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Old 02-16-2019, 01:44 PM   #1
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Tripping GFCI during storage

I have had my trailer plugged into a GFCI for winter storage and found the outlet tripped recently. I have experimented turning off breakers and it trips if I turn the converter/fridge switch on. The surge reads E0 and 126v with everything off and I can turn the converter on when connected to a non-GFCI outlet. The fridge is off so it seems either the charging circuit is tripping the GFCI or the adapter plug is when a load is applied. I am tempted to build a custom extension cord with a 30a plug on the end but would like to find the problem first. How can I see if my charger is the problem?

I am going to charge up the trailer on the non-protected outlet then leave it in battery disconnect for now but I want to figure this out before camping season.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:21 PM   #2
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I have had my trailer plugged into a GFCI for winter storage and found the outlet tripped recently. I have experimented turning off breakers and it trips if I turn the converter/fridge switch on. The surge reads E0 and 126v with everything off and I can turn the converter on when connected to a non-GFCI outlet. The fridge is off so it seems either the charging circuit is tripping the GFCI or the adapter plug is when a load is applied. I am tempted to build a custom extension cord with a 30a plug on the end but would like to find the problem first. How can I see if my charger is the problem?

I am going to charge up the trailer on the non-protected outlet then leave it in battery disconnect for now but I want to figure this out before camping season.
Do you have a 2-way hot water heater? Our electric element failed hot to ground which caused the house GFI that the trailer was plugged into to trip anytime a load was applied. Keep the converter breaker off and turn on another large load like a microwave or A/C. If the GFCI trips it is likely the electric element in the HWH. It is interesting to note that while troubleshooting we learned the house GFI tripped even with the inside water heater breaker OFF and other circuits with large loads were operated. This is the GFI detecting the issue, but can lead one to believe the issue is on a circuit that it is not.
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Old 02-17-2019, 09:42 AM   #3
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A fault between the neutral & ground will trip a modern GFCI. If this fault is present in the heater element of the refrigerator or water heater, it will cause a trip even with the circuit breaker off. The only way to identify which device is causing the problem is to disconnect both the hot & neutral wires.

While there could also be a fault in the converter, failed heater elements are often the problem.
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Old 02-17-2019, 12:21 PM   #4
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A fault between the neutral & ground will trip a modern GFCI. If this fault is present in the heater element of the refrigerator or water heater, it will cause a trip even with the circuit breaker off. The only way to identify which device is causing the problem is to disconnect both the hot & neutral wires.

While there could also be a fault in the converter, failed heater elements are often the problem.
Jon: I think that is what I was trying to say. I’m figuring that flipping the breakers is making the OP falsely accuse the converter because it just happens to be the item with no on/off switch so it is applying load when the breaker is flipped unlike the others that require the additional step of turning the appliance on. Easy enough to check if other AC loads on other circuits also trip the GFI. I knew it was the HWH element when I disconnected it outside in the access panel and the GFI no longer tripped.

The refrigerator could be unplugged to test, but the converter needs to be disconnected within the power center so I would check the other items first.
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Old 02-17-2019, 09:59 PM   #5
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I have the breaker for the HW off but will pull the element when I get a chance and retry.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:47 PM   #6
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I took the leads off the Hot water element and that fixed the GFCI problem. Does anyone have a part number for the element or the heater so I can order a new one?
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:49 AM   #7
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I took the leads off the Hot water element and that fixed the GFCI problem. Does anyone have a part number for the element or the heater so I can order a new one?
suburban part # 520789
https://www.amazon.com/Suburban-5207.../dp/B003G9G4X4
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