GFCI problem - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-08-2019, 01:33 PM   #1
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GFCI problem

I have a 2019 Big Foot 25RQ. A few months ago the GFCI popped and had to be reset, no problem. This morning it was popped and I reset, it took a couple of tries but it did reset. I plugged the Oil Filled Radiator Heater again. An hour later I went out to check and the GFCI was popped. Now I can't get it to reset. I flipped all the circuit breakers, then tried to reset the GFCI but still would not reset. Do GFCI outlets ever destruct?

I am thinking I may need to replace the GFCI outlet. Do RV's use the Same GFCI outlet that is used in the house, or is the one used in an RV made differently?

Any thoughts will be appreciated.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
I have a 2019 Big Foot 25RQ. A few months ago the GFCI popped and had to be reset, no problem. This morning it was popped and I reset, it took a couple of tries but it did reset. I plugged the Oil Filled Radiator Heater again. An hour later I went out to check and the GFCI was popped. Now I can't get it to reset. I flipped all the circuit breakers, then tried to reset the GFCI but still would not reset. Do GFCI outlets ever destruct?

I am thinking I may need to replace the GFCI outlet. Do RV's use the Same GFCI outlet that is used in the house, or is the one used in an RV made differently?

Any thoughts will be appreciated.
Yes they do fail, although there are other things to check. Very often additional receptacles will be wired to the output side of the GFCI. Something further down the line could be your problem.

It depends. If the receptacle is in a standard box, a household GFCI will work. The problem is if it is a Wirecon receptacle, you will need a special tool to replace it. While some have managed to crimp the Wirecon type receptacles without the special tool, it is tough to do properly.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:03 PM   #3
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It may be a long shot, but make sure nothing else is plugged into any other outlet in, or on the outside of the trailer first, as the GFI plugs are probably daisy-chained. Or that there is no dampness on the outside plug.

If your oil heater has a two prong plug, I don't see how it could cause a ground fault, unless it really is defective and leaking current to ground from it's frame, and that sounds dangerous.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:15 PM   #4
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Thanks Raspy, I just went out and check. The heater is a 2 pronged plug.

Jon, the GFCI is daisy chained to other outlets, one of which the heater was plugged into.

My trailer is plugged into the 15 amp house current outlet in my garage. From this I have an adapter to the 30 amp cable which is then plugged into the trailer. Maybe the heater is drawing too much current? This may trip the GFCI but would not explain why it would not reset. I don't really understand, just trying to work through this situation.
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:46 PM   #5
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It may be a long shot, but make sure nothing else is plugged into any other outlet in, or on the outside of the trailer first, as the GFI plugs are probably daisy-chained. Or that there is no dampness on the outside plug.

If your oil heater has a two prong plug, I don't see how it could cause a ground fault, unless it really is defective and leaking current to ground from it's frame, and that sounds dangerous.
How does a ground fault outlet work? I think it's a bit different than you think. Look it up.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:29 PM   #6
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A GFCI measures the difference between the hot & neutral current. More than a 5ma difference trips it, making the assumption that the difference is going to ground. You do not need a ground connection built into the device, but there must be a path to somewhere other than the neutral, and all that is left is the trailer's grounded parts or the earth.

GFCIs also inject a signal into the neutral that is used to check that there is no neutral to ground fault. It will shut down if it detects a neutral ground fault.

In the case of the electric heater, I agree with Raspy - there must be a path to ground. It could be through a fault to the case, but somehow the case must connect to a trailer ground or an earthed connection. It doesn't take much to pass 5ma; it could be a damp floor, a bolt to the frame, etc. The excess current must go somewhere to cause a trip.

I would still suspect some device further down the chain of receptacles or water in an outside (or less likely, an inside) receptacle.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:56 PM   #7
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How does a ground fault outlet work? I think it's a bit different than you think. Look it up.
Please explain clearly how you think a ground fault outlet works. What do you know about it, that others don't? And then, explain how your definition can solve the problem described by the OP.

It's not helpful to simply tell others to go look something up. What is your point?
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:59 PM   #8
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I can understand why the GFCI tripped and shut down the power. But why won't it reset after I unplug the heater?

I had a house GFCI trip and when I determined what appliance caused it I unplugged that appliance then simply reset the GFCI.

The GFCI in the trailer simply will not reset.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:50 PM   #9
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It seems it must be a bad GFCI. It tripped when running the heater, so it must not be some other ground fault. Those heaters are usually about 750 watts on low and about 1350 on high. A fifteen amp breaker should run that one appliance without tripping. And if there is no other fault, it should reset.

Just as a further test, and as you are beginning to replace it, disconnect the leads that feed the downstream receptacles that are daisy chained to it. Then see if it will reset. If not, go ahead and replace it.
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:49 AM   #10
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Thank you Raspy. I follow your advice. The original outlet appears to be a (Amazon) Legrand-Pass & Seymour 1597TRWCCD12 15 Amp Tamper-Resistant Self-Test GFCI Safety Outlet.

I would like to replace with a (Amazon) ELECTECK 15A/125V Tamper Resistant GFCI Outlet, because it has red and black buttons which are easier to see, unless you suggest other.wise
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:38 AM   #11
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I don't know those two specific models, but I do like the ones with the colored buttons. Sounds like the right choice.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:43 AM   #12
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From my working days , we had the fewest problems and callbacks uith Leviton GFCIs . They were more expensive than the residential contractors grade GFCI but far less failures .
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:38 AM   #13
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Thanks Steve, based on your suggestion I just ordered this one with red and black buttons: Leviton Mfg Co R72-N7599-0Rw Duplex Receptacle, 15-Amp.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:04 AM   #14
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I realize I'm late to this discussion. I think it was good for you to order a new unit. We've had two GFCI units "fail" on our two trailers. Both were unable to reset. I read somewhere that the internal springs weaken with each reset and eventually require replacement. Both of our failed units were quite old, too.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:21 AM   #15
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While this suggestion may be a little late since you already ordered a replacement, a GFCI will not reset unless it has power. Check that you have both the hot & neutral at the receptacle. Heaters draw lots of current. It is possible that either the hot or neutral connections at the receptacle (or at the converter) have loosened & failed.

As others have noted in the past, a practical pre season check is to tighten all the connections in the converter (Obviously, with the power off!)
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:27 PM   #16
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Thanks Jon. I need to remember that it needs power to reset. I have ordered an new GFCI but it has not arrived yet. I took off the faceplate and unscrewed the outlet, it is dangling. And I was able to reset it. I really don't know what is going on with this thing. I am not sure if I will just continue to use the OEM outlet and take it off an use the new one. The trailer is a 2019.
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Old 11-16-2019, 04:40 PM   #17
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Bugs

GFCI's can go bad, but there is something else to check. Either in the box that the gfci is housed or any downstream outlets, check for spider webs and bugs. They love outside receptacles because they are nice and dry and free from predators. Their movements and webs can trigger a gfci to trip.
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:06 PM   #18
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Please explain clearly how you think a ground fault outlet works. What do you know about it, that others don't? And then, explain how your definition can solve the problem described by the OP.

It's not helpful to simply tell others to go look something up. What is your point?

Well, here's something I published about how a GFCI works.


https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electric...8-gfci-theory/


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Old 11-16-2019, 05:11 PM   #19
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Interesting never heard of a spider triggering an outlet
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:14 PM   #20
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Interesting never heard of a spider triggering an outlet
I had this happen more than once in the outdoor outlets at my home. Once I recognized what it was it was easy to keep them cleared out.
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