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Old 08-08-2009, 06:39 PM   #1
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Do I need a new converter, or what?

Brief history of problem:

1. Replaced AS OEM converter in June 2008 with Parallax 4455TC. Have had no problems.
2. 2 weeks ago, the 20A GFI breaker started tripping when AC compressor tried to start. Tech at Camper World in Katy, TX said needed new compressor, and might as well get whole new AC. Did that.
3. New AC runs like a champ, but the same 20A breaker still trips. It trips when I plug unit into shore power. But it does *not* trip if the converter isn't plugged in, or if I manually trip the 20A breaker for the circuit the converter is on. Nothing else (but convenience outlets, and nothing is plugged into them) is on the circuit that the converter is on. I *think* I get some screwy resistance readings at the 110 outlets on the converter circuit when the shore power is disconnected, and the converter is plugged in, but I can't tell - it's a digital meter, and it drives me crazy ...

I can't really tell what's on the breaker that's tripping. The AS schematic (2004 28' Classic) indicates that it handles a number of receptacles (including one for the refrig) but when it trips, I think *all* the convenience outlets (which have their own 20A circuits) become inoperative. (But I'm going to go check that - I could be wrong about that.)

I guess what's really bugging me is, why would having the converter plugged in cause the 20A GFI breaker [if that's what it really is] to trip?

Can anyone shed some light on this for us, or suggest further problem determination steps we can take?

Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:34 PM   #2
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some similar information here:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...gfi-43187.html

you might want to try plugging it into a non-gfci circuit.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:27 PM   #3
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Here's a slightly reworded statement of the problem

Brief history of problem:

1. Replaced AS OEM converter in June 2008 with Parallax 4455TC. Have had no problems.
2. 2 weeks ago, the 20A GFI breaker started tripping when AC compressor tried to start. Tech at Camper World in Katy, TX said needed new compressor, and might as well get whole new AC. Did that.
3. New AC runs like a champ, but the same 20A breaker still trips. It trips when I plug unit into shore power. But it does *not* trip if the converter isn't plugged in, or if I manually trip the 20A breaker for the circuit the converter is on. If I unplug the converter I can reset the breaker. But if I then plug the converter back in, the breaker trips. Nothing else (but convenience outlets, and nothing is plugged into them) is on the circuit that the converter is on.

I can't tell *exactly* what's on the breaker that's tripping, but the AS schematic (2004 28' Classic) indicates that it handles a number of receptacles (including one for the refrig). Here's the real rub, tho: The breaker that trips doesn't have the converter on it! How can that be?

I guess what's really bugging me is, why would having the converter plugged in cause the 20A GFI breaker [if that's what it really is] to trip? What does the converter have to do with the 120V system (other than as a consumer on one of the 120V circuits)?

Can anyone shed some light on this for us, or suggest further problem determination steps we can take?
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:38 PM   #4
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Here's what's got me stumped:

Thanks, Ricky, for the pointer to the other thread.

As I've tried to explain above (it's all very confusing to me ...) the circuit the converter is on isn't the one with the GFI. I'm sure of that, because when the GFI breaker is tripped, I can still run stuff off the outlet into which the converter is plugged.

If I trip the converter's circuit breaker, I can then reset the GFI breaker, and it stays reset.

Not being very electrically-competent, I'd like to know: Is it possible that a fault in the converter could affect the GFI circuitry in some other circuit? If the answer is yes, then it's time to exercise the converter's warranty. If the answer is no, then what the heck could be going on?

Thanks again.
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:43 AM   #5
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i don't have that level of knowledge but many on this forum do. i hope they'll join in.

off hand i'd say one circuit should not trip the other but since the converter was replaced, that becomes a suspect. i need clarification that it is the breaker itself that is tripping and not the gfci button that trips. it would be a good time to check the outlets with a plug in circuit tester to verify polarity and grounds.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:16 AM   #6
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Thanks, Ricky.

I wondered myself if it was the GFI tripping that breaker or not. I did test the GFI on that breaker, and it tests ok.

The converter was replaced over a year ago, and has worked flawlessly up until this problem popped up in the recent couple of weeks.

If I plug the converter in, that GFI breaker trips. I need to find out what happens when I plug something else in there besides the converter, I think.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:41 AM   #7
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try plugging the converter into a different circuit. is the ac and the converter on the same breaker?
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:14 AM   #8
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It's very possible that the GFI has gone bad. Dust, vibration and moisture can be problematic for any electrical circuit. Replace it and see what happens.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:52 AM   #9
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Hi Lee - thanks.

I tested the GFI and it tested ok. I'm hesitant about replacing it, because that breaker/GFI costs close to $90 at our local Square D electrical supply.

I did unplug the converter, reset the breaker in question, and then plugged a vacuum cleaner into the receptacle the converter plugs into. The breaker with the GFI did *not* trip. It only seems to trip when the converter gets plugged in.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:53 AM   #10
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Ricky:

The AC and converter are on different circuits. AC runs like a champ.
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:25 AM   #11
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Where to go from here ...

Ricky, Lee:

Now I'm stuck.

If I turn off the battery switch (all 12V circuits now inoperable) and plug the converter in to *any* receptacle -- even one external to the trailer! -- the trailer's 120V breaker with the GFI still trips.

Does that still point the finger of suspicion to the converter? Or does that exonerate it and indicate the cause of the problem is elsewhere?

Thanks for your help and suggestions - both of you.
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:37 PM   #12
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" plug the converter in to *any* receptacle -- even one external to the trailer!"

the outlet on the outside of the trailer body is on the gfci breaker, or it should be anyway.
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:39 PM   #13
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can you plug the converter into a gfci outlet in the house?
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:45 PM   #14
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Yes, the outlet on the outside of the trailer is on the GFI circuit. It would be dang near impossible for me to plug the trailer into a GFI receptacle anyplace.

BTW, when I said "external" receptacle, the one I plugged into was not on the trailer - it was in the building where I keep the AS. That particular 110V outlet, however, is housed in the same box as the 30A connection used for the AS shore power. So, electrically, things might be the same as when I was plugging converter into circuits internal to the trailer. Being electrically-challenged, I don't know whether that's true or not.
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