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Old 08-21-2014, 07:12 PM   #1
grozier
 
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Default Replacing GFCI / residual current interrupter

As noted on the Yahoo board, the GFCI in our van was the subject of a voluntary recall by ABB.

A GFCI is an essential part of a high-voltage circuit used outdoors or in wet conditions. When plugged in to shore power, the GFCI should "trip" when the test button is pressed. If yours fails this test, do not use shore power until the issue is resolved!

(A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter continuously compares the current flowing into and out of an appliance (in this case, the whole van) and cuts the circuit if those currents differ. This would occur, for example, if a person or pet became energized by the appliance and offered a path to electrical ground. In theory, the GFCI cuts the circuit quickly enough to avoid electrocution.)

When ours failed the test and I searched for a replacement, I found the info on the recall and reached out to German and ABB contacts but heard nothing back. (I am in Berlin.) The US reps were much more helpful, and said Germany would be in touch. After several weeks of waiting during peak camping season, I went down to the local building supply store and purchased a new one with the 25A/30mA rating needed in our van, in the same two-pole DIN rail package.

Installation was not entirely plug-and-play; I had to shorten the copper bus bar linking the original four components at the bottom because it would not fit the new GFCI. The new component is designed for a different kind of bus. The solution was to cut the bus down to three and add a short jumper wire. If you have any doubts about this, please get a qualified electrician to wire it up! (To release a breaker from the DIN rail, use a small screwdriver to pull the spring-loaded tab down from below the breaker.)

The ABB part number for the new GFCI is F202A-25/0.03. I paid 23 Euros, but unfortunately they are a lot more expensive in the US. The best source might be Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de/.fr/.es depending on what language you can read. Better yet would be if ABB (or Airstream) would replace a defective device for free.

Good luck and safe Sprinting,

Ted

http://www.sonepar.de/imperia/md/con...rhafter_fi.pdf

https://www.platt.com/Downloads/pdfs...l-Poster-2.pdf

http://www02.abb.com/global/abbzh/ab...2572300029C283
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Replacing GFCI / residual current interrupter

Thanks a bunch Ted for posting this information. Now I even have a picture of the box!
Wish you were going to be at Westyfest next weekend!

Bob
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: Replacing GFCI / residual current interrupter

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodywesty View Post
Wish you were going to be at Westyfest next weekend!
Me too!

Ted
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Old 10-25-2014, 06:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Replacing GFCI / residual current interrupter

I found the little metal tab on the bottom of the GFI but it still doesn't want to come off. Is there a second tab to pull? Which direction do you pull? I was assuming rotate up from the bottom? It is scary to yank hard on anything plastic not knowing how much force is needed and I don't want to break stuff while fixing stuff.

After several months and maybe 10 visits to a local ABB supplier and 4 different people at ABB USA HQ I believe I have finally gotten to the right person for the recall. After I get the replacement part I will post the contact info. I was quoted $171 for the part if I just wanted to buy it.

Rob Baur
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Old 10-26-2014, 08:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Replacing GFCI / residual current interrupter

Rob,

Thanks for posting your experience. Let's hope you don't have to pay such a high price.

You need to pull that metal tab straight down to the floor; the breaker hangs on a rail and will rotate off, bottom edge toward you.

Ted
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Old 10-27-2014, 09:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Replacing GFCI / residual current interrupter

It was impossible to remove the GFI by pulling down on the tab. I pulled all the tabs on all the breakers and took them out as a unit. I found that there was a connector bar tying the GFI to the breaker to the right. The metal jumper must be removed before you can remove the GFI by pulling its tab.

I have to return the bad GFI before they issue an RMA for a replacement.

Trip # 12 & 13 to my local ABB dealer today!

Rob
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Replacing GFCI / residual current interrupter

Sorry I forgot to mention that bus bar here. On the new ABB replacement, they have switched to a slightly different format. You will have to cut one segment of that piece of copper and install a short jumper wire.

Hope everything works out for the exchange. If not, don't spend the crazy money they want; one from Europe directly would be circa 50 bucks. I can help for such an important safety item like this.

Ted
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: Replacing GFCI / residual current interrupter

Finally got an RMA and dropped off the GFI at the ABB rep, it has the Westy number on it! This is what ABB said:
The part is made to order and is coming out of Europe. They are telling us standard lead time for made to order breakers is 4-5 weeks + delivery. We are currently waiting on ABB for the Vendor return process and are ordering the new breaker for you.

I can't believe they make them one at a time? No wonder they wanted $171 for it!

So no 110 VAC for 2 months I'm figuring. Had to run an extension cord into the Westy to power the battery tender since I can't use the built in charger. When I finally get the part, I will publish the contact information and step by step instructions. Quite an ordeal so far.....

Rob
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:28 AM   #9
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Default

Can't we just replace the entire breaker bank with a U.S. Made one? It seems that would be quicker and cheaper.


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Old 11-07-2014, 04:53 PM   #10
MrTomacco
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Default Re: Replacing GFCI / residual current interrupter

The 110 vac outlet in the rear is already a standard dual socket US GFI outlet for some reason. Was it part of the Airstream "upgrade" with the generator? The inside 110 VAC outlets are single sockets and round. I suppose you could install standard US GFI outlets there. Not much room by the AC controls for a dual outlet there. There are breakers that have built in GFI and there may be specialized RV systems available. I'm just stubborn and the more roadblocks they put up, the more tenacious I get!

Rob
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