Outdated inverter ??

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:47
ThreadID: 101229 Views:2035 Replies:3 FollowUps:5
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On a recent trip I had a few problems with the onboard inverter/240v charger in my motorhome so on arriving home I check out the yellow pages and ring the Sydney agent for these well known European made inverters.
"No mate, we only sell them we don't service them, ring the main importers in Brisbane, here's the number".
So I ring Brisbane and after being shuffled around I finally get though to the technical branch, explain my problem and ask where in Sydney can I get someone to check the inverter set-up. This bloke then asks me how old it is and when I tell him six years he tells me parts are no longer available and it is probably unserviceable anyway, just buy a new one !!!
Can anybody recommend an auto elect in Sydney, pref on the southern side, up to speed with solar panels, 240v inverters, battery banks etc. I have read the troubleshooting guide several times and only get more and more confused.
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Reply By: Ross M - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 21:53

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 21:53
Can you outline the trouble you are having so we have some idea of what could possibly be the area of trouble.
Unless it's a dc current supply problem I would think most Autoelecs won't be of any help.

The inverter maker/supplier will assume correct DC supply as that is what it runs on and then you are back to the inverter operation if the DC is OK.
A brief description of the wattage and associated connections and usage will also be informative for the thinkers on the forum. Some are electronics people and do have an idea.


Ross M
AnswerID: 507306

Follow Up By: racinrob - Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 11:57

Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 11:57
Ross, thanks for your interest. With the solar panels feeding the system everything works fine (12v) but when I hook up to 240v and switch the system over it starts cycling between, "Mains On"with the blue indicator light steady where my 240v appliances work then that light starts flashing and I'm back to 12v. I leave it alone and it'll revert back to "Mains On" and everything is OK on 240v.
The inverter is a Victron 1200w 50amp.
Some of the advice I've been given is that the 240v power is "dirty" or just don't hook up to 240v, very frustrating.
FollowupID: 784661

Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:25

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:25
racingor you’re fighting a losing battle – electronic gear like this is throw away stuff, when out of warranty -save yourself the hassle and buy a new one.
AnswerID: 507