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Old 06-15-2020, 12:28 PM   #1
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Electrical Question

I just wired in a sub panel and power inverter with auto transfer switch built in. Everything was working great until I plugged the RV into the house to test the transfer switch. It blows the house breaker. Even if i turn off all the breakers in the RV it will blow the house breaker. If I plug the RV into my honda eu2200i, everything works great and the inverter does its auto transfer. Any idea why it would blow the house breaker and not the generator? The sub panel does NOT have the ground and neutral bonded. I did this initially and had issues. I was wondering if maybe the house circuit i was using was overloaded, but if i plug in a portable refrigerated AC unit into the same outlet it does not blow the breaker. Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-15-2020, 12:35 PM   #2
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Is the house breaker a GFCI? If so you may need to replace it with a standard non GFI breaker in the same amp rating.
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Old 06-15-2020, 01:19 PM   #3
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Yes it is. I did try another outlet in the garage that did not have the Test/Reset buttons on it, however if that other outlet is tied to the GFCI does it too become GFCI?
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Old 06-15-2020, 01:37 PM   #4
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I believe the question Alpine36 asked was, is the breaker that controls power to the sub-panel that you installed, a GFI breaker? Not the outlet that you tested with an AC unit.

A GFI outlet should be installed as the first outlet in a circuit. Done that way, the other outlets on that circuit will have GFI protection.

I am not a licensed electrician, but it is my understanding that the neutral and ground should only be bonded at the main panel.
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Old 06-15-2020, 01:47 PM   #5
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Or to put it another way, GFIs don't - won't piggyback without one tripping. At least that's been my experience. When I built some (24) Workhorse utility step vans the body up fitter installed GFI breakers in the sub panels. They all tripped the GFI outlets at the service dock, even though those vans did not have the neutral and grounds bonded. We opted to just install regular outlets to standard 20a breakers at the service dock. The linemen said not to worry about "low voltage" lol.
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Old 06-15-2020, 02:08 PM   #6
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Oh i see. How do I tell if the breakers in the trailer are GFCI? In the pictures, the sideways picture is the main panel in the trailer, and the lowest 20Amp is the breaker that goes to the inverter, then the other picture is the sub panel in the trailer that is powered off the inverter.

Prior to my upgrade, the trailer had certain outlets labled as GFCI however the outlets themselves did not have the Test/Reset buttons. Does this mean the breaker was a GFCI breaker? I did not see GFCI listed on the breaker itself that had a GFCI label written next to it.
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Old 06-15-2020, 02:20 PM   #7
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It might look like this.

And it is the breaker in the panel in the house that is tripping that you’d want to check to see if it is a GFI breaker.
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Old 06-15-2020, 02:24 PM   #8
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Yeah, those look like standard non gfi square d breakers to me.
Hmmm, have you tried plugging it in to another non gfi outlet?
Is it actually tripping a circuit breaker inside your house/garage panel or simply tripping a wall gfi outlet?
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Old 06-15-2020, 02:31 PM   #9
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GFCI breakers in the RV are not your problem.
Many, many RVs are plugged into GFCI breakers. SOME do cause issues but not if the breakers inside the RV are off. You tried that.

Some inverter have a bonding relay in them ( UL458 ). They bond neutral and ground when on inverter power but lift it ( open it ) when shore power is sensed. Problem is, the house GFCI trips before the bond lifts.

A portable generator doesn't care. Its not really grounded anyway.

You can try by-passing the ground connection on the inverter and see if it still trips the house GFCI.
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Old 06-15-2020, 09:22 PM   #10
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I tested on another outlet in the house (non-GFCI) and it worked! It did not blow a breaker and the trailer was able to receive power as it should. Thanks for the help on this!!

