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ob1

Electric circuit problem?

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We last used the trailer in Sept and when I winterized it, I turned off the electric circuit shut-off switch to conserve the batteries. When I went in today to start getting ready for our trip to FL in a couple of weeks, I turned the shut-off switch on, the furnace blower came on as the switch wasn't completely off and the batteries read 11.5 on the gauge.

 

When I plugged in the extension cord to start charging the batteries, the garage gfi breaker faulted. I tried several times with the same result. I went back to the trailer, turned all circuits breakers off, tried a different extension cord, all with the same results. I don't believe it is the garage circuit breaker as it still works with a different light plugged in the gfi socket.

 

The 30 amp fuse at the top of the panel under the small table looks good. I do remember about a month ago, trying to turn on Direct TV and there was a problem and it didn't work and that I thought I could check out later. Is it possible that the Direct TV control box or the satellite antennae would not go through the main power box and cause some sort of fault? As mentioned above, all the breakers are turned to off. I don't know where else to look or what I may have done?

 

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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I'm going to make a couple of assumptions: One is that there are no other electrical connections to your trailer except the extension you plugged in, the other is that your extension is a 3-conductor one. If that's the case, then there is most likely a circuit to ground inside your power converter somewhere, or the wiring to it, that is causing the GFI to fault. If the extension cord with something else plugged into it doesn't also cause a fault, and given the time of year, condensation inside the power converter might be the culprit. You might try putting a low-powered space heater inside the bench where the power converter is to dry the area out for a day or so, then try the extension cord again.

 

The fuses are all for DC loads and shouldn't have any effect on the GFI.

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OB1,

 

Not sure what your problem is, exactly, but I do note two things:

 

1 - A reading of 11.5 volts on a 12V battery system is exceedingly low. It could point to a defective battery or one that has just been run bone dead. If you haven't been plugged in for months, cold weather combined with the phantom draws (CO2 monitor, TV, etc) may have sucked all the juice from your battery pack and killed it. I'd have it checked.

 

2 - Your Ollie should have come with a Charge Wizard which you will find underneath the aft dinette seat. I think they were standard items. These intelligent gizmos are great for taking care of your battery. Read more about it at: http://www.progressivedyn.com/prod_details/charge_wizard.html

 

I always plug the Wonder Egg in between trips for this reason and have recently started leaving the refrigerator on to keep the ammonia circulating and prevent it from getting musty.

 

You might also check your ground fault interrupt switch found at the external plug outlet on the curb side. It may have gone bad. I carry an extra one of these just in case. If it fails you'll have no 110V electricity. You can get them at a big box hardware store.

 

Good luck and let us know what you find.


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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Have you plugged your trailer into a GFI previously?

 

Why I ask is that we had a similar problem with our Oliver, it worked fine plugged into a 30A outlet, but tripped the GFI we were trying to use. It turned out the cord reel was wired incorrectly (which I found out on our first camping trip in the trailer trying to use the generator) but I was able to disassemble and rewire the cord reel to get it working.

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Thanks Eric, Pete and Andrew for your suggestions. There was a little sliver of info in each that helped. Cutting to the chase for summary, it appears to be a combination of the particular extension cord and the GFI breaker in my garage.

 

For those wanting a little more detail: I tried the heat in the cabin, nothing happened. After trying a different extension cord, and still no luck, I finally took Ollie to the local RV shop and surprise, they found everything working just fine. When I brought it back home, I tried the original extension cord causing the problem and the GFI popped. When I tried the same cord in another separate circuit, it popped that circuit breaker as well. Then I pulled the Ollie power cord out all the way and used a slightly larger gauge and shorter extension cord to reach the original GFI circuit, it popped again, but when I plugged it into the second separate circuit, it held. So it's most likely the GFI circuit breaker that is being very sensitive to the extension cords. The original garage GFI is working just fine with a long extension cord to a large lighted Christmas wreath hanging on the outside of my house (I had unplugged it for all these tests).

 

If you're wondering why I didn't try this at first...I've been plugging a single extension cord in the subject GFI since we picked up Ollie in Jan 09 and it has always worked, no problem, plus the circuit was working with the lighted wreath, so I didn't think it would be that. The extension cord I've used the past two years is a slightly larger gauge and that might have made a difference (it's the one lighting the wreath), but the one in this story was a slightly smaller gauge and possibly slightly longer? The final one that worked was much shorter and larger gauge than the problem one.

 

Pete - I've also had a problem with external curbside GFI circuit. It burned out last year and my shore power didn't work. Once replaced, worked fine. Unfortunately, they don't reset without power, so I didn't know if it was that again or not? Now I've got an extra one to save a trip to the hardware store in Timbuktu.

 

Regarding your comment on the batteries, once plugged in for 24 hours, the batteries were 13.4. The 11.5 reading was after sitting for over two months with no shore power and the power cut-off switch enacted.

 

This forum has been very helpful for me, although some owners must be professional engineers who could make their own parts if needed? I'm mechanically challenged and try to keep it as simple as possible.

 

I think we're good to go now. Thanks again for all your suggestions, I really appreciate it!

 

Terry O'Brien

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Terry,

 

Thanks for the update. Glad to hear you've got it all fixed now. I understand all about being mechanically challenged . . . I do an awful lot of head-scratchin' myself when presented with mechanical or electrical problems. This and other forums will often have a solution for me. Do you keep #36 at home and will you be keeping it plugged in between sojourns to let the Charge Wizard manage your battery?

 

Have a great trip to Florida!

 

Pete


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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GFCI's do wear out over time and need to be replaced when they don't allow their rated draw without tripping.

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