Need Help with Outside GFCI Recepticle - Fiberglass RV

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Old 06-07-2009, 07:21 AM   #1
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: 28' Bigfoot Silver Cloud
Oak Park, IL
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On our UHaul VT, we have a previously owner-installed GFCI outlet on the outside of the trailer for lights and other accessories. It has worked well last camping season, but recently has been screwing up regularly. When the original unit wouldn't respond at all to the reset button on our first trip this year two weeks ago, I replaced it with the same GFCI unit from Menard's (20 amp). Now, it works for several hours, then trips the breaker, shutting off the external LED lights around our screen house. That is all we're running off the outlet and it's tripped both while we were off at the VW show yesterday and again overnight (we leave the LEDs on to light up our screen house tie-down lines so people don't trip over them in the dark). I can push the reset button and it works fine again for several hours. It's tripping when no one is around or we're asleep, so we're not banging the trailer around causing vibrations (I thought there might be a loose wire making alternate contact). It's sitting perfectly quietly when it trips with just the two 10 foot strings of LEDs. I would think a short would cause an immediate tripping of the breaker, not a "slow leak.". Any ideas?

(Additional note, it just tripped off while I'm typing this and my wife had her laptop plugged into the outlet. However, it's tripped when nothing but the LEDs were plugged in, too.)

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Old 06-07-2009, 07:36 AM   #2
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Name: Alfred
Trailer: 2014 Escape 5.0TA / 2010 Nissan Frontier
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Hi: Kevin A... Don't know if this helps but my L. had a problem with his Bulge Mo. 5th. wh. while here. He had purchased a new GFI Recp. to replace the problem, but I found a very slight ring of corrosion around the wire where it connected to the recepticle. Cleaning that off with a little light sand paper was all it needed to stop the old unit from tripping out. GFI's are very finnicky!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie

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Old 06-07-2009, 10:37 AM   #3
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Spirit Deluxe
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GFCI are very sensitive to moisture. After replacing the non-GFCI with a GFCI it would trip ocasionally for no reason.

I asked about this problem at Home Depot and the sales guy recommended that I change the outlet cover to one with a better environmental seal.

Problem solved.
CD and Joyce Smith - Lily, Violet, and Rose
1999 Casita 17' SD - "The Little Egg"
2007 Escalade - 6.2L V8 - 6L80E Trans - 3.42 Diff
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:47 AM   #4
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Name: Dan
Trailer: Scamp
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I have a GFI in my home that will trip if my cell phone is too close. It seems that RF pulses get into the electronics and cause it to measure an imbalance. RF can be conducted along wiring, so the next time this happens, turn off all cell phones and see if the problem is resolved.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:23 PM   #5
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: 28' Bigfoot Silver Cloud
Oak Park, IL
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll take another look in the next week or so. Perhaps the wiring to the outlet needs some cleanup or replacement, too.
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