Just one more question please

On the original RV breaker panel, I had one 15 amp that was labled GFCI, along with 4-5 outlets that say "GFCI" as seen in the picture below. None of the outlets have the Test/Reset button and the 15 amp breaker appears to be a non GFCI from the pic i posted earlier. How would those outlets be GFCI? Now that I've put those GFCI plugs on the inverter, is there a way to make sure they are actually GFCI because one of the outlets is outside and one in the bathroom (the others are in the bedroom and not sure why those would need to be GFCI).
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Old 06-16-2020, 05:35 AM   #11
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First, I am not a licensed electrician, but I have done a lot of electrical wiring - 2 complete houses, numerous remodeling, which have been checked by city inspectors, always passed.
GFI circuits can be accomplished in a couple of ways - a breaker in the main box (it will be labeled and have an extra wire coming out of it that is wired into the ground system, I believe, its been a while since I've done one of those). More common is the GFCI outlet with the test/reset buttons, on the back of that outlet are a set of terminals marked "load", if subsequent outlets are wired to that set of terminals, they will also trip the button on the parent outlet when subjected to a ground fault. those outlets should be marked with a sticker "gfci protected". Can't tell you how many times I have searched a whole house to find the tripped gfci for an outlet that wasn't working. RV's are notorious for having no rhyme or reason for their wiring schematic. Hope this sheds some light on how they work. As to making sure they really are GFCI protected, go to any place that sells electrical stuff (menards, HD, Lowes, HF) and get a GFCI test plug, it has a button you push that will trip the breaker/outlet that is the source.
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:51 AM   #12
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Another easy way to tell if a regular outlet in the RV is wired downstream of your GFCI outlet, just hit the test button on the GFCI outlet. That will trip the GFCI outlet, but it will also make all the outlets that are wired from that GFCI downstream open also. Then just check the outlets your not sure about with a small light or other electrical appliance.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:22 PM   #13
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RV wiring for shore power

Symptoms:
House breaker trips when RV is plugged in.
Generator breaker does not trip when RV plugged in.
I am assuming you have a 30 amp system in your RV.
Possibilities:

Many RV systems trip shore power GFI outlets. It is a good guess that is the problem.


However, there are two ways shore power breakers can trip. One is GFI as mentioned above. The other is over current tripping.

Some home main panels have GFI circuit breakers. If yours does it will say so on the breaker. These can trip either from too much current or from high and neutral wire having different current flowing through them. The ground wire has nothing to do with GFI. The dual purpose breaker may indicate if the trip is from over current or from GFI current imbalance.

Most home GFI circuits start with one GFI outlet. Several non-GFI outlets can be wired to the one GFI outlet. All of the connected outlets are capable of tripping the one GFI outlet. These systems only trip if high and neutral do not have the same current in them. They also have no relation to the ground wire. If this system trips, you will have to reset the one GFI outlet not the main panel breaker.

Another issue is ground to neutral connections in the RV. Any current diverted from the RV neutral to RV ground will trip a shore power GFI outlet since the neutral is no longer carrying the same current as the hot wire. A shore power GFI outlet or GFI circuit breaker carrying the load will trip.

The transfer switch may be setup to ground the shore power neutral. The sub-panel could also be setup to ground the neutral. Anywhere in the RV system a ground to neutral connection can cause this issue.


You can test this with RV unplugged and Generator disconnected. Us a multimeter on ohm setting or a continuity tester between ground and neutral. Ground and neutral should not be connected for shore power use.

There are other possible reasons for tripping the home main panel branch breaker. If you have a 50 amp RV system, it could be due to leg 1 and leg 2 wiring issues.

The generator likely supplies only 120 volts. The generator may ground the neutral. It should. Generators can be setup either way. A typical transfer switch for 50 amp RV service connects leg 1 and leg 2 together for 120 volt generator use. It may also ground the neutral when in generator position.



The transfer switch connects the RV L1 and L2 to separate shore power L1 and L2 for 240 volt shore power use. If the L1 and L2 are connected together in the RV, it will trip the 240 volt branch breaker in the home main panel.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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