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GCFI keeps “popping”


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Hello Everyone!

New Monaco owners here. (2008 Monaco Diplomat 41 SKQ). Been having issues with GCFI popping, so replaced it. Everything seemed ok for awhile, but then started tripping again. Looked up electrical schematic in manual to see what all is on that circuit: all front AC outlets on coach, plus the ice maker in Dometic side by side fridge/freezer. After flipping up the bar on ice maker to turn it off, issue SEEMED solved for a couple weeks. 
 

However, GCFI tripped again last evening, and immediately “retrips” when rest. Upon reading other threads on this forum, we found several possibilities that could be the issue:

1) One person said that when replacing a GCFI, to only use a Pass & Seymour 20 amp/120 volt GCFI (it’s on it’s way);

2) Our inverter, a Magnum ME2012, is a MSW inverter/charger, (MSW’s do not “play nice” with GCFI’s, as per the post) so advice was to not use GCFI’s - period.

Short of replacing the inverter with a pure sine wave model, can anyone shed some light on this topic?

(And WHY would Monaco not have the refrigerator on it’s own circuit!?!)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Patti & Mike

 

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Edited by Patricia Ferrara
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Isolate each item on that circuit one at a time until it stops tripping. GFCI ‘s see a differential (very slight difference) in amperage between the hot and neutral wires. If there’s the slightest leakage to ground,they trip. So something on the circuit is shorting to ground somewhere. It could  even be a loose neutral connection in the circuit. RV receptacles are junk. Connections are plug in type. I lost a neutral in the front section of my 2000 Dynasty a couple of years ago. Turned out it was a factory installed hidden plug in connection under the floor of the  overhead cabinets. (Found it with a tracer. Neutral connection was burned out.) I got rid of it and put in junction boxes inside the cabinets for access. Changed out a couple of receptacles to the type where you put wires under the screws. No problems since. Good luck trouble shooting. It takes time. I like to start at the very end of the circuit and work towards the panel (source) following the wiring diagrams. A digital volt/ohm meter will be helpful. 

It’s always something simple. 🤪 You just have to find it  😩

BTW….. I assume you have a GFCI breaker in the panel tripping. 
My2000 Dynasty has it’s own circuit for the fridge in the panel. I would think you should also. 

Edited by Fasthobie16
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29 minutes ago, Fasthobie16 said:

BTW….. I assume you have a GFCI breaker in the panel tripping. 
My2000 Dynasty has it’s own circuit for the fridge in the panel. I would think you should also. 

Edited 3 minutes ago by Fasthobie16

Thanks Fasthobie16! None of the breakers in the panel are tripping - only the GFCI receptacle in the wall (which is located in the hallway near the floor, going to the rear of the rig. We thought it was a rather strange place for a GCFI, given that most are located either near the kitchen sink or in bathrooms, both of which have ZERO GFCI’s!).

If the new Pass & Seymour GCFI doesn’t solve the problem, I guess we’ll have to try to track it down with the voltmeter. And (oops!) our fridge does have it’s own breaker in the panel, but it’s never tripped. But the ice maker & ice dispenser light ARE on the circuit with the front AC receptacles, including the troublesome GFCI (as the refrigerator still works on shore power, but the ice maker/dispenser doesn’t when GFCI receptacle trips).

Thanks for all the information & suggestions!

Safe travels!

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From the TOP.  I am biased.  I have recommended Eaton (was Cooper and I worked for the division and often visited the plants and talked to the design and development engineers).  GOOD that you picked up that your GFCI is 20A.  Also good that you know that Magnum is persnickety in what the "allow".  FastHobie 16 replied and he is correct.  However, before you go on a lenghtly "Search and destroy", I would try a simple fix.....or test....read on.

Next up is probably the REAL issue.  You have a "LEAK" somewhere in the Dometic Refer.  This is NOT a fire or safety hazard nor is a lethal leak.  The GRCI does NOT tolerate any leakage.....if there, it trips.  Also GFCI's are somewhat "Eccentric" and as they age....they get worse.  YES, you have replaced it....and it worked for a while.

I had a Dometic 1402, which I suspect you have. I went back to the manual and confirmed what I knew (memory is fuzzy since I upgraded to a Samsung Residential).  SO..HERE GOES.  The Leak is PROBABLY in the ice maker.  WHY....because the Icemaker, at least on mine, was connected to the Inverter so you could make ice while using gas.  Therefore, the temporary fix would be.  Get a small short (Amazon sells them) two or three gang (3 prong) extension cord.  They come in 12" lengths.  Unplug the MAIN (Refrigerator Power) cord and plug in the extension cord.  THEN, plug in BOTH the Icemaker and Heater leads there.  NOW, you have TOTALLY removed the 120 VAC Icemaker from the Circuit.  Therefore, the Inverter, which powers the GFCI can't "see" any leakage.  If you still have issues, then you will have to follow the circuit testing....and you will need a good VOM and also have to look for issues.  The GFCI is funky.  It needs GROUND to protect....but it also looks at the "Balance" between the two lines.  So, if you do LOSE a neutral....then it gets crazy. 

