GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

My system is installed in an RV to run a desktop computer, satellite and peripherals:

8 Golf Cart Batteries, 12 volts, 880 ah
Magnum MMS1012 Inverter, pure sine with battery charger
5500 Generac generator to charge the batteries

I had a dedicated outlet installed for use with the inverter as it is just being used for my computer system, so it is not hardwired to the RV. This was done by a professional.

I have had a conflict with my generator and inverters, so I am not able to invert and charge the batteries at the same time, so I unplug the charger when I am inverting.

I just purchased solar panels from Wind & Sun and, as luck would have it before I even began installing them and was just in the preliminary investigation mode, the inverter just stopped last week after nine months. There was no resetting, the remote showed a fault, the inverter just stopped while in use and there was nothing.

It was still under warranty, so Magnum sent a new inverter, but the GFCI keeps tripping on this new inverter. The CFCI never tripped on the old inverter.

I spoke with Magnum on Friday. I did have a surge protector on the power strip I'm using for the computer system so the technician determined I needed to get rid of the surge protector and just use a regular power strip as the CFCI on this inverter may be more sensitive.

This weekend, I replaced the surge protector with a power strip and I am having the same problem. My system works fine when plugged into the RV outlet (which is also on a CFCI circuit), but the GFCI on the inverter keeps tripping. These are very small loads going into the inverter, so I have no idea why it keeps tripping. I've tried plugging directly into the outlet and as soon as power hits it trips the GFCI. After much playing around, I am able to get the satellite running, and it appears my monitor causes the GFCI to trip, but this is a random trip and the satellite will also trip it. I've been just getting it to run eventually but this morning it just keeps tripping.

Any suggestions or input would be appreciated.
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Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    GFIC work by measuring the difference in the current going between the hot and neutral wires (they use a "current clamp" like transformer and if there is any net non-zero current flow through the pair of power leads, it assumes that that excess current is flowing through a ground return...

    You might try a three wire to two wire ground adapter... Plug your monitor into it (and leave the ground tab un-bonded) and see if it works. You might have to plug your computer+monitor+ any directly connected digital devices (printers, usb external drives, etc.) all into the lifted ground plug (many devices bond metal to the ground plug and then carry that common ground though RS 232, video, audio, usb type connections).

    It is possible that the EMI filters on one or more of your digital devices is leaking ground current--or even three or four, when added together, are leaking ground current (one is not enough to trip and four are).

    Finding and fixing ground loops/leaks can be a big problem. Generally, I would guess there is a wiring error somewhere (worst case would be a neutral/ground wire swap).

    You could try removing/bypassing the GFI from the inverter and use GFI only at the loads where you need to protect against ground faults (typically near water).

    Sorry, without being there and doing the measurements--it is very hard to figure out what is wrong.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    To add to my post above, I just shut down the computer system and the generator (which I have been running for about an hour), plugged everything back into the inverter and everything is working as it should on the inverter and the GFCI is not tripping.

    While I had the generator on, I also plugged in the battery charger so as not to waste the energy.

    This is another way I have gotten this to work. Shut down the inverter, turn on the generator and run the system, shut down the generator, then set up on the inverter. This seems to work and not cause the GFCI to trip.

    But I can't keep doing this. Something is wrong. What could be causing the GFCI NOT to trip in this scenario? And why is it tripping in the first place?

    Pretty crazy making.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    In line with what Bill said, pick up a GFCI tester like this: http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/3/HouseHome/2/Electrical/ElectricalTesters/PRD~0520027P/GFI%252BReceptacle%252BTester%252B%252526%252BCircuit%252BAnalyzer.jsp?locale=en#tab_page_reviews_li
    Funny thing but you're not th only one who's had trouble with this sort of set-up. The interference is usually generator/GFCI related, as most gens have 'floating neutral' which seems to cause trouble with the GFCI's ''expected' current routing.

    GFCI on inverters would normally be for a marine environment where there's a good chance of water causing shorts. Is this really necessary in an RV? Not in my opinion. But then I think they're over used and misused in houses too.
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    BB, thanks for the reply. I'm having difficulty believing it is in the wiring or my equipment. The system ran fine for nine months on the first inverter and it runs fine on the generator. It is also plugged into a GFCI circuit when running on the generator and it never trips. I'm wondering if something is wrong with the GFCI on the inverter. Could it just be overly sensitive or defective?

