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barrysnowball

Inverter earth

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My plug tester shows all correct when on shore line, but when running on inverter, it shows earth fault.

I have a RICH ELECTRIC INVERTEK 1500w inverter. There is an external earth connection from the casing to the boat circuitry.
I have been told to connect earth and neutral inside the inverters output.
Will this work, or will it damage the inverter or the boat's breakers?

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The simplest way to find out would be to drop them a line and ask if it’s okay to bond Neutral and Earth on that inverter. 

 

There are ways to test it but it’s much simpler to get an email from the manufacturer saying ‘yes’. :)

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That is the normal instruction to connect the neutral output to the earth. Your plug tester with 3 lights will not work correctly on the inverter output when so connected, this is normal. Ensure that the inverter output is never connected to the shore line.

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4 minutes ago, barrysnowball said:

Thanks, WotEver.

I will get in touch with them.

Yer welcome :)

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I trust Rich Electric are more clued up than some of their distributors.

 

I bought a re-badged Rich Electric inverter some years ago, and made a similar enquiry (to the distributer,  not Rich themselves). The reply I got was that there was no need to make a connection between neutral and earth, and that, because the inverter output was not connected to the mains supply, there was no chance of getting a fatal shock from it!  🤤

 

I duly tested it, and made an earth/neutral connection 🙂

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And you are still here to tell the tale. So it works.

I wouldn't trust those distributors. 240AC will kill, wherever it comes from.

Did your rcd still work ok?

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1 hour ago, barrysnowball said:

Did your rcd still work ok?

The RCD (and plug testers) will only work when there is a N-E link. I fully expect that you can link yours but like I said above best to get the answer straight from the horse’s mouth. 

1 hour ago, Iain_S said:

because the inverter output was not connected to the mains supply, there was no chance of getting a fatal shock from it! 

He has a point. Without the N-E bond the only way you could get a shock was if you grabbed hold of both line and neutral. With the bond you can get a shock just grabbing hold of a live wire. But the RCD would trip in that instance. 

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But certainly there are some inverters which will simply explode if you connect neutral to earth so you do need to check first.

  • Greenie 1

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1 minute ago, Keeping Up said:

But certainly there are some inverters which will simply explode if you connect neutral to earth so you do need to check first.

Oh very much so. I have my copy/paste handy for how to check them but an email is so much simpler. 

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Many inverters split the 230V between "live" and "neutral ".  See 'centre-tapped '.

Linking 'neutral ' and earth on these  will most likely cause emission of magic smoke. 

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25 minutes ago, dor said:

Many inverters split the 230V between "live" and "neutral ".  See 'centre-tapped '.

Linking 'neutral ' and earth on these  will most likely cause emission of magic smoke. 

And not only are that type arguably safer anyway but if truly centre-tapped will still work with an RCD. 

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8 hours ago, barrysnowball said:

My plug tester shows all correct when on shore line, but when running on inverter, it shows earth fault.

I have a RICH ELECTRIC INVERTEK 1500w inverter. There is an external earth connection from the casing to the boat circuitry.
I have been told to connect earth and neutral inside the inverters output.
Will this work, or will it damage the inverter or the boat's breakers?

See Gibbo's post 6.    https://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?/topic/14776-which-inverters-provide-neutral-earth-bonding/

 

It looks like all Rich inverters can be N/E bonded but you have to provide your own link.

 

Edited by Flyboy

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2 hours ago, WotEver said:

(snip) Without the N-E bond the only way you could get a shock was if you grabbed hold of both line and neutral. With the bond you can get a shock just grabbing hold of a live wire. But the RCD would trip in that instance. 

But this might be easier to "arrange" than it first appears. Suppose some piece of eqjuipment develops a fault, such that there is a short between "live" and earth. Nothing happens, as the earth which was floating is now just at the same potential as one of the "live" cables. ("live" because wth a floating earth, both the nominaly live and neutral cables are actually live). Such a fault is likely to be undetected, as there would be no symptoms, so could persist for a long time without causing a problem. Then, get a bit careless and touch the other "live" cable by accident, (Depending on the original fault, the "other" cable might be coloured brown or blue.) Result is an unexpected shock ...

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49 minutes ago, Iain_S said:

But this might be easier to "arrange" than it first appears. Suppose some piece of eqjuipment develops a fault, such that there is a short between "live" and earth. Nothing happens, as the earth which was floating is now just at the same potential as one of the "live" cables. ("live" because wth a floating earth, both the nominaly live and neutral cables are actually live). Such a fault is likely to be undetected, as there would be no symptoms, so could persist for a long time without causing a problem. Then, get a bit careless and touch the other "live" cable by accident, (Depending on the original fault, the "other" cable might be coloured brown or blue.) Result is an unexpected shock ...

What you describe is exactly what happens when you N-E bond. One of the outputs is tied to earth. 

 

Remember that there is no actual Live or Neutral on a floating output until you tie one of them to earth. 

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