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Old 06-21-2019, 09:55 AM   #1
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GFCI tripping

My 15 has a GFCI outlet in the dinette/bed area which apparently controls the other two (or maybe 3, haven't looked at the one in the microwave area) 110 outlets. I tripped it a couple of times with coffee pot on, but now it seems to trip daily with nothing more than a computer charger drawing current. (Coffee pot plugged in but completely off with power button off.) What do I need to check/fix?

When I reset it I can run the coffee maker and it doesn't trip (that's at a remote outlet). The computer charger also plugs into a remote outlet, the only thing ever plugged into the GFCI is a USB charger.

I'm guessing the GFCI has gone bad.
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:58 AM   #2
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GFCI tripping

There are two distinct possibilities (maybe more): there’s a problem with your wiring, or there’s something wrong with your outlet. A wiring problem could be lots of things and in lots of places. Easy for an electrician to trace such things but harder for non-electricians. As a non-electrician, were it me, I’d try the easiest thing first, which would be replacing the outlet, because GFCI’s don’t last forever and do occasionally go bad.

Also, ahoy across the water there from PT!
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:12 AM   #3
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Do you have an outside receptacle ?
Is the outside receptacle on the same circuit as the GFCI ?
The WP covers on outside receptacles are notorious for letting water in but not letting it out
It may be nothing more than a bad outside receptacle
I am making an educated guess cause I don’t know how your Escape is wired
GFCI receptacles trip due to leakage current to ground and not from overload
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bobbie54 View Post
My 15 has a GFCI outlet in the dinette/bed area which apparently controls the other two (or maybe 3, haven't looked at the one in the microwave area) 110 outlets. I tripped it a couple of times with coffee pot on, but now it seems to trip daily with nothing more than a computer charger drawing current. (Coffee pot plugged in but completely off with power button off.) What do I need to check/fix?

When I reset it I can run the coffee maker and it doesn't trip (that's at a remote outlet). The computer charger also plugs into a remote outlet, the only thing ever plugged into the GFCI is a USB charger.

I'm guessing the GFCI has gone bad.
Don't guess. I highly recommend that you get a GFCI tester like this one.

I can't count the money and time I have saved diagnosing problems with this very simple tester over the years.
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:30 AM   #5
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No outside receptacle. The tester sounds like a good idea and inexpensive, thanks!
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:43 AM   #6
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Lightbulb

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Originally Posted by Telescopist View Post
Don't guess. I highly recommend that you get a GFCI tester like this one.

