I use a 2000W Coleman inverter in my RV to run the coffee maker and flat screen TV. I used to run a fat extension cord from the inverter in the utility compartment through an open window into the RV but decided to wire a 25-foot length of 14/2 Romex cable for a more permanent, clutter-free hookup. The cable goes through an opening under the bed and runs along the inside walls inside plastic cord covers. To facilitate pulling the Romex through the cord covers and around corners I stripped off its outer PVC jacket and paper separators. The run includes two duplex outlets. The new connection works for the most part. The coffee maker, power tools, a 19-inch flat screen TV, and a DVD player all work fine when I plug them in, but when I plug in the Toshiba 22-inch flat screen TV/DVD combo (even by itself) the inverter immediately cuts out and flashes its overload light. The crazy thing is that if I unplug the new wiring and run the old extension cord directly from the inverter to the TV then it works fine. The voltage level at the TV is 130V whether it gets there from the new cable or the old extension cord. When it runs with the old cord the TV only pulls about 55W with no startup surge. Can anyone explain what the heck is going on?

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    Your clear disclosure about the dubious installation job is genuinely helpful. I would want to see some photos/details of anywhere that wire is loose, unjacketed, going through narrow or ungrommeted holes, anywhere that could possibly move, pinch or bear weight (crush), etc. Low voltage DC wiring is docile stuff, mains wiring is serious business and can be sensitive to installation issues. Does the inverter have a GFCI feature? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 19 '18 at 0:30
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    Oh, and never, ever shuck Romex again, it's very fragile without the sheath. If you want individual wires, buy THWN-2 wire (stranded not solid) in any colors you want. It's tougher and much easier to work with. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 19 '18 at 0:33

I replaced the inverter and that solved the problem.

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I would start by replacing the dodgy mains wiring with proper mains wiring

My first port of call would be to toss this whole wiring setup out and start over -- instead of cord cover, a proper, mains-power-listed surface raceway is the correct thing to use here, with individual stranded THHN wires run inside it. (NM cable wires are not designed for use outside the protection of a cable jacket, which makes it likely that there is wiring damage present that is contributing to the inverter cutting out.)

If that doesn't fix things...

If that does not solve the problem, I would get a power strip with a built-in noise filter and plug the culprit TV/DVD player into that instead of plugging it directly into a wall outlet -- this will help keep electrical noise from confusing the inverter.

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  • Thanks for your help folks. I plan to take your advice and redo the wiring with a mains-power surface raceway instead. – Curmudgeon Sep 21 '18 at 20:30
  • @Curmudgeon -- we thank folks around here by upvoting and accepting their answers :) – ThreePhaseEel Sep 22 '18 at 4:42
  • Pardon my ignorance of protocol. I marked your answer as useful, but I haven't replaced the wiring yet. In the meantime I tried a different flat-screen, a one-year-old, 32-inch Samsung, and that works fine. Per your suggestion I tried a power strip, an RCA Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor, but no help. I then plugged the new wiring into shore-power, eliminating the inverter, and now the culprit TV works just fine. So yes, it's a mystery involving my not Kosher wiring, but only when combined with this 10-year old TV and 16-year old inverter. At this point I'm tempted to just toss the TV. – Curmudgeon Sep 23 '18 at 21:27

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