16ft travel trailer, interior lights electrical problem.

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  #1  
Old 03-04-07, 02:28 PM
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Angry 16ft travel trailer, interior lights electrical problem.

I have a 16ft Kit Companion travel trailer. When I plug the trailer into 110 and try to turn on the lights or use the power it blows the gfi breaker which it's plugged into from our barn. This plug from our barn works fine when anything else is plugged in. The trailer is a single wire that utilizes one 15amp breaker box. It has 4 lights and 2 plugs. I have redone the groung wire, replaced the 15amp breaker and have disconnected all but one of the lights. The other light and the plugs look ok. I can plug the trailer in without tripping the gfi but the second I try to turn on a light or power to something plugged in it trips the gfi from the barn. This trailer does not have a battery and all the wires,lights,plugs look original. It does have a refrigerator but I can't find electrical wires to it, and I don't think it works.
Please help!!! It has to be something simple and it's driving me crazy!!

P.S I have also checked the outside plug and don't see any problems.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-06-07, 12:59 PM
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Location: Central Indiana
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On the trailer, you say there is a 15 amp breaker. In this breaker box, is the incoming neutral (white) wire bonded/connected to the box frame (i.e., is the neutral grounded at this point on the trailer)? A lot of times this is done with a green grounding screw from the neutral bus to the box frame. This could be before or after the breaker, but still within the trailer breaker box. Since this is after the barn GFCI, neutral current flow going back to barn might be splitting and traveling partially on the white wire and partially on the ground wire. That would trip the GFCI every time power flowed.
 
  #3  
Old 03-07-07, 03:57 PM
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reply to formula

Formula, My box is a small 2 breaker box and the nuetral wires attatch to a triangle piece of metal surrounded by the plastic internals. I did see a small bolt hole through this piece that went back to a threaded bolt hole in the box so I screwed a bolt into it, grounding this plate with the neutral wires to the box. I then turned the breaker off and plugged the trailer in and it blew the breaker on the panel in the barn as well as the gfi. ?? Anymore suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
 
  #4  
Old 03-08-07, 10:19 AM
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Location: Central Indiana
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I didn't mean for you to ground the neutal to the box, I thought if the neutral WAS grounded to the box, that might be causing your GFCI to trip. Sorry for the display of sparks, if any.

It certainly sounds like you have some stray current going to ground within the trailer. It's not happening on the black wire, only the white; the white doesn't see current until a switch is turned on which is what you describe. It could be current going to the ground wire back to the barn, or going to ground through the trailer chassis to the earth below the trailer, perhaps.

Anywhere a white and ground wire (or white and a grounded part of the trailer frame) could come together could cause the problem. First thought was the breaker box - that's the standard place where a grounding screw is usually provided to tie the white and ground circuits together. But it could also be at any electrical box within the trailer - are the boxes metal? A white wire could be nicked and touching such a box. Or a ground or white wire could be touching the other screw at a light switch or receptacle. Or 2 wires could have rubbed together at a light fixture connection, or within a light fixture.

If you can isolate specific areas or circuits within the trailer that trigger the problem that could help in tracking the problem down. Sorry, but you have a bit of investigative work ahead of you.
 
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