Electrical Breaker Problems - Fiberglass RV

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-09-2013, 05:14 PM   #1
Junior Member
Trailer: Scamp 16 ft Custom Deluxe
Posts: 6
Electrical Breaker Problems

I'm not much of an electrician so I'm hoping someone can help me figure this little out.

I've had a 1996 Scamp 16' for about four years and have never had any issues with the electrical system. This summer I've had trouble with one of the breakers flipping off when I've had the fridge plugged in. I had installed an additional outlet this spring so I figured I must have screwed that up somehow.
While at an rv park one weekend I used my little three light tester to check each outlet to see if I had some type of grounding issue. Every outlet tested fine except for the one next to the fridge. That outlet showed no lights, "open hot". I figured a connection on that outlet had shaken loose during one of my outings.
Today I had time to check the outlet out and all the connections are solid. I decided to plug the trailer in to re-test the other outlets to try and figure this out. Every time I plugged the trailer in the GFCI in my garage tripped.
No I'm really confused about how to proceed in tracking this down. Any thoughts?

Debbie Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2013, 02:38 AM   #2
Senior Member
Joe MacDonald's Avatar
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 712
if your breaker was tripped and not reset, that would give you the open hot.
plugs are pretty easy, whit wire on the silver screw, black on the brass one, ground on the green, check at the circut feeding it make sure that it is solidly connected there, and being not familiar with your trailer, do you have only one breaker, or was this a branch breaker?
if you have multiple breakers in your trailer, turn them all off, then plug in, then turn on one at a time until gfci in garage trips. Alternatively it could be a defective gfci at the garage


Joe MacDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2013, 08:22 AM   #3
Senior Member
Trailer: 2002 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Posts: 2,783
Send a message via Yahoo to Darwin Maring
The GFI is tripping because you have a short somewhere.
Disconnect what you installed (Each end of the wire) and check it again.
Darwin Maring is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2013, 08:38 PM   #4
Junior Member
Trailer: Scamp 16 ft Custom Deluxe
Posts: 6
Ok so I finally had time to follow your suggestions and narrow my electrical problem down.
As suggested I turn off all the breakers in the trailer and then plugged into my garage GFCI outlet. No tripping. I turned each breaker on one at a time in the trailer, still no tripping of a breaker or the GFCI. Then I turned the refrigerator on and the GFCI in the garage tripped. I ran this same sequence with the fridge unplugged and all the electric lights worked and the outlets tested ok with my tester.
So from my online research it appears that I may have a short in the electric heating element of the refrigerator. Does this sound like a reasonable assumption? If so is replacing this part a DIY item or should I bite the bullet and have the RV shop do the work?
Debbie Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2013, 10:56 AM   #5
Senior Member
Name: Michael
Trailer: 1993 Bigfoot 17 ftCB / 2011 Toyota Sienna
Posts: 195
Troubleshooting the AC element in your fridge.

The AC and DC heater elements are usually located in tubes welded to the sides of the chimney tube of the propane burner heater. They look like long upside down J 's with the wires coming out the J to the circuit board, under a plastic cover. If you remove the plastic cover and find the two wires, you can usually just pull out the two wires as they are on push-on terminals. Then you can see if that is really the GFI tripping short. If the element is the problem, then it is a job of replacing the element. Looking on eBay for RV Fridge elements, you can see what they look like. Now the problem! The chimney is wrapped with fiberglass insulation, then wrapped with a metal sleeve. The sleeve is one piece but split and hooked with tabs, in my case, at three places. IF, you have the room, and are very flexible, you MIGHT be able to get in there and open the sleeve, open the fiberglass matt and be able to slide the element UP and out, and then replace it! It WILL be hard to get started to remove, twisting required due to rust. IF the fridge is small and easily removed into the Scamp, then that's the way to do it. Of course that means disconnecting the propane connection.
SO, the answer to your question, can it be done? YES, but it ain't easy, and due to the labor involved would be pricey for an RV shop to do.
I replaced the whole cooling unit in my 2 door Dometic RM2607 following several YouTube videos, which would be a good reference for you to check if you want to get that intimate with your fridge. Check out YouTube by searching for Dometic cooling units, or Norcold if that's your fridge and see what and how the rear of the fridges are assembled.
Good luck and report what you find and do.
Michael Pupeza is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2013, 12:06 PM   #6
Senior Member
Trailer: 2002 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Posts: 2,783
Send a message via Yahoo to Darwin Maring
You said: Every outlet tested fine except for the one next to the fridge. That outlet showed no lights, "open hot".

Did you disconnect the wires on this outlet and test the fridge again?
Darwin Maring is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2014, 05:30 PM   #7
Senior Member
Name: Ken
Trailer: No Trailer Yet
Posts: 1,509
Warning about the ten dollar outlet tester

Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground Testing - YouTube


Ken C is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Electrical Problems 1979 Beachcomber Ralphie Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 8 06-27-2009 03:46 PM
Problems with U-Haul hitch electrical wiring Roger Due Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 1 04-01-2009 09:43 PM
Scamp Electrical Problems Lars H Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 13 09-08-2008 09:42 AM
Electrical problems with Scamp 13' Russell E. Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 8 06-14-2008 03:49 PM
Where does the circuit breaker go? Legacy Posts Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 7 07-17-2003 08:47 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.