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Tslice

Colorado Springs

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Posted: 03/09/12 01:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been having some electrical problems with my 1992 Fleetwood Pace arrow 32K (Class A motorhome). At this point I am very frustrated.

Going back to when the problem first started, was a couple months back when I first got the motorhome. We had the TV in the rear bedroom going, and a space heater maxed out (1500w) plugged into the GFCI in the bathroom. That's when the problem first started. The TV, heater, and everything on that particular GFCI circuit turned off, and stopped working. When I attempted to reset the GFCI, it popped, but did not reset. Also, checking the breaker box, there was no breakers tripped.

I ended up taking it to a shop, after not being able to fix it myself. What I had tried to do myself, was replace the GFCI circuit that the space heater had been plugged into when it stopped working, thinking that that might fix the problem. (NOTE: AT this point the problem would only happen to the bathroom GFCI circuit, affecting the bathroom outlet, bedroom outlets, and one of the galley outlets - every other outlet seemed to work - they are on two different circuits) Well I couldn't fix it so off to the shop it went. Anyway, they ended up supposedly patching up wires in the wall close to the outlet. They said some were touching and that this was causing the problem. Sure enough, they fix it...$350 later....I was pissed. But at least it was fixed...I thought...

Well that is until the problem happened again the next evening. This time, the exact same thing, and the shop I went to gave me a 12 month warranty, so I decide to take it back so they can fix it. They tell me it's going to be covered under the warranty. That is, until they decide to call me and tell me they discovered some shorting wires near the hot water heater. They told me they needed more time, and I ended up paying another $225 for which I am now, at this point, very unhappy about how much this is all costing. Good news was, it ended up getting fixed again.

Fast forward until tonight. Everything has been working great for the past month, so I started moving my stuff in, getting ready to live in it full time. I keep my digital honeywell oil filled radiator heater on at all times either on the low or medium setting. Except for when I'm in it at night and then I turn it up to the high setting until I go to sleep.

So everything was working great. Ive been thrilled, and I love this thing. Until now. Me and my gf were in bed (this time in the bed in the galley, with ALL the electronics plugged into the other circuit.

Which was as follows: 22" LCD TV, Laptop charger, Electric Mattress Pad, and my space heater on the high setting.

Now I know this is a little on the high side. However, I haven't had a problem with doing this for the past month.

Anyways, now after all this, I am having the exact same problem x 2. Instead of it just being isolated to the one circuit, now the problem is on ALL circuits. Nothing 120v works anymore. Just the 12v. I tried resetting all the GFCI's (including the one near the outlet that its plugged into in my garage). NO SUCCESS. Tried flipping the breakers on and off. NO SUCCESS. Tested the outlet in the garage and the extension cord with my outlet tester. Tested good.

I am freaking out. Why would this be happening now. And why was this even happening in the first place? I simply don't trust what shop told me, but there is a chance that they're telling the truth. Perhaps there is more fried wires?

My question is, I understand that when a circuit gets overloaded it will trip. However, what in gods name could be preventing me from resetting it. Also, how in gods name is the shop able to reset it, and not me??? I am just so frustrated. I had thought I had this problem fixed numerous times just to have it pop back up.

There are two concerns in my head that POSSIBLY could be causing this. (1) is the solenoid by my propane tank. it gets real hot, and to me its a cause for concern
(2) I use a 14 guage 50 foot exstension cord to plug into my garage outlet...HOWEVER I check the endings regularly and they just barely get warm...AND why would it work in the first place so well?...and then just STOP working...and not start working again?...

Someone please help me. I know its a long post, but I wanted to be thorough in explaining the problem, just in case someone on here can really help me! Thanks,,,


32' Pace Arrow 454 Gasser, Mor-Ryde Suspension Professional Limo Tint, Blackout Blinds, Custom Desk, All Black Appliances, Updated flooring & dining table, LCD TV's Front & Back, 7000w Onen, 3750w Centurion, Dometic Awning


badboy368

OHIO

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Posted: 03/09/12 01:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Those gfci,s do wear out. maybe you are just on the very edge of the amps you can pull on one, and they are just not lasting. just for a test session, replace the gfci's with regular outlets and see how long they last. Maybe a cheap way to test them.


40' pusher,350 turbo cat, pullin a 37' trailer haulin a drag car. oh yea baby


Tslice

Colorado Springs

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Posted: 03/09/12 02:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Since I'm by no means an electrician, I'm wondering if changing a GFCI outlet to a regular one is harmful? Either way I think I'll give it a shot. The idea of taking it back to some shop isn't sitting well with me. I really want to learn this myself, first hand.

