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Pacific Skipper
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not an electrician and learning so go easy on me.

I have numerous 110 outlets on the boat that work under shore power or when the inverter is engaged. All of that works swimmingly.

I had a standard outlet in my cockpit (mind you she's a big 50' boat with a center cokpit and high freeboard) that I thought would be safer with an EFI outlet like one has outdoors on in the bathroom.

Oddly, it works as it should under shore power but does nothing under the inverter or generator (does not work away from shore power). I've tried 2 EFIs. Should it work? Is it something to do with the ground of the boat and shore power?

Just looking for some insight. Thanks!

~Scott
 

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Asleep at the wheel
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Scott, are there other GFI's on the circuit? Sometimes putting more than one on the same circuit can cause one or both to fail (DAMHIKT). Another possibility is that the inverter is noisy and the GFI is sensing the noise and that's what is tripping it.
 

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Pacific Skipper
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No other GFIs on boat at all. That is the only one.

Inverter is the super size - Xantrex Freedom SW3012 12V 3000W Inverter/Charger -. Had it professionally installed.

So likely then the ground and neutral? I'll have the guy check his work if so.

Thanks.
 

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It seems likely to me that the inverter isn't hooked up correctly and that the ground and neutral aren't connected when the inverter is on.

BE CAREFUL messing with this stuff. Getting it right with multiple power sources has bitten people.
Ground and neutral are connected/disconnected automatically inside the inverter. No setup option can change this.

To the op:
Using a multimeter - carefully - measure whether there is actually voltage at the outlets when on inverter or generator.
 

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If I've got this right, all the other receptacles on the boat will power up with the invertor/genset, other than the one in the cockpit.

First, its not uncommon that an invertor only powers some circuits and not others. More often this is because of capacity. In the OP's case, I'm betting a nickle the electrician intentionally excluded a 110v outlet in the cockpit, assuming one may not want live 110v power in a wet environment while underway. Keeping it out of the circuit would prevent someone below from throwing a switch that ruined the cockpit crew's day.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Ground and neutral are connected/disconnected automatically inside the inverter. No setup option can change this.
Not true. My Mastervolt invertor does not make the connection between ground and neutral. The connection is made by the power selector switch between shore power (connection ashore), generator (connection at the generator), and inverter (connection at the switch).

The OP didn't give us a make or model of inverter.
 

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When on inverter/generator power, does the GFCI trip or does it not have power?
Did the old, non GFCI, receptacle work with the inverter?
Does the GFCI receptacle work when powered by shore power?
 

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Not true. My Mastervolt invertor does not make the connection between ground and neutral. The connection is made by the power selector switch between shore power (connection ashore), generator (connection at the generator), and inverter (connection at the switch).

The OP didn't give us a make or model of inverter.
Not all inverters are the same. Some have automatic switching between different power sources. So it could be true.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Not all inverters are the same. Some have automatic switching between different power sources. So it could be true.
Agreed. I was objecting to the statement that ALL inverters automatically bond neutral and ground. They don't all do that. Some do.
 

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Not true. My Mastervolt invertor does not make the connection between ground and neutral. The connection is made by the power selector switch between shore power (connection ashore), generator (connection at the generator), and inverter (connection at the switch).

The OP didn't give us a make or model of inverter.
Actually the op did give make and model. In post #4 he stated that it is a Xantrex Freedom SW3012 3000 watt inverter and was professionally installed. I have installed the same inverter and it makes the connection between ground and neutral internally.

One item he is not clear on is whether there is power at the GFI or not. In other words is it wired into the system or has it tripped. In the Xantrex manual they list 2 or 3 GFI's that will work with their inverters, as not all will.
 

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Pacific Skipper
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nothing was wired to keep it from working at select times.

Keeoing it simple, the GFI only works with shore power. Not with inverter or gen. Again, I've tried two GFIs (so that's not it) AND a regular outlet (non-GFI) works under gen and inverter. So it's something to do with my grounding on the boat I guess.... I just don't know.

Inverter is a Xantrex SW300
(Inverter Charger | Freedom SW 3000 Inverter/Charger | Xantrex)

Thanks!
 

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Have you put a multi-meter across the terminals at the back of the receptacle, with the invertor running? I suspect its just not getting power. If it is, it's the GFI, but again, I doubt it.

Where does the wire to this GFI come from? Is it dedicated to a breaker on the panel or is it in series with another receptacles? Track it down.

Personally, I would opt for isolating an outdoor receptacle from indoor. If this was done, it remains possible that the cockpit circuit was designed to only get its ground from the shore.
 

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Just had another light go off. Not sure if the OP knows that when a GFI receptacle is added, all receptacles that come after it are also protected. You wouldn't need to install another GFI. It's possible that the cockpit is already protected in series, by another GFI installed below.

Again, important to find where the wire to the cockpit receptacle comes from.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Actually the op did give make and model. In post #4 he stated that it is a Xantrex Freedom SW3012 3000 watt inverter and was professionally installed. I have installed the same inverter and it makes the connection between ground and neutral internally.
I missed that. Thanks. You are correct.

