Grounding inverter chassis - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 10:07:AM Thread Starter
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Grounding inverter chassis

Apologies if this has been answered but I canít find it searching. My inverter is bonded. Meaning the ground of the 120v AC outlets connect to the inverter chassis. Do I ground the inverter chassis to the van body/frame or can I wire it to the 12v dc bus bar that is grounded to the chassis. Or neither?


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 10:32:AM
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"Bonded" means the neutral and ground are connected (at the panel/source). The inverter chassis should also be grounded to the vehicle chassis. Directly would be best but via the negative buss bar (That already has a connection to the chassis) would be sufficient.

It's important because UL-458 for mobile inverters allows for 60V on the neutral. These types should not have additional outlets connected. Only use the outlets on the unit.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 10:34:AM Thread Starter
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"Bonded" means the neutral and ground are connected (at the panel/source). The inverter chassis should also be grounded to the vehicle chassis. Directly would be best but via the negative buss bar (That already has a connection to the chassis) would be sufficient.



It's important because UL-458 for mobile inverters allows for 60V on the neutral. These types should not have additional outlets connected. Only use the outlets on the unit.


Thanks. We have a samlex pst-1500, which has the option the hard wire the outlets to the inverter. Iíll run a separate ground to the chassis to be safe.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 10:50:AM
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I have a Magnum MS1012 powered by two Crown CR260s. The house batteries were wired totally independent of the van batteries until I installed the Sterling BB1230 which instructs you to run a ground wire from the van bank (-) directly to the house bank (-) bus. So I guess the house bank now shares a ground with the van bank/chassis.

At first I didn't even have the ground on the inverter chassis attached to the van chassis. I know, probably dumb but it was fine for our first two week trip. Hot, Nuetral, and Ground were all three connect directly from outlet to the inverter.

This time around, I did ground the inverter chassis to the van chassis. But if your house bank was 100% independent of the van bank and chassis ground, would you still ground your inverter to the chassis?

If anyone knows that I did that wrong please let me know.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 04:38:PM
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I know I am answering an old post but my understanding is that the house inverter is usually grounded to the chassis, at least that's how I wired up mine.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-27-2019, 03:00:PM
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My guess is that grounding the inverter to the chassis would be good in either independent or ganged systems. If a failure happens inside the device you have plugged in then the current has a path to ground. If the failure is something in your device shorts to the chassis then again there is a path to protect you from the current.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-27-2019, 04:30:PM
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My understanding is the ground terminal on the inverter is to ground the housing to the vehicle. In my case the aluminum housings are bolted to the 80/20 framework which is grounded to the chassis at one location. I did not use the ground terminals on my two inverters because the cases are grounded. Ground terminal should be used if housing is not grounded. Terminals would be used if inverter bolted to wood. Someone please correct me if that is incorrect. Code says you must use the ground terminal.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-27-2019, 05:10:PM
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I looked into this, get the information from people who outfit boats. The RV side is lacking.

The inverter, say 2kw, with 2/0 pos w/175amp fuse & 2/0 neg wire, the chassis gnd post is tiny, maybe 10ga wire? What happens if a catastrophic failure occurs and the +2/0 contacts the chassis with a 10ga gnd wire? red hot glowing wire?

My inverter is mounted on wood so I removed my chassis gnd wire, the thinking is: if the inverter fails and +2/0 contacts an unground case the only thing that will happen is the inverter won't work, replace inverter.

If the +2/0 and -2/0 touch the 175 amp fuse will blow.

I believe in the boating world the chassis gnd should be at least 2/0 back to the battery that way the 175 amp fuse will blow.

Of course do your own research.

Last edited by phil; 03-27-2019 at 06:21:PM.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-27-2019, 06:13:PM
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While Phil is correct the usual reason for a separate inverter ground wire is for RF shielding. To be effective it needs to be ultra short and make a chassis connection with the shortest possible wire. Some times this is not the same as the place you would want to draw 200A from.
In my install I have a direct (00 wire) connection to the battery for the negative input and then to the chassis. This helps keep the high current noise, on both 12v inputs, out of the chassis. It circulates between the battery and inverter which are a foot apart.
A smaller inverter case ground goes directly to the van floor about 2" away.
There is a small possibility of interference with vehicle electronics if very high DC ground current, from the inverter, pass through the chassis.
Yes there is a possibility of high current in that wire. I would then act as a fuse.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 11:34:PM
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Originally Posted by phil View Post
I looked into this, get the information from people who outfit boats. The RV side is lacking.

The inverter, say 2kw, with 2/0 pos w/175amp fuse & 2/0 neg wire, the chassis gnd post is tiny, maybe 10ga wire? What happens if a catastrophic failure occurs and the +2/0 contacts the chassis with a 10ga gnd wire? red hot glowing wire?

My inverter is mounted on wood so I removed my chassis gnd wire, the thinking is: if the inverter fails and +2/0 contacts an unground case the only thing that will happen is the inverter won't work, replace inverter.

If the +2/0 and -2/0 touch the 175 amp fuse will blow.

I believe in the boating world the chassis gnd should be at least 2/0 back to the battery that way the 175 amp fuse will blow.

Of course do your own research.
I'm out of my element here but isn't a large fuse like that intended for current overload? I think the reason you always see smaller ground wires and terminals almost everywhere (except lightning protection systems) is that they only need to carry enough current to trip the interrupter from a short circuit. Once the circuit breaker is tripped the problem is over with, rather than sinking all that fuse current through a huge ground wire to the chassis? So don't you typically need both a fuse for over-current and a breaker for a short circuit?

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