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General Outdoor Discussion

GFCI tripping

6/21/24 @ 9:00 AM
INITIAL POST
PimplySwede
User since 1/6/09

I have a strange situation - there is a 20A GFCI outlet on my front porch.  I can plug string lights into it with no problem, and the first couple years we lived there we could plug our 19' camper in to cool the fridge and get it ready for a weekend.  

Lately, when we plug the camper in the outlet trips immediately - I can still use it for the string lights though.

I was thinking it was the camper, but the camper never trips any other outlets, just that one.

Anyone have any thoughts on it?  I'm planning on replacing the outlet after work.

Displaying 1 to 10 of 10 posts
7/5/24 @ 9:10 PM
samfox
User since 3/17/09
PS  electric heater, whether water or base board have to much loss for GFCI.
7/3/24 @ 10:53 AM
PimplySwede
User since 1/6/09
I was wondering about the water heater myself........I could swear it is electric and LP, but my wife (uses the camper much more than I do, takes it to dog tournaments) swears it only heats water when the LP is open.

Does that mean the element got fried at some point?  I'll have to look into it.
7/2/24 @ 9:00 AM
Fin Bender
Fin Bender
User since 9/16/11
A GFCI is NOT an over current device. It's not a fuse. It monitors for stray current and trips if any is detected.  A previous posts said it must be a large stray current for it to trip, but that's not true. They will trip even in small leaks are detected, in the order of milliamps.
I'd plug the refrigerator directly into that outlet and see if the GFCI trips. If it does you most likely found your problem.
7/1/24 @ 3:19 PM
mendota
PRO MEMBER User since 12/19/01
You have determined that it is not a faulty GFCI, so now you can be pretty certain some component in your camper has developed a high leakage to the chassis of your camper.

As long as you use a grounded (3-prong) plug to power your camper, all is good.  BUT, if you ever lose that ground terminal, or use a 2-wire extension ​cord, the camper will be live relative to earth, and a potentially hazardous shock could ensue.

You may be able to isolate the faulty component by turning off breakers in your camper.  If you have an electric hot water heater, that would be suspect #1.
7/1/24 @ 10:11 AM
PimplySwede
User since 1/6/09
Appreciate the reminder River.......

I don't know if a new (same size) breaker would help or not.  House was only built in 2007 so it's conceivable that the breaker could be degrading......

What's interesting is that we've changed from using that GFCI outlet, to running cords from the garage (not GFCI outlets).  The outlets on THAT circuit have never tripped their breaker when we use/prep the camper......
6/28/24 @ 10:01 AM
river_chaser
User since 10/3/12
Swede if your thinking to replace with a higher amp breaker you need heavier wiring. So if you increase to 30 amp you need 10 gauge wiring.
6/28/24 @ 9:39 AM
PimplySwede
User since 1/6/09
I put a new GFCI in that receptacle.  It's fine until the camper water heater kicks in, then it pops.  (Hasn't been cold enough to need the AC on, it probably would pop if we turned that on too)

Thinking of replacing the breaker in the main panel.  Thinking of replacing the camper, too.
6/23/24 @ 12:03 PM
samfox
User since 3/17/09
Replace the GFCI, buy a good replacement 
6/21/24 @ 4:10 PM
river_chaser
User since 10/3/12
GFCIs can break down and malfunction so replacement would be your easiest option.

Not a electrician so cant give you further options. 
Displaying 1 to 10 of 10 posts
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