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Old 03-06-2021, 02:32 PM   #1
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GFCI Problem

On my not one year old camper I went to plug in a small ceramic heater to warm up the camper to get my new foam mattress to expand. After about 2 hours I went to check and see what the inside temp was and the heater was not running, i did check it after an hour and it was doing fine. I unplugged it and plugged it into another receptacle and the heater was fine. I checked the GFCI circuit breaker and it wasn't tripped. I turned the breaker off then on again to make sure it wasn't tripped and the outlet still had no power. I did check the outlet with a volt meter and a GFCI tester and there is no power. I also checked the fuses and couldn't find a bad one. Is it possible the breaker is bad?
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Old 03-07-2021, 05:54 PM   #2
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Seems puzzling a small space heater would kill an outlet. Were you running on batteries, shore or generator?
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Old 03-08-2021, 06:14 AM   #3
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Seems puzzling a small space heater would kill an outlet. Were you running on batteries, shore or generator?
Shore power.
I figured the heater having surges from turning on and off might have tripped it but then the GFCI breaker should've just needed to be reset. There is another outlet on that circuit and that one doesn't have any power too.

I did turn every breaker on and off multiple times to make sure I had the right one and they were all reset properly.
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Old 03-08-2021, 06:40 AM   #4
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So, did you check your breaker with the multi-meter? Obviously, if you are getting output from the breaker, then the problem is further down the line toward the outlet. So the possibilities are rodent damaged to the wiring, a bad GFCI, a defective (cheap heater) that actually draws more wattage than the specs, especially after it has been running for a while? Did you substitute a different appliance at the end of the circuit to see what happened?
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Old 03-08-2021, 07:42 AM   #5
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So, did you check your breaker with the multi-meter? Obviously, if you are getting output from the breaker, then the problem is further down the line toward the outlet. So the possibilities are rodent damaged to the wiring, a bad GFCI, a defective (cheap heater) that actually draws more wattage than the specs, especially after it has been running for a while? Did you substitute a different appliance at the end of the circuit to see what happened?
I plugged in another appliance in the outlet and no go. I tried the heater in a regular outlet and it worked fine. As I mentioned before I used a volt meter to check the GFIC protected outlet and there was no power to the outlet. I guess the only thing to do is to check and see if the GFIC circuit breaker is bad. I posted this to see if I missed anything. Does the GFIC breaker just pull out of the panel?

This is still under warranty till May. I just brought my camper home, the dealer has had my camper for repairs for more than 6 months and there are still a few things that haven't been fixed. Maybe I should just add this to the list.
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Old 03-08-2021, 08:00 AM   #6
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I've had to replace several bad GFCI outlets in my RV and my house. Usually they just start tripping when they shouldn't.
Should be simple to determine where the power stops, whether it's the breaker, the actual outlet, or in between. Pull the outlet and check the incoming wire. Check both sides of the breaker, etc.
And it's also possible the wiring just come loose from the outlet. Once you start pulling outlets you will understand why. Not the greatest connections.
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Old 03-08-2021, 08:42 AM   #7
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We've seen multiple posts here over the years where the wiring on the back of many of the R/V outlets have burned off or come loose from the amperage draw of something like a heater.

Pull the outlet and see what you have.
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Old 03-08-2021, 09:33 AM   #8
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Does the GFIC breaker just pull out of the panel?
Yes. They cost just under 20 bucks.
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Old 03-08-2021, 09:40 AM   #9
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Many RVs use punch down type outlets (see photo) because they are quick to install. The problem is that they don't always make a good low resistance connection and in high current situations can heat up and destroy the connection. Disconnect shore power and pull the outlet and check the connections on the back.
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Old 03-08-2021, 10:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by 80 Cruiser Rod View Post
I plugged in another appliance in the outlet and no go. I tried the heater in a regular outlet and it worked fine. As I mentioned before I used a volt meter to check the GFIC protected outlet and there was no power to the outlet. I guess the only thing to do is to check and see if the GFIC circuit breaker is bad. I posted this to see if I missed anything. Does the GFIC breaker just pull out of the panel?

This is still under warranty till May. I just brought my camper home, the dealer has had my camper for repairs for more than 6 months and there are still a few things that haven't been fixed. Maybe I should just add this to the list.