Now, maybe the MSW's don't play nice....but the Pure Sine Waves also are persnicketly.  I would not think about replacing an inverter until I knew, as FastHobie 16, say, the problems are.  and there IS one way.....later on....to figure that out.....albeit a bit "involved".  SO...before we go crazy.....do the above.  

BTW....Loosing a NETURAL is serious stuff. If can easily lead to a total burnout of all the electrical appliances. Many of us use a surge suppressor with a "CHECK FOR OPEN NEUTRAL" alarm or SHUT DOWN.  You do NOT say if you are in one spot all the time, fulltiming or whatever. If you are fulltiming or have the MH always hooked up to the same 50A service, then a competent electrician needs to trouble shoot the 50A receptacle.  The NEUTRAL and GROUND, measured at the receptacle, MUST BE CONNTECTED.  The NEC says to BOND them at the first main panel....which would be upstream. SOME CG's choose to also BOND them at the receptacle.  Also, the terminals on the receptacle must be TIGHT.  I DID lose a neutral once.  Was in the PLUG.  It got bumped BARELY as a bay door opened with the gas strut.  That tiny hit knocked the Neutral off the internal pin.  That was on the ORIGINAL Molded Plug like you have. I cut it off and replaced it.  There is a post, many, with instructions for that.  If you have an electrician out....then he can also trouble shoot your Transfer Switch.

BEFORE we go FURTHER.  I HOPE that you do NOT have the ORIGINAL IOTA 50R ATS.  That is plainly labeled.  There was a recall, but not paid for on the PRE 2010 Monacos or HR....as Monaco was GONE.  And Navistar would NOT pay for the recall. There is a THREAD on this.  Simply put IOTA in the search box.

OK....MOVING ON.....ONE FOR POSSIBLE FIX.  No two Monacos, we jest, were ever WIRED the same.  So, here is what to LOOK FOR.  When you replace the GFCI, how MANY Pieces or wire or Romex Cable are in the Junction Box.  If there are THREE....then you can, POSSIBLY, fix the issue....  The GRCI has an incoming Romex.  That is from the Inverter.  It is on the LINE side of the GFCI.  IF you have TWO leads or Romex cables on the bottom or the LOAD SIDE, then you might be in luck.

The test is simple.  Only put ONE piece of Romex back on.  THEN use a lamp or even a cellphone charger hooked up to a phone.  See WHAT outlets do NOT work. Go OUTSIDE.  Test the ICEMAKER Circuit.  My Dometic was on the SLIDE and then the 120 VAC went up to the FRONT.  TV and such.  So, I had NO power there.  BUT, the outlets around the sinks were LIVE.  That means that the GFCI was protecting what it was intended (per RVIA and NEC Codes) .....electricity around water.  The simple fix.  I put the Icemaker and the rest (the OTHER LINE) on the LINE side. This is 100% OK per NEC.  All home residential refrigerators, since the late 70's or early 80's were to have the Refrigerator on a SEPARATE DEDICATED OUTLET....or Circuit.  It was NOT intended to be a GFCI.  Inspectors would make electricians take out a GFCI if they were "uninformed and over zealous..." spelled NOT KNOWING CODE.  SO, if you have TWO lines on the LOAD side....hook up one and test. Your outlets around the sink (not the Microwave..it MUST NO BE GFCI) should be ON when the GFCI is hooked up.  BUT, the other outlets can be on the LINE or Non Protected side.  That solved my issues....and a lot of others.

OK....got all that?  If disconnecting the ICEMAKER and putting it on the SAME plug as the Dometic Heater stops the tripping....BINGO, it is the icemaker.  If you can ISOLATE and find that you have TWO lines on the LOAD side of the GFCI, see if you can identify the Icemaker and then put it on the LINE side.

Past that...it is a matter of hunt and peck.  You really have to have the GFCI TRIPPING REPEATEDLY.  

OK....got sidetracked......started this way earlier.....

