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Old 08-10-2020, 01:48 PM   #1
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Inverter GFCI trips when driving and generator starts up.

We just got a 2020 Adventurer 29B (so not so big, but there’s just two adults, a 7 year old and a 10 year old) and are having a strange electrical problem!

On our first trip out we were headed home and had the inverter on so that the kids could watch a movie and also had the AGS on so that the AC could cool them down. About 15 minutes along the TV lost power, which we knew probably meant that the GFCI had tripped on the inverter. ��. Since it was only about an hour home and it was late we just figured we’d sort it out later....

Anyway, we’re on a trip now and of course the same thing happened. This time I realized that it happened when we were driving and the generator was running When we next stopped I went out to reset the GFCI, but as long as the cord was plugged in, while the engine and generator were on it would just instantly pop again! So I left it off. I had a short extension cord and I was able to plug the tv into an outlet that doesn’t go through the inverter and we had power again, but the problem then is that when the A/C turns off the generator stops and no TV again. ��

So at this point it’s either TV or A/C while we’re driving, which is annoying. Has anyone ever had this sort of issue? I assume it’s some sort of grounding/neutral problem, but the weird thing is that it only happens when ‘everything’ is on at the same time: the engine/alternator, the inverter and the generator (we also have the small 115w solar panel on the roof and it was sunny, so maybe that too). If only the engine or the generator is running there’s no problem; the inverter is perfectly happy. Turn them both on and the GFCI pops and no power.
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:14 PM   #2
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I have been seeing a number of reports on problems with the generator and inverter used together. Not found a real cause yet as it seems kind of a "phantom" type thing.
Maybe you can do some looking and help figure what's up?
We know the generator provides 110 AC to the Air conditioner and at the same time to the converter/ charger system which charges the coach batteries. The inverter then uses power from those batteries to make 110 AC to power "some" things like the TV and maybe a few other outlets but it is often limited and won't run things like the microwave or high power like hair driers. The GFCI looks for "leaks" where power is lost through a "fault to ground" and turns off.
Somewhere there is a mismatch in combining several systems as you have mentioned.
I might try this if there is a different outlet that one could plug the TV into that is not run through the inverter but straight 110 AC from the generator.
Not an answer but just a thought on getting more info on why they all don't want to play together!
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:37 PM   #3
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I think we've read about some newer rigs with inverters without built in transfer switches and the Operator's Manual says to NOT run the inverter with shore power or generator power.

UPDATE: I just checked and yours does not say that.

Something on an inverter plug is not right and it's popping the GFCI. You've eliminated the TV, so it must be something else. What else is plugged into an inverter powered receptacle?

I'm assuming you have a 30-amp Adventurer and the 1000 w inverter. Correct?
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:04 PM   #4
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In the INTENT models, the inverter WILL trip if the generator or shore power is used. Definitely no transfer switch in the system.
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Old 08-12-2020, 02:59 PM   #5
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We're stopped at a Walmart in Worthington, WI and I'm hanging out in the RV while my wife and youngest daughter go in for supplies. It's hot enough that we turned the generator on for some A/C, so I've been able to play around with it some more.

It turns out that the ignition/alternator isn't required! I really could have sworn that I tried it a couple times with just the generator going and it didn't trip, but this time it's just the generator going. I've got the generator set to manual right now because on auto it kept turning off and then turning right back on again! It looks like it's probably because the house batteries are full (reading 14.5V, although the solar panel controller shows that it's currently trying to charge them), so it might have to do with the battery voltage settings on the Onan Energy Command 30; currently [email protected] is set to Auto, but the range of the setting is 13.2-14.5V according to the manual, so it would definitely be there!).

Anyway... We've definitely got a transfer switch, and that's what seems to be tripping the GFCI in the Inverter (a Magnum-Dimensions CSW1012). If the transfer switch is plugged in the GFCI trips! I plugged my laptop into the Inverter power plug and it works just fine though, no tripping! The transfer switch seems to need some power from the `Inverter Power In' to work? With it unplugged no power is going through to the `Inverter' outlets.

One other thing I've noticed that might mean something is that when I plug my Sperry `Stop Shock' outlet tester into the generator powered outlets it comes up Green/Correct, but there's a flash of the Yellow/Open Neutral light when I plug it in. Althought it might do that every time, I'll have to check on shore power tonight.
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Old 08-12-2020, 03:26 PM   #6
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I can't figure out what's going on with your system - in fact, I don't fully understand the description of the problem - but a comment of yours did make me want to say a couple of things.