You should just have a GFIC recept. Outlet and no GFIC breaker. You could have 3 or 4 outlets tied into the back of the GFIC. Did you find the main one and reset it? There should be a button on the main one. I had to replace mine I had 4 outlets on it. I bought a Eaton brand and installed it my problem was over.
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Old 03-08-2021, 10:11 AM   #11
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Running a space heater at full power (1500W) trips the 12A breaker on our inverter and cuts power to all 120V outlets in the R-Pod. Just a thought in case you have an inverter.

Note that this happens on shore power when the inverter isn't even in use.
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Old 03-08-2021, 10:19 AM   #12
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Heaters usually are 1500 watts which is a lot. A 15 amp circuit in your house can be overwhelmed by it, because 15 x 110 volts equals 1650 watts, but according to the NEC you can only use 80% of the power.

Check the GFI breakers in your house. Try to run off a 20 amp circuit and you will have better luck. Sometimes a GFI in the garage and the GFI in your rig will fight each other. They are designed to be sensitive, and sometimes they are too sensitive.
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Old 03-08-2021, 12:00 PM   #13
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I've had to replace several bad GFCI outlets in my RV and my house. Usually they just start tripping when they shouldn't.
Should be simple to determine where the power stops, whether it's the breaker, the actual outlet, or in between. Pull the outlet and check the incoming wire. Check both sides of the breaker, etc.
And it's also possible the wiring just come loose from the outlet. Once you start pulling outlets you will understand why. Not the greatest connections.
This is a little embarrassing and my bad. After some thought I realized there is another GFI outlet probably in the bathroom. I went to check it and found that it was a GFIC outlet not a regular outlet like in my kitchen. I assumed that if there is a breaker marked GFI in my panel the outlets were protected by the breaker and there would only be regular outlets on that circuit. I'm guessing it is only marked GFI to identify that circuit. My apologies again. Got to like the easy fix though.
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Old 03-08-2021, 12:34 PM   #14
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Thanks for getting back to us with the solution! No need to be embarrassed, that is how we all learn how our RVs work! Glad it was simple and that you are going again.
Happy RVing!
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Originally Posted by 80 Cruiser Rod View Post
This is a little embarrassing and my bad. After some thought I realized there is another GFI outlet probably in the bathroom. I went to check it and found that it was a GFIC outlet not a regular outlet like in my kitchen. I assumed that if there is a breaker marked GFI in my panel the outlets were protected by the breaker and there would only be regular outlets on that circuit. I'm guessing it is only marked GFI to identify that circuit. My apologies again. Got to like the easy fix though.
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Old 03-08-2021, 12:39 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by 80 Cruiser Rod View Post
This is a little embarrassing and my bad. After some thought I realized there is another GFI outlet probably in the bathroom. I went to check it and found that it was a GFIC outlet not a regular outlet like in my kitchen. I assumed that if there is a breaker marked GFI in my panel the outlets were protected by the breaker and there would only be regular outlets on that circuit. I'm guessing it is only marked GFI to identify that circuit. My apologies again. Got to like the easy fix though.
Correct. Just marked that way to identify the circuit, not that the breaker itself is a GFCI.

Glad you found it and thanks for coming back and letting us know. Many who come here and ask questions never return to let anyone know if the suggestions helped.

No apology necessary.
As has been said many, many times... the only dumb question is the one unasked.
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Old 03-08-2021, 12:59 PM   #16
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All GFCI breakers have the push button reset as well as the on-off switch.
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Old 03-08-2021, 01:39 PM   #17
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Thanks for getting back to us with the solution! No need to be embarrassed, that is how we all learn how our RVs work! Glad it was simple and that you are going again.
Happy RVing!
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Correct. Just marked that way to identify the circuit, not that the breaker itself is a GFCI.

Glad you found it and thanks for coming back and letting us know. Many who come here and ask questions never return to let anyone know if the suggestions helped.

No apology necessary.
As has been said many, many times... the only dumb question is the one unasked.
Thanks again!
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Old 03-08-2021, 02:18 PM   #18
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Guess it wasn't clear to me the the ceramic heater was plugged in to a house circuit directly rather than to an outlet in the RV.
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Old 03-08-2021, 02:39 PM   #19
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Glad you found the solution with the GFI.

These small heaters can put a large demand on the connections.
We found that using the 'low' setting takes a bit longer to heat up the area but doesn't trip the GFI like the 'high' setting.
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Old 03-08-2021, 02:48 PM   #20
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At least once a week there's a thread on this forum concerning problems centering around GFCI receptacle operation. I find it amazing, the amount of people who don't know what a GFCI is, why they are installed or how to test and reset them. They've been around and mandated in new home construction since the early 1970's. I often wonder what they do when one trips in their house?
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