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Old 09-23-2012, 07:45 PM   #1
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Motorhome GFCI Troubleshooting


Hi,

I need to guidance troubleshooting a GFCI circuit in my motorhome. All of my circuits (about 10) in my motorhome are protected by a single GFCI in the bathroom.

The GFCI will not reset. I tried to simple solution by replacing the GFCI to rule out the unlikely failure. That did not work. I suspected an outlet that is in an outside bay and disassembled it. If I disconnect the downstream connection then the GFCI will reset so it appears the problem is downstream of that outlet. There are four downstream outlets and possibly a junction between them. BTW - I disconnected everything plugged in so the problem is likely in the wiring. Unfortunately in a motorhome wiring might wiggle loose..

Are there some tests I can do to narrow down where the problem is? What am I looking for? A short? Can I use my ohm meter to look for anything.

thanks for any help.

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Old 09-23-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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Motorhome GFCI Troubleshooting


I would start by cheaking all the connections on the outlets.
If there back stabed change it to under the screws, if there cheap outlets with now screws toss them and install new ones.

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Old 09-23-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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Motorhome GFCI Troubleshooting


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
I would start by cheaking all the connections on the outlets.
If there back stabed change it to under the screws, if there cheap outlets with now screws toss them and install new ones.
I've never seen a GFCI that could be back stabbed...
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:28 AM   #4
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Motorhome GFCI Troubleshooting


I would check all downstream receptacles and junctions first. GFCI's monitor the current going out on the hot side and compare that with the current coming back on the neutral. Somewhere downstream of your GFCI you are bleeding current to ground (the frame of your RV). If all downstream loads are unplugged are any of the receptacles downstream subject to moisture? Broken covers on an exterior receptacle or leaking gasket on a cover. Liquid spilled on a counter wall at a receptacle. Do you have any leaks showing up inside when it rains. Is there a battery charger on the circuit that may be faulty.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:38 AM   #5
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Motorhome GFCI Troubleshooting


Stickboy..I think he was referring to the outlets downstream of the GFCI being backstabbed...and to rewire/change out those.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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Motorhome GFCI Troubleshooting


Thanks for your help. As I mentioned in my OP I am "pretty sure" the problem lies in one of four outlets (and possibly a junction).

If these where normal outlets I would just pull them out one at a time -- inspect the wiring and likely find the problem. Unfortunately these are not normal outlets. Most RV and Mobile Home manufacturers use some variant of a self contained wall receptacle similar to this one (http://mobilehomepartsstore.com/Merc...ct_Code=230220) -- from the pictures my outlets look identical.

The wires are press fit (not screwed) into the outlet and a special tool is required to work with them. I was hoping for some test I could use to narrow down which outlet was at fault without removing any wiring. I fear that may not be possible and I am exploring a way to install standard household outlets.

I plan on visually inspecting the outlets (without removing the wiring). But that may be insufficient if there is a small nick somewhere that is shorting to ground.

Thanks for any additional insight you can provide.
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:47 PM   #7
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Motorhome GFCI Troubleshooting


With the problematic outlets disconnected from the GFCI, check resistance from the hot and neutral leads to ground. A contact between neutral and ground downstream of a GFCI will trip it - but usually only when a load is applied, not just from turning it on. A contact between hot and ground will trip it instantly, of course.

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