2003 Casita tripping house GFCI - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-18-2020, 02:36 PM   #1
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Name: Tina
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2003 Casita tripping house GFCI

Hello, I have 2003 Casita Freedom Deluxe that is new to us (with all original stock components - no upgrades) and noticed recently that when I plug the 30 Amp cord with 15 Amp adapter into any house outlets with a GFCI, the Casita will trip the outlet (with nothing running/turned on inside). I have narrowed it down to the "Charging Line" breaker in the Casita that trips the outlet when I plug in the Casita. I tested each breaker in the Casita by just turning on one breaker then plugged the trailer in to the GCFI outlet. However, I did discover if I leave the other breakers on and just turn off the "Charging Line" breaker before plugging the trailer into the house GFCI outlet then flip the CL breaker back on, it doesn't trip the house GFCI outlet. None of the Casita breakers tripped during this process and nor have they since we bought the Casita almost a year ago. Last month we did replace the 2005 battery thinking maybe the battery was too old and overwhelming the converter.

I recently purchased a Southwire Surge Guard 34930 and plugged it into the house outlet with the 15 Amp adapter then once the surge guard was ready, I plugged the Casita into the surge guard. The same thing happened (GFCI outlet gets tripped) so I turned off the Charging Line breaker then plugged the surge guard back into the GCFI outlet then plugged the Casita back into the surge guard then turned the Charging Line breaker back on which didn't trip the GCFI outlet. The Southwire Surge Guard read 120V from the house and 120V, 1A from the Casita with no reported issues (open ground, reversed polarity, etc.) I've inspected the wiring in and around the Parallax 6300A Q Series converter, the 30 Amp cord and its prongs, every thing looks fine (no burn marks or fraying or build up of rust/dust/dirt).

I am perplexed by this oddity with the GFCI issue and the Charging Line breaker and was hoping someone in this group could help shed some light on what the issue could be. (please note our Casita does not have an electric water heater which I've read in other forums can cause electric issues)

Tina
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Old 06-18-2020, 03:24 PM   #2
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First I would plug into a different circuit on your house.

Second I would turn off ALL your 120v circuits on the Casita. Then turn on one at a time.

Change extension cord too and adapters if you have another one.

GFI outlets also go bad, I just replaced one at my home.
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Old 06-18-2020, 04:53 PM   #3
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The first thing to do is understand how a GFI item works. Ther are two primary wires one is "hot" and 2 is NOT. Or neutral. A GFI device measures the current in both the hot and the neutral lines. If they are different a current leak is assumed and the gfi opens the circuit.
That's it.





It appears that there's a current leak somewhere in the Casita. It's very dangerous to ignore and and use a non GFI outlet unless you have a death wish.
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Old 06-18-2020, 05:40 PM   #4
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Name: Tina
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Thank you Thrifty Bill for responding. I did try
3 different GFCI outlets in my house using a heavy duty extension cord (all in different locations just to be sure they werenít on the same circuit) in addition to the outdoor GFCI outlet next to the Casita where I didnít need an extension cord and got the same results at each one (outlet tripped when I plugged in the Casita with the 15Amp adapter even though nothing was running in the Casita and all the Casita breakers were on). I also turned off all of the breakers in the Casita and tested each one independently to see if any of them caused the outlet to trip which is how I discovered the ďcharging lineĒ breaker caused the GFCI outlets to trip while the others did not when I tested them. Iíve ordered a new 30A to 15A dog-bone adapter so maybe that will fix the issue. Iíll update this post once I get the new adapter.

QUOTE=thrifty bill;782262]First I would plug into a different circuit on your house.

Second I would turn off ALL your 120v circuits on the Casita. Then turn on one at a time.

Change extension cord too and adapters if you have another one.

GFI outlets also go bad, I just replaced one at my home.[/QUOTE]
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:03 PM   #5
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Pronbably not a short, but a leak to ground.
A short would trip the breaker.
GFI outlets only need about 5mA difference between hot and neutral to trigger.

Tina, you may want to read this:
RV Electrical Safety: Part X ‚Äď GFCI Testing - No~Shock~Zone
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Old 06-19-2020, 12:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl V View Post
Pronbably not a short, but a leak to ground.
A short would trip the breaker.
GFI outlets only need about 5mA difference between hot and neutral to trigger.

