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Several Electrical issues


Steven P
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Hmm, where to start?  A few months ago our GFCI in the bathroom tripped while we were gone and hooked to 50A. I thought maybe my wife hit it while getting ready.  Reset it and it was good for a week, then tripped while we were in the coach.  I couldn't find a cause so I replaced the GFCI and it did well for a while.  It seems to now work fine on 50A, but trips on inverter pretty quickly.  Early on, we would just reset it and it would work again, but as of yesterday, if on inverter and you reset it, it trips again.  The fridge, main TV, and others are on this same circuit.  Last night we got back from tailgating and plugged in to 50a and all seemed well...for a minute.  I turned on the water heater and 30 min later we only had luke warm water.  Checking the Intellitec panel, I found the lights all off on the appliance list and one light at a time turning on, then off, going down the line.  This also happened this past week and that time was able to reset the washer/dryer breaker and it fixed the problem.  I tried resetting the breaker last night and it continued.  I killed the power and went through the breaker panel and tightened any loose connections and resecured the water heater breaker (it was loose).  I also unplugged all the Intellitec wires for a while.  I turned the power back on and it worked right...for a bit.  Then the cycling lights started again.  I did a reset on the inverter itself and it worked right and I went to bed.  Woke up this AM and it looked right. Turned on the water heater which worked again (without gas).  But then the Intellitec cycling was back.  It's probably important to mention the charger was charging over 14V last night in absorption mode and for mine, I see that w bulk, but under 14 w absorption.  Once I reset the inverter my charging dropped to 13.6V and has stayed there.  I feel I should go through all my outlets and check/replace them.  Some are still the old "stab" style and that may help the GFCI, but what about the Intellitec EMS?  Also, I'm not sure if its related, but a few weeks ago the Magnum remote screen was just jumbled and not responding.  I unplugged and reset it and it's been fine since.   I've attached pics and videos. I have a Magnum ME 2012 inverter. Thank you all. 

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Steven,

The only time I had lots of assorted electrical gremlins in the coach it turned to be the house battery disconnect switch it the battery compartment, it had shorted and would make contact as the coach bounced around. Replaced the cut off switch and all gremlins left the coach.

Bill B 07 Dynasty

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11 hours ago, redstickbill said:

Steven,

The only time I had lots of assorted electrical gremlins in the coach it turned to be the house battery disconnect switch it the battery compartment, it had shorted and would make contact as the coach bounced around. Replaced the cut off switch and all gremlins left the coach.

Bill B 07 Dynasty

Thank you, I'll check that.  I swapped them out a few years ago to better ones. One of the old one fell apart in my hands when I removed it. 

44 minutes ago, bunlacken said:

I would use an amp probe & see which circuit is drawing overload & isolate it & see if you still trip.

An amp probe is the easiest way to find something like this.

Do you recommend checking at each outlet that is plugged in and on that circuit? Ex,  the fridge, TV?  Ok to pull the outlets out and check the amps there?  I have a clamp on multimeter, but I know you have to get down the clamping on the single wire. 

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At the breakers there is usually enough black wire to clamp around, as I read it appears to be tripping without any load, is that right?  Internal inverter problem may cause this condition.. if you disconnect all load wires from it & it still trips.. you need it checked.

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12 hours ago, bunlacken said:

At the breakers there is usually enough black wire to clamp around, as I read it appears to be tripping without any load, is that right?  Internal inverter problem may cause this condition.. if you disconnect all load wires from it & it still trips.. you need it checked.

The GFCI is tripping pretty much immediately after we disconnect shore power and go to inverter power.  At that point the fridge is on (different outlet, same circuit) and nothing else I can think of.  Maybe a phone charger somewhere?  There is nothing plugged into the GFCI when it trips. 

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Stephen,  I remember this issue being discussed quite a bit a few yrs ago.   I recall the main cause was installing a GFCI that is not compatible with your inverter. On our Windsor the GFCI is a breaker but I think yours is a receptacle and other receptacles are daisy chained off of that GFCI receptacle.  If that sounds like your set up,  why not begin remove wires feeding down stream receptacles and see if you can narrow down where a ground fault may be.

A GFCI exactly like the one you removed or one that is listed on the inverter web site might just solve your problem.   Tom Cherry is on the group and became quite knowledgeable on this subject, hopefully he will chime in with some better information.

Edited by Ray Davis
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Seems as if some where there is a change in power when tranferring to the inverter.  Does this also happen when going from generator power. If it does then a ground (i would think) is wired incorrectly creating a false overload.  This can be created when wiring the coach circuts to the inverter.... try disconnecting the ground at the inverter... just a test, then see if the circut trips. Sounds like a definate mis-wiring somewhere.