Most keep the Onan EC30 controller in manual unless we're doing something that requires an Auto Start. Like, we're sleeping and we have a low voltage auto gen start set to guard against low batteries.

Or, we're going on a day trip and we want the Auto Gen Start to protect pets when we're gone from the RV in warm weather.

Regardless, Auto is a bit of a special setting not necessarily an every day thing. And, it does reset and need to be activated after you start the RV's engine. It's a fail safe feature of the EC30

Quote:
When the safety input signal changes from off to on (or on to off), EC-30 stops the genset and changes the genset operating Mode to MANUAL. This prevents unexpected automatic starting indoors or in confined spaces. Verify the vehicle is in a safe location, and then use the AUTO GEN key to select AGS AUTO ON mode.

Note also that the EC-30 AUTO ON Mode requires a confirming keystroke (first AUTO GEN, then ENTER to confirm). This reduces risk of unintended AUTO ON operation.

RV’s can use the AUTO ON or QUIET ON mode while traveling if the operator re-activates AUTO ON mode. However each time it is signaled by the safety input, the genset will be stopped and the Mode will change to MANUAL. If automatic operation is desired, press the AUTO GEN key after parking.
Also when a battery is showing 14.5v that means it's probably being charged.

A full battery is 12.7-12.8 volts. When you see more than that on your battery monitor you are seeing either the charging voltage being applied right then OR a "Surface Charge" on the battery because you just stopped charging.

Turn off everything in the RV and all charging and wait an hour or so and take a reading. THAT will be your batteries actual voltage.
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Old 08-12-2020, 03:37 PM   #7
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I'm not familiar with these systems, but why would you have an inverter on when the generator is running? Wouldn't it be better to have the inverter off whenever you didn't need it?
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Old 08-12-2020, 03:46 PM   #8
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Not certain of which RV you have as there are two, one with serial number ending in 2 and the other ending in 3, but there is a transfer switch showing on one drawing. Do you find it as a largish box located where the power cord comes in, or still looking for it?
Second question might be which of two options for the inverter you have. Have you located it in a compartment on the opposite side from the power cord? The parts list shows two options, one being the red item in the picture as item 23 and the blue titem as 22.
Both that seems to indicate you would have one or the other but shows a cord from the top one to the bottom, which doesn't make sense from here!
I read it as an option where you would have one but not both, so a look might be good to see what you actually find.
A point for info might be the packet of info that should have come with the RV and in that there should be a list, maybe several pages long, that shows exactly which options and features your RV should have. Perhaps telling you which to expect?
Good luck!
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Old 08-12-2020, 03:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodspike View Post
why would you have an inverter on when the generator is running? Wouldn't it be better to have the inverter off whenever you didn't need it?
There isn't one answer. It depends on the RV, the inverter and how things are set up electrically. But in a smaller RV with a smaller inverter one would normally not need the Inverter running when the genset is running.

I've seen some RV manuals say you can't run the inverter and the gen at the same time. I've seen others that say you can.

The way my system is setup, I start the inverter when I pick up the RV from storage and I turn mine off when I put the RV back into storage.

The inverter runs a lot of things in my RV. Sometimes the generator dies while I'm driving (sudden stops, very big bumps in the road) but my inverter keeps the fridge etc going regardless. Sometimes when plugged in at a campground the power goes out - again the inverter keeps everything from the fridge to the internet to the TVs running.
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Old 08-12-2020, 04:33 PM   #10
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The inverter runs a lot of things in my RV. Sometimes the generator dies while I'm driving (sudden stops, very big bumps in the road) but my inverter keeps the fridge etc going regardless. Sometimes when plugged in at a campground the power goes out - again the inverter keeps everything from the fridge to the internet to the TVs running.
I could see it would be useful for power outages--sort of a UPS device. Or obviously for hybrid inverters.

Again, not familiar at all with this RV or this system, but one "solution" would be to not daisy chain the outlets together behind a single GFCI, but instead only install GFCI outlets in the kitchen and bath areas (again without protecting anything downstream). My only concern about that is that there are so many metal grounding surfaces on an RV that the entire thing on some is almost like a bathroom or kitchen in a house. So maybe you could put a GFCI in every outlet except the TV and other "critical" items like refrigerators. Not ideal.

