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GFI Outlets/Battery Charging/Inverter-charger

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Bill,

Posted "Let's remember that coach wiring is different from house wiring." The only thing different is how the ground is connected at the coach and on the shore side. The branch circuits are wired the same on RV's per NEC and ANSI code, the latter being used as the RVIA code.

I would start at the beginning and check for correct polarities at the entrance to the coach, then follow logically to all sub-panels.

Disconnect the coach and turn off the inverter. Do resistance checks beginning at the 50 amp plug for any shorts. Continue to all the panels. For all your branch circuits close all breakers and disconnect all plug in devices and do resistance checks for shorts. If you have a short from L1 or L2 to neutral or ground you will see it. Make notes as you go. I know you're a methodical guy.

All the GFCB's and arc fault circuit breaker's (AFCB) I've installed clipped into the box's breaker positon and the white wire from the breaker is connected to the neutral bus bar. The black and white wires going to the branch circuit outlets from the GFCB screw terminals are the hot and neutral wires for that individual circuit of outlets. In order to substitute a standard circuit breaker you most connect the black wire from the GFCB screw terminal and connect it to the replacement breaker terminal. Then you must remove the white wire from the GFCB screw terminal and connect it to the neutral bus bar in the panel. If that individual circuit then works OK you know you have a fried GFCB.

We are going to be in Colorado Springs tomorrow for a month. Are you anywhere nearby?

Chuck

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Guest BillAdams

I removed the GFC breaker and moved the white wire to the neutral bar and the black to the breaker and the circuit works. I am going to go buy a new GFCI breaker (4 I guess) and see if whatever happened only killed the breakers themselves.

As to voltages mentioned above it appears an assumption that I have some kind of a Progressive elect. management which I do not. I also do not know what the actual voltage on the one leg was (I am guessing 208/240) as the meter only goes to 150V and it was pegged at that voltage.

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Bill were you checking the voltage at the plug? I know you know this but a second mind sometimes turns on a light bulb. If you checked the round pin to either of the flat pins across from each other you should get 110v. If you go flat to flat across from each other you will get 240v. Top flat = neutral, round pin at bottom = ground and the two flat pins across from each other = 110v each.

Let us know how changing the GFIs works. I don't know much about them but are they any thing like a surge protector? I know that some surge protectors, once they have a power surge and protect your circuits it needs to be replaced. ?? :( :(

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Guest BillAdams

I read the voltage on the meter! Each leg of my 50amp circuit has a voltage meter. When I saw the one meter pegged and the other showing low I did not spent a lot of time doing anything. I ran outside and turned off the breaker! I then plugged the power cord fully into the coach and turned the breaker back on. I now had 120V on each leg.

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As to voltages mentioned above... I also do not know what the actual voltage on the one leg was (I am guessing 208/240) as the meter only goes to 150V and it was pegged at that voltage.

Bill,

With an open neutral (lack of neutral) which results in a lack of "reference", voltage on a 50 amp circuit (two hots) can and often does range from very low to very high. Really bad on all electrical components!

We ran into this in a nice up-scale park in New England a few year ago. I tested before plugging in and got 167 VAC on the first leg I tested. Sent Dianne up to office for another site/CG electrician. CG owner came out and said no one else had complained. My reply was to plug in my Fluke meter and show him the voltage-- I really didn't care of other were aware of this or not, cared or not, was affecting other sites or not......... I was not going to plug in!

Long story short, after 3 days of digging with a back hoe, an electrical contractor found a broken neutral feeding the entire row we were initially on (yes we moved to another site). Strangely (not) others on that row started complaining about blown TV's, chargers, etc.

Brett

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Guest Wayne77590

Bill,

.........You stated that there was 150v on one leg, and lower voltage on the other. The Progressive Industries 50 amp surge (etc.) will kick off at 134v and 104v (both of those numbers are outside the 10% range, but they seem to work)......

I was not implying that you had one, but what the low and high voltages were. You had 150v you stated, and I guess I was alluding to the fact that they are worth the money one has to pay for them. Mine has saved me 4-5 times in the last 3 years. And in case you are interested, http://www.rvupgradestore.com/ was the least expensive site I found for ordering one.

I'm a much better conversationalist than a writer.

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Guest BillAdams

I am getting very odd meter readings. If I check the red leg connected to the circuits on that leg they read 208 (no ground, just the meter connected to the incoming red connection and the output from the breaker. If I check the output from the breaker to either ground I get 120. Of course, if I check the 2 hots (red and black it reads 208

When I check continuity a good reading is usually 0 and a tone. When I connect between the red and black hot there is continuity (is there supposed to be) and it sounds and odd tone and the numbers bounce from -3.xx to 0 and all over the place.

The one GFCI circuit that I have replaced with a non-GFCB gives a clean tone and 0 reading when connected to the black incoming and a bad tone and weird numbers when connected to the red incoming.

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As colors go code wise, White = neutral, Green = ground, Black = 110v (hot), and Red = 110v (hot). The Black and Red should be on separate circuits (i.e. 240 as measured from Black to Red-- if it reads zero, the outlet is miswired).

Bill I had another thought. Was your coach plugged into a 50 to 30 amp adapter at the service shop? If so they may have plugged the adapter into a 220v outlet and that would have sent 110v to your neutral. If that was the case then your GFIs did their job well.