I would say first find the circut with an amp probe then start disconnecting outlets to isolate the item  IMHO.  

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10 hours ago, Ray Davis said:

Stephen,  I remember this issue being discussed quite a bit a few yrs ago.   I recall the main cause was installing a GFCI that is not compatible with your inverter. On our Windsor the GFCI is a breaker but I think yours is a receptacle and other receptacles are daisy chained off of that GFCI receptacle.  If that sounds like your set up,  why not begin remove wires feeding down stream receptacles and see if you can narrow down where a ground fault may be.

A GFCI exactly like the one you removed or one that is listed on the inverter web site might just solve your problem.   Tom Cherry is on the group and became quite knowledgeable on this subject, hopefully he will chime in with some better information.

I think you're on to something.  This is a GFCI receptacle. I replaced it back in Sept due to the previous one tripping a couple of times.  I went w one at Home Depot and maybe it's not gonna work w the inverter.  In checking it tonight, it's power comes from the inverter breaker.  It has a feed (bottom) and 2 leaving.  I will try to find a suitable replacement for it. 

Update: I had a spare GFCI plug (Leviton) and swapped them out last night before bed.   The lights on the EMS display still do the same thing.   I didn't try it on inverter yet to see if it would trip.  It was getting late and time for bed. 

 

The only other wiring I've done was the microwave receptacle which is not on that circuit and the microwave works fine.  

Thank you all. 

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20211130_211353.jpg

Edited by Steven P
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Do you still have an absorption  refrigerator? The 120 V heaters in them are known to start to fail and trip the GFI‘s. By switching to gas you take the heaters off-line and if your problem goes away, you’ve  found your problem.

Edited by Ivylog
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Steven, I offer a couple of observations for your consideration. 

First, a GFCI trips because the current flow in the hot conductor is different from the "return" current flow in the neutral by over 5 milliamps (0.005 Amps).  Is does not trip because a certain current limit is exceeded (like a circuit breaker does).  Therefore, the GFCI tripping is NOT caused by an excessive load, but rather a "leakage" of current.  You should disconnect everything connected to all the outlets in that string.  If the GFCI still trips, it is likely bad - or you have a wiring issue.

Second, as Ray suggested, some inverter manufacturers recommend only certain GFCIs be used with their inverters.  This is what Magnum say in their ME Series Inverter Manual:

    2.5.3 Recommended GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters)
Some electrical safety codes require the use of GFCI’s. In compliance with UL standards, Sensata
has tested some GFCIs to ensure they function properly when connected to the inverter’s AC
output: See the WARNING below.
CAUTION: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) shall be installed in the recreational
vehicle wiring system to protect all branch circuits.
WARNING: Risk of electrical shock. Use only the following ground-fault circuit
interrupters [receptacles or circuit breaker(s)]; others may fail to operate properly
when connected to the ME inverter: Leviton 8899-A, N7899, and the GFNT1 and GNNT2.

I think chasing over current conditions is going down the wrong path, but these comments apply ONLY to the GFCI problem.  After fixing this, then, if there still is a problem with the Intellitec Load Sharing then that can be addressed.

  Rck N.

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First install a compatable GFCI for your inverter as it's MSW output is NOT the same as PSW shore power. If there is still a issue then on shore power trip the GFCI and find every dead plug on that circuit as this is the start of isolating the issue. On my rig that is 18 plugs (not a typo, just Monaco). Keep a list for future reference. Look everywhere - storage areas, ice maker, etc. 

For isolation disconnect both the hot and neutral wires and it can take a lot of time for an intermittent problem.

Your load shedding problem may be due to bad connections in the CB panel including the loose CB. 

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10 hours ago, Ivylog said:

Do you still have an absorption  refrigerator? The 120 V heaters in them are known to start to fail and trip the GFI‘s. By switching to gas you take the heaters off-line and if your problem goes away, you’ve  found your problem.

 

9 hours ago, daveyjo said:

If the fridge is plugged into two outlets as you described earlier, one is for the fridge and one for the icemaker.  I had an icemaker tripping the breaker after variable times.  Can't remember the details it was so long ago.  FYI.

I replaced the Norcold over a year ago w a residential fridge.  It is plugged into the inverter outlet. 

 

7 hours ago, waterskier_1 said:

Steven, I offer a couple of observations for your consideration. 

First, a GFCI trips because the current flow in the hot conductor is different from the "return" current flow in the neutral by over 5 milliamps (0.005 Amps).  Is does not trip because a certain current limit is exceeded (like a circuit breaker does).  Therefore, the GFCI tripping is NOT caused by an excessive load, but rather a "leakage" of current.  You should disconnect

everything connected to all the outlets in that string.  If the GFCI still trips, it is likely bad - or you have a wiring issue.

