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Old 01-07-2013, 11:43 AM   #1
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Inverter/converter tripping GFI

Out of the blue, the inverter in our 2003 Mountain Aire DP has begun tripping the GFI on the dedicated outlet I installed at our home (30 amp circuit) I have isolated the issue to the inverter by the process of elimination, right down to connecting and disconnecting the input and output AC lines on the unit itself. Oddly, it works perfectly when powered by the generator and the
inverter function works fine as well. Head to FL in 4 weeks and dont want to risk having this issue at Fort Wilderness.....

Anyone with a similar experience ? or insight into what the issue may be ?
Thanks !!

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Old 01-07-2013, 12:00 PM   #2
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Are you sure its not a bad shore power cord or plug? I had a simular issue with a 30 amp cord. My GFI in the coach kept tripping. I finally changed out the shore power cord problem solved. Just a thought.

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Old 01-07-2013, 12:15 PM   #3
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I am curious, you disconnected AC from the converter on both the input and output. Disconnecting at the input, I suspect the breaker stopped tripping. Did it trip after you disconnected the output of the converter (this would imply the fault might be in the converter itself.) I would have suggested make sure the ground and neutral are tight but by removing them and re-connecting I suspect you made them tight...
You maw want to check ground and neutral in the transfer switch. Those go loose after a while shaking. I know it's downstream from converter but a loose ground might only cause the problem when more current is flowing (converter running).
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:12 PM   #4
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A couple of issues with Inverters....

First: I have seen the connections in the terminal box on the inverter get a bit overheated.. A couple of times.

And many inverters have a "Bonding screw".. Now ideally when they are "Pass through" mode, all wires simply pass through, Other than tapping off a bit of power for battery charging and "operations" nothing happens.

but with the bonding screw in place. when it switches to INVERTER mode neutral and ground are bonded.

However, if someone messed in that box... They may have bonded neutral to ground "Full time' I did (And later fixed it)

There are other things that can cause it too.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:25 AM   #5
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When on shore power the voltage passes through the inverter to the loads. If the GFCI holds when the output from inverter is open then the problem is after the inverter. If it does not hold the problem is in the inverter.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:38 AM   #6
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If you have an amprobe or other current measuring device, i would check the current on both hot and neutral into your rig. If they are the same, I wouldn't worry about it. GFCIs are very sensitive, and will frequently trip for less than 1mA. Futhermore, a gfci is not required on the 30amp outlet on an RV pedestal, and are,rarely seen, because they are so problematic, particularly with a highly reactive load, such as that presented by a converter. Try the same test you did before, Making sure all loads are off, and plug the rig into another cgfi protected outlet in the house. A word of warning- in general I would not recommend plugging ann RV into a 15 amp outlet, as the current inrush on some converters may damage the GFCI. For the purposes of this test, it is worth the risk. HAVE FUN!
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:06 AM   #7
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A GFCI or GFI is an electrical wiring device that disconnects a circuit whenever it detects that the electric current is not balanced between the energized conductor (black or red) and the return neutral conductor (white). ie current may be going thru your body into the ground, ie can be lethal.

To prevent electrocution, RCDs should operate within 25-40 milliseconds at leakage currents (through a person) of 30 milliamperes, before electric shock can drive the heart into ventricular fibrillation, the most common cause of death through electric shock.

I would say if it used to work and doesn't any more, there is something wrong. Yes it could be the GFI itself. But if the GFI is detecting a difference between hot and return, then current is getting lost somewhere.

I was once told that electric panels in RV's used to have the neutral and the ground bonded together (like in your house). This would definitely trip a GFI upstream. Quite sometime ago, it was decided that an RV should be treated the same as an "appliance" with no bond in the panel. This might be why an inverter/converter has a "bonding plug" that is usually removed as it should be.

jwcgc629 please let us know how your situation was resolved...
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:47 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the input...... This problem just arose after a single night of dry camping with the genset running most of the night. I have had the 50a (with a 30 amp breaker) outlet in place for a couple of years.....used it with our 5th wheel with no issues and with no issues with the Mountain Aire until returning home from our overnight DC....

Disconnecting the input line to the inverter eliminates the issue....doesnt matter if the output lines are connected or not, so the problem would appear to be in the inverter. The odd thing is that is charges and inverts with no issues when dry camping, so I am a bit suspect of the transfer switch. I have checked and redone all the connections at the inverter....I guess we look next at the TS......I have also rigged a cable to connect the inverter to a non GFI outlet in my home to see if it will operate correctly. I dont want to show up at Fort Wilderness and have it kick the 50a GFI on the pole....
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:03 PM   #9
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The inverter may have internal leakage.

Verify the green safety ground never is connected to the neutral white wire.

Unplug shore line and ohm out between green and white.

Can open load Center inside coach and do same.

Lift the white wires one at a time until reading goes from connected to open.

Do this while UNPLUGGED AND TURNED OFF, make sure no wire has voltage present first
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:37 PM   #10
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When I was having problems with my converter I found Best Converter to be a lot of help. Bestconverter.com call and ask Randy he seemed very knowlegable on rv electrical systems and has god prices if you actually need to replace something.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:15 PM   #11
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You are having essentially the same issue as I am, and I also own a MADP. I don't know what inverter/charger you have. Mine is a ME 3112 Mangum, after talking to Magnum tech support who were great the walked me through alot of tests and determined my charger was bad and that is what keeps tripping my 20a breaker. I am waiting on the service center to finish bench testing so that we can figure out the way forward. Like you, mine works fine on gen or 50a CG power as well as inverts properly.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:16 AM   #12
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My unit is a Trace Engineering (Xantrex) RV2012....going to take advantage of the crazy warm weather we are having in VA this weekend (70 today) to do some major troubleshooting... Thanks
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:03 PM   #13
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TQ60.....inverter neutral (all inputs and outputs disconnected) to ground reads open....
neutral to hot reads 268 ohms which would appear to be the primary winding the the
converter (charger) Off to test some more...
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:48 PM   #14
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Just connected the inverter directly to a 20a GFI outlet via a 12ga extension cord...no trip...functioning fine, so the problem must lie in the MH wiring....will start with the transfer switch, as that would seem to have the only moving part that could fail suddenly.....still open to suggestions, just glad the problem isnt the inverter itself...pricey to address.

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