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Old 08-30-2016, 01:44 AM   #21
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Thanks Aaron, This is getting me frustrated. I'll check the converter for loose wiring, and I'll check to see if the battery is getting charged. When I bought the tt they gave me a new battery. Maybe a bad battery? I should have started there. I'll continue to "sherlock" the situation until I solve it. I'm new to the forum and I appreciate all of you guys taking the time to help. Rare these days.
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:19 AM   #22
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By all indications there is a ground issue in your unit, not an overload as has been explained extremely well already. Was the main breaker in the RV turned off too when the trip occurred? If the main breaker in the RV is turned off and the GFCI still trips, the problem is between the cord end that you are plugging into the receptacle and the main breaker in the RV and wiring in between.

The converter is not in the equation at all if you are getting a trip with the main breaker in the RV switched off or with the converter feed breaker switched off. There is nothing on the 12vdc side of the system that will trip a GFCI. It is possible that a faulty converter could cause a trip, BUT NOT if the converter feed breaker is off, or the main breaker is off. I do not believe the converter would be wired in hot bypassing the main breaker. Every unit I've ever owned had a feed breaker for it.

Is your generator built in or a free standing unit? If you have a built in generator, there is a transfer switch that should be wired in before the main breaker. The problem could be in there too. You are getting close to solving the mystery…
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:23 AM   #23
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Thompwil,
thanks for the advise. the generator is a 3500 watt (4500 surge) free standing unit. I plug the shore power into that and I have all the juice I want. I replaced the shore power outlet and the cord. the gfci in the garage still kicks when I have ALL the breakers set to off in the tt.
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:30 AM   #24
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Thompwil,
thanks for the advise. the generator is a 3500 watt (4500 surge) free standing unit. I plug the shore power into that and I have all the juice I want. I replaced the shore power outlet and the cord. the gfci in the garage still kicks when I have ALL the breakers set to off in the tt.
With your free standing generator running, are your coach lights brighter? If so, your converter is fine and putting out power.

For what it's worth, if I'm understanding correctly, I'd look at the wiring between the input plug on the RV and the breaker box where it feeds the mains.
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:34 AM   #25
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yes they are brighter. I'm going to take a walk out to the tt now to see if the lights are completely out now. Earlier in the evening I just had the battery connected (no gen or shore power) and the lights were really really dim.
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:40 AM   #26
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Lights are out. Battery is pretty dead. Stereo/dvd is still lit.
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:41 AM   #27
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OK so your converter appears to be working fine. Battery is obviously dead and will need a full charge, hopefully it's OK. If you have a regular battery charger I'd use it instead of the converter since it's totally dead. Now to find the sneaky ground fault. I have to ask, when you replaced the input receptacle on the RV is the polarity correct?
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:44 AM   #28
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I believe that the polarity is correct. It ran great on the gen before and after I installed the plug. AND I took a picture of the wiring so I could check and be sure. Something is drawing down the power because earlier I could get dim light. Now I get nothing. The darn stereo is sill lit, but not functional.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:12 AM   #29
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I believe that the polarity is correct. It ran great on the gen before and after I installed the plug. AND I took a picture of the wiring so I could check and be sure. Something is drawing down the power because earlier I could get dim light. Now I get nothing. The darn stereo is sill lit, but not functional.
OK, we'll eliminate polarity. While there may be a draw on your 12vdc side, I don't believe that is what's causing the GFCI to trip. Most generators I've seen do not have a GFCI on them and will put out power to just about anything even with a ground issue.

With your main breaker in the RV switched off, you have effectively unplugged the converter and everything else in the unit from the power feed. That would eliminate everything after the main breaker. The GFCI at that point is only seeing up to the input of the main. Conventional wisdom would say that there must be a nicked wire, moisture or something before the main causing the trip.

Also with your battery that dead could take many hours to fully charge on an automotive type charger, It may be asking a lot of the converter to bring it back from the dead. There are things like the gas detector etc that will pull a small load from the battery too. Mine will draw down from a full charge in about 10 days if left unplugged from the shore line with the battery disconnect left on. A battery that's already discharged doesn't have a chance.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:35 AM   #30
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It works with the generator, and at the campsite because neither have a GFCI in the supply. The lights are dimming because your battery is not being charged. Now let's focus on the problem. If all the TT breakers are off, and plugging into the garage trips the GFCI, it HAS to be your new wiring from the connector to the main, I.e. 30 amp breaker input.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:47 AM   #31
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It works with the generator, and at the campsite because neither have a GFCI in the supply. The lights are dimming because your battery is not being charged. Now let's focus on the problem. If all the TT breakers are off, and plugging into the garage trips the GFCI, it HAS to be your new wiring from the connector to the main, I.e. 30 amp breaker input.
Agreed, I too believe the problem is between the new connector and the main. If the trip occurred before the connector was replaced, and the new connector is installed properly, the problem then appears to be further downstream of the connector. My thoughts anyway for what it’s worth.

