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Old 06-11-2024, 10:35 AM   #1
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Voltage issues in 110v breakers

Hi! Chasing down a weird one.

My RC is plugged into shore power 100% of the time (temporary home). At some point in the last few days, it “lost” power (my internet at the trailer went offline while I was away). Upon arrival, no 110V receptacles or appliances work and the GFCI is tripped.

I’ve been tracing the problem back with a multimeter and the problem seems to be between the main 110v breaker and the rest of the breakers. I removed the GFCI for testing purposes, and wired in a traditional outlet. The main breaker is getting a steady 125V, but the other breakers are all getting 30-60V, different every time I check. Outlets agree with those voltages.

I’m not familiar with how the panel and 12v charge controller and whatnot work together. But this is very puzzling, because the main breaker is, of course, on the same bus that the rest of the breakers are on. I’m not sure how it’s possible that the rest of the breakers are putting out another voltage unless, perhaps, the main breaker is faulty and sending half the voltage.

Just to be absolutely clear in case I’m doing something dumb, the “load” terminal in the main breaker (which I understand to be the “line” side in this case) reads 125V. The same terminals on all other breakers read 30-60V.

Thank you in advance for any input!
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Old 06-11-2024, 10:44 AM   #2
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Have you turned the other breakers off and Back on? The GFCI will not reset unless is has the proper voltage.
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Old 06-11-2024, 10:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Flybob View Post
Have you turned the other breakers off and Back on?
Yes, and I have followed the voltage from the pedestal to the RV, as well as removed a surge protector to isolate the issue.

It seems I have low voltage between hot and neutral, but hot and ground is okay.
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Old 06-11-2024, 11:23 AM   #4
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If you haven't, switch the 30 amp breaker off and on a few times. If no change, replace it or swap in a 20 amp breaker as a test.

Lots of pictures so you can put it back together again.
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Old 06-11-2024, 11:39 AM   #5
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You may have a loose neutral problem (aka open neutral). This could be anywhere, including at the shore power pedestal of wherever it also gets power from.

EDIT: I would make sure all your neutral bar connections are tight first. You may can tug a little on each wire (with power disconnected) and see. See red arrow
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Old 06-11-2024, 11:55 AM   #6
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I would swap the wire in the top breaker. You will now be feeding the panel bar via the 20A breaker. Check you other breakers again. If things are working, then the problem is the 30A half of that breaker or the contact that it makes with the panel.
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Old 06-11-2024, 11:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gavinsmi View Post
I’ve been tracing the problem back with a multimeter and the problem seems to be between the main 110v breaker and the rest of the breakers. I removed the GFCI for testing purposes, and wired in a traditional outlet. The main breaker is getting a steady 125V, but the other breakers are all getting 30-60V, different every time I check. Outlets agree with those voltages.


Just to be absolutely clear in case I’m doing something dumb, the “load” terminal in the main breaker (which I understand to be the “line” side in this case) reads 125V. The same terminals on all other breakers read 30-60V.

Thank you in advance for any input!
In simple terms. The MAIN breaker is getting it's 125 volts from the shore power feed. The main breaker then supplies this 125 volts to the bus bar that the other circuit breakers feed from.

So when you measure the main breaker, you are measuring the incoming shore power feed.

When you measure the other circuit breakers, you are measure from the electric panels bus bar......fed by the main breaker.

You may want to disconnect ALL power and then remove that Main breaker and see where it connects to the bus bar is burned out, either on the breaker itself or the bus bar. As others suggested you might want to test another breaker in the main position.
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Old 06-11-2024, 12:36 PM   #8
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The right answer was here, a loose neutral.

I assumed it must be one of the two cords connecting to the pedestal (a main and an extension). I tested continuity on the main one (twist lock to the trailer) and found a bad line, presumably neutral.

The next part is a little spooky…. Folks, inspect your outdoor electrical periodically. Posting as a lesson:
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Old 06-11-2024, 12:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gavinsmi View Post
The right answer was here, a loose neutral.

I assumed it must be one of the two cords connecting to the pedestal (a main and an extension). I tested continuity on the main one (twist lock to the trailer) and found a bad line, presumably neutral.