Second, as Ray suggested, some inverter manufacturers recommend only certain GFCIs be used with their inverters.  This is what Magnum say in their ME Series Inverter Manual:

    2.5.3 Recommended GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters)
Some electrical safety codes require the use of GFCI’s. In compliance with UL standards, Sensata
has tested some GFCIs to ensure they function properly when connected to the inverter’s AC
output: See the WARNING below.
CAUTION: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) shall be installed in the recreational
vehicle wiring system to protect all branch circuits.
WARNING: Risk of electrical shock. Use only the following ground-fault circuit
interrupters [receptacles or circuit breaker(s)]; others may fail to operate properly
when connected to the ME inverter: Leviton 8899-A, N7899, and the GFNT1 and GNNT2.

I think chasing over current conditions is going down the wrong path, but these comments apply ONLY to the GFCI problem.  After fixing this, then, if there still is a problem with the Intellitec Load Sharing then that can be addressed.

  Rck N.

I spoke w Magnum Energy this am and we discussed this issue.  He wasn't thrilled my fridge was on the GFCi circuit bc that would melt his ice cream unnecessarily. Lol.  He did find the name of a GFCi that should work, but warned me the older GFCIs tripped w a higher leak than today's GFCIs and that is a problem w a modified sine wave inverter.  We talked a little about a replacement w a pure sine wave, possibly. 

 

7 hours ago, W7BE_Bob said:

First install a compatable GFCI for your inverter as it's MSW output is NOT the same as PSW shore power. If there is still a issue then on shore power trip the GFCI and find every dead plug on that circuit as this is the start of isolating the issue. On my rig that is 18 plugs (not a typo, just Monaco). Keep a list for future reference. Look everywhere - storage areas, ice maker, etc. 

For isolation disconnect both the hot and neutral wires and it can take a lot of time for an intermittent problem.

Your load shedding problem may be due to bad connections in the CB panel including the loose CB. 

I've already started looking for all the plugs on that circuit. The one I haven't been able to check much yet is the TV. I'm taking some time in the AM to troubleshoot. 

 

Next question is why are there 3 sets of Romex in that GFCi?  One is supply, one is load for the daisy chain and is the 3rd the supply from the inverter?  If so, I'll need to swap its location as it is in the load now. 

 

Thank you all,

Steven 

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Quote

Next question is why are there 3 sets of Romex in that GFCi?  One is supply, one is load for the daisy chain and is the 3rd the supply from the inverter?  If so, I'll need to swap its location as it is in the load now. 

 

One is the source from the inverter. The other two are loads, one may go the back and the other to the front. My 18 plug circuit is similar.

The inverter supplies MSW from it's inverter or PSW from shore power (pass through mode) or from the gen which should also be PSW. There are 2 inverter output circuits which is why you have a 30A CB supplying the charger/inverter.

 

Edited by W7BE_Bob
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I replaced the GFCI the other night w a different brand and ran the fridge and some stuff on inverter today and no tripping.  Next, I'll try w the engine running to see how it works. 

Contacted Intellitec about the panel and the changing lights.  He had me run some tests and they all passed.  He thinks either my remote display or my control board is failing.   I've ordered a new panel to start.  Everything still works except those lights.  He told me NOT to get replacements from Amazon or Ebay as they do not sell to them and they have likely passed hands 2 to 3 times already.   BTW, my Intellitec is not clicking and shedding loads, only lights changing. 

I also traced all my outlets down the line from the GFCi. 

 

20211202_180646.jpg

Edited by Steven P
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15 hours ago, Steven P said:

I replaced the GFCI the other night w a different brand and ran the fridge and some stuff on inverter today and no tripping.

 

15 hours ago, Steven P said:

 He told me NOT to get replacements from Amazon or Ebay as they do not sell to them and they have likely passed hands 2 to 3 times already.

Morning Stephen,   When you say a different brand do you mean the one Magnum recommended or some other brand?

Interesting statement about Amazon and Ebay.  Makes me wonder how many other products it may apply to also.

Edited by Ray Davis
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@Ray Davis I used a Leviton gfci I picked up at Home Depot.  I've ordered the recommended brand, but it hasn't arrived yet.  Time will tell how this one works. 

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4 hours ago, Ray Davis said:

Interesting statement about Amazon and Ebay.  Makes me wonder how many other products it may apply to also.

I've never considered that aspect. Even from the Amazon warehouse it's 1 or more hands. I look at price including shipping and delivery date. Plus I don't have to go get it but there are some stores I like to browse. Using son's Prime, shipping is free other than the price increase to cover shipping. 

One item I recently got was half the price at HD vs Amazon, so great opportunity to visit the store. It was a locker pickup with no waiting at the service desk. Made offshore, wonder how many hands  it had been through?

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