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Old 10-24-2008, 08:09 AM   #1
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GFI issues

Looking for some help with a GFI issue….

Every time we plug into a GFI outlet for shore power, we trip the GFI. (not the van’s GFI, but the power source).

We’ve made sure that it is not the power cord by trying another cord. It is not the power source because other campers can plug in without tripping the GFI. And it happens when plugging into any GFI (up to 5 diff.)

No issues with tripping breakers, only GFIs.

Any ideas?
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:16 AM   #2
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I don't do shore power much but are your breakers on when you plug in?
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:03 PM   #3
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You can't use a GFI circuit to plug in the van

KD4GOC,

I had the same issue and spoke with SMB. Peter immediately said you can't use GFI circuits to plug into the van, they will trip. Indeed they do.

When I ran the power to a non-GFI, it worked like a champ. It seems odd but Peter was correct.

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Old 10-24-2008, 12:15 PM   #4
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Jage- Nope, breakers are off.

bitburger- that was not what I wanted to hear.
I believe you…now guess I’ll have to find out from SMB…why? And if there is anything that can be done to bypass this.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:51 PM   #5
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That is strange. I always plug into a GFI outlet at home for charging with no issues at all. However, we don't have an inverter in case that matters. Also, we typically only run the fridge and maybe a couple of lights when plugged in at home. Does it trip immediately after you plug in or after turning on something in the van?
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:52 PM   #6
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We do have an inverter. I suspect that may be the issue. (But I don't know why other than an electrician friend said "oh, it may be the inverter" without any explanation).

Trips the instant the plug makes contact.
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Old 10-24-2008, 02:12 PM   #7
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Yes, the inverter does this. In a normal house the ground and neutral are separate and the GFCI looks at the current flowing through the ground wire and trips if it exceeds a small (less than deadly) amount.

In the van (or boat) there isn't an external ground to be had, so the inverter ties the neutral and ground wires together, which is not as safe as a separate ground but much better than no connection at all. The house GFCI sees the connection between ground and neutral because some current flows over the ground and it promptly breaks the circuit.

I installed an aftermarket inverter in my van and I can trip the house GFCI every time if I turn it on while the van is plugged in. I recently installed a solar panel, so I don't even plug in anymore.

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Old 10-24-2008, 04:11 PM   #8
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also worth noting: I had this same behavior until I went into my xantrex configuration and set the virtual breaker size down to 9 amps or so. Now I plug into my gfi in the garage all the time. If I go somewhere I have a bigger amp outlet, I make sure I change the breaker size, but I don't think there are any adverse effects in leaving it lower, except for reduced charge time.
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:41 PM   #9
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Same here. The Xantrex won't trip it. I use a industrial GFI cord to turn off everything while plugging into shore to keep arcing down at the vans plug rather than having to go in and kill the breakers. Using the breakers as a switch isn't real good on breakers. If that is why you want the GFI an RV supply should have some kind of outside cord with a switch that you can use between the van and pedistal.
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:40 PM   #10
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Re: GFI issues

Just wondered if anyone had come with a solution for this inverter/charger tripping the GFCI breakers. We are at a fairly new campground in Silverthorn, CO tonight and the campground GFCI breakers trip every time I plug in. They even have a GFCI on the 30 amp outlet, so it trips also. I may have to get an adapter for the 50 amp 240v outlets. They don't usually have GFCI's on them. I don't normally get an electric site, but just thought I would try it and keep the batteries charged up. Oh well, we will be driving toward CA tomorrow.

Update, I just talked to the CG host and he said people are using a 50 to 30 adapter so they can plug into the non GFCI outlet. It'll cost another $25, but it's only money.
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