These are the RECOMMENDED GFCI's from the Magnum manual.....about the time that yours and mine were made.  The trade name "Shock Sentry" was an original Eagle Electric, which was bought by Cooper Industries....and renamed Cooper Wiring Devices....  Then Eaton swallowed up Cooper Industries.....and it became Eaton Wiring Devices.  As I said.....I am PARTIAL (Biased) to the Cooper>>Eaton Wiring Devices. Do NOT use a Tamper Proof model.. These part numbers are older than me....  BUT, if you get the REGULAR (not Tamper Proof) GFCI from either Eaton or Liviton or Hubbel, these are the ones that work.  Don't mean that the Pass and whoever might NOT....but it is NOT on the approved list.  I also pulled the most recent (2012) Magnum MS2012 and the SAME GFCI's were listed.  Obviously, you don't fix what ain't broke.  

Shock SentryTM #XGF15V-SP (Cooper Wiring Devices Trade name).
Leviton Smart Lock #8899-A
Hubbel #GF520EMBKA

Good Luck....Keep up posted.

34 minutes ago, Patricia Ferrara said:

Thanks Fasthobie16! None of the breakers in the panel are tripping - only the GFCI receptacle in the wall (which is located in the hallway near the floor, going to the rear of the rig. We thought it was a rather strange place for a GCFI, given that most are located either near the kitchen sink or in bathrooms, both of which have ZERO GFCI’s!).

If the new Pass & Seymour GCFI doesn’t solve the problem, I guess we’ll have to try to track it down with the voltmeter. And (oops!) our fridge does have it’s own breaker in the panel, but it’s never tripped. But the ice maker & ice dispenser light ARE on the circuit with the front AC receptacles, including the troublesome GFCI (as the refrigerator still works on shore power, but the ice maker/dispenser doesn’t when GFCI receptacle trips).

Thanks for all the information & suggestions!

Safe travels!

EDIT update for you.  You just explained what I posted.  The most likely culprit is the icemaker.  BUT, the only way to eliminate is to put the HEATER and ICEMAKER on one cord and use the MAIN or the HEATER.  This "leaking" that I refer to is in Milliamps.  It will NOT trip out the main breaker (10 Amp..not ON THE INVERTER).  It is NOT lethal.....but a nuisance.  If you put a GFCI on maybe half the residential refrigerators in use, with icemaker and also automatic defrost (your Dometic uses a 12 VDC defrost....NOT 120 VAC), you would see a bunch of them tripping out daily.  The GFCI is designed to PROTECT....but it protects with a high degree of safety.  It will NOT tolerate a heating coil (embedded in an insulating ceramic material) that has a ground or that has a crack in it....from being ON and OFF....the moisture in it makes the circuit and that shuts down the GFCI. You are NOT at risk.....just the nature of the beast.  That is why the NEC exempts or specifically says NO GFCI on dedicated refrigerator lines in home....or Microwaves.

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Wow! Thanks Tom! That’s a lot of information! When Mike gets home, I’ll let him read everything, as he has more experience with Class A DP’s than I do. I WAS able to verify that we do NOT have an IOTA transfer switch (thank God!) but what I think we have is a Power Max PMTS-50 (box located in 50 amp power cord bay). Also, we are full timers, work camping in northern Texas, and it looks like Mike’s seasonal position will now be year round, so we are stationary. We use a Southwire surge protector at the 50 amp pedestal, (in addition to the onboard one, that I think I remember was in the same bay as the Power Max transfer box) and all the lights are green - so that means that there are no issues with the power pedestal, correct? That’s about all that I can check on my own, lol!

I will run all this by Mike when he gets home from work…

Thanks!

Patti

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Update: 

Cancelled previous Pass & Seymour GFCI order & reordered Eaton, to be delivered sometime Thursday. 
 

Also: when we bought this motor home in March, the 50 amp power cord had to be Gorilla taped, as there was some exposed wires where the plug connected to the rubber insulated conduit (here’s a pic). I thought that it should be replaced, but we taped it up good (and of course, then we forgot about it, as other issues, like the air bag suspension pressure & hub oil leaks, seemed of higher priority). So, regarding this power cord/plug, I’m thinking that it might be a good idea to have it taken care of also, yes?B2AC7BDA-B2CF-4F54-AA2F-23A4EE2C6A87.thumb.jpeg.d0a102d3ff54882941ed5be33b71343b.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Patricia Ferrara said:

Update: 

Cancelled previous Pass & Seymour GFCI order & reordered Eaton, to be delivered sometime Thursday. 
 