I can't count the money and time I have saved diagnosing problems with this very simple tester over the years.
The meter will tell you if the GFCI trips at the proper leakage current
When you press the button on the tester it will simulate a fault and the GFCI should trip
If the GFCI does not trip when testing then the GFCI is bad or there is no power to the GFCI
The meter you pictured will not indicate if the problem is in the wiring or down stream from the GFCI.
Disconnect the wires on the load side of the GFCI and then try powering your coffee pot / computer off the GFCI receptacle . If the GFCI does not trip then the problem is probably with the down stream wiring
The plugin tester has limited value when troubleshooting , a multi meter is the tool of choice
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:43 AM   #7
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Also, ahoy across the water there from PT!
Actually on your side (sort of) right now, out at the coast.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:11 PM   #8
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The meter will tell you if the GFCI trips at the proper leakage current
When you press the button on the tester it will simulate a fault and the GFCI should trip
If the GFCI does not trip when testing then the GFCI is bad or there is no power to the GFCI
The meter you pictured will not indicate if the problem is in the wiring or down stream from the GFCI.
Disconnect the wires on the load side of the GFCI and then try powering your coffee pot / computer off the GFCI receptacle . If the GFCI does not trip then the problem is probably with the down stream wiring
The plugin tester has limited value when troubleshooting , a multi meter is the tool of choice
The GFCI tester can indicate if the problem is in the wiring/downstream. I had a nagging recurring problem with an outlet in a 3rd floor apartment. I assumed it was the outlet. I shut off the breaker in the basement and replaced the outlet. The problem persisted. I did a 'simple' test with the GFCI tester. The tester indicated that I had an open neutral. I trudged back down to the basement and located the offending neutral. It needed to be tightened up in the neutral bus. The multi tester never came out of my electrician satchel.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:45 PM   #9
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The GFCI tester can indicate if the problem is in the wiring/downstream. I had a nagging recurring problem with an outlet in a 3rd floor apartment. I assumed it was the outlet. I shut off the breaker in the basement and replaced the outlet. The problem persisted. I did a 'simple' test with the GFCI tester. The tester indicated that I had an open neutral. I trudged back down to the basement and located the offending neutral. It needed to be tightened up in the neutral bus. The multi tester never came out of my electrician satchel.
Try finding an unintended neutral to equipment ground connection with the plug in meter and let me know how it works . Water in a receptacle will trip the GFCI but will not show up on the meter you pictured. An open neutral or equipment ground or hot will not cause a GFCI to trip . Turn the breaker off feeding the GFCI and your tester will show an open hot but it will not cause the GFCI to trip
The tester you reference is a highly useful tool in certain instances . If you plug your tester into a tripped GFCI receptacle it will not tell you why the GFCI tripped but only that the receptacle is dead.
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:38 PM   #10
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All I want to know is whether the GFCI is bad because anything else is going to require someone with more electrical knowledge than I have.
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:52 PM   #11
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All I want to know is whether the GFCI is bad because anything else is going to require someone with more electrical knowledge than I have.
The simplest way is to replace the GFCI and see if the problem goes away
If the problem goes away then you’ve found the solution
If the problem still persists then it’s not the GFCI and you will need to look elsewhere .
Make sure you maintain proper polarity and line / load when installing the new GFCI . The GFCI will have clearly marked terminals indicating line & load + polarity ( White / Black / Green , Bare)
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:59 PM   #12
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From your original description of the problem, I'd guess the GFCI is bad, but about the only way to "prove" the GFCI is bad is to disconnect the downstream wiring (the output side of the GFCI) and plug a known good device into the GFCI receptacle.

The device itself is usually not the problem, but they do fail. They are a relatively inexpensive replacement item, so if you are not interested into digging into the individual wiring, replacement is an option. If the new one trips, something downstream is wrong. Could be water in an outside receptacle, or a device plugged in downstream that has a fault.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:13 PM   #13
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The simplest way is to replace the GFCI and see if the problem goes away
If the problem goes away then you’ve found the solution
If the problem still persists then it’s not the GFCI and you will need to look elsewhere .
Make sure you maintain proper polarity and line / load when installing the new GFCI . The GFCI will have clearly marked terminals indicating line & load + polarity ( White / Black / Green , Bare)
That part I'm okay on- as long as I have wires and pay attention I can wire in a new one.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Try finding an unintended neutral to equipment ground connection with the plug in meter and let me know how it works . Water in a receptacle will trip the GFCI but will not show up on the meter you pictured. An open neutral or equipment ground or hot will not cause a GFCI to trip . Turn the breaker off feeding the GFCI and your tester will show an open hot but it will not cause the GFCI to trip
The tester you reference is a highly useful tool in certain instances . If you plug your tester into a tripped GFCI receptacle it will not tell you why the GFCI tripped but only that the receptacle is dead.
Did I mention that this test and the finding involved testing a standard 120 volt outlet? Perhaps I wasn't entirely clea.r Let's just call this an 'outlet receptacle tester' for the moment. This tester indicated that I had an open neutral. Replacing the outlet did not change anything: the far right orange LED was lit up again.

