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Old 09-04-2012, 03:28 PM   #1
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Question (Solved) A/C Electrical problems - after flawless boondocking maiden voyage!

WooHoo! Our maiden voyage (boondocked) complete in the new 21SS! After our experience with our Coleman popup, I had girded myself for a weekend of McGyver-ing fixes to various plumbing, propane, and electrical systems, but was pleasantly surprised that we had NO problems (including no leaks after a couple decent soakers).

When we returned home, though, we decided to hook up to shore power to make sure all was right before a trip to a full-service campground that is planned for two weeks from now. This is where my issues begin.

First, we parked the Roo just a bit too far from our outdoor plug, so we had to use a (medium duty) extension cord to get things to reach. Second, we plugged into a GFCI outlet -- which of course I didn’t realize would be a problem until there actually WAS a problem and then I read all about it on these forums. :-) After we tripped our outside GFCI outlet, we ran the extension cord into the house to a non-GFI circuit....but no power to the camper! By this time, it was getting dark, and the call of my neighbor’s homemade eggplant parm was too great for me to continue troubleshooting.

But, alas, my mind couldn’t stop working, so after dinner and a not-so-restful nights’ sleep, I got back on these forums and did some additional research which led me to try the following:

1. Checked all breakers in camper -- good to go
2. Rooted around inside the camper looking for GFCI outlets, found one in the bathroom -- it had tripped, and would not reset (troublesome, but shouldn’t affect the ability to get power to the microwave display, should it? Are they on the same chain of outlets?)
2. Flipped all the breakers in camper off, hooked up to the outdoor GFCI outlet again (after reading about this process on the forums) -- the outdoor GFCI outlet tripped immediately even with all the camper breakers thrown off (so presumably no draw from the camper)!

My gut tells me that something shook loose once we left the dealership a couple of weeks ago that is causing a total A/C electrical failure (the 12V stuff still works just fine). And before I commit to hauling this thing off to our dealer (90 minutes away), I am looking for suggestions on what to try next in this troubleshooting odyssey.

First on the list is verifying that the inside outlet we have access to is on a 20A minimum circuit to give ourselves a bit of a buffer. We’ll still need an extension cord from the camper 30A cord, but....

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I have scoured the forums, and tried some of the proposals that have solved others’ similar problems, to no avail.

***Oh! And I should mention that we had the dealer hardwire install a 30A surge protector. Is that my problem trying to work off of 15A service?***

(BTW, we do have a DVM....and if some of your suggestions include using it to check out various connections, please be sure to give detailed instructions. While I was a physics minor, I took that undergraduate electronics class at least 20+ years ago!)

Many thanks in advance!

MaryBeth
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:35 PM   #2
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First of all you need to replace gfci in camper. Then verify 110v inside camper. "Outlet plugs"
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:44 PM   #3
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I have heard that if the water heater element is shorting out, that it will throw the supply GFI breaker even if the water heater is off. I don't know how that happens, but I read it somewhere. You might try taking the leads off of the water heater element (be sure the camper is not plugged into your house, and the leads are free of anything metal ), and then plug back into the house GFI receptacle, and see if that at least keeps that house GFI from tripping.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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***Oh! And I should mention that we had the dealer hardwire install a 30A surge protector. Is that my problem trying to work off of 15A service?***



MaryBeth
Mary Beth, do you know what kind of surge protector you have, and if it has a low voltage shutdown....which could be since you are using an extension cord (which wire gauge and length are unknown to us). You will have a voltage drop that depends on how long and the wire size of your extension cord.

Also have you verified the outlet (non gfci) your are plugging into works?

What kind of adaptor are you using to plug into your campers 30 amp cord, then into the extension cord?
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:48 PM   #5
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Also if your going to go through the trouble of adding a 20 amp outlet you should just make It 30 amp and be done.

Very very few homes have a 20 amp outlet just because.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:23 PM   #6
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Try just plugging in the extension cord to the house GFCI. The cord could have a short in it. I would also check the serge protector that the dealer in stalled. It is hardwired in and the might have attached the ground improperly.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:33 PM   #7
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First GFI's wont reset unless there is power on the inlet side. If the GFI in the house is tripping and you cannot get power to the trailer, your problem is most likely in the plug to surge protector circuit.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:40 PM   #8
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Also if your going to go through the trouble of adding a 20 amp outlet you should just make It 30 amp and be done.

Very very few homes have a 20 amp outlet just because.
We won't be adding any outlets (yet)...I'm just planning on looking at our panel to see if we happen to have any already. Unlikely, I know....
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:41 PM   #9
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First of all you need to replace gfci in camper. Then verify 110v inside camper. "Outlet plugs"
That's also on the list...though the master electrician at our local Home Despot suggested that we simply bypass this to see if it could indeed be one of the problems.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:43 PM   #10
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Try just plugging in the extension cord to the house GFCI. The cord could have a short in it. I would also check the serge protector that the dealer in stalled. It is hardwired in and the might have attached the ground improperly.
I did verify that the cord is working properly -- it is one that lights up on both ends when it has power. The outside GFCI outlet works just fine, too.
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