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Old 08-29-2023, 03:04 PM   #1
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Single Breaker Keeps Tripping

Ah, the fun of maintaining a 35 year-old camper. Today our 30 amp breaker on the campground power pole tripped. After working with the park electrician, we narrowed it down to one circuit/breaker in the trailer that was causing it. When the trailer breaker was on, the power would trip. We have 8 breakers in the Bigfoot and only one causes the power pole to trip. This trailer breaker controls the 2-way fridge, the GFCI outlet in the bathroom, and one regular outlet in the bedroom area. I’m trying to troubleshoot where to attack the problem. It is interesting to note that the internal breaker does NOT trip itself…only the power pole 30 amp breaker. But flipping on the internal breaker immediately trips the power pole, even with nothing plugged into the circuit. I know the fridge is working OK because I now have it working plugged directly into the 20 amp power pole outlet. The electrician suggested checking for a loose connection in one of the outlets, possibly replacing the GFCI outlet, or replacing the internal 15 amp breaker. Any flashes of insight as to the most likely culprit?
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Old 08-30-2023, 01:03 AM   #2
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Certainly reads like a short. I would try swaping around breakers and disconnecting the gfi.
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Old 08-30-2023, 06:54 AM   #3
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A "Catch 22" remedy may be needed.
I suspect the GFCI outlet in the bathroom is causing the issue. Electrically disconnecting that outlet can confirm that thought, but it will require having electric power available to permit 'tripping' the interruptor. The GFCI outlet can also be physically removed from its supply wiring if 'tripping' it (to electrically switch it 'off') isn't possible.

Can you use an adapter to plug your TT-30 trailer power plug into a 5-15 (or 5-20) outlet? The "30" amp breaker feeding that campground TT-30 outlet might be more sensitive (or might iteslf be a GFCI) and the minor current through the camper's GFCI checking circuit might be enough to trigger it. Using a different 15 (or 20) amp breaker feeding a different campground provided outlet might allow electrically 'tripping' the bathroom GFCI outlet to off, thus removing it electrically (if not physically) from that camper circuit.
Once the bathroom GFCI is rendered inert (whether removed or tripped) plug back into the campground TT-30 outlet and see if the problem has been isolated.
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Old 08-30-2023, 04:28 PM   #4
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One easy to check item is to make sure the wiring on the breaker itself has not become loose from bouncing down the highway. If the wire is loose then it could be drawing more current. Just make sure electricity is off when checking the breaker connections.
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Old 08-31-2023, 07:34 AM   #5
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One of my 15 amp breakers feeding the water heater was loose and making intermittent contact with the stab. I could tell it was arcing as the stab prongs were a bit burnt and the hot water heater was a bit intermittent. I replaced it and it seems ok. I make it a habit to regularly check the tightness of the connectors in the panel. It’s a rolling earthquake as my buddy observed.
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Old 08-31-2023, 07:51 AM   #6
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Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. We got back home yesterday and we have a dedicated 30 amp power hookup for when we want our trailer plugged in. I started the investigation by removing the bathroom GFCI and then plugging in to the 30 amp outlet and flipping the internal breaker that “caused” the power pole to trip at the campground. No power interruption. So I got a new GFCI from Menards and installed it. Tested the circuit again and everything stayed on…no tripping the breaker. Yay, that appears to have been the problem. I guess the 35 year-old unit went bad, causing the problem. We’ll get a spare GFCI to carry with us just in case now. Thanks, again!
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Old 08-31-2023, 08:09 AM   #7
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Ah, but was your trailer tripping your home 30A hookup when you returned home, prior to your other diagnostic? If you didn't try this, you don't know whether your GFCI was the problem. The home 30A breaker might not be as touchy as the CG 30A breaker.
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Old 08-31-2023, 09:26 AM   #8
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Oops…I left that step out of my description. Yes, I tried the original setup first with nothing plugged in except for the old GFCI and it did trip the breaker at home, too. Thanks!
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Old 09-06-2023, 07:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kevin A View Post
Ah, the fun of maintaining a 35 year-old camper. Today our 30 amp breaker on the campground power pole tripped. After working with the park electrician, we narrowed it down to one circuit/breaker in the trailer that was causing it. When the trailer breaker was on, the power would trip. We have 8 breakers in the Bigfoot and only one causes the power pole to trip. This trailer breaker controls the 2-way fridge, the GFCI outlet in the bathroom, and one regular outlet in the bedroom area. I’m trying to troubleshoot where to attack the problem. It is interesting to note that the internal breaker does NOT trip itself…only the power pole 30 amp breaker. But flipping on the internal breaker immediately trips the power pole, even with nothing plugged into the circuit. I know the fridge is working OK because I now have it working plugged directly into the 20 amp power pole outlet. The electrician suggested checking for a loose connection in one of the outlets, possibly replacing the GFCI outlet, or replacing the internal 15 amp breaker. Any flashes of insight as to the most likely culprit?
I would narrow things down a little bit here. Can you try it on a different pole at the campground. What exact type of breaker is this? is it a GFI breaker of some kind? 30 amps sounds like no but there is a really annoying joke about assume and so I stopped doing assume.

I also wouldn't test totally assume that your breaker is good and doesn't have some kind of an internal problem.
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Old 09-07-2023, 06:35 AM   #10
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Thanks for the suggestions. After isolating the possible problem areas, it turned out to be the old GFCI on the same circuit in the bathroom. After replacement, we’ve had no more issues and we’ve been plugged into 3 different power poles on our latest trip.
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Old 09-07-2023, 08:24 AM   #11
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Cool always glad to hear her things are working
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