The source of the open neutral was found to be on the neutral bus in the service panel. In this particular instance I don't think I could have tracked down the source of the problem any quicker with a multi meter.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:22 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Quote:
The simplest way is to replace the GFCI and see if the problem goes away
If the problem goes away then you’ve found the solution
If the problem still persists then it’s not the GFCI and you will need to look elsewhere .
Make sure you maintain proper polarity and line / load when installing the new GFCI . The GFCI will have clearly marked terminals indicating line & load + polarity ( White / Black / Green , Bare)
I'm afraid I'll have to disagree. I have GFCI's in all of my apartments. By code they have been required in the bathroom and kitchen for at least 25 years. I've only had one fail in all of that time. The simplest thing to do first is to use a tester and began there. Why change out a GFCI if you don't need to?

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That part I'm okay on- as long as I have wires and pay attention I can wire in a new one.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:40 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Telescopist View Post
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post


I'm afraid I'll have to disagree. I have GFCI's in all of my apartments. By code they have been required in the bathroom and kitchen for at least 25 years. I've only had one fail in all of that time. The simplest thing to do first is to use a tester and began there. Why change out a GFCI if you don't need to?
The problem using a tester is it doesn't answer the question "Why is it tripping?" It will let you trip the GFCI by applying more than 5ma between the hot & ground, but just because it trips doesn't mean it won't false trip, which appears to be the problem.

The three light receptacle tester is a useful tool to show an open ground, reversed polarity, etc, and the version that has a built in GFCI tester is handy, but won't necessarily determine the problem.
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:36 PM   #17
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I'm afraid I'll have to disagree. I have GFCI's in all of my apartments. By code they have been required in the bathroom and kitchen for at least 25 years. I've only had one fail in all of that time. ...
an RV is a much harsher environment on these things...

In my case, when its damp out, the one on the outside of my escape pops, and it won't reset til its completely dried out. when it trips, the inside outlet near the kitchen is also disabled as its slaved to the outside outlet.
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:44 PM   #18
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The simplest way is to replace the GFCI and see if
I too was thinking this would be a simple check to tell whether the plug is the issue or not. I have not seen many fail, but a few for sure.
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:15 PM   #19
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I too was thinking this would be a simple check to tell whether the plug is the issue or not. I have not seen many fail, but a few for sure.
The quality of circuit breakers ,light bulbs , wire and GFCI receptacles varies greatly and got worse when production of these parts were shipped out of the country ( Korea , Mexico , China)
We got 500 ft. & 2500 ft spools of wire where the copper was not continuos from end to end ( Korea )
You had to do a continuity test on every spool of wire plus there were sections of wire with no insulation
Light bulbs from Mexico that were dead shorted from the factory
Receptacles that were dead shorted from the factory
GFCI that would not trip or would reset even though the sensing circuit was bad and some were made without the sensing circuit board
Circuit breakers with the wrong trip coil so you could dead short a circuit and the breaker did not trip , the wire burned off .( Singapore)
Steel conduit that was so hard ( Too much iron and impurities) that you could not thread the pipe and sometimes even broke the dies ( China)
Grade 5 and 8 bolts that if you torqued them to spec the heads snapped off. ( China)


The new GFCI receptacles are self testing and if they fail the test will not energize ( Code / UL requirement )
Leviton makes a good GFCI receptacle but they are 2 to 3 times the cost of the cheapies sold at the big box home improvement stores .
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Old 06-22-2019, 03:46 PM   #20
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My 15 has a GFCI outlet in the dinette/bed area which apparently controls the other two (or maybe 3, haven't looked at the one in the microwave area) 110 outlets. I tripped it a couple of times with coffee pot on, but now it seems to trip daily with nothing more than a computer charger drawing current. (Coffee pot plugged in but completely off with power button off.) What do I need to check/fix?

When I reset it I can run the coffee maker and it doesn't trip (that's at a remote outlet). The computer charger also plugs into a remote outlet, the only thing ever plugged into the GFCI is a USB charger.

I'm guessing the GFCI has gone bad.
I once had a GFCI that would always trip like yours. After making sure there was nothing on the circuit causing it to trip, I replaced it with a new one. That did the trick!

I guess they do go bad. If you replace the GFCI, take the old one apart and see how it works.

Chuck
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