The next part is a little spooky…. Folks, inspect your outdoor electrical periodically. Posting as a lesson:
Wow, I'm glad you found the problem. That could have turned out badly in several ways. Thanks for posting the resolution and the warning.
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Old 06-11-2024, 01:31 PM   #10
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Good thought. First thing to do is tell us what you used as the reference when you measured the breaker terminals. Was it the neutral bus, where all the white wires connect, or was it the ground bus, where all the bare wires connect?

One other thing to check: the breakers snap into place on a copper bar. You would get the symptom you describe of the main breaker has come unsnapped. Try pushing it firmly home at the terminal end.
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Old 06-11-2024, 04:17 PM   #11
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Good thought. First thing to do is tell us what you used as the reference when you measured the breaker terminals. Was it the neutral bus, where all the white wires connect, or was it the ground bus, where all the bare wires connect?

One other thing to check: the breakers snap into place on a copper bar. You would get the symptom you describe of the main breaker has come unsnapped. Try pushing it firmly home at the terminal end.
What determined the issue was non-zero voltage between the neutral and ground busses. I didn’t realize RVs had floating neutrals (makes sense). That led me to the discovery I described a couple posts up… melting twist-lock socket on the outside.
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Old 06-11-2024, 04:34 PM   #12
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Floating Neutrals

Quote:
Originally Posted by gavinsmi View Post
What determined the issue was non-zero voltage between the neutral and ground busses. I didn’t realize RVs had floating neutrals (makes sense). That led me to the discovery I described a couple posts up… melting twist-lock socket on the outside.
They aren't supposed to be floating neutrals. GFCI would never work if there were.

But by code, Ground and Neutral are tied together at the main panel (not the pedestal which is a sub-panel). That long distance does mean that there can be a voltage difference between them, because the Neutral can have a voltage drop if loads are running.
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Old 06-12-2024, 07:10 AM   #13
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Voltage issue

Had same issue with my unit, but I find that that issue also created a burnt bus at the the breaker in the camper. While your power is down I would pull the trailer main breaker and check the buss connection and rear of breaker for overheating.ended up replacing my panel
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Old 06-12-2024, 09:32 AM   #14
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I think there is some problems I can see with what is being said or questioned by OP so here is a bit of a tutorial on how everything is tied together


1) Light Green... Main breaker
The power is actually coming IN from the outside to the breaker on that black wire... the breaker then allows power to go to the BUS bar (RED)

the RED ...... Busbar then supplies power TO the remaining breakers

2) Dark blue ... Neutral Bar
The neutrals are NOT connected to the earth because it is classed as a sub panel
neutral and earths are combined at the BIG main power INPUT for the whole campground.
The FAT neutral going to the pedestal if it is loose can cause problems with ALL the other neutrals.

The thinner individual circuit neutrals if loose ... only affects the circuit it is on.

3) Yellow dot.... Earth bar
all the earths go to this bar and then out to the main pedestal through the main fat earth... Their job is send stray/lost electrons safely to a ground through the pedestal

120v TESTING.... using multimeter
a) Probe on 1) and on 2) = test for main power comming IN
b) Probe on red dot... and 2) = power is going through main breaker and the busbar has a 120v supply
c) probe on ANY WHITE dot and on 2) confirms power is getting through that particular breaker.

d) probe on 2) and 3) neutral to earth
Any power reading here needs investigating

notes on METER readings ... make sure your meter is set correctly some meters you might be reading millivolts ... which could be misleading.

EG: Put the probes on your hand...
your skin can put out enough power to read on the meter ..
it doesn't take much voltage and if the meter has auto ranging you may not notice it is milliVolts

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Converter... Light blue 120v
the light blue dot shows the neutral and HOT wire that send 120v to the CONVERTER
you can follow those wires to the breaker and neutral bar if you are NOT getting 120 power to the converter.
Harder to see is the green wire earth for the converter... It's not a bare wire like all other earths

PINK 12v OUT....
converter send 12v to the fuse panel ... PINK dots (Red and Black wires)

then the circuit board uses the 2 DARK green fuses to make sure the converter / battery is NOT connected wrong

BLACK dots (Red and White wires) Goes to battery
If not on shore power ... battery supplies power to the fuses
if on shore power.. converter send power to battery

IF on shore power CONVERTER will power all the fuses + charge battery
NO battery... converter will still power the 12v fuses
Converter is a power supply Not just a battery charger it can output between 30 and 70 amps (depending on model)

Battery chargers...... are not power supplies and can only provide much smaller (20 amp) current .
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