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:27 PM   #5
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It looks like your panel inside the trailer is wired correctly except for the missing ground. But I don't believe that is the problem with the skin being hot. I think the problem is either in the outlet and or panel that supplies the shore power or in the way that the shore power plug is wired to the shore power cable.
It sounds to me like the neutral and the hot leg are reversed since you can read 120 volts from the white wire in your trailer to the ground with the circuit breakers shut off..
First I would look in the panel that supplies the power to the outlet for the trailer and make sure the black wire is connected to the circuit breaker and the white wire is connected to the neutral buss.
If that looks to be correct, then go to the receptacle that you plug the trailer into. If it is a receptacle designed specifically for Travel Trailer use it will indicate what color wires go to the appropriate screws.
If it is an outlet like you have in your home. The black wire from the power panel should be connected to the GOLD screw on the outlet and the white wire should be connected to the SILVER screw on the outlet. If that is correct and the shore power cord is not a factory moulded plug, the plug on the end of the shore power cord could be wired incorrectly.
Check them all and let us know what you find.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:08 AM   #6
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Safety First

You should have all power off when doing this. If you are not comfortable with this. Hire someone who is knowledgeable
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by toastie View Post
Will add ground bar to electric panel and run all ground wires to bar, will the #6 wire run from the new installed bar to frame or can I attach to wall.............thanks
I'd recommend a lug attached to the frame. I was slightly off on my comment earlier as you can use #8 bare copper instead of #6 which will save you a couple of bucks. Use a 1/4" nut and bolt with lock-washers though a drilled 1/4" hole to attach the lug to the frame rather than a self-tapping sheet metal screw which could become loose after a while. Scrape away any paint or rust to ensure a good connection. Double-checking the polarity of the device you're plugging into is very important as well. If the skin is energized it is a very serious situation. I wouldn't get the near the camper without rubber-soled work boots until you're certain the problem has been remedied. If someone is barefoot or in anyway makes contact with the earth and the skin, while energized, it could be tragic. I've been in the business for many years and have seen and heard many tales regarding shocks, burns and in the rare case- even death. Don't mean to be a fear-monger but it is a serious matter not to be taken lightly.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:15 AM   #8
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Yes you need to ground the trailer, for future safety, but I don't think that is your current problem. The panel is floating as you show it and would not supply a path to ground between the receptacle and the skin. I suspect your path to ground was directly to GROUND through the trailer jack.

Pull the shore plug. Lift the black and white wire off the panel connections and while they are floating free plug the trailer in and read between the black wire and the green wire. You should have 120 volts. Read between the white wire and the green wire, you should have 0 volts but I suspect you will have 120 indicating the shore wiring in reversed.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:00 PM   #9
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Found the problem, had the black and white wire reversed in the Marinco receptacle , I do know better then that, must have been in a hurry. The only problem that I had is with the gfi breaker, it keep on tripping, you can see in the picture that it looks like I had it hooked up correctly. Removed gfi and put in a regular breaker and everything works perfectly. Did buy a reverse polarity indicator and everything checked out great. Added a grounding bar to electical box and will ground to frame. I do have a dedicated ground wire to frame, ran that wire inside to a ground bar, and all of my grounding wires run to that bar. My question is, can I use a #8 wire to ground the electrical box verse a #6??...............thanks to all

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Old 07-12-2011, 07:31 PM   #10
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I suspect when you connect the ground to the frame the GFCI breaker will work correctly. You can use #8 bare solid copper.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:10 AM   #11
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Do you really need gfi breakers in a trailer?

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Old 07-13-2011, 07:11 AM   #12
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:59 AM   #13
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In the photo above, I noticed that you don't have "box connectors" on any of the wiring going into the panel. I would recommend installing them to prevent the wires from chafing on the edge of the holes.
There are arguements both ways on GFIC breakers. I believe the most important thing is to make sure the trailer is wired correctly. Routine checking and maintenance is important. As in the problem you had. The breaker GFI breaker did not and would not have prevented getting shocked.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:43 AM   #14
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The current code for house construction requires a GFI within X ft of a water source. Generally a Good regulation but one that has lead to a false sense of security for many.

A GFI insures that the beaker will trip, in a time frame shorter than can cause harm, as soon as there is a difference in current flow between the hot side and the neutral side. The assumption be the individual has provided a secondary path to ground through the presence of water.

The short fall of a GFI is that they will also trip during the start up of almost any electrical device that has a capacitor across the input. When first introduced there was a thrust to include them on industrial electrical test benches. Great idea since many of the benches were metal and had 50,000 volt test equipment sources on them. However many of the other test instruments had the a for mentioned cap across the input and as a result it could take 10 to 20 mins. before a tech could successfully power up his bench. A short lived requirement.
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