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GFI trips occasionally... why?

John Laninga

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I have a GFI outlet that protects most of my living area. This is in a motor home in which we've lived full time about 7 years.


Last evening, the GFI tripped while watching TV. Nothing new running, in fact, not much on that circuit at all. So I reset it. A few hours later, it tripped again, and I reset it. It has been OK since then.


My guess is the GFI just needs to be replaced, but I was wondering if anyone with more experience with these devices than I have have any suggestion for me to look elsewhere for a problem? Just making sure...


== John

2015 Entegra Aspire 44B diesel pusher with 2017 GMC Acadia Denali toad
Web site, albums, blog and more here

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While it could be that your GFI is starting to fail, as they all do so eventually, there is more than one other possibility as well. If yours is like the one we had on our motorhome, the same GFI as supplies the TV is also supplying the outlet that is on the outside will of the RV. With ours, the cover on that outside outlet became weak and would allow a small amount of moisture into it and that caused the GFI to trip. I pinned it down when it did that one day as it began to rain, but then figured out the due on the side of our RV would also cause it to trip. I got one of the best covers available from Lowe's, made of metal and then sealed the edges of it with caulking when I installed it and the problem went away, permanently.


You may want to replace the GFI as the easiest solution, but before you do make sure that there is no moisture issue as there must be at least one outlet with the potential to be exposed to moisture, as most RV circuits do not have GFI unless there are outlets in the bathroom, kitchen or outside as part of that circuit. Wet areas are the most common cause of intermittent GFI tripping.

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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John, over the years I have seen MANY GFCI outlets fail as they age and they aren't that expensive or difficult to replace, just be sure and wire the LINE (from panel) and LOAD (if any downstream circuits/receptacles are connected) correctly


HOWEVER I agree with Kirk, it may NOT be the fault of the GFCI, it may just be doing its job correctly BECAUSE a downstream LOAD such as another regular non GFCI outlet (especially if in a damp or exterior location) served and fed from the LOAD side of the GFCI might be the cause of the trip. It only requires around 5 milliamps of fault current to cause a GFCI to trip and that's quite possible in a wet or damp location, especially if outdoors!!!!!


If there is a downstream circuit fed off the LOAD side of that GFCI in question, you might temporarily disconnect/remove it from the GFCI and see if the trip continues. If there's no more tripping the downstream LOAD circuit may indeed be the culprit instead of your GFCI. Of course, there may be a fault in the circuit/load/appliance or a cord (if so connected) the GFCI serves????


Best wishes


John T

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If you do decide to go with a new GFCI spend the extra couple bucks to get a good one, too much really cheap junk out there that will probably be more aggravation than the one you have now.

First rule of computer consulting:

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Sell a customer a Windows computer and you'll eat for a lifetime.

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We once had a similar problem and turned out a power strip we were using was starting to fail. Once we replaced the power strip the occasional GFCI tripping went away.

2004 40' Newmar Dutch Star DP towing an AWD 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid, Fulltimer July 2003 to October 2018, Parttimer now.
Travels through much of 2013 - http://www.sacnoth.com - Bill, Diane and Evita (the cat)

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As others have said the GFCI could be failing or other problems. We have a 50 amp GFCI at our home and a spider built a web in it. Anytime the humidity would rise it would trip. A new small GFCI is inexpensive and these do fail. If a quick look around doesn't find a problem I would change it and go from there.


2001 Volvo VNL 42 Cummins ISX Autoshift

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