Why Does My RV Keep Tripping GFCI Electrical Outlets?
I have a 2003 Flagstaff 23 fbs trailer
All electrical appliances are turned off.
Plug into house electrical outlet and trips house GFCI. Works fine when plugged into campground outlet. I read somewhere that the problem is trailer electrical ground.
Where is the ground? On the tongue, electrical box? Camperland want mucho dollars just to diagnose problem.
ANSWER: Greetings thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.
You are correct in stating that a bad ground or even reversed polarity in your travel trailer could be tripping the GFCI Receptacle
. GFCI Receptacles look like normal 15/20 amp plugs except that they have a built in circuit breaker. The GFCI plugs are very sensitive to bad grounds and reverse polarity in electrical systems. They will blow when a normal circuit breaker will not.
First I normally do not recommend that a do-it-yourselfer mess with the 120 volt electrical system of an RV. However, in these economic times it has become apparent that a lot of RVers want to tackle these problems themselves, so I am going to give you some suggestions on what you need to properly diagnose and possibly repair your trailer's electrical problems. These are the two items I recommend you get.
1. The first item you are going to need is a Greenlee Polarity Tester Cube
. You can plug this simple tool into your RV electrical outlets and it will let you know with easy to read light sequences; whether the circuit you are testing has a bad ground or a polarity problem.
You want to use this to check all of the outlets in your Travel Trailer, so you can isolate the problem circuits in your travel trailer. This tester can also be used to test GFCI outlets for proper operation.
2. Since I cannot tell you exactly where the ground is on your Travel Trailer and you still want to repair the problem yourself, I am going to recommend that you get a copy of the book RV Electrical Systems: A Basic Guide to Troubleshooting, Repairing and Improvement
by Bill Moeller. This book is very well written and covers the following topics:
* How to troubleshoot electrical problems of all types.
* How to recognize and correct dangerous wiring practices.
* How to safely use a campground hookup.
* How to increase battery charging efficiency.
* How to take the pulse of your AC and DC electrical systems.
* How to upgrade your RV from fuses to circuit breakers.
* How to calculate your electrical needs and upgrade your system to meet them.
* How to select the most effective components--batteries, alternator, regulator, coverter, charger, generator, solar panels.
* How to recognize phantom electrical loads that can drain your batteries.
In order for this book to be effective you should have knowledge of basic hand tools and the skill to use them.
This is probably the most cost effective way of diagnosing and possibly repairing your Travel Trailer's electrical problems. Let me reemphasize however; that if you get into the situation where you don't feel comfortable in repairing this problem yourself; that you spend the money to have it diagnosed and repaired by a qualified RV Technician.