It has been an interesting problem solving exercise though, for us at least, maybe not so much for Sawtooth though…
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:24 AM   #32
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I believe that the polarity is correct. It ran great on the gen before and after I installed the plug. AND I took a picture of the wiring so I could check and be sure. Something is drawing down the power because earlier I could get dim light. Now I get nothing. The darn stereo is sill lit, but not functional.
Do you still have those pictures? If so, could you please post them?

Just curious...
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Old 08-30-2016, 01:11 PM   #33
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Well, I guess I'm a step further to solving this. After work I'm going to replace the wire from the shore power outlet the to the converter. Easy enough to get to, I hope. The underbelly is sealed but I'll attach the new wire to the old one and pull it through. We will see if that solves the problem. thank you gentlemen.
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Old 08-30-2016, 01:26 PM   #34
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Well, I guess I'm a step further to solving this. After work I'm going to replace the wire from the shore power outlet the to the converter. Easy enough to get to, I hope. The underbelly is sealed but I'll attach the new wire to the old one and pull it through. We will see if that solves the problem. thank you gentlemen.
That wire will feed to your main breaker, the converter should be fed by a branch circuit. Take another look at the attachment, detail has been added that may help some. You will not have the transfer switch. (another slow morning for me)
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Old 08-30-2016, 01:29 PM   #35
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wish I could say the same. I'm a telecommunications manager - keep those computers up and running!!! Thanks for the diagram. I'll be sure to be very careful with putting things back where they came from..
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:08 PM   #36
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Don't discount that it could be the GFI being too sensitive. I have 2 circuits in my building both have GFI plugs. If I plug in to one it pops the GFI every time. If you plug in the other circuit, everything is fine. I replaced the GFI plug that failed and the new one worked for a while then started the doing it again. The plug that works has a GFI plug that is a bit older and I'm thinking its not as sensitive. Just a thought. With electrical components, the more you can eliminate and narrow down, the easier it is to find the problem.
-Jeff
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:45 PM   #37
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Don't discount that it could be the GFI being too sensitive. I have 2 circuits in my building both have GFI plugs. If I plug in to one it pops the GFI every time. If you plug in the other circuit, everything is fine. I replaced the GFI plug that failed and the new one worked for a while then started the doing it again. The plug that works has a GFI plug that is a bit older and I'm thinking its not as sensitive. Just a thought. With electrical components, the more you can eliminate and narrow down, the easier it is to find the problem.
-Jeff
Just guessing, but I suspect this MAY be my situation too.
I say that based on this limited data:
1. Happens only on occasion. Could use the word "seldom", actually
2. Same continuous load. Nothing new unplugged or plugged in

As stated earlier, the only other possible culprit is moisture. But I'm currently convinced it MIGHT only be playing the roll as contributing to the over-sensitivity of the GFCI circuit.

My first effort to remedy this is to install a high quality GFCI outlet in place of the sure-to-be-cheapo OEM outlet.

I'll also be sure to report anything I discover to you guys with all the brains.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:19 PM   #38
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I have seen GFCI's act silly too.

It's difficult at best to accurately troubleshoot something without test equipment and access to the problem first hand. What we can do here is the process of elimination, then shotgun the remaining possibilities. I never liked shotgunning problems, always end up doing something that was unnecessary.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:48 PM   #39
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I have seen GFCI's act silly too.

It's difficult at best to accurately troubleshoot something without test equipment and access to the problem first hand. What we can do here is the process of elimination, then shotgun the remaining possibilities. I never liked shotgunning problems, always end up doing something that was unnecessary.
Good point.
So, I have a multimeter and have no fear of probing and following directions.
So whatever technique of process-of-elimination that bests suits your tastes, I'm in.

But I gotta tell ya replacing the outlet takes almost no effort. If the new one never trips in the identical scenario, I doubt I'll ever put a meter to anything concerning this.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:03 PM   #40
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Good point.
So, I have a multimeter and have no fear of probing and following directions.
So whatever technique of process-of-elimination that bests suits your tastes, I'm in.

But I gotta tell ya replacing the outlet takes almost no effort. If the new one never trips in the identical scenario, I doubt I'll ever put a meter to anything concerning this.
Your problem is a bit different than the OP's. I'm slightly concerned about the OP's problem because I had a trailer in 1992 (Chateau) that was wired backwards from the factory. I was sitting on the ground working on something with the shore line plugged in, touched the trailer and got quite a surprise. The generator wouldn’t shock you though since it wasn’t referenced to earth ground. Fixed that one real quick.

You have already received a very good assessment from Marty; if replacing the GFCI doesn’t give a permanent fix, possible moisture from temperature differences & dampness if the devices plugged in are fine.

If it was me, I’d pull out the outside receptacles and use a blow dryer on the back of them to make sure they are dry (obviously ). There is a product called Dux Seal, a putty used for electrical applications. I’d plug the opening in the box where the wires enter and any other openings that could help make a temperature difference from the inside. I vaguely recall an automotive product called Wire Dryer that may work on the back of the receptacles too.?. Maybe put on one of those gaskets on the exterior plate covers too. The intermittent spooky ones are the toughest ones to find. Those kind can force you into shot gunning.
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