    Also, as I mentioned in my last post, the inverter is now working fine after I ran the generator and battery charger for an hour.
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    Cariboocoot, I think you are absolutely right. I don't need a GFCI on the inverter or on a generator, but it seems they put them on everything and it causes problems.

    According to Magnum, the reason it is on this inverter is because it is not hardwired, but that doesn't make sense. It is just as easy to run a surge protector where needed, than to be messing around with this.

    But, it is not a conflict with the generator in this instance, as I do not run the generator/battery charger at the same time I run the inverter.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    iabteri wrote: »
    Cariboocoot, I think you are absolutely right. I don't need a GFCI on the inverter or on a generator, but it seems they put them on everything and it causes problems.

    According to Magnum, the reason it is on this inverter is because it is not hardwired, but that doesn't make sense. It is just as easy to run a surge protector where needed, than to be messing around with this.

    But, it is not a conflict with the generator in this instance, as I do not run the generator/battery charger at the same time I run the inverter.

    I agree; not hardwired as an excuse? My Outback isn't hardwired either. Doesn't have GFCI. Doesn't have problems.

    It looks like the unit is oversensitive as you say. That means 'defective' in my book.
    I thought there might be some clue along the lines of low battery Voltage causing enough shift in the AC output to cause a false trigger. You ought to be able to run the gen/charger/inverter all at once. There's no reason for this equipment to 'interfere' with one another. One black mark against Magnum, I'd say. :grr
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    That Magnum seem to have some very nice features (TSW, transfer switch, PFC charger, remote battery temp sensor, etc.)... Have to add that to the list of nice all-in-one units.

    I think I agree with Marc... It sounds like an interaction between the generator and the AC transfer switch/Inverter mounted GFCI.

    I would guess your setup runs the AC loads directly from the genset (through the inverter transfer switch).

    Where your wiring issue may come into play... If the generator side of the AC wiring is neutral bonded somewhere (at generator or in the RV main AC box, or even only when connected to external AC shore power at the shore outlet) and if the output of the Inverter Neutral is bonded somewhere to ground too (and this could even be the little bit of AC coupling through filter capacitors on the computer/electronic equipment too).

    Your AC output from the inverter's GFI outlet--is that going directly to your loads (cords, power strips) or is that going to another AC load center (breakers, branch circuits)? If it goes to a second AC panel--is the inverter's neutral bonded to the common neutral/ground bus in the AC box? If yes, that is probably where you are seeing your ground loop problem. That would have the neutral bonded both in the inverter sub panel and probably bonded to ground back in the main AC panel of the RV.

    Remember that GFIC will trip with as little as 5 mili-Amps (0.005 amps) of current (to protect people from dangerous shocks)--so the amount of leakage current may be very small.

    If you are using a second AC subpanel from the inverter--I would either (or both) lift the neutral/ground bond in the sub panel--just carry neutrals through with wire nuts or an insulated bus bar) and skip the GFIC outlet on the inverter (bypass or use a standard outlet instead).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    By the way, a surge protector is entirely different vs a GFIC...

    A surge protector is basically some voltage sensitive devices that are (typically) from Hot to Neutral, Hot to Ground, and Neutral to ground.

    If there is a voltage spike that is over the rated voltage of the power strip/surge suppressor, then the device (one or more) will simply short to kill the spike. And, will trip the up stream breaker/fuse to kill the power.

    Also have to be careful with power strips... Many US based folks carry/ship power strips to foreign countries and run the computers/chargers/etc... The loads (computers/chargers/etc.) are all rated for 100-264 VAC 50/60 Hz (world wide use)--but the surge strip is rated for use on 120 VAC--and may trip/fuse when used on 230 VAC system outside the US.

    A GFI will measure leakage current (power / current that goes out the hot but does not return on the neutral) and trip/open if that exceeds ~5-15 mAmps or so...

    GFI are subject to nuisance trips and should only be used on single branch circuits that may have devices plugged in that can be subjected to dunking in water (near sinks, outside, near pools, etc.).

