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Old 04-19-2017, 04:09 AM   #1
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I noticed my GFCI reset button popped out and it won't stay pushed in. Do you need a specific one to replace it or will any ole home depot buy do the trick?

Also, could this be the reason my rig trips my GFCI in the house when I plug shore power in? I seem to recall hearing this could cause it to do so.

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Old 04-19-2017, 04:41 AM   #2
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.

Before you jump in to replace the GFCI receptacle,

I would recommend you to first get a GFI tester.
It is only ~$5 to $10 at HomeDepot or Amazon.

The problem could be a bad receptacle, or wrong wiring, or a fault (short) somewhere.

Lots of youtube videos on how to trace the problem.





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Old 04-19-2017, 06:20 PM   #3
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My 2005 RT 210 trips the house GFCI. Something about the Inverter connecting neutral to ground internally. I solved the problem by using an adapter that has only 2 prongs that plug into the receptacle eliminating the ground.
The GFCI receptacle in the MH won't reset if there is not power to it, either shore or generator.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:09 PM   #4
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My 2005 RT 210 trips the house GFCI. Something about the Inverter connecting neutral to ground internally. I solved the problem by using an adapter that has only 2 prongs that plug into the receptacle eliminating the ground.
The GFCI receptacle in the MH won't reset if there is not power to it, either shore or generator.
When shore power is shut off, the connection of neutral to ground in the coach is OK but when shoreside power is connected, the neutral in the coach should disconnect from ground.

The 2 prong adapter you employ may eliminate triggering the GFCI but while you have eliminated the symptom, I don't think it has solved the problem.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:18 PM   #5
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::

The 2 prong adapter you employ may eliminate triggering the GFCI but while you have eliminated the symptom, I don't think it has solved the problem.

+1


... and it might present new ones.


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Old 04-19-2017, 08:01 PM   #6
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I noticed my GFCI reset button popped out and it won't stay pushed in. Do you need a specific one to replace it or will any ole home depot buy do the trick?
Yes, they are all pretty much the same and under 10 bucks. You can get them at HD or Lowes in 15 or 20 amp versions but the 20 amp ones cost quite a bit more and is overkill for your application unless your controlling breaker is 20 amps. A nice feature in current GFI production is a little green LED in the upper corner of the GFI that lights off when power is present. which makes it easy to determine its status at night. If the LED is off, there is either no power applied or the GFI has tripped.
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:30 PM   #7
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I think some clarification on the neutral bonding is necessary.

You cannot have neutral bonded at any place except at the AC source. In your house that source is way back at the main circuit panel where power enters the building.

In the van, you are not supposed to have any area of the van bonded to neutral except an AC supplying source, when it is supplying AC. So the generator would be bonded when running only (in reality some generators are always bonded, but the van doesn't see them because they are disconnected by the transfer switch when not running), and the inverter would only bond when it is on and there is no shore power available.

The inverter side is where it gets to be difficult, as there aren't a lot inverters that will automatically bond and unbond the neutral, especially with timing it so the unbonding happens before the shore power is actually connected to the van. It only really happens in the inverter chargers that also have a built in transfer switch for all of the AC for the van, and also have an automatic bonding switch. Our Magnum is set up this way.

Standalone inverters may or may not be bonded or have transfer switches, so you can wind up either bonded or not bonded whenever depending on conditions.

