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Old 01-27-2010, 12:51 PM   #21
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I just really want to say thank you to everyone's insight on this thread! It's helped me learn quite a bit and as they say, "knowledge is power".

Well the good news is that definitely without a doubt I know the cable is fried. I used my neighbor's cable and the power came back without any problem for the most part(for the most part).

Now, here's where we enter phase two of this problem.

In my coach the galley has three outlets, one of them has a test/reset button on it. These three outlets are on the same circuit as the fridge and an outlet located in the bedroom.

When I plugged in my neighbor's cable all power went on except for the outlets in the galley and the bedroom. I pressed the reset button on the outlet that had one in the galley and now it works. However, the rest of them don't.

I reset all of the breakers and still remains the same. There is only the one outlet in the galley that has the test/ reset buttons on it.

Any ideas or is it time to contact an electrician? And, if it is that time does anyone know of a good one in this area?
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:44 PM   #22
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I have a lady friend who had the same problem. I can see that your trailer connection is a "twist lock" receptacle.....meaning you have to not only plug it in, you have to twist it to get a good lock and connection. Did you know that? If you don't do that you get what you got!!
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:00 PM   #23
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Most likely scenario:

The outlet with the reset button on it is wired backwards (this is a common mistake a PO might have made) and actually did have power before you pushed the reset button but you figured it didn't because you saw the reset button was popped out and didn't actually check. Now, even though you've pushed in the reset button, you haven't pushed it in quite all the way, or it popped back out again, possibly for good reason, possibly not; or maybe the contacts are a little flakey. Short term solution: 1) push the test and see if the reset pops out, then push the reset. Try this several times until you're convinced that the reset is staying in and not popping out by itself. (If the reset won't stay in unplug the fridge and anything else you have plugged in and try again. If that doesn't help the GFCI is probably shot and should be replaced). Now that it's staying in and you're sure of it, check the power in the other outlets, I'll bet they work. Long term solution: Have someone show you how to switch the wires between the line and load terminals, they're backwards.

Less likely scenarios:

1) Loose wiring inside one of the galley outlets. Shut off all 120v power in the trailer by disconnecting shore power and shutting off any generator or inverter you may have, remove each affected outlet from the wall, tighten the screws that hold the wires, reinstall; if any outlets are "back wired" and not held in by the screws, then undo the back wiring and use the screws instead; back wiring with the little spring clamps works unreliably in stick houses and is a really bad idea in a trailer

2) Galley and bedroom circuits aren't on the same circuit despite what you think. Turn all the breakers off and on again and see if that helps

3) There's another GFCI outlet hidden somewhere, either an exterior outlet, or maybe one in the lavatory, and that's the one that you have to reset

Good luck.

Let us know how the repairs to the shore power cord are going and don't be afraid to ask for help if you get stuck.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:15 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lebolewis View Post
I have a lady friend who had the same problem. I can see that your trailer connection is a "twist lock" receptacle.....meaning you have to not only plug it in, you have to twist it to get a good lock and connection. Did you know that? If you don't do that you get what you got!!
He has 30 amp service. Look at the photo of the Marinco connector he posted.

With 30 amp service, the trailer either has shore power, or doesn't. There is no possibility of getting shore power to some of the outlets but not the rest of them.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:20 PM   #25
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First, I'm an amateur, not a professional. I've done a fair amount of wiring renovating homes, but I'm more than willing to wave the white flag. My suggestion is to work within your comfort zone. Internet advice--not matter how well intended--is not an adequate substitute for competent professional work... at the scene of the crime.

The outlet with the "button" is quite likely a GFCI outlet. If the outlets "downstream" are not hot, the problem may be as simple as a bad connection. The problem could be at the GFCI outlet or at the next outlet in the circuit. You can learn something (occasionally) by simply removing the outlet and performing a "visual inspection." It is pretty easy to see whether or not wires are properly connected to the outlet. This is also a chance to see if there is evidence of arcing (which is what electricians call in very technical terms... "not good.")

I'll also give you the same advice I gave my daughters. If you feel the need to check an outlet, make sure the circuit is not live. Before you touch anything, test the outlet... and in a duplex outlet, this means both. It's like the old saw about all of the folks who get shot by "unloaded guns." Go slow, be safe.... and good luck.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:26 PM   #26
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I was referring to the "smoking" "sizzleing" power plug......nothing else. That's a classic symptom of a loose faulty overheating connection at the plug. That's why the breakers didn't trip.
Sounds like there may be other electrical problems inside the trailer, as well.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:37 PM   #27
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If you haven't done so would suggest you remove the Marinco connector from the trailer and check it out. My 2007 20' Safari lost power at a CG. It was discovered that when the connector was installed on mine not one of the three wires was tightened - they were all loose - and over time enough corrosion built up to cause the failure. Why it worked for over a year before failing I haven't a clue. When examined the back of the connector showed sign of arcing and it was partially melted. Mine did not cause any problems in the wiring inside the trailer. Just a thought.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:08 PM   #28
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Hey all,

Ok, so the outisde power cable is taken care of(I ended up just buying a used one as I didn't have the time or the patience to repair the one I had and I think it had already seen better days).