    A single GFI should not be protecting multiple circuits (to easy to trip with varied loads) and if both the loads and lighting are from a single GFI--your load trip could leave you in the dark too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    I agree; not hardwired as an excuse? My Outback isn't hardwired either. Doesn't have GFCI. Doesn't have problems.

    It looks like the unit is oversensitive as you say. That means 'defective' in my book.
    I thought there might be some clue along the lines of low battery Voltage causing enough shift in the AC output to cause a false trigger. You ought to be able to run the gen/charger/inverter all at once. There's no reason for this equipment to 'interfere' with one another. One black mark against Magnum, I'd say. :grr

    To be clear, this is a problem with my 1997 Generac generator which is installed in my RV and not the Magnum inverter. I had originally purchased an inverter/charger from Taiwan on ebay (yes, I know, live and learn) and it worked fine in charge mode, but "blew up" as soon as the inverter was switched on. This was installed by professionals in the RV. After a 6-month fiasco, Generac admitted to a problem with some of their generators insofar as UPS type inverters. Apparently, the inverter creates 5 or 6 times the actual wattage and is actually overloading the generator. I took a big loss on that Taiwan inverter in both time and money and decided to buy American from now on whenever possible.

    I read alot before going off-grid, but I must say, this has been a most painful experience. I bought some property far from the energy grid, am living and working in an RV while I finish a house which will also be off-grid and it has been far from smooth. I work at home and depend on my computer system.

    I'm almost ready to move back to the city and give up.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    BB. wrote: »
    If you are using a second AC subpanel from the inverter--I would either (or both) lift the neutral/ground bond in the sub panel--just carry neutrals through with wire nuts or an insulated bus bar) and skip the GFIC outlet on the inverter (bypass or use a standard outlet instead).

    -Bill

    Ooh, bypass the GFCI! I wasn't going to say that out loud! :p But ... yes. Probably voids warranties and violates code, et cetera.

    I guess there is a reason to pay the megabucks for an Outback after all; the AC input is programmable so you don't overload the gen no matter what capacity it has. Mind you, you have to spend three days reading the manual to find out how to do it ...
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    BB. wrote: »
    I think I agree with Marc... It sounds like an interaction between the generator and the AC transfer switch/Inverter mounted GFCI.

    I would guess your setup runs the AC loads directly from the genset (through the inverter transfer switch).

    No, this has nothing to do with the generator. AC is not running through the inverter transfer switch as I cannot operate the inverter and charger together.

    Here is my setup:

    I had a new and dedicated outlet installed on the slide in my RV where my office is set up. I had a surge protector plugged into this dedicated outlet which runs only my computer system.

    The inverter has a plug on it which I plug into my coach when the generator is running in order to charge the batteries. When I am done charging, I unplug from the coach outlet and turn off the generator.

    The dedicated outlet I had installed for my computer system has a plug on the other end and is plugged directly into the inverter with the GFCI. I unplug my power strip from the coach outlet and plug it into the dedicated inverter outlet, then turn on the inverter. This worked fine with the old Magnum inverter.
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    BB. wrote: »
    By the way, a surge protector is entirely different vs a GFIC...

    A surge protector is basically some voltage sensitive devices that are (typically) from Hot to Neutral, Hot to Ground, and Neutral to ground.

    If there is a voltage spike that is over the rated voltage of the power strip/surge suppressor, then the device (one or more) will simply short to kill the spike. And, will trip the up stream breaker/fuse to kill the power.

    Also have to be careful with power strips... Many US based folks carry/ship power strips to foreign countries and run the computers/chargers/etc... The loads (computers/chargers/etc.) are all rated for 100-264 VAC 50/60 Hz (world wide use)--but the surge strip is rated for use on 120 VAC--and may trip/fuse when used on 230 VAC system outside the US.

    A GFI will measure leakage current (power / current that goes out the hot but does not return on the neutral) and trip/open if that exceeds ~5-15 mAmps or so...

    GFI are subject to nuisance trips and should only be used on single branch circuits that may have devices plugged in that can be subjected to dunking in water (near sinks, outside, near pools, etc.).

    A single GFI should not be protecting multiple circuits (to easy to trip with varied loads) and if both the loads and lighting are from a single GFI--your load trip could leave you in the dark too.

