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nomad 409

greenville ny

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Posted: 11/11/10 10:20am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello
I am new to this forum ,I have had travel trailers and a motor home or two but I recently purchased a used 2002 skyline nomad 39 ft TT.
I inspected and checked out the trailer at the previous owners property
with it plugged in,every thing worked . Fast forward two weeks after the seller pulled in the slides (that had to have the battery jumped and was done while 120 volts were plugged in ) I pick up the trailer move it to my property put a new battery in, pop out the slides and proceed to check every thing out . The next step was to plug the unit into my garage outlet(which I have used before for my MH AND ITs IN USE EVERY DAY )as I plugged it in with the breakers off in the TT as soon as I plugged it in it popped my garage circuit breaker. Found that there is a short to ground between white and green wires . Disconnected
power cord and checked its ok .My question is without a wiring diagram
how can I check this out .I have a fluke meter and experience on cars .
could the previous owner have fried the converter /charger Thanks

b_salgado

Salisbury ,NC,USA

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Posted: 11/11/10 10:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How did you check the short? If you set your meter to read ohms, and you went across the white and green terminals and it showed continuity then you have a dead short. If you went from the wire to ground this will also read continuity or short. The green wire should read short to ground.... it is the ground. As for checking the circuits....
Shut off the main breaker in the RV.
Then plug the unit into your house.
If the breaker trips, unplug the unit.
Go back to the RV and disconnect the wires for the power cord in the breaker panel. Insulate them with wire nuts.
Then go and plug it in again. Did the breaker trip? If so, it is the RV cord or plug. If not, then the cord is good.
Go back in the RV and hook up the terminals. Shut off ALL the other breakers. Go back and plug in the RV again. Is the breaker in the house on? If so, go back to the RV and turn on breakers one at a time until you find the one that causes the house to trip. This is where your problem is.
Just a guess..... the water heater element is bad and causing a dead short through the element. I have seen it too many times to think anything less.


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YC 1

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Posted: 11/11/10 12:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I believe a gfi will trip when it senses a difference in "current" between the hot and neutral. It does not look for a short between the two or a short between ground and neutral.

If you go in the house and place your ohmeter across the neutral hole and the ground hole you probably will see the "short" you are referring to.

Some GFCI's are extremely sensitive and the surge that goes through the rv is enough to make the GFCI trip. Turning off breakers before plugging in might help.

To test this just run the cord through the door to an outlet inside the house that does not have a GFCI.

If that works, and it probably will, you might want to put a new gfci in.


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YC 1

Yuba City Calif./ Auburndale Florida

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Posted: 11/11/10 12:32pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One additional question. Are you using an extension cord?

wra

Florida

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Posted: 11/11/10 12:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Apparently you have a ground fault outlet in your garage. It will trip when it senses a short between the ground (green wire) and common (white wire). That is what it is supposed to do. Turning your RV’s circuit breakers on or off will not correct the problem, nor help find where the ground and common lines are shorted.
I suggest you unplug your RV, open your power panel in the RV and look to see if the green and white wires are connected together there. If they are bonded together, you will need to separate them and install a bus bar that is isolated from the metal box. Install all white wires to the isolated bus bar, and all green wires to the bus bar that is bonded to the box. While you have the green and white wires disconnected, use your ohm meter and check to see if any of the white wires are shorted to their green wires. If so, you will need to go to the other end of the wire to see where they are shorted together and separate them as well. I have found many instances that the short between common and ground is at the inverter. Good luck.

nomad 409

greenville ny

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Posted: 11/11/10 11:25am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

On the power cord itself I ohmed the terminals ,then disconnected the terminals at the junction box and checked wire again (when disconnected no continunity open circuit. Will check heater

b_salgado

Salisbury ,NC,USA

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Posted: 11/11/10 12:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wra wrote:

