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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #1  
Old 11-20-2011
gcyeaw's Avatar
gcyeaw gcyeaw is offline
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Default pt 38 breaker panel access

Yesterday I was working with Steve Pappas diagnosing some 120 volt electrical problems. Steve said the gfi breaker would trip after a short while. Also, there was another circuit that was dead. We decided to remove the cover to the breaker panel and check the connections there first. Hahahaha--The panel is in a closet in the rear and the panel cover is trapped by the closet walls and cannot be removed (PT 36, twin beds, panel in rear closet). The panel face is bigger than the door opening, there is no way to get it out. (about 1.8 inch between the panel cover surface and the outer closet wall)

Steve discovered that when pressing the test button on the gfi outlet, it didn't trip the breaker so there was no choice, we needed to swap the breaker.

The access solution, aside from completely disassembling the closet, was to pull the vinyl back and partially away from the closet wall below the panel and cut a 3 by about 12 inch piece out. Then the panel door could be removed and the breaker replaced. Reinstalling the piece so it can be removed again and re-gluing the vinyl will be a pretty easy project, and will allow future service to the panel if needed.

Steve may be able to add some pics, we didn't have a camera at the time.

Has anyone else ever had to remove the breaker panel cover in a similar '86 PT 38 model? How did you do it?
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Old 11-20-2011
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When installing the Electrical Management System in our '87 PT 38 I had to remove the back wall in order to get into the panel, breakers, etc.
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Last edited by curtsprenger; 11-20-2011 at 03:04 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-20-2011
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Gardner,

Unless I am misreading what you wrote, pressing the "test" button on a GFI outlet is NOT supposed to trip the breaker in the panel. Pressing the test button IS supposed to only trip the breaker built into the outlet itself.

So, don't expect the test button to trip a circuit breaker in the breaker panel. That's not the point. You SHOULD expect the outlet itself to trip. If it doesn't, that means the GFI itself is most likely bad and should be replaced.
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Old 11-20-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGloverii View Post
Gardner,

Unless I am misreading what you wrote, pressing the "test" button on a GFI outlet is NOT supposed to trip the breaker in the panel. Pressing the test button IS supposed to only trip the breaker built into the outlet itself.

So, don't expect the test button to trip a circuit breaker in the breaker panel. That's not the point. You SHOULD expect the outlet itself to trip. If it doesn't, that means the GFI itself is most likely bad and should be replaced.

Robert,
This is a gfi panel breaker, (the actual circuit breaker in the main panel) not the remote outlet. By using a gfi breaker at the panel everything on that circuit is protected and you use standard outlets rather than multiple gfi outlets.

This kind of GFI can be finicky and often has nuisance trips, and you don't know at which outlet the failure was. Also, when it trips you need to go all the way back to the panel to reset it. On my coach I installed a sub panel for the outlets for shore / inverter use and used a standard breaker and installed individual gfi outlets where needed.
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Old 11-20-2011
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Gardner,

That makes a lot more sense. Good idea installing the panel GFCI. I suspect that is very rare on motor homes. To be honest, I never even thought of installing one in the coach. Maybe I'll consider putting one in over the winter.

The problem with breaker GFCIs are that they're a bit on the expensive side, and they occasionally die. Unfortunately, I guess you are now experiencing that 'dark side' of things!

I installed a 'whole coach' surge protector off my panel, which I think was a good idea. It just provides the front line of protection. Individual electronics in my coach still have their own dedicated surge protector or UPS backup installed.
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