    -Bill

    FYI, I am a woman and still learning what I am doing over here.

    So, Bill, are you saying that the surge protector should not be interfering with the inverter GFCI? As I said, it does not interfere with the GFCI which is on the circuit of the outlets in the slide area where I plug all my equipment into. The GFCI in the coach is located in the bathroom, but is also wired to the outlets in the slide area where all my equipment plugs into. I have never had an issue with my equipment (all on surge protectors) insofar as the GFCI in the bathroom and I prefer to leave it on the computer.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    Let's just double-check here to make sure we've got this straight:

    The only thing connected to the inverter's GFCI output is the power strip/surge protector that provides power for the computer equipment, right?

    And the only time it trips is when the computer and/or related equipment are running from the inverter powered by battery, not when on AC from the generator (because you bypass the inverter when using the gen)?

    Just trying to get the trouble-making wiring sorted out in my head.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    iabteri wrote: »
    So, Bill, are you saying that the surge protector should not be interfering with the inverter GFCI?

    No--They are just different. Sometimes the leakage current / and sometimes there are filter caps and leakage current through the surge suppressors that could trip a GFI outlet. A surge suppressor will actually "cause the problem" (leakage current) that a GFI is designed to protect against.

    If, you are running a GFI outlet, then I would not plug a surge suppressor into a GFI outlet... You won't hurt yourself or damage anything--but you may get false trips on the GFI from the surge suppressor.
    As I said, it does not interfere with the GFCI which is on the circuit of the outlets in the slide area where I plug all my equipment into. The GFCI in the coach is located in the bathroom, but is also wired to the outlets in the slide area where all my equipment plugs into. I have never had an issue with my equipment (all on surge protectors) insofar as the GFCI in the bathroom and I prefer to leave it on the computer.

    If I understand your setup correctly from a previous post (plugging the computer power strip into the GFI of the inverter)--I would 1) not use a surge suppressor power strip and 2) not use a GFI on the inverter. I think both are "over kill" for any sort of protection and are causing you to get false trips.

    You can get surge / lightning suppressors that you can wire into your main AC wiring panel. If you plug into shore power in lightning prone areas--it may be a good idea.

    Surge suppressors in power strips are probably as much marketing hype as sound engineering theory--and, many times, end up being more trouble than they are worth (and frequently do not have the capacity to actually protect against lightning surges). Surge suppressors do not clean up bad AC power.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    Let's just double-check here to make sure we've got this straight:

    The only thing connected to the inverter's GFCI output is the power strip/surge protector that provides power for the computer equipment, right?

    And the only time it trips is when the computer and/or related equipment are running from the inverter powered by battery, not when on AC from the generator (because you bypass the inverter when using the gen)?

    Just trying to get the trouble-making wiring sorted out in my head.


    Yes, but add one more thing to the mix.

    I had a new outlet installed next to my computer in the slide area. This outlet is not hooked up to any other circuit in the coach. It is a brand new outlet used only for the inverter. The inverter has two outlets on that GFCI circuit.

    The AC wire for this new dedicated outlet runs under the RV to where the inverter sits on a cabinet. The AC wire runs up through the floor and there is a plug on the end. THAT plug plugs into the inverter and brings power to the dedicated outlet.

    The power strip or surge protector is then plugged into this dedicated outlet to power the computer equipment.

    And, yes, it only trips when I power the computer with the batteries via the inverter. The generator is never connected to the inverter when I use the batteries via the inverter.
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    BB. wrote: »
    If I understand your setup correctly from a previous post (plugging the computer power strip into the GFI of the inverter)--I would 1) not use a surge suppressor power strip and 2) not use a GFI on the inverter. I think both are "over kill" for any sort of protection and are causing you to get false trips.-Bill

    Well, there lies the problem. The inverter has a built-in GFCI for some reason. It is also under warranty, so I can't alter it as suggested in previous posts.

    I'm not sure what Magnum will do about this unless I get them to take this one back and try to get one with a GFCI that is less sensitive. As I said, the previous Magnum inverter did not trip.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    The inverter comes in two "flavors"--one is hard wired (no GFI) and the other with AC outlets (GFI outlet).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    BB. wrote: »
    The inverter comes in two "flavors"--one is hard wired (no GFI) and the other with AC outlets (GFI outlet).