Tslice

Colorado Springs

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Posted: 03/09/12 03:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

At this point I'm worried I have done damage to something in the RV electrical system by using a 50 foot 14 guage exstension cord. What would I have damaged? I really need to figure this out.

trop-a-cal

Palm Coast Fl

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Posted: 03/09/12 04:00am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You have to remember to start at the source of power, where it's plugged.Sometimes the power source is the problem and the owner of the power source has to repair the box you are plugged into. Many times the plug from the RV is burnt where the contacts are connected to the wire. Then the next check should be at the RV's electrical box. That has to be done with it unplugged, checking all the connections for tightness and repairing any burnt wires. Then the circuit breakers all have to be checked for signs of melting, as they burn out internaly and do need to be replaced if not carring the power through due to being burnt. Then the outlets, which do burn out also and can be detected by signs of melting encasements.

Remember your unit is old and has be driven over bumpy roads which loosens contacts and just from static use (not moving)has been drawing current through the wires that do wear out.

Owning an RV is economical if you take the time to learn all the ins and outs of repairing,but very expensive to take to a repair shop where they get $95 an hour for repairs. Get the information needed from the people that have been there and done that,right here on this forum.

Artum Snowbird

Campbell River, B.C., Canada

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Posted: 03/09/12 04:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GFI circuits reley on sensitive measurements that check the differences between your neutral wire, and the ground wire and the incoming powered wire.

I would hazard a guess that you could go to your panel box and get to the back of it with a good light powered from your house. With your rig disconnected from the house, and battery power terminals lifted as well, open the back of the 120 volt panel and systematically and carefully tighten ever screw in there. Have your partner make a chart and record which screws you find that you can get a turn or two onto before they feel tight. Go over all the grounds to the back of the panel, all the neutrals to the walls of the panels and all of the main power feeds.

You have certainly put serious use on those curcuits, and those wires at the panel end could be loose. Once they trip, it builds up oxides and starts to spark, and conduct poorer each time.

Once you have done the panel, then keep up the good work and get to the main feeds and tighten them, and then hope for the best. It can often fix a lot of things.


Mike and Carole
2007 Snowbird 9'6" Super Slide
2005 16.6 Double Eagle
2000 F350 7.3 SC 4X4
previously 8'10" Snowbird Camper
2006 Triple E Regency 27 foot SXL SOLD!

GaPete

Georgia

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Posted: 03/09/12 05:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Couple of questions, what were you plugged into in your garage and have you checked it to be sure it is still hot?

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 03/09/12 05:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Do check the plug to which the RV is connected to see if it has power.

Wiring in RV's is not intended for the use you are putting it under.

A 14 gauge extension cord is going to cause quite a bit of voltage drop with those loads. Replace it with a #10 or at least a #12.

I'd suggest getting some smaller oil filled heaters so you can "spread the load" around. At the moment I'm using 2500 watts--but no circuit has more than 900 watts of draw on it, and I'm running four heaters plus the converter, and some other items. (It is -10 C or 15 F outside.)

If you don't want the smaller heaters--then run the big one on a lower setting--and get a 2nd big one.

Many RV folks have added extra shore power cords that are rated at 20 amps so they can add additional power to their RV's. This can be useful when staying where there is no 30 amp service available. That allows connecting to two 15 amp circuits (which is what most household outlets are rated at). That is how I'm able to run 2500 watts right now while in my mother in law's driveway, without overloading any of the supply side equipment (cords, and etc.)

Because I knew I wanted to use a lot of electrical heating I've replaced most of the OEM outlets--the originals are really not intended for use with high draw items. I'd describe them as "barely legal".

My "extra" circuit allows me, where there is only a single 15 amp service, to run just the converter. I can then still have full functionality by plugging the rest of the RV into my inverter.

If you end up back at the shop--have them add a 20 amp outlet on a "new" shore power cord--or simply do it yourself.

* This post was edited 03/09/12 06:07am by pianotuna *


Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 2500 MSW watt inverter.

eHoefler

ozark mountains

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Posted: 03/09/12 05:49am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First of all, GET RID OF THE 14 ga EXTENSION CORD!!!!!!! It is way to small for the load!!! It is only rated for 12 amps. The heater alone on high pulls 12.5 amps, the convertor will pull up towards 7-10 amps, not to mention the other things you have plugged in. Also, the outlet you era plugged into is only good for 15 amps. You could have tripped the breaker on the outlet circuit you are plugged into, the GFIC circuit you are plugged into in the garage, burned out the outlet its self, or burned out the extension cord internally, just for starters.


2010 Ram 3500, Crew Cab, Long bed, 4 x 4,Dually, Lights & Siren!

2006 40' Landmark Mt. Rushmore

Chris Bryant

DeLand, Florida, USA

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Posted: 03/09/12 06:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would start with the neutral buss bar in the distribution panel.


-- Chris Bryant
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