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 > inverter shuts down when I plug TT power cord into it

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ewarnerusa

Helena, Montana

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Posted: 02/25/12 01:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello. I've got a Samlex model SAM-800-12 modified sine wave 800W inverter. My goal is to plug my shore power cable into this inverter to make all the outlets live in the TT while boondocking. I have a WF-8900 power distribution center and I've isolated the WF-8955 converter to its own breaker so I can shut it off when running the shore power cable to the inverter. I'll also shut the breakers off for big draw items since they can't possibly operate off an inverter (A/C, water heater, microwave) I have not done the permanent install of the inverter yet, but today I decided to verify my plan by hooking the inverter up to the battery using the included alligator clip power cables. The inverter powers up fine. I then shut off the breakers in the TT for the converter, air conditioner, water heater, and microwave and then plugged the shore power cable into the inverter. Within a few seconds, the fault light on the inverter comes on and 110V power is shut down. I shut off the main breaker on the WF-8900 distribution center, unplugged the shore power cable from the inverter, cycled power on the inverter to clear the fault, and then plugged the shore power cable back into the inverter and the same fault occurs. If I just plug the shore power cable into the inverter without the 50A side of it plugged into the TT, no fault occurs. But as soon as I connect the 50A side of the shore power cable to the TT, the fault occurs within a few seconds and 110V power shuts down. If I don't use the shore power cable and just run an extension cord from my inverter into the TT and hook the TV up, the TV will operate and no fault occurs. (Actually, the TV makes an awful buzzing sound that I attribute to the MSW AC power. So I've already got a PSW inverter lined up as a replacement.) I hooked my dad's 400W MSW inverter up to my battery in the same manner and plugged the shore power cable into it with appropriate breakers on the WF-8900 distribution center shut off and it works exactly like I want it to. TV still buzzes, but the outlets are live and his inverter does not fault out. So the issue seems to be my specific Samlex inverter when hooked to the shore power cable and WF-8900 distribution center. Can anyone explain why?
Thanks.
Ed
EDIT: found this pic, this is what I'm trying to do without the "A" and just an inverter, not an inverter/charger.


* This post was last edited 02/26/12 09:08pm by ewarnerusa *   View edit history


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donn0128

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Posted: 02/25/12 02:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What you are saying makes no sense at all!
An inverter takes 12VDC from your batteries and converts it to 120VAC to operate a few items.
Why in the world would you want to take 120VAC and convert it to what?
Now to use shore power and an inverter you need a transfer switch of some sort or wire dedicated circuits directly from your inverter to the outlet.
I suspect you do not have any electrical experience from the description of what you are trying to do, therefore I would strongly suggest you hire an expert to do the work for you.


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ewarnerusa

Helena, Montana

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Posted: 02/25/12 02:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lol. I think you are misunderstanding. I'm not trying to convert 110V AC power to anything. This for use while boondocking and using an inverter to create and supply 110V AC power to the TT for things like the TV and laptop chareger. Here's a thread describing what I'm doing, including the many confirmations about how this is common practice.
click
shore power cable draws power from the inverter to supply 110V AC to the TT while boon docking. Think of it as using inverter instead of generator.
Hire an expert to hook alligator clamps to a battery? Yeah right.

* This post was last edited 02/25/12 04:24pm by ewarnerusa *   View edit history

enblethen

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Posted: 02/25/12 02:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It could be seeing your GFCI receptacles and doesn't like them
You are trying to do the impossible! You are asking for trouble with this inverter and setup. Your best bet is to get an inverter that is a little large and provide power only to dedicated location and get one with the feed through feature. Hard wire it according to manufacturer specs.
An 800 watt inverter is not going to run the whole rig.


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donn0128

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Posted: 02/25/12 02:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

800 watts is no where near enough for the entire trailer. Wire it to a single dedicated circuit and you should be good to go. And unless you have the inverter very close to the batteries you are likely experiencing a great deal of power loss. Unless of course you are using 00 welding cable to power it.

ewarnerusa

Helena, Montana

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Posted: 02/25/12 02:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There isn't anything in TT drawing any power and the inverter is faulting. It even faults when the main breaker is switched off before plugging in. What in the TT could possibly be maxing out a 800 continuous/1600 peak watt inverter when nothing is even turned on? AC, microwave, water heater, and converter are disconnected (breakers switched off) so they can't even draw power if they were turned on. Remember, the 400 watt one is doing exactly what I want. An LCD TV uses only around 100-150 watts.

I thought the GFCI circuits in the camper might be causing the issue, too, but wouldn't shutting it's breakers off isolate them so they wouldn't be an issue? I tried that and fault still occurs.

* This post was edited 02/25/12 02:54pm by ewarnerusa *

Wayne Dohnal

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Posted: 02/25/12 02:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is puzzling. If you have a neutral-to-ground connection somewhere in the RV, that could be an explanation,. Some inverters are tolerant of such a connection, and others aren't. You could check this out with a meter but a 100% positive diagnosis usually requires disconnecting neutral wires from the bus bar in the AC power box. An easier way to start is to unplug everything you're able to such as the fridge and sometimes the power converter.


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ewarnerusa

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Posted: 02/25/12 02:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wayne Dohnal wrote:

This is puzzling. If you have a neutral-to-ground connection somewhere in the RV, that could be an explanation,. Some inverters are tolerant of such a connection, and others aren't. You could check this out with a meter but a 100% positive diagnosis usually requires disconnecting neutral wires from the bus bar in the AC power box. An easier way to start is to unplug everything you're able to such as the fridge and sometimes the power converter.

Doesn't flipping the breakers off for items do the same as unplugging them?

ewarnerusa

Helena, Montana

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Posted: 02/25/12 02:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

donn0128 wrote:

800 watts is no where near enough for the entire trailer. Wire it to a single dedicated circuit and you should be good to go. And unless you have the inverter very close to the batteries you are likely experiencing a great deal of power loss. Unless of course you are using 00 welding cable to power it.

Like I said, I'm using the supplied power cables which are probably 3 feet long, 8 gauge, and hooked directly to the battery. When I do the permanent install, I'll be using 0 gauge wire with about 4 ft of wire distance. I would argue that power loss is not the issue with the way I have it setup right now.

vermilye

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Posted: 02/25/12 02:43pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Without a fault code it is difficult to determine what the problem is, but a couple of possibilities - (This is assuming you have isolated the converter from the system when plugging the shore power cord into the inverter):

1. Some inverters shut down if there is a ground/neutral fault (connection) on the output. If a multimeter shows a connection between the ground & neutral blades of the shore power connector, this could be the problem. (this could be a wiring fault or a bad appliance plugged into a 120V receptacle. This fault would not show up on a shore power AC connection unless you were plugged into a GFCI.

Likewise, if the inverter has a GFCI at the output, a ground fault anywhere after it would cause it to shut down.

2 If the cables feeding the inverter's 12V side are too small, the voltage drop between the batteries & the inverter may be enough that the inverter senses "low voltage" and shuts down. This should only be a problem if there is a significant draw on the inverter, so it is worth checking to insure that there isn't a load of some sort still on in the trailer.

3. Of course it is also possible the inverter has a problem. Did you try putting a load on the inverter directly?


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