    -Bill


    Yes, but the one that is hardwired is also meant to be hardwired to the coach source of energy (generator) in order to power everything and I didn't want the inverter to run anything in the coach except the computer system. This is only a 1000 watt inverter, plus there is a compatibility problem with my generator.

    I suppose I should have ordered the hardwired inverter, and added a plug so it would just plug into one of the coach outlets in order to charge the batteries, then hardwired to my dedicated outlet. This one that was not hard-wired seemed to be the easy solution for my setup. I did not anticipate this problem with the GFCI and do not understand why they even have it on there. I will bring this up when I talk to their tech support tomorrow. Since it wasn't an issue with the first inverter, however, maybe it is defective or over sensitive.

    Unfortunately, I've had the first inverter for nine months. I doubt they will switch this out for the hardwired. I'll find out tomorrow.

    Thanks to everyone for your input. I am armed with enough questions for Magnum tomorrow and will see what they say.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    Don't worry--not picking on you--Just trying to think out loud and what your options may be...

    Other than not using the GFI or finding a bad device (surge protector or computer, etc.)... Can't think of much else. The chance that the GFI is bad is possible, I guess--but so is the chance that you have real leakage current somewhere else that is non-hazardous and may very well be the results of normal operation.

    The problem with recommending to take out an "unnecessary" safety device is that we don't know what we don't know. There could be something going on (like a pinched AC wire in the slide-out) that is really causing a short--and the GFI is reacting to that. Again, not likely, but something that I cannot rule out from my keyboard.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    BB. wrote: »
    Don't worry--not picking on you--Just trying to think out loud and what your options may be...

    Other than not using the GFI or finding a bad device (surge protector or computer, etc.)... Can't think of much else. The chance that the GFI is bad is possible, I guess--but so is the chance that you have real leakage current somewhere else that is non-hazardous and may very well be the results of normal operation.

    The problem with recommending to take out an "unnecessary" safety device is that we don't know what we don't know. There could be something going on (like a pinched AC wire in the slide-out) that is really causing a short--and the GFI is reacting to that. Again, not likely, but something that I cannot rule out from my keyboard.

    -Bill

    I guess my reply is why is only the GFCI tripping on the inverter, while the RV GFCI attached to the exact same equipment is not tripping when I run the generator? That GFCI does in fact work as it has on occasion tripped, though not from the computer equipment. I also tested it a couple days ago.

    By the way, I have been running on the inverter now for the last 2-1/2 hours and the GFCI has not tripped. It seems to do it when I first turn it on, but if I run the battery charger first with the generator and then plug into the inverter (after powering off the generator) then it will not trip. At least that is what happened this morning. I'll see what it does tomorrow morning.

    It is difficult to believe that the problem is not isolated to the inverter since I didn't have this issue with the first inverter nor do I have a problem when I run off the generator.

    Insofar as a pinched AC wire, the wire is set up under the RV in two pieces of PVC, one larger than the other. The AC wire is a spiral. It was a pretty clever set up as the equipment is in the slide area of the RV. So, when I open the slide the smaller PVC extends from the larger PVC and the spiral unwinds. Vice versa when I close the slide.

    It seems to me if it were a pinched wire (and the wire is pretty thick and I doubt this is happening) it would be a problem with the slide in and not out.

    In addition, the RV has been parked for a few months now with the slide out. Really can't see how a kink would suddenly appear without any sort of movement.

    However, one of the first things I did was check the wiring where it enters the PVC and also in the outlet box. Everything looks fine. I also plugged the dedicated outlet into one of the RV outlets and it works fine.

    I'm not sure what happened to the first inverter (which I have not even returned yet) but it appears to be a totally different issue. The inverter just stopped and the fault light came on the remote and the remote acted as though it was trying to connect to the inverter but could not. The inverter just went dead.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    I looked for a wiring diagram of the inverter--and did not find one...

    In general, the GFI only protects its own outlets and any down stream wiring that has been wired into the "outlet" portion of the device. There is nothing "upstream" internal to the inverter or to the RV coach wiring that should be capable of causing the inverter GFI to trip (at least any single fault type issues).