Tina, you may want to read this:
RV Electrical Safety: Part X ‚Äď GFCI Testing - No~Shock~Zone
ahh Comon. everybody knows that all electrical problems are either a "Chort" or caused by bad "Ground".
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:26 AM   #7
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Bill, unless you have a dedicated 30A RV outlet installed, all regular (15-20A) exterior outlets are GFCI protected per code.
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:44 AM   #8
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The 2017 NEC had rules pertaining to GFCI protection that were interpreted to require all 30 amp and 50 amp RV receptacles be GFCI protected
The 2020 NEC specifically exempts the 30 and 50 amp RV receptacles from the GFCI requirements
From reading the NEC code panel notes the GFCi requirements were leading to unsafe practices , such as breaking off the ground prong on trailer cords , campground owners removing equipment grounds , people making homemade adaptors to bypass GFCI protect etc
I would not be surprised if the GFCI requirements return in the 2023 NEC
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Old 06-19-2020, 10:00 AM   #9
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Exactly. Most of us only have the standard exterior GFCI outlets available. I have also had trouble with the GFCI tripping when my other camper is plugged in. It does not trip when I’m using the camper and running stuff. It trips when it’s sitting parked with the battery switch turned off.

Steve, your post interested me. Seems like it's a common problem. What was the code before 2017? What's your take on the cause(s)? I do not have any exposed cord connections to get wet. Could it be caused by small phantom currents from the LP detector or something else that is always on? Or should I be looking for a fault in the wiring?
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Old 06-19-2020, 10:33 AM   #10
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I had the same problem and ran it past a mechanic friend who does a bunch of car/truck RV electric stuff. His first response was that RV parks and campgrounds do not use GFI protected circuits for their RV receptacles so it should not be a problem there. Second, most likely the cause of the tripping is that that most household circuits are either 15 or 20 amp and the Casita's is 30 amp and this disparity causes the tripping. And last, use a circuit that is not gfi protected, and I fortunately had one so I use it. Another note is that once we used the Casita at a friends house and we plugged it into a 30 amp circuit there and had not problem.


Good luck,


Ken
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Old 06-19-2020, 11:12 AM   #11
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Code or not, you should be able to plug your trailer into a GFCI receptacle without tripping it. Something is wrong that is not showing up in a standard 30 amp receptacle (although if you camp in certain Missouri State Park, you will have the same problem with their 30 & 50 amp receptacles - they are GFCIs).

I've no idea why the breaker switching sequence prevents/causes tripping, so I can't help much there. A PIA test would be to completely isolate the converter from the trailer, power it up & see if the tripping problem goes away. If it is still there, contact the manufacturer...
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Old 06-19-2020, 11:20 AM   #12
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Check your water heater electric element. Sometimes when they burn out, they can cause that condition. Worth checking, costs nothing.
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Old 06-19-2020, 11:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tina T View Post
Hello, I have 2003 Casita Freedom Deluxe that is new to us (with all original stock components - no upgrades) and noticed recently that when I plug the 30 Amp cord with 15 Amp adapter into any house outlets with a GFCI, the Casita will trip the outlet (with nothing running/turned on inside). I have narrowed it down to the "Charging Line" breaker in the Casita that trips the outlet when I plug in the Casita. I tested each breaker in the Casita by just turning on one breaker then plugged the trailer in to the GCFI outlet. However, I did discover if I leave the other breakers on and just turn off the "Charging Line" breaker before plugging the trailer into the house GFCI outlet then flip the CL breaker back on, it doesn't trip the house GFCI outlet. None of the Casita breakers tripped during this process and nor have they since we bought the Casita almost a year ago. Last month we did replace the 2005 battery thinking maybe the battery was too old and overwhelming the converter.

I recently purchased a Southwire Surge Guard 34930 and plugged it into the house outlet with the 15 Amp adapter then once the surge guard was ready, I plugged the Casita into the surge guard. The same thing happened (GFCI outlet gets tripped) so I turned off the Charging Line breaker then plugged the surge guard back into the GCFI outlet then plugged the Casita back into the surge guard then turned the Charging Line breaker back on which didn't trip the GCFI outlet. The Southwire Surge Guard read 120V from the house and 120V, 1A from the Casita with no reported issues (open ground, reversed polarity, etc.) I've inspected the wiring in and around the Parallax 6300A Q Series converter, the 30 Amp cord and its prongs, every thing looks fine (no burn marks or fraying or build up of rust/dust/dirt).