In a van, that has no earth ground reference, either way is not totally safe, as you can come up with scenarios that will make 110v show up on appliances or the van body, especially since most RV builders use the chassis for AC and DC ground plane. Having any kind of bonding in the van away from the power sources certainly does increase the hazard potential, I think. The thing to remember is that the main breaker panel is not the power source in an RV, the generator, shore power, or inverter are, so the main panel should never be bonded.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:05 PM   #8
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As I understood what was explained to me was that older inverters (Trippe) in my case are always bonded. I don't know how true.
For those of you who expressed concern, I subsequently ran a 10/3ga. wire with 30 amp breaker from the main panel to the MH shore power cable. It however does not incorporate GFCI protection either. But then neither do the hookups in RV spots. Correct?
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:33 PM   #9
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As I understood what was explained to me was that older inverters (Trippe) in my case are always bonded. I don't know how true.
For those of you who expressed concern, I subsequently ran a 10/3ga. wire with 30 amp breaker from the main panel to the MH shore power cable. It however does not incorporate GFCI protection either. But then neither do the hookups in RV spots. Correct?
The 30 amp connections are not GFCI, that I have seen, but the 20 amp ones are, and those are sometimes the only choice.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:40 PM   #10
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I solved the problem by using an adapter that has only 2 prongs that plug into the receptacle eliminating the ground.
Thereby creating another problem and bypassing the life safety device designed not to kill you.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:47 PM   #11
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When I started looking closely into all this, when we got the Magnum inverter/charger, it became obvious that without the earth ground there would always be a chance to get zapped one way or the other.

I finally decided to put the entire van on the inverter transfer switch (Roadtreks come with only a few outlets that way) and then change all the breakers in the main panel to GFCI breakers. That way everything in the van is protected by GFCI except the AC shore power line to the Magnum and the AC line from the Magnum to the main breaker panel. I think this is about as safe as it can get, unless you also make the breakers arc fault style.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:51 PM   #12
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Thanks for all of the replies.
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:41 AM   #13
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Thereby creating another problem and bypassing the life safety device designed not to kill you.
Yes, YES!!!
Please don't defeat the ground on your RV. People have died--often children.
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:47 AM   #14
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Yes, YES!!!
Please don't defeat the ground on your RV. People have died--often children.
Totally agree, defeating the only earth ground you can get with the van is not a good idea, and depending on if there does happen to not be a bonded neutral in the van somewhere, any short to ground from the power will make the entire frame of the van hot and likely not trip a breaker. Step out on the wet ground and you could a very unpleasant surprise.
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Old 04-20-2017, 06:28 AM   #15
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As I posted, I now connect to the main breaker panel VIA a 10/3 RV cable.
The 2 prong adapter was for needed temporary use only.
I've done nothing to defeat the OE MH ground connection.
Some have posted concern of not having GFCI protection, I pointed out that to my knowledge 30amp RV hookups are not GFCI protected. Therefore, only the 120 volt GFCI receptacles in the MH are protected. And the only one that is is at the sink
Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 04-20-2017, 12:25 PM   #16
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There is likely only one GFCI outlet. The overall point I made, and I was harsh, is that without a ground there is a risk of electrocution simply from touching the chassis of the motorhome. It is the lack of ground that is the concern, not the defeating of the GFCI.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:57 PM   #17
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There is likely only one GFCI outlet. The overall point I made, and I was harsh, is that without a ground there is a risk of electrocution simply from touching the chassis of the motorhome. It is the lack of ground that is the concern, not the defeating of the GFCI.
I would agree that the ground makes shore power safe, and the GFCI is not as important. To me the GFCI comes into play much more when not on shore power. With all the movement to very large battery banks and inverters that will give as much power as shore power, and generators, you essentially wind up with a van on inverter or generator that is essentially like what you would have with shore power and no earth ground. IMO, anything with an inverter should really have the entire van on GFCI, at least while on the inverter or generator, but it also gives some extra safety when on shore power.

The whole goal is to never get yourself between a hot surface and return path to the power source, or earth. With a van not on shore power, the van can be the hot surface, and there is always lots of earth around.
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:01 PM   #18
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I would agree that the ground makes shore power safe, and the GFCI is not as important. To me the GFCI comes into play much more when not on shore power. With all the movement to very large battery banks and inverters that will give as much power as shore power, and generators, you essentially wind up with a van on inverter or generator that is essentially like what you would have with shore power and no earth ground. IMO, anything with an inverter should really have the entire van on GFCI, at least while on the inverter or generator, but it also gives some extra safety when on shore power.