    So, unless there is a hot/ground or neutral/ground connection in your added jumper cord/wiring--I cannot think of any issues other that either a bad GFI or attached loads... If you are familiar with using an Ohm meter--you could check and see that the Hot and Neutral wires of your "extension circuit" are not connected to green wire ground or RV metal ground (at least this is a low voltage check of a couple of volts).

    The problem, as I understand it could very well be the extension circuit has the neutral wire tied to green wire ground or RV ground--if there was a wiring problem (or a failing surge suppressor in the power strip). It could even be a miss-wired power strip (would not be the first to slip out a factory).

    If you wanted, you could swap the GFI from the failed unit with the one in the new unit and see if there are any differences...

    One of the problems with circuit protection devices (and surge suppressors) is that they are "inherently unreliable"--i.e., if they think they detect a problem or they have an internal problem, they are supposed to trip off... As well as open/trip if there is a true fault.

    So, you may be correct and that the GFI on the inverter is simply spuriously tripping (hmmm--sounds like a bad "acid trip" ;)) and does need to be replaced.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • iabteriiabteri Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    BB. wrote: »
    I looked for a wiring diagram of the inverter--and did not find one...

    In general, the GFI only protects its own outlets and any down stream wiring that has been wired into the "outlet" portion of the device. There is nothing "upstream" internal to the inverter or to the RV coach wiring that should be capable of causing the inverter GFI to trip (at least any single fault type issues).

    So, unless there is a hot/ground or neutral/ground connection in your added jumper cord/wiring--I cannot think of any issues other that either a bad GFI or attached loads... If you are familiar with using an Ohm meter--you could check and see that the Hot and Neutral wires of your "extension circuit" are not connected to green wire ground or RV metal ground (at least this is a low voltage check of a couple of volts).

    The problem, as I understand it could very well be the extension circuit has the neutral wire tied to green wire ground or RV ground--if there was a wiring problem (or a failing surge suppressor in the power strip). It could even be a miss-wired power strip (would not be the first to slip out a factory).

    If you wanted, you could swap the GFI from the failed unit with the one in the new unit and see if there are any differences...

    One of the problems with circuit protection devices (and surge suppressors) is that they are "inherently unreliable"--i.e., if they think they detect a problem or they have an internal problem, they are supposed to trip off... As well as open/trip if there is a true fault.

    So, you may be correct and that the GFI on the inverter is simply spuriously tripping (hmmm--sounds like a bad "acid trip" ;)) and does need to be replaced.

    -Bill

    The wiring has been working fine ever since the first inverter was installed, so it cannot be a wiring problem. The surge protector has also been on the system without any problems and works with the generator and also worked with the first inverter. I actually switched out the surge protector with another, same problem, with just power strips, same problem, directly into the outlet, same problem. Right now the inverter is running fine with two power strips. I removed the surge protector. However, I will bet that when I shut it down tonight and start it back up in the morning, the inverter GFCI will trip.

    I would be interested to switch the GFCI with the old one, but do not want to goof up the warranty, so I will also run this past Magnum tomorrow in order to see what can be done.

    Thanks again for your input.
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    iabteri wrote: »
    The wiring has been working fine ever since the first inverter was installed, so it cannot be a wiring problem. The surge protector has also been on the system without any problems and works with the generator and also worked with the first inverter. I actually switched out the surge protector with another, same problem, with just power strips, same problem, directly into the outlet, same problem. Right now the inverter is running fine with two power strips. I removed the surge protector. However, I will bet that when I shut it down tonight and start it back up in the morning, the inverter GFCI will trip.

    I would be interested to switch the GFCI with the old one, but do not want to goof up the warranty, so I will also run this past Magnum tomorrow in order to see what can be done.

    Thanks again for your input.

    I would install a isolation transformer on the inverter. You can get a 500W-1000W used one on ebay for under $50. http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m570.l1313&_nkw=isolation+transformer&_sacat=See-All-Categories
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    nsaspook wrote: »
    I would install a isolation transformer on the inverter. You can get a 500W-1000W used one on ebay for under $50.

