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Old 01-31-2019, 02:27 AM   #1
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Question Trying to charge batteries @ home - GFI wall plate@ home triggered instantly

Hi, all.


We just got back from a 2 day overnite at a local beach. The battery indicator for the coach was 3/4. Before putting it into storage, I thought I would charge it a little at home. All I have at home is old-fashioned 110 volt.


I ran an ordinary 50 foot extension cord out to the RV, added an adapter from the 110 plug to the 30 amp plug needed by my Progressive Industries EMS box, plugged in the EMS box - it said all was good. Plugged the RV cable into the EMS box - and instantly lost all power to the EMS. Turned out the GFI wall socket had popped. Disconnected it all, reset GFI, then did it all again - same thing.


So - am I doing something inherently wrong? Could the EMS and GFI be incompatible with each other? Or the GFI junction box be wired wrong? I have used it for other ordinary electrical needs. I did not really want to plug into a non-GFI circuit without some more knowledgeable person saying "go for it - assuming your homeowners insurance is up to date..."


This is a 2016 Thor Siesta Class C with 2 x 12 volt batteries, and Prog Ind EMS-PT30C.


I don't really want to use the generator at home, or at the storage place... Just want to know if this SHOULD work. Longer term, I'll probably have some 30 amp service installed at home.


Thanks
Dan
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Old 01-31-2019, 02:46 AM   #2
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Try another circuit at the home end of the extension cord that is not a GFI circuit.
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by The Gritz Carlton View Post
Try another circuit at the home end of the extension cord that is not a GFI circuit.

Well, sure - that's the obvious thing to do


Have to wait until I get a chance to bring it back from the storage place... probably a couple of days.


I'll post again after that.


Dan
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:41 AM   #4
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Yep, use non-GFI. Your neutral and ground are probably bonded in your coach which your GFI does not like. Common issue.
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Old 01-31-2019, 11:49 AM   #5
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Had same issue last year.
Found moisture in the outside 120v outlet on the coach.
Dried it out and then sealed it like Thor should have!
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Old 01-31-2019, 12:49 PM   #6
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first, if you've already confirmed that your 'ems' is saying everything is fine, then BYPASS it and run directly to the outlet - chances are your ems doesn't like the GFCI outlet, or a combination of the RV's GFCI outlet and the shower power GFCI outlet - sometimes they don't play well together.

I've used GFCI circuits with no issues, but I also don't use any ems to get in the way.
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lspotho View Post
Well, sure - that's the obvious thing to do


Have to wait until I get a chance to bring it back from the storage place... probably a couple of days.


I'll post again after that.


Dan

Why don't you list the things you know would be obvious to you...then we'll go from there. Just trying to help with suggestions from others that have experienced the same problem. Good luck with it!!
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tfryman View Post
Yep, use non-GFI. Your neutral and ground are probably bonded in your coach which your GFI does not like. Common issue.

Agree this can be an issue. I had this problem for a long time but ignored it since it was mostly an occasional inconvenience I could easily work around by plugging into non-GFI. Then I stayed at a nice RV campground where the 30-Amp were also GFI protected (at least the first time I was aware). That was a major inconvenience since other outlets (15 or 20) were GFI protected as well.

I figured other parks may start using 30A GFI breakers in future, so I finally fixed the problem. Now I can plug into any GFI without issues.

Just a heads up for those who may not be able to plug into GFI outlets at home.
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Old 01-31-2019, 02:00 PM   #9
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Chance...what did you change to fix it?
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Old 01-31-2019, 02:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Agree this can be an issue. I had this problem for a long time but ignored it since it was mostly an occasional inconvenience I could easily work around by plugging into non-GFI. Then I stayed at a nice RV campground where the 30-Amp were also GFI protected (at least the first time I was aware). That was a major inconvenience since other outlets (15 or 20) were GFI protected as well.

I figured other parks may start using 30A GFI breakers in future, so I finally fixed the problem. Now I can plug into any GFI without issues.

Just a heads up for those who may not be able to plug into GFI outlets at home.
Hey Chance , where and how did you fix your GFI problem , I am very interested in this discussion now .
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Old 01-31-2019, 02:52 PM   #11
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My neutral wiring was grounded at one location, and once I separated it, the problem went away.

I had not really thought about the problem fully until I consulted with a family member who’s an electrical engineer with lots of experience in this area.

As he explained it, even if there is a tiny bit of voltage at neutral at plug (talking about very low voltage due to normal voltage drop in house or campground wiring), then when I plugged in, that tiny bit of voltage would send a tiny amount of current down my neutral and back on ground wires.

Since the GFI compares current between neutral and power, it sees very low current on neutral, but not on line, so it tripped instantly even if I had nothing on inside camper.

If neutral and ground are connected at all, a GFI will likely trip instantly. It doesn’t take much because GFI trip at very low current differences, and since wires have very little resistance, even a “minor” voltage difference between ground and neutral will exceed the milliamps required.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:25 PM   #12
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P.S. — What I hadn’t considered before was that tripping the GFI didn’t involve the hot (120V) wire at all. I had previously checked by opening the main breaker, and also confirming that hot wire wasn’t grounded at all, but even then I kept tripping my GFI at home. It makes perfect sense now, but it took someone else to point it out. I kept looking for current flow from hot to ground, but that wasn’t the right place to look.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gritz Carlton View Post
Why don't you list the things you know would be obvious to you...then we'll go from there. Just trying to help with suggestions from others that have experienced the same problem. Good luck with it!!

Sorry - did not mean to make a snide comment, if that's the way it sounded... I really appreciate the responses here.



Anyway - the ONLY thing that was obvious to me was to try a non-GFI circuit - but I am not sure I have any... I guess the other obvious thing would be to skip the EMS. Or both. But those options sounded potentially dangerous - in that both the GFI and the EMS are supposed to prevent a more serious problem.


And I am completely unqualified to debug any other electrical problems.


But I will at least try bypassing the GFI, the EMS, or both...


Dan
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