Also: when we bought this motor home in March, the 50 amp power cord had to be Gorilla taped, as there was some exposed wires where the plug connected to the rubber insulated conduit (here’s a pic). I thought that it should be replaced, but we taped it up good (and of course, then we forgot about it, as other issues, like the air bag suspension pressure & hub oil leaks, seemed of higher priority). So, regarding this power cord/plug, I’m thinking that it might be a good idea to have it taken care of also, yes?B2AC7BDA-B2CF-4F54-AA2F-23A4EE2C6A87.thumb.jpeg.d0a102d3ff54882941ed5be33b71343b.jpeg

I hate to sound dictatorial.  However, if it were me, I would order a NEW Camco 50 A plug from Amazon...or find one at a CW or such.  I would also order a tube of Dow Corning #5 Insulating compound.  Here is how I recommend the install me done.  Since you are FULL timing and now breaking camp, I would do it this way.

Hook up the wiring per the Diagram. The Red and Black really do NOT matter....as folks reverse them in Pedestals all the time.  The GREEN goes to the L-shaped Ground Lug. The White goes to the top round one.  Flip a coin on red and black.  NOW....tighten the terminals with a hand filling screwdriver.  THEN take a shop towel (the red or blue rags that ever GOOD mechanic had in his back pocket).  Wrap the screwdriver handle maybe twice with the shop towel. This is a wonderful FRICTION DEVICE.  It like a torque amplifier in that you get more torque or tightening power.  Most males with reasonably good grip strength and good wrist strength will put enough torque on the screws....and meet the NEC spec. 

NOW.  TIGHTEN THEM a few times....going back and forth with the screwdriver wrapped with a towel.  Tighten the Strain Relief.  Put the cover on.  You need to then....FLEX or USE or pretend like you were breaking camp and plugging and unplugging.  Don't use it as a tug or war rope of try to drive a golf ball with it.  BUT flex and tug and move and twist is so that any connection can be loosened.  Pull off the cover.  RETIGHTEN....TWICE.  Towel on Screwdriver.  NOW use the Dow insulating compound (Amazon has it).  Fill the cavity with it and cover the lugs and the wires.  Too much is OK as it will squirt out and you can wipe it off.  If you need to, put some in the cap.  You want the entire cavity to be filled or "Potted" with it.  Screw down the cover.  Use it and let it cure.  It will be as good or maybe better than the original. 

 

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Thanks Tom! And you do NOT sound “dictatorial”! Now that we know that we’ll be stationary, we can get on top of these (and other) issues, prior to winter setting in. Thanks for the detailed instructions in your replies to the issues that I have posted (so far lol!). I can pretty much guarantee that we’ll have more questions in the near future, so your help is very much appreciated!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Solution

My thanks to Tom & Fasthobie for the solutions! We did end up getting a short heavy duty extension cord to plug in both the refrigerator & the ice maker, then plug the cord into the refrigerator outlet (yes, the ice maker WAS on the GCFI circuit). No further issues with anything tripping since. Also, we replaced the 50 amp plug & sealed, so that the wires are no longer exposed.

So, thanks again for all your help! Next time we post, it’ll probably be some winterizing questions, if we can’t find the answers in previous posts.

Safe travels y’all!

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I'll share me experience here.  I was having trouble w my GFCI tripping and it is in the master bath.  I have a residential fridge.  I first replaced w a GFCI from HOme Depot and it still happened.  Then I replaced w a different one, Eaton I think and much better.  However, I didn't like the fact my fridge was on the GFCI.  So I traced all outlets and made a diagram.  I had the fridge and maybe 3 others on one circuit. So I moved that to the hot side of the GFCI and if my GFCi trips, I don't lose power to that circuit (or my fridge).

 

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1 hour ago, Steven P said:

I'll share me experience here.  I was having trouble w my GFCI tripping and it is in the master bath.  I have a residential fridge.  I first replaced w a GFCI from HOme Depot and it still happened.  Then I replaced w a different one, Eaton I think and much better.  However, I didn't like the fact my fridge was on the GFCI.  So I traced all outlets and made a diagram.  I had the fridge and maybe 3 others on one circuit. So I moved that to the hot side of the GFCI and if my GFCi trips, I don't lose power to that circuit (or my fridge).

 

Very concise.  That is what myself and others did.  We were fortunate in that there were TWO circuits on the LOAD side of the GFCI and one was the "ICEMAKER" circuit.  Once I did that, as you did, no issues.  My Cooper (now Eaton) Wiring Devices GFCI was installed exactly 9 years ago while we were at the Balloon Festival in ABQ.  I upgraded to a Residential in 2017.  The GFCI has NEVER tripped....and my DW, as well as her "FIXER" are very happy.

Unfortunately, I do not know if ALL the "Center" GFCI's are wired.  You and I were lucky....

Thanks,

 

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