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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers

 > Blowing ground fault circuit breaker

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traktrjorj

Herrick, Il.

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Posted: 07/07/11 04:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The problem being that when I hook into a ground fault circuit breaker at a campground the breaker trips instantly. I am now at home and have installed the same type breaker and the camper will trip it too. I went into the camper breaker box and pulled all 3 breakers and have them hanging loose from the box so absolutely no connections except= white to neutral main post, black to the circuit breaker hanging loose and red to ground post in box. Plugged the cord in and blew the GF circuit breaker in the shed. I don't understand my problem unless if the cord is bad that would trip it. Any ideas? Thanks,gary

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Posted: 07/07/11 04:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I never heard of red as a ground wire. Bare or green, yes.

CA Traveler

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Posted: 07/07/11 05:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GFI's have a second circuit that will detect a neutral to ground fault with the hot lead disconnected.

Disconnect the neutral lines if it still trips then it's either the GFCI itself or your cord from the house plug to the CB panel. Could even be moisture on that cord.


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midnightsadie

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Posted: 07/07/11 05:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

you might start by taking the cord apart and following KD 4 idea.

KD4UPL

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Posted: 07/07/11 04:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your ground wire should not be red, however, some old school electricians from way back seemed to think red was ground. If you have a home made cord then maybe it was done that way.
A GFI will trip if your neutral wire (white) is touching ground anywhere. That is probably your problem. See if you have any bare ground wires touching the neutral bar in the panel. If not there, unhook all the neutrals in the panel and try the plug. If the breaker holds, reconnect the neutrals one at a time until it trips. Then you know which circuit has a ground and neutral touching.

traktrjorj

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Posted: 07/07/11 05:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The statement that with the hot wire disconnected that it will still ground fault helps alot. Back to the camper to see if I understand it more this time. Hopefully when i com back in I will have located the problem. gary

beemerphile1

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Posted: 07/08/11 10:40am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not clear to me what you are connecting or disconnecting. So, put the breakers back in and connected correctly. Disconnect all white circuit wires (not the main power cord wire) from the buss they are attached to on the back of the breaker box. Now put them back on one at a time testing in between until the GFCI trips. The last white wire connected is your bad circuit. Now you will have to trace it out and find out the problem.


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happycampin4

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Posted: 07/08/11 05:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

To add to BigJohn's instructions....when un-plugging everything...don't forget those hidden outlets... the fridge, the microwave, converter (if it is a plug in model) Ground faults can be tricky... good luck

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traktrjorj

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Posted: 07/07/11 07:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK, I am back again without any answers.
First thing: Green was ground!Sorry!
I disconnected all; every set of 3 wires to the breakers. The only wires hooked up was the 3 main wires. Flipped on the GF breaker in the shed. Checked for power to the breaker box in the camper.(125V) Then tried to add one set at a time to the mix. Every set but one blew the GF circuit breaker in the shed.(brand new,just installed)Each time I blew it I disconnected and tied off that set of wires so the only ones I was working with was a single new set until I had went through all 5 sets. What are the chances of that? I will face it again tommorrow, maybe. Keep in mind that everything in this camper works fine with a normal 30 amp circuit breaker. Friend has been camping in it for the last week. No problems! Thanks and any more ideas will be helpful.

bigjohnmcvicker

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Posted: 07/08/11 12:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with KD4UPL
KD4UPL wrote:

A GFI will trip if your neutral wire (white) is touching ground anywhere. That is probably your problem. See if you have any bare ground wires touching the neutral bar in the panel. If not there, unhook all the neutrals in the panel and try the plug. If the breaker holds, reconnect the neutrals one at a time until it trips. Then you know which circuit has a ground and neutral touching.


Heres some reading



and here...

Is this a GFCI outlet most GFCI outlets are only rated to 20amps or is it a GFCI breaker?

"Why a GFCI should not be used with major appliances:
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is supposed to be a valuable safety device. Why not use them everywhere, even on large appliances with 3 wire plugs?

"A properly grounded 3 prong outlet provides protection for both people and the appliance should a short circuit develop between a live wire and the cabinet.
Highly inductive loads like large motors or even fluorescent lamps or fixtures on the same circuit can cause nuisance tripping of GFCIs which needless to say is not desirable for something like a refrigerator."


"Testing for fault in branch circuit:
This may trip the breaker or blow a fuse - or trip a GFCI if so protected. The procedure below is specifically for GFCI tripping. You will need a multimeter.

First, unplug everything from the circuit and see if it still trips. If it now does not trip, one of the appliances was the problem. Try them one at a time to see which is the problem and then check the section for that or a similar appliance elsewhere in this document.
Assuming the circuit is at fault:

You need to determine whether this is a H-G leakage fault (which is what most people think is the only thing GFCIs test for) or a shorted G-N fault.
A H-G fault that doesn't trip the normal breaker might be due to damp wiring (an outside outlet box that gets wet or similar) or rodent damage.
A shorted G-N fault means that G and N are connected somewhere downstream of the GFCI - probably due to incorrect wiring practices or an actual short circuit due to frayed wiring or wires touching - damage during installation or renovation.
Assuming the line is separate from any other wiring:

With the line disconnected from the service panel (all three wires), first test between each pair of wires with the multimeter on AC to make sure it is truly dead - there should be virtually no voltage. H-G, N-G, and H-N should all be close to 0 (say, less than a volt).
If this passes, test across the dead line's H and G for leakage on the resistance range. It should be greater than 15 K ohms (it should really be infinity but to trip the GFCI requires around 15 K ohms or less).
Then, test for resistance between H and G - this too should be infinity.
One of these will show a fault - possibly the N-G test indicating a short or improperly wired outlet since this would not result in any operational problems until a GFCI is installed (though it does represent a safety hazard)."


Sounds to me like you have a short somewhere.. I would get a ohm meter and start testing wire by wire to see whats touching where.

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