The whole goal is to never get yourself between a hot surface and return path to the power source, or earth. With a van not on shore power, the van can be the hot surface, and there is always lots of earth around.
I am not sure I am completely following your point. I certainly agree that a big battery and a powerful inverter can produce currents just as dangerous as shore power. However, I don't see how it is possible for a vehicle that is unconnected to the grid to create a "hot skin" condition that could produce a shock to someone who is in contact with an earth ground. Even if an inverter's or a generator's hot line is directly connected to the vehicle body, unless there is some kind of connection to earth (such as might happen if plugged into a mis-wired shore power plug), there is simply no circuit path between the floating source and earth. Such a condition could be very dangerous to the occupants of the vehicle but not to those standing outside, as far as I can see.

Or, maybe I misunderstand your point.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:25 PM   #19
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I would agree that the ground makes shore power safe, and the GFCI is not as important. To me the GFCI comes into play much more when not on shore power. With all the movement to very large battery banks and inverters that will give as much power as shore power, and generators, you essentially wind up with a van on inverter or generator that is essentially like what you would have with shore power and no earth ground. IMO, anything with an inverter should really have the entire van on GFCI, at least while on the inverter or generator, but it also gives some extra safety when on shore power.

The whole goal is to never get yourself between a hot surface and return path to the power source, or earth. With a van not on shore power, the van can be the hot surface, and there is always lots of earth around.
While discussing the virtues of GFCI protecton, there is a wrinkle that should be appreciated. Although they do provide an additional margin of safety, they do not provide 100% protection. The device is basically a comparator, i.e., it measures current delivered from the hot (black) side and compares it to the current return to the neutral (white) side and if it detects a differential in excess of 4-5 milliamps it assumes there is current leakage and prevents you from being a candidate for this leakage path by tripping off.

So far, so good. But if you accidentally get across both terminals (hot and neutral) of the GFCI at the same time, the GFCI wll regard you as a valid "appliance" and will cheerfully light you up leaving you protected only by the 15 amp breaker portion of the GFCI device which amounts to no protection at all.
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:30 PM   #20
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I am not sure I am completely following your point. I certainly agree that a big battery and a powerful inverter can produce currents just as dangerous as shore power. However, I don't see how it is possible for a vehicle that is unconnected to the grid to create a "hot skin" condition that could produce a shock to someone who is in contact with an earth ground. Even if an inverter's or a generator's hot line is directly connected to the vehicle body, unless there is some kind of connection to earth (such as might happen if plugged into a mis-wired shore power plug), there is simply no circuit path between the floating source and earth. Such a condition could be very dangerous to the occupants of the vehicle but not to those standing outside, as far as I can see.

Or, maybe I misunderstand your point.
I had to go back and look at some stuff to see what was up, compared to what I was remembering.

The vehicle going hot was in relation to losing the shore power ground and lighting you up from hot van to ground (dirt) back to shore ground, so I had that mixed in the wrong place.

The explanation that I had seen for the generator or inverter issue was a lot more confusing, and basically hinged around the hazard of having any kind of use appliance from the van generator or inverter, that had any possibility of being earth grounded. The main concern was people that would be using the generator or inverter to power things in the house during a power outage, or such. They also talked about things that might be being run off the generator of inverter like lights, radios, tv, etc that could be sitting on the ground or metal table to ground, etc. The fault condition had to work out so the appliance case would go hot, and also be in a place where the hot case would be in contact with the earth ground. You stand on the ground and touch the van, which is the power source neutral and ground, and you complete the circuit. I am sure it can happen, but it would take some uncommon circumstances.

In essence, it appears the hazard would be that the hot van like I mentioned originally would be the danger from open ground on shore power (not inverter as I said), and the danger from inverter or generator would be more aptly be called hot earth ground, I suppose, as the van itself stays at whatever floating neutral/ground the inverter is generating, and the ground runs at elevated voltage compared to the van body.

thanks for asking the question, so I went back and looked.
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