A tripping inverter/charger can be so frustrating! I have experienced this before – I have a 6-year-old Sukam pure sinewave inverter/charger installed at home that we use to power the essential home appliances from the battery power whenever the grid goes down.
You may also experience the same with an inverter/charger in your RV too.
Getting to the underlying reason why the GFCI breaker supplying power to the inverter keeps tripping can give you peace of mind.
But the troubleshooting process is not always straightforward.
Hopefully, my experiences will help you identify and rectify the fault faster – at least this is my intention here today.
And so, I have compiled the common reasons why the GFCI breaker may be tripping, including checks you perform to locate the fault and the corresponding remedies to get your inverter/charger working reliably again.
Note: Always contact the services of a qualified electrician.
First, we’ll look at the possible reasons why the inverter may be tripping the breaker and what checks you should do.
Keep in mind that some of these may not apply depending on your setup. So, adapt them accordingly.
What the Breaker May be Tripping when the Inverter is Connected
The GFCI breaker in the outlet that the inverter/charger is plugged into may trip if :
- the power outlet that the inverter is plugged into is faulty,
- there’s a fault in the wiring between the outlet and inverter circuit breaker,
- if one or more appliances are connected to the inverter/charger output,
- or their wiring is faulty, or
- the inverter installation is faulty too.
The tripping may be immediate, a sign that there’s a short or delay. Let’s look at each possible cause and how you can go about isolating it and fixing it thereafter.
1. Fault in the power outlet the inverter is plugged into
To check if indeed it is a fault with the outlet the inverter is plugged into, plug the inverter into a different GFCI outlet.
Check if the tripping persists. If the tripping stops then there’s likely a fault with the outlet.
2. Fault in the wiring between the outlet and breaker that the inverter is connected to
To check this, disconnect the inverter and reset the GFCI breaker. Does it trip?
If it trips with the inverter disconnected, (in the case of an RV for example), then there’s a likelihood that there’s a fault with the wiring between the outlet and the connection point for the inverter.
3. Fault in the outlets connecting to the inverter
It is also possible that one or more AC outlets connected to the inverter output or the appliances have a fault.
If you’ve got the skills to do this safely, disconnect all the connections to the inverter AC output.
Check if the GFCI breaker trips or not. If it still trips then the fault is with the inverter.
Otherwise, proceed to inspect the wiring and connected appliances for any faults.
Replace any faulty wiring or appliance and check if the tripping persists.
4. There’s an issue with the Inverter installation. Is the inverter AC output neutral connected to the AC input neutral?
If so, then in some cases, this can trip the GFCI breaker.
Some inverter manufacturers recommend the inverter output neutral connection should not be connected to the inverter neutral input.
This is because some inverters ground their output neutral when inverting creating a “short-like condition” to the GFCI in the power outlet.
Contact a qualified electrician to investigate if this is an issue.
In summary, if your inverter/charger is tripping, it is easy to end up attempting several solutions at once which can contribute to the frustration.
Work through the suggestions calmly one at a time.
I have summarised for you below the possible causes that can guide your troubleshooting efforts
All the Best!