I am perplexed by this oddity with the GFCI issue and the Charging Line breaker and was hoping someone in this group could help shed some light on what the issue could be. (please note our Casita does not have an electric water heater which I've read in other forums can cause electric issues)

Tina

Tina, the GFCI is designed for personal protection, not aggrivation. Since it takes about 0.01Amps to stop someone's heart, it is designed to trip with 0.005Amps. That is not much current, and unfortunately everything electrically insulated still "leaks" a little current. That leakage current is the sum of all the leakages of everything plugged in to the ac source and once the leakage reaches the trip threshold, the power is turned off by the GFCI. Digesting your post, I would suspect that the Converter is supplying the leakage and tripping the GFCI breaker. Since it held when you left the "Charging Line" breaker off, that points to the Converter as the culprit. Although it may be producing adequate 12V for charging the batteries and for the other 12V appliances, it may have an internal issue of shunting some current to ground. This can happen when an electric motor is wet and not thoroughly dried before re-energizing it as in after a flood on a washing machine or dryer that was submerged. You need to pick up a special type of meter called a "Non-Contact Voltage Tester" under $20 and test the metal parts of the RV when you get it plugged in and energized, just to be certain you don't have dangerous a "hot Skin" condition. Good luck with the repairs & be safe around electricity!
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:14 AM   #14
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I had a very similar issue when getting my trailer ready for the first outing after being stored all winter. Long story short, after scouring the internet for possible solutions I came across a post where a guy insisted that this type of problem would be due to the exterior outlet being exposed to moisture (corrosion). I was desperate at the point and was willing to try anything.

First I unplugged the trailer from the house, confirmed there was no power to the outlet and then replaced it. Sure enough it was the problem and everything worked as it should after.

If you end up trying this, note that I ended up ruining the gasket around the outlet cover and had to replace it. Not expensive at all but I ended up having to go back out for a new outlet cover as gaskets werenít sold separately.

Tried finding the link to give credit to the guy who Iím referring but had no luck.
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:22 AM   #15
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Bugs!
I have had lots of trouble with spiders and bugs getting into the backs of the outlets and spinning webs around the charger wiring. Simply going through and vacuuming out the nooks and crannies around any open wiring may solve your problem. Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Seebag View Post
I had a very similar issue when getting my trailer ready for the first outing after being stored all winter. Long story short, after scouring the internet for possible solutions I came across a post where a guy insisted that this type of problem would be due to the exterior outlet being exposed to moisture (corrosion). I was desperate at the point and was willing to try anything.

First I unplugged the trailer from the house, confirmed there was no power to the outlet and then replaced it. Sure enough it was the problem and everything worked as it should after.

If you end up trying this, note that I ended up ruining the gasket around the outlet cover and had to replace it. Not expensive at all but I ended up having to go back out for a new outlet cover as gaskets werenít sold separately.

Tried finding the link to give credit to the guy who Iím referring but had no luck.

Seebag; you may have seen some of my posts on the RV Electricity Forum discussing potential causes of GFCI tripping. I recounted on one post where I had traced down the problem to spider webs and moisture within the outside outlet. If it was my post you are referencing, thank you for the mention. That's what makes this all worth doing in the first place. Happy Camping .... Jim
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:49 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jimknoch View Post
Seebag; you may have seen some of my posts on the RV Electricity Forum discussing potential causes of GFCI tripping. I recounted on one post where I had traced down the problem to spider webs and moisture within the outside outlet. If it was my post you are referencing, thank you for the mention. That's what makes this all worth doing in the first place. Happy Camping .... Jim
Jim,

Yes, your post as described definitely rings a bell. I ran into the issue the night before leaving so it’s not an overstatement to say your post saved my weekend. Thank you!

FYI, to the original poster. In my case, the root cause was the “Bell” branded covers catching on the lock? eyelets and not closing completely against the foam gasket.

-Brian
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