"Professionally installed" means a whole range of things. *grin*
 

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Minnie, I asked the same thing early on and the OP said no, this is the only GFCI on this circuit.

One thing I haven't seen answered is whether the GFCI is tripping, or if it just doesn't get power. If it's tripping, then I think it's likely either a) there's a GFCI hiding somewhere on that circuit (sounds silly, but you'd be surprised how often this can happen) or b) the GFCI isn't compatible with the inverter. If it isn't getting power at all, then I agree with the suggestion above, either a) for some reason, the inverter isn't getting power when the AC is turned off, b) the inverter is broken and not outputting any power, or c) there's a problem in the wiring between the inverter and the GFCI.

In reality, even if the problem is somewhere in the power distribution system (i.e., everything up to the GFCI recepticle), a bad/incompatible GFCI will also cause problems. I'd do as suggested by others, above and make sure there is power at each step along the way from the battery to the inverter, and from the inverter to the GFCI. Just because the thing was professionally installed doesn't mean it was done properly, nor does it mean it was actually tested under battery power.

The following is from the owner's manual for the inverter:

GFCI Requirements

A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) is a device that deenergizes a circuit when a current to ground exceeds a specified value that is less than that required to open the circuit breaker. GFCIs are intended to protect people from electric shocks and are usually required in wet or damp locations.

Installation in recreational vehicles requires GFCI protection of certain branch circuits. Consult all applicable codes.

Tested GFCIs

Compliance with UL standards requires that Xantrex test and recommend specific GFCIs for use on the output of the inverter. Table 1 lists models that have been tested and will function properly when connected to the AC output of the Freedom SW 3000.

Table 1 Tested GFCI Models

Manufacturer Model Number
Hubbell GFR5252WA
Leviton 8599-GY
Pass & Seymour 1594-W

Looking at the manual in more detail, I see that the inverter has both AC and DC inputs (see, e.g., testing step 7 on page 37). Given the OP's description of the problem, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the inverter was hooked up for the charger functions, but that the DC input wasn't hooked up.
 

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Nothing was wired to keep it from working at select times.

Keeoing it simple, the GFI only works with shore power. Not with inverter or gen. Again, I've tried two GFIs (so that's not it) AND a regular outlet (non-GFI) works under gen and inverter. .

Thanks!
Try the GFI on another outlet. Pick an outlet closest to the panel. If it doesn't work there, it might be in how the inverter is wired. I'm assuming the power from the inverter is coming in before the breakers, right?

Sorry I wrote a longer response but try the above first. If it does work there, the GFI is tripping on something else in the line while in the cockpit. Could just be old wiring.

Good luck.
 

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Minnie, I asked the same thing early on and the OP said no, this is the only GFCI on this circuit.

One thing I haven't seen answered is whether the GFCI is tripping, or if it just doesn't get power. If it's tripping, then I think it's likely either a) there's a GFCI hiding somewhere on that circuit (sounds silly, but you'd be surprised how often this can happen) or b) the GFCI isn't compatible with the inverter. If it isn't getting power at all, then I agree with the suggestion above, either a) for some reason, the inverter isn't getting power when the AC is turned off, b) the inverter is broken and not outputting any power, or c) there's a problem in the wiring between the inverter and the GFCI.

In reality, even if the problem is somewhere in the power distribution system (i.e., everything up to the GFCI recepticle), a bad/incompatible GFCI will also cause problems. I'd do as suggested by others, above and make sure there is power at each step along the way from the battery to the inverter, and from the inverter to the GFCI. Just because the thing was professionally installed doesn't mean it was done properly, nor does it mean it was actually tested under battery power.

The following is from the owner's manual for the inverter:

GFCI Requirements

A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) is a device that deenergizes a circuit when a current to ground exceeds a specified value that is less than that required to open the circuit breaker. GFCIs are intended to protect people from electric shocks and are usually required in wet or damp locations.

Installation in recreational vehicles requires GFCI protection of certain branch circuits. Consult all applicable codes.

Tested GFCIs

Compliance with UL standards requires that Xantrex test and recommend specific GFCIs for use on the output of the inverter. Table 1 lists models that have been tested and will function properly when connected to the AC output of the Freedom SW 3000.

Table 1 Tested GFCI Models

Manufacturer Model Number
Hubbell GFR5252WA
Leviton 8599-GY
Pass & Seymour 1594-W

Looking at the manual in more detail, I see that the inverter has both AC and DC inputs (see, e.g., testing step 7 on page 37). Given the OP's description of the problem, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the inverter was hooked up for the charger functions, but that the DC input wasn't hooked up.
The DC input has to be hooked up for it to charge - there is only one set of DC inputs. The are used for both inverter input and charging output, should be 4/0 on this inverter.

Is the GFI one of the three listed in the manual? If not that may well be the problem. Inverters do not work with many GFI's.

OP states power is at the outlet as it works with a standard outlet on both shore power and inverter power. This tells me it is most likely installed correctly.
 
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