Apparently you have a ground fault outlet in your garage. It will trip when it senses a short between the ground (green wire) and common (white wire). That is what it is supposed to do. Turning your RV’s circuit breakers on or off will not correct the problem, nor help find where the ground and common lines are shorted.
I suggest you unplug your RV, open your power panel in the RV and look to see if the green and white wires are connected together there. If they are bonded together, you will need to separate them and install a bus bar that is isolated from the metal box. Install all white wires to the isolated bus bar, and all green wires to the bus bar that is bonded to the box. While you have the green and white wires disconnected, use your ohm meter and check to see if any of the white wires are shorted to their green wires. If so, you will need to go to the other end of the wire to see where they are shorted together and separate them as well. I have found many instances that the short between common and ground is at the inverter. Good luck.
RV's are considered an appliance. They CANNOT be bonded in the circuit panel. ANY object with a plug is classified the same way. I have yet to see any that are bonded.
To the OP...Shutting off the breaker to the water heater may not work. The reason I say this is because, if the element is burnt, it could possibly be shorting to ground (the tank). If this is the case, you can either disconnect it at the element itself or at the panel. If you are disconnecting at the panel, make sure you remove ALL the leads.
YC 1 wrote:

I believe a gfi will trip when it senses a difference in "current" between the hot and neutral. It does not look for a short between the two or a short between ground and neutral.

If you go in the house and place your ohmeter across the neutral hole and the ground hole you probably will see the "short" you are referring to.

Some GFCI's are extremely sensitive and the surge that goes through the rv is enough to make the GFCI trip. Turning off breakers before plugging in might help.

To test this just run the cord through the door to an outlet inside the house that does not have a GFCI.

If that works, and it probably will, you might want to put a new gfci in.
GFCI or Ground Fault circuit interrupter most definitely checks for shorts. That is what it is designed to do.

vermilye

Oswego, NY, USA

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Posted: 11/11/10 02:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

I believe a gfi will trip when it senses a difference in "current" between the hot and neutral. It does not look for a short between the two or a short between ground and neutral
Actually, modern GFCIs do check for faults between the neutral & ground.

If it is a ground/neutral fault causing the GFCI to trip, shutting off breakers will not identify the bad circuit.

As to finding the fault - the only sure way I know is to dig into your breaker panel to identify the problem circuit. If you are not comfortable with this, get an electrician. If you are, with the trailer unplugged, all breakers, including the main switched off, generator & inverter off, open the breaker panel & disconnect one of the neutral (white) wires (Not the main). With the neutral disconnected, plug the power cord into the GFCI receptacle. If it still trips, the disconnected circuit is not the bad one. Unplug the power cord, reconnect the white wire & try another one.

Eventually, you will find the circuit that is causing the problem. Follow the wire back to where it enters the panel, identify the associated hot, follow it to the breaker to identify the circuit. I'd start with the water heater, the converter and the refer - those are the circuits that usually cause the problem. A shorted heater element or a fault in the converter is a likely cause. If the problem circuit has receptacles on it, unplug the loads one at a time to check which device is causing the problem.

Worn insulation caused by vibrations or slides moving can also be the cause of the problem. Again, once you have identified the circuit you need to follow the wiring for that branch, checking for any problems.


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wra

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Posted: 11/11/10 01:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

YC 1 wrote:

I believe a gfi will trip when it senses a difference in "current" between the hot and neutral. It does not look for a short between the two or a short between ground and neutral.
It was not my intension to explain how a GFI works, but to help a person find where his ground and common lines are shorted by using as simple text as possible. Let us keep it simple and not go off on tangents and confuse everyone.

nomad 409

greenville ny

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Posted: 11/11/10 02:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK thanks for all the info ,Here's what I did checked power cord by plugging it in disconnected from panel (passed test )rehooked power w/breaker off plugged in turned breaker on blew circuit ,disconnect first circuit wire (which covers gfi in kitchen and other outlets )with this disconnected no continuity to ground and all other parts work so it appears to have a problem in this area ? or am I overlooking something .

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