And here's a wild stab in the dark. Maybe the inverter is improperly grounded????? To the neutral of the electrical system or not at all????? Or another stab in the dark--if the on/off switch for the inverter is remote from the device, and more than a simple switch (has some electronics for lights or something) maybe it is improperly grounded.
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Old 08-12-2020, 05:22 PM   #11
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And here's a wild stab in the dark.
Goodspike, the Inverter in the OP's RV is a 1000w unit that has one outlet on the Inverter and that outlet is GFCI. As it's small, it doesn't power many circuits on the RV. If I understand the issue correctly, the GFCI that's tripping is this main GFCI.
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:14 PM   #12
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Goodspike, the Inverter in the OP's RV is a 1000w unit that has one outlet on the Inverter and that outlet is GFCI. As it's small, it doesn't power many circuits on the RV. If I understand the issue correctly, the GFCI that's tripping is this main GFCI.
Re-reading the OP's post it appears you're right. I thought it was a GFCI in the RV, not the inverter. Also I was envisioning a larger inverter.

I cannot imagine how or why the GFCI on the inverter would trip with any form of 120 volt power going to the RV. The only way it would even know there was generator or shore power would be slightly higher input voltage. Shore power should have a better ground than generator power is the only thing I can think. But I'd see that affecting GFCI units in the RV more than the GFCI in the inverter.
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:23 PM   #13
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The second input to the inverter transfer switch should be coming from the main transfer switch in the power bay, so for shore and generator power the wiring should be identical from there. I’ve never had a problem when hooked up to shore power though, so it’s got to be something between the main transfer switch and the generator? I’ll poke around some more and look at the wiring diagrams again!

On any case, the reason we had the inverter on in the first place was to let the kids watch tv while we’re driving. The coach came with one small solar panel on the roof, so we figured that should generally be enough to power the tv. =). But then we quickly realized that the chassis AC just isn’t enough when it’s mid 90’s outside and set the generator and coach AC to auto so that they’d only run when needed. Which lead to the tv then suddenly turning off when the generator started. =(

ATM we’ve just got the generator running on manual with the tv hooked up to a ‘non inverter’ outlet so the kids are happy.
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:20 PM   #14
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The second input to the inverter transfer switch should be coming from the main transfer switch in the power bay, so for shore and generator power the wiring should be identical from there.
Except the ground.

There was a thread a while back where I don't remember exactly what the owner was experiencing--I think it was a slight voltage reading from the body of the RV, but I really don't recall. The fix was the outlet they were plugging the RV into had an open ground.

The generator should be grounded to the frame, but it's not grounded to earth. So it's similar to being plugged into an open ground. But why the inverter would somehow sense that, or if that should even make a difference, is beyond me.

One thing you could try to test this is plug the RV into an outlet that has the breaker turned off. That would provide a ground to earth even with the breaker off. Then turn on the generator and see what happens.
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Old 08-20-2020, 02:46 PM   #15
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It turns out that whatever is going on can also happen when plugged into shore power! So it's not just how the generator is connected.

The only times I remember checking it out for sure we were hooked up to 50A power, but I'm not 100% certain. We've just got the TV plugged into a generator/shore power outlet and the family doesn't appreciate my messing with it! I do know that the two times we've been hooked up to house power (20/15A) it hasn't happened.
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Old 08-20-2020, 03:43 PM   #16
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Have you done the steps in the troubleshooting section of their manual?
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Old 08-20-2020, 04:46 PM   #17
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Have you done the steps in the troubleshooting section of their manual?
I looked at the manual(s) (Winnebago and the Magnum manuals for the inverter and transfer switch), but there wasn't anything I could find that mentioned anything about what to do in this particular case. It's not the inverter itself that's having a problem (ie. there's no error code), it's something to do with what's going on at the CSW-TS15 transfer switch and what's connected to it that's causing the standard GFCI outlet in the inverter to trip when it's input cord is connected to it.

I did pull off the metal cover around the inverter/transfer switch and a bunch of cabling yesterday and looked around and at least there everything seems to be connected properly. Unfortunately I didn't bring my multimeter, so I can't really check it further. The next step I'll take a look at the connections in the main breaker box and how things are connected to the power converter; maybe something got wired up wrong there?

