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Old 10-21-2017, 12:30 PM   #1
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1981 31' Excella II
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Dead battery bad GFI

Went out to the trailer yesterday and nothing would work. Plugs were working but no DC power. Turns out the cause was a GFI that kept blowing. Looks like there is a dedicated 15A circuit for the power converter. I checked the lines after removing the breaker and power and there are no shorts in the system. I replaced the breaker with a standard non-GFI for the short run but why is it there in the first place? Maybe the old Univolt could short and put AC on the 12V line? The converter has been replaced with a modern unit. I don't think that is the problem. I just hope the battery is not toast. It seems to have charged ok and we don't boondock so a little loss of capacity is not a problem. My attitude toward GFI is that they are big PITA. Is it going to add any extra safety?

Perry
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Old 10-21-2017, 02:23 PM   #2
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Are you the only owner of the AS? I'm wondering if somebody put it in years ago, thinking it was a different circuit. That said, the GFCI could have tripped because it was defective. If there really *is* leakage on the circuit it's worth tracking down. In some cases stuff like the Univolt have filters on them that are not GFCI compatible. If it's been wired this way for years, I doubt that's the issue .....

Bob
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Old 10-21-2017, 02:39 PM   #3
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GFCI is required by code in certain applications. My guess is that the converter shares the same line as an outlet near a water source. Just a guess.
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Old 10-21-2017, 05:35 PM   #4
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Had a very similar problem when working on a friends trailer, an '84 Excella 31 foot. Installed a new Progressive Dynamics converter which ran for 2 months with no problem, then the breaker started tripping. PD said to return the unit as defective if it trips the breaker more than twice. They replaced the PD9245 with no question. The new unit ran for 2 weeks without a problem and then the breaker started to trip again. I called Progressive Dynamics, and they said that there was no indication of any problem with the original converter. By plugging converter into another non GFCI outlet with an extension cord, everything is fine. Tried various other things to try to get GFCI to trip on that outlet with no luck. Next step is to replace the GFCI breaker!!!
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Old 10-21-2017, 05:53 PM   #5
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I think the breaker was bad. I had the converter turned off and it still blew. I will check to see of the outside outlets are on that cicuit. If they are, that explains why the GFCI. A buddy of mine said the newer power supplies tend to have more high frequency noise which may mess up the GFCI. I would replace it and see if it happens again.

Perry
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Old 10-22-2017, 07:06 AM   #6
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If your trailer's shore power is plugged into a GFCI outlet, that might explain why you're having so much trouble. Having one GFCI circuit plugged into another GFCI circuit generally causes one of them to trip, because the circuitry inside a GFCI that allows it to detect ground faults also causes another GFCI to detect it as a ground fault.

So if you absolutely need to use your interior GFCI circuit, it's best to not plug your shore power into a home GFCI-protected outlet.
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Old 10-22-2017, 07:36 AM   #7
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The circuit feeding the trailer is not GFCI. They also don't like inductive loads being in the circuit. I expect it is just a 35yr old GFCI breaker fail. I already replaced the 20A for the AC unit that was tripping.

Perry
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:12 AM   #8
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Hi

Unless you do have sockets on the circuits, there is no big reason to have GFCI breakers on those circuits. Normally something like an AC unit runs on a dedicated circuit / breaker.

Bob
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:10 AM   #9
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Change the simple cheaper things first (breaker). Trust me on that one. I learned the hard (expensive, time consuming) way.
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Old 10-22-2017, 01:10 PM   #10
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GFIs can just go bad with age. You don't need it for he converter. Could it also power an outside plug, or a kitchen counter plug? In that case GFIs are recommend
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Old 10-23-2017, 09:16 AM   #11
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Peter

GFI's hate moisture of any kind. We solved the problem of an overactive GFI by sealing/waterproofing our outside outlets. They can be used in an emergency with a bit of work but no more problems. Hard rain would be a problem but two months on the coast of Maine, right on the water did it, constant humidity.
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:06 PM   #12
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peter

Regarding GFI--Should have have said, driving rain used to be a problem but now no more.
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Old 10-24-2017, 10:09 PM   #13
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From what I have seen most 80's Airstreams have the outside outlet, the refrigerator outlet and the converter outlet all on the GFI circuit.
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:44 AM   #14
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Hi

Outside outlets are a GCFI problem from a combination of dust and moisture. One "fix" is to clean them off with some sort of solvent spray. Then spray them down with a silicone spray lube. The lube will displace moisture and at least for a while cure the problem. The gotcha is that the lube also captures dust. At some point you have to go through the clean and coat process again. Since silicone lube is tough to get off, it's usually a wipe down and flood with new lube process after the first time.

Bob
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