So this goes onto the bigger issue at hand; why one outlet has power and the others and fridge don't. Jammer, I did what you said several times, pushing the test button and the reset button pops out. Push the reset button in and it stays perfect like a dream. Repeated this process and checked the remaining outlets I'd say between 5-10 times with the same result. The outlet with the test and reset works fine and others are still dead.

So, this brings me to a question. Do you think it might be the main breaker? I've taken pics of the breaker in question and posted them in my Picasa album.

After taking a look at the pics I've got some other questions for you. One is, I'd like to see if I could test the breaker, but as richinny and I both tried to see, there seems to be no way to open it up to test it. Do you know of a way to do that? Looks like to me there's only two screws to loosen to get the wires out. Any ideas?

Also, I'd like to mention that the test button on the breaker in question sticks where it seems like I can't push it in to trip the breaker.

So, I'm pretty much at a loss at the moment so any feedback would be appreciated(as always )
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:31 PM   #29
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Hopefully that's not really the main breaker but rather one of the branch ones.

Breakers are, as they say, "serviced as a unit" and, if disassembled, should not be returned to service.

They are tested with a meter. It is rare for them to fail, though it does happen.

That's a GFCI breaker. The test button depresses only slightly and will not do anything unless the breaker is installed in a panel and powered up.

I would encourage you to involve someone local who has expertise in this area. It's one thing to fix cords, quite another to tear apart your breaker panel if you don't know what you're about.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:32 PM   #30
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Use the I got Money Method

As far as the circuit breaker goes, I doubt that is what is causing the problem since you have electricity at some of the outlets while not at the others. If you are concerned you can simply replace the circuit breaker. They do not cost very much and they can be found at any hardware store.

I see where you have already replaced the power cord. You could (notice I said could) try to replace the ground fault outlet and see if that fixed the problem down stream. I am thinking that there is another key here that we haven't found. Are you sure that the non functioning outlets are connected to the ground fault one? If not, they could be on a different circuit. By a process of elimination, you should be able to check all the breakers to see what controls what.

If you don't want to work that hard, just throw some money in the direction of the problem and go out and buy a new ground fault outlet. My dad used this system to fix our cars when we were teens. Start by replacing parts until everything is running again.

Not real scientific but it is an idea.

I had a similar problem with mine when the PO drove off with the cord connected and pulled the ground wire out. Everything worked just fine according to him but I found out that my converter was fried and my DVD player suddenly stopped working. Hmmmmm...

Good Luck
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:37 PM   #31
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can someone post how to open the breaker to get to the screws that hold the wires? there is barely room to get a test probe in to test the wire. i saw two plastic screws? but i wasn't sure what they did.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:42 PM   #32
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It's a GFCI breaker. The pigtail wire is non-removable and is considered part of the breaker. The other two wires can be easily removed by loosening the terminal screws from the front.

When I open circuit breakers, I use a 2 pound hammer, since once I decide to do that I know I'm not going to return them to service, and it's quick and easy.

I think you should involve someone who knows this stuff, though, for safety reasons.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:48 PM   #33
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So Jammer are you saying that the entire unit needs to be replaced then and there is no way to just replace the one breaker?

Sorry if this is a redundant question, but just wanted to clarify. Or, if you get that one open can you connect the pigtail wire to another GFCI breaker?
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:49 PM   #34
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everything is safe with the cord disconnected.

front of what? the screws that hold the wires in the breaker are covered. does the breaker come with a full set of pigtails?
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:58 PM   #35
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Look at the photo below.

The white wire on the right is the "pigtail." It goes to the neutral bus in the breaker panel, and cannot be removed from the breaker.

The two wires, one black one white, on the left side of the photo, are removable, and go to the outlets. You can see the threads of the screws that hold them in the photo. The screw heads are accessible from the front of the breaker, which is the side facing toward the brown, hinged panel door in the photo.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:02 PM   #36
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If you look in this photo, the two screws that hold the wires in place are visible on the left side, facing the camera.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:07 PM   #37
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Incidentally, one of the possible ways this thing could be screwed up is if the pigtail wire goes to the ground bus instead of the neutral bus. Combined with an open ground in the shore power cord, could lead to the outlets not working and 120 volts on the chassis.

Neutral bus = insulated from metal cabinet and has many white wires connected

Ground bus = not insulated and has bare and green wires, no white ones
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:19 PM   #38
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Spacepod, you don't have to replace the whole panel, just the breaker assembly, but again I doubt if it's bad. The pigtail wire is removed from the neutral bus by loosening a screw in the neutral bus, and the other two wires are removed as I described above. Easy peasy.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:21 PM   #39
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Hey Jammer,

Well good news is the "pigtail" goes to the neutral bus. Now, please humor me on this one; let's say the test button doesn't do anything now or ever since I got the rig in October. This breaker has tripped before and I had problems getting it to switch back on. As in I kept trying to reset only to have it not stick in the "on" position. Tried pressing the test button only to not be able to press it, like it was jammed or stuck or something. Any of these signs of faulty breaker?
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:26 PM   #40
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GFCI breakers do fail.

If you press the "test" button, the breaker should trip (not allow current). Pressing the reset button should restore current. If the breaker is tripped (not passing current) pressing the test button will not do anything.

If the breaker still passes current after the test button is pressed, it has failed the test and needs to be replaced. I'd suggest you shut off all power to the rig until the breaker is replaced.

If your can't reset the breaker (causing current to flow) the breaker needs to be replaced.
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