    That's silly, the magnum is a transformer isolated inverter already, its pointless to then add yet another isolation transformer on the output of the inverter
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    That's silly, the magnum is a transformer isolated inverter already, its pointless to then add yet another isolation transformer on the output of the inverter

    The GFCI circuit is external from the internal transformer and is seeing a problem from the load it's driving. The internal output transformer has nothing to do with the problem. It's leakage or noise from the loads causing the GFCI trip. A external ISO transformer should isolate the supplies in the devices causing the trips and fix the problem.

    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=174420
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    That's silly, the magnum is a transformer isolated inverter already, its pointless to then add yet another isolation transformer on the output of the inverter


    It normally would be silly to add another transformer for isolation except that inverters usually have an output filter ( "Y" capacitors) that pass a small amount of AC (hot and neutral lines) to the chassis (earth ground). Because the capacitors are not 100% equal in value, this may (or may not) cause a slight imbalance, and that could, I suppose, be enough for a GFI to see it as a fault.

    Then again, it might be caused by slight EMI from the inverter switching. I know that GFIs do not normally like to work with Modified-Square-Wave inverters and while a sine-wave inverter isn't all that bad, it can have some high frequency components that might cause some trouble. (or not).

    boB
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    boB wrote: »
    It normally would be silly to add another transformer for isolation except that inverters usually have an output filter ( "Y" capacitors) that pass a small amount of AC (hot and neutral lines) to the chassis (earth ground). Because the capacitors are not 100% equal in value, this may (or may not) cause a slight imbalance, and that could, I suppose, be enough for a GFI to see it as a fault.

    Then again, it might be caused by slight EMI from the inverter switching. I know that GFIs do not normally like to work with Modified-Square-Wave inverters and while a sine-wave inverter isn't all that bad, it can have some high frequency components that might cause some trouble. (or not).

    boB

    In this case the GFCI in question is built-in to the inverter. Therefor it ought to be designed to work.

    Adding an isolation transformer is silly from a design point of view - you simply shouldn't have to - but it might resolve the issue. So would ripping the GFCI out and tossing it or changing to a different inverter.

    At one point in the posts I got the impression there might be a second GFCI outlet connected to the inverter's GFCI, and we all know that's a definite 'false trip' scenario. I'm still unclear on whether or not there is.

    Maybe the OP could trade this Magnum in for a model without the GFCI "protection".
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    In this case the GFCI in question is built-in to the inverter. Therefor it ought to be designed to work.

    You would certainly think so ! OK, so does this trip if there is nothing plugged into the outlet ? It would have been tested at the factory at least this way in final test I would think. Maybe it wasn't tested with something plugged into it with a ground on it ? i.e., maybe there actually ~is~ some kind of unbalanced output filter ? (or not)

    I vote to at least see if that is the problem. Send the unit back to Magnum if it doesn't work. Have them send another unit.

    boB
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter
    boB wrote: »
    It normally would be silly to add another transformer for isolation except that inverters usually have an output filter ( "Y" capacitors) that pass a small amount of AC (hot and neutral lines) to the chassis (earth ground). Because the capacitors are not 100% equal in value, this may (or may not) cause a slight imbalance, and that could, I suppose, be enough for a GFI to see it as a fault.

    Then again, it might be caused by slight EMI from the inverter switching. I know that GFIs do not normally like to work with Modified-Square-Wave inverters and while a sine-wave inverter isn't all that bad, it can have some high frequency components that might cause some trouble. (or not).

    boB

    We agree that's "silly" to bandaid a product to make it work but sometimes it better in the long run to do it if it fixes the problem. The poor quality of some components from China will only make things worse when used in critical functions. The EMI generated by home electrical is nothing, these are the kind of filters I've used on systems at work to stop electrical problems.

    Recycled filter for solar home project.
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2767/4536854844_d47d380bf1.jpg
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4005/4536854624_11b97af091_b.jpg
    http://www.filterconcepts.com/three_phase/3e_series.html
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,506 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: GFCI Tripping on Magnum Inverter

    I admit to not reading much on this long thread ! Is it possible that the OP is in search mode and when the inverter goes from on to search the GCFI is tripping?
    I have been involved with this old story many times and the GFCI was over sensitive and the failure was resolved with GFCI replacement.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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