For the most part though I've resigned myself to letting the dealer figure it out when we get back, since so far it's 100% reproducible with the generator on and it's _supposed_ to work. The `workaround' of just running the generator while we're driving on manual and plugging the TV into one of the generator outlets works fine, although we've run the generator long enough that I had to do the first oil/filter change!
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Old 08-20-2020, 06:45 PM   #18
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Okay got a clear picture I think. The charger itself is not shutting down and throwing a code on the LEDs but the GFCI trips.
This is something that we have had several posts about on differing small points.
What we have found is that it often happens when there is a low battery condition and that gets into spooky stuff that we tend to not quite know about at times, so let me just run up a thought and let you see if it might apply.
What prompts this idea is in this from the troubleshooting in the manual online:
QUOTE
Motor loads not starting – Some appliances, particularly those with
induction motors, require a much higher start-up surge than they do when
running. Pumps, freezers and refrigerators (compressors) are the most
common. The inverter may not be able to start some of these appliances
even though their rated current draw is within the inverter’s limits. If you
have the CSW1012 or CSW2012 and a motor-operated appliance refuses
to start, observe the VOLTS indicator on the digital display while you are
trying to start the appliance. If the display shows a battery drop below 11
volts while the inverter is trying to start the motor, this may explain why the
appliance won’t run. Make sure the length and diameter of the battery cables
are appropriate. Check that the battery connections are good and that the
battery is fully charged. If the cables are sized correctly, the connections are
good, and the battery is charged, you may need a larger battery bank (see
Loads turning on and off).
Loads turning off and on – If a load starts but quickly turns off, then the
battery may not be able to deliver the necessary amperage to drive the load.
If the battery bank cannot deliver the necessary amperage to drive a heavy
load, the inverter will shut OFF due to low voltage (<10.5 VDC). The battery
voltage can then slowly rise back above the low voltage reconnect voltage
(11.8 VDC) causing the inverter to resume operation. As soon as the heavy
load draws the batteries down, this cycle will continue unless the load is
reduced or more batteries are added.
Loads too large – Although the CSW Series inverter can provide high
surge power up to two times the rated output power, some appliances may
still trigger the inverter shutdown/protection system. In these instances, a
higher power inverter may be required.
Running several loads at once – Sometimes the total surge requirement
of all the loads is higher than the CSW Series inverter can deliver. You may
want to turn them on individually to ensure that the inverter does not have

Boiled down, my thought is that you may be getting into one of the weird situations where a voltage reading is not telling you, nor the machine a really true story on the battery charge. Just an idea and will take some closer looking on your part to try it out?

The idea is that the batteries may read a good voltage right at the posts but it takes a really long time to fully recover the charge on a battery that has been drawn down much.
Any chance of this situation?
You start out on a trip with fully charged batteries and use them pretty heavy, but then the charge system looks like it brings them back to full charge in a short time, so they get used again and take more out of them and they become lower again. Remembering that it goes out faster, quicker than it goes in this cycle may repeat until the battery gets too low and the GFCI trips when the AC tries to start.
We have had a number of complaints/posts about the inverter GFCI tripping and we have run a few down to not having good, fully charged batteries,even though a voltage reading says they are good.
Point to keep in mind is that the voltage reading when the charge system is working will actually not be what the battery has in it, but what the charger is putting out and that reading will be there as a "surface charge" for a few hours after we stop charging.
I might suggest looking at it as a possible weak battery which is disguised by the voltage readings showing you it is fully charged.
But, again, testing and looking closer is needed. Batteries look so simple that they can really mess with our minds, at times.
Good luck to you as it sounds like a tricky one!
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Old 10-18-2020, 01:17 AM   #19
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I find it interesting that this "high frequency" inverter is branded "Magnum/Dimensions" label, because normally anything branded with "Dimensions" is high quality. ..."Magnum" not so much.

Plus the inverter picture looks like a cheap "Tiger Claw" type inverter and would never warrant a Magnum or Dimensions brand, so I'm befuddled!

I guess when Magnum bought Dimensions they tried to leverage the Dimensions brand, only in this case without success or there is another explanation?

Normally an inverter GFI will trip whenever it sees "transient current" that lags and appears as a gap on the oscilloscope. And that trips the GFI. This occurs with varying loads vs. Inverter response time. I.e., if your battery banks has hysteresis and that lag between available power and actual power trips your inverter GFI. This phenonomon is compounded by "neutral bonding" in an RV. I.e., your return line needs somewhere to sent unused amps, and when you "bond" the neutral line to ground there is a time lag factor when you connect the natural return line to ground in order to dissipate unused power to ground... and so the GFI switch can sense this and will "trip."

You can always remove the GFI and just install a regular outlet, but then you are loosing your "circuit protection". However, if you have a GFI on your outlets this may be acceptable.

Good luck figuring out your wiring issues. Just remember, without appropriate circuit protections you increase the potential for "FIRE!"

One more thing: NO ONE uses this type of inverter in their RV unless someone installed is a a secondary inverter. So what's with that?

Specifically, this "Magnum/Dimensions" inverter has no internal transfer switch so where is the pass through? I.e., when you are connected to shore power and you have this inverter installed, then how is your RV EMS handling two sources of 120V power?

Things DO NOT add up in this post. So maybe someone else can elaborate beyond what I see?
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