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Guest BillAdams

OK, so we have 4 new GFCB's in place and all circuits are working. I still don't understand some of the readings I am seeing and why, despite 2 separate circuits, I get some of the readings above.

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Have you checked your 120v power panel in your MH. If I understand it is unlike a home panel the MH will have two sides but they cannot be connected by a 220v curcuit breaker. Check and see if you have 110v on each leg. If the voltage is the same it should be OK. If not there may be another problem. We all hope you a able to solve this mystery.

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Bill,

Your Comment "If I check the red leg connected to the circuits on that leg they read 208 (no ground, just the meter connected to the incoming red connection and the output from the breaker." I read this several times. If no ground reference to your meter, you are not getting a true reading. To check voltage you must reference to ground. Your multimeter red lead goes to the red or black wire in the panel. The multimeter's black lead goes to neutral or ground connection in the panel. Ideally you should check voltage with the black test lead on neutral, then on ground. Variations in reading by more than a volt or two indicate a wiring issue, if that occurs.

While typing this, your above post came in. You have at least one electrical panel in your coach. The one with the four GFCB's and some circuit breakers. Some coaches, especially bus conversions like yours, have more than one, but let's keep it simple for now.

This "panel" that contains your breakers should have a large #6 AWG wire in black, another in red, and another in white; coming into this panel. The other posters have been saying to measure the voltage at these conductors. Use a good multimeter in the manner mentioned here. You should have about 110 vac to 126vac from the red to white wires, and from the black to white wires. This will tell us if the incoming feeders to the "electrical panel" are working correctly. Most likely so since the GFCB circuits are now working OK, as you stated.

Chuck

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Herman,

Your post "Let us know how changing the GFIs works. I don't know much about them but are they any thing like a surge protector?" Well, they were fried as I suspected. Unless the GFI is designed for 240vac (they do exist in GFCB form factor) putting that voltage on a GFI designed for 120vac will fry the electronic circuit within. Just like a radio, television, etc. plugged into 240 vac. Smoke city!

Ground fault interrupters sense a current fault to ground (either through a ground wire or through your body to earth) by measuring the transverse current in the hot and neutral lines. They have minimal surge / transient protection for their own circuit. They do not protect the "downstream" devices from surges.

Metal Oxide Varistors (MOV) are devices in surge suppression strips and other forms to fire at a certain voltage (varies with model) and actually absorb the voltage/current surge. This is the "power" which generates heat. And why they turn black when destroyed themselves -- usually protecting an electronic device.

The arc fault circuit breaker detects "arcing" in electrical wiring either in the wall or a lamp cord, for example. They do this by being programmed at the factory to recognize the "waveform pattern" of various types of arcs. When they see one, they open the circuit. They are required on all bedroom branch circuits by NEC.

Three devices to protect equipment and personnel, but each has a specific function. They do not overlap. But you can double your protection by placing an AFCB downstream from a GFCB to protect a single branch circuit.

Chuck

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Brett,

I totally hear you. This same issue was on this board recently. Shoddy workmanship (licensed or not) appears to be increasing. And management's denial is just garbage. I don't care who they are. The only usable recourse is for the RVer to protect ourselves and our equipment, and move on when confronted with this "gee, no other complaints" baloney surfaces.

And state the incident here so we can make our own decisions on patronizing their business.

Chuck

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Sorry Bill. Didn't mean to shift the focus from you. Have you corralled those wayward voltage readings?

Do you have a "three neon light" outlet tester on board?

Chuck

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Guest BillAdams

Well, life is pretty good in the Adams household tonight. The new GFCB's solved the existing issues with our outlets. A new convection/microwave solved the issue with that blown equipment and today, thanks to Westland Sales tech support, our Splendide washer is working again. I pulled the unit out and found some toasted wires on the incoming power line which connected to a power block and then send the power out to the W/D. I removed these wires, noted which was above and below, fixed the wire connectors and reattached. Still no love. I put a call into Westland Sales (these guys are the best!) and in about an hour I got a return call. We began troubleshooting this old dog (pre-1996 was the best that could be determined) and once we were able to figure out which wires went where (color coding has changed) we were able to check a number of points for 120 and/or continuity. As we were discussing the entrance power block I saw that there was an open connector which had "scratch marks" on it. I asked what post should be connected connected where and it turned out that I simply misplaced the melted wire onto a post that should have remained blank. Luckily, this did not do any damage, just prevented proper operation. When I moved the wire to the correct post our W/D jumped right back into action!!! Yeah!!!!!

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Guest Wayne77590

It is so refreshing when things just come together once in a while, and work. Albeit, with some assistance from people working diligently on the problem.

Congratulations. Job well done.

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We have an 05 Discovery.

We are staying in an RV park for a couple of months and everything has been fine. Last night I plugged in a space heater that worked fine all night long but this morning when I turned on the coffee maker it turned off half of the outlets in the coach including the ones for the coffee maker and space heater.

There is no problem in the AC breaker box located in the bedroom . There is a gfi in the bedroom near a wash basin and another one in the bathroom (about a foot away ) that apparently is fed by the one in the bedroom. I used a tester and the "load" coming out of the one in the bedroom is hot but the wires going into the gfi in the bathroom is not and can't be reset.

Looking for help. Thanks.

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