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Old 04-07-2019, 01:28 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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GFI Outlets Blowing

Hey all, finished my conversion recently. Never had any issues with my shore power or the electrical in the bus until the other day.

If I plug my bus into a shore power circuit with a GFI anywhere in the circuit, the shore GFI automatically trips, instantly. I have nothing being powered in the bus to provide that kind of electrical overload to trip the shore GFI. My shore power/AC line only provides power to outlets in my bus and I have nothing plugged into them. To clarify, the breakers in my bus do not trip, the shore power GFI outlet does. To note, I do have a GFI in my bus.

If I plug into a different circuit with no GFI's in the line, no problems at all. Is this a sign I wired something incorrectly?

Also - I bought a little heater that says not to use an extension cord. I imagine it's because people use to small of a gauge of wire and for the distance run, it's a fire hazard. If I provide the correctly sized wire for the current being drawn at that specific distance, is it still a hazard?

Thanks
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:09 PM   #2
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Is your neutral bonded to ground in you box on the bus. The GFCI is finding something that is grounded that shouldn't be.

Ted
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:27 PM   #3
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Breakers are there to protect wiring from overloads. GFCI's are there to protect people and to do that they monitor the hot and neutral for an imbalance. They will trip when reading an imbalance of a few mil-amps. Moisture at your plugs can cause GFCIs to trip and I've heard of many bad GFCI outlets causing problems.

"Twas me, I'd switch off all my bus AC breakers then try plugging into a GFCI protected outlet. If the shore panel outlet doesn't trip, switch on each breaker until one trips the outlet GFCI. Once you know which circuit is involved it's a matter of checking your connections and appliances on that circuit.
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TJones View Post
Is your neutral bonded to ground in you box on the bus. The GFCI is finding something that is grounded that shouldn't be.

Ted
Good advice above!

I have purchased a number of load centers that came out of the box with the bonding jumper installed.

I suspect that could be your problem.
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:02 PM   #5
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I must admit I was confused when I bought the breaker panel.

Seems to me the connections for neutral and the ground connect to two different bars in the box, however, the bars are connected by metal machine screws. I would assume this is the issue, contact between the neutral and ground?

Did I purchase the wrong type of box or could it be meant for something else?

I couldn’t get a picture uploaded to this thread but got it loaded as the first pic in my album.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:55 PM   #6
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Hire a licensed electrician to check out your install. Accidentally mixing neutral and ground in your bus can lead to what is called "hot skin" where the bus is waiting for you to step out, touch the ground and complete the circuit. This gets even more complicated when you add a genny to the works so ask about that too. On the bright side, it isn't usual to supply a secondary circuit (like in your bus) from GFI circuit.

For five bucks get one of these at Harbor Freight: https://www.harborfreight.com/electr...sis-63929.html

I check every pedestal at every campground before hooking up. Always.
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by spmccormick85 View Post
I must admit I was confused when I bought the breaker panel.

Seems to me the connections for neutral and the ground connect to two different bars in the box, however, the bars are connected by metal machine screws. I would assume this is the issue, contact between the neutral and ground?

Did I purchase the wrong type of box or could it be meant for something else?

I couldnít get a picture uploaded to this thread but got it loaded as the first pic in my album.
If your neutral and ground bars are both screwed to the box with metal screws with no insulation between the neutral bar and the box then it is bonded to ground. This will trip a GFCI when plugged in. If this is the case you may be able to find some insulating brackets for your neutral bar.

Not only will this trip a GFCI it could possibly electrify the frame and body of your bus if the box is grounded to the frame and plugged into a non GFCI. I believe the neutral should only be bonded to ground if an onboard power sources such as a battery bank with inverter or generator is used.

Ted
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
Hire a licensed electrician to check out your install. Accidentally mixing neutral and ground in your bus can lead to what is called "hot skin" where the bus is waiting for you to step out, touch the ground and complete the circuit. This gets even more complicated when you add a genny to the works so ask about that too. On the bright side, it isn't usual to supply a secondary circuit (like in your bus) from GFI circuit.

For five bucks get one of these at Harbor Freight: https://www.harborfreight.com/electr...sis-63929.html

I check every pedestal at every campground before hooking up. Always.
Jack
If your not real familiar with AC wiring hiring an electrician is a good idea. You dont want you or a loved one to get electrocuted or have a fire start.

Also +1 on the tester and checking before you plug in.

Ted
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:10 PM   #9
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Had to disconnect the ground in the panel on the bus. Makes sense as I’m not sure it would do anything as a shore power line or hookup from inverter. Stopped blowing the GFI though.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by spmccormick85 View Post
Had to disconnect the ground in the panel on the bus. Makes sense as Iím not sure it would do anything as a shore power line or hookup from inverter. Stopped blowing the GFI though.
That's not a good idea. You want your panel and bus connected to ground to ensure any short would go to ground and trip a GFCI or breaker. If ground is not connected your entire bus could be electrified. You just need to make sure neutral is not connected to ground inside the bus. The GFCI detects any connection between hot or neutral and ground. You may also have problem in your wiring somewhere else. It would be best for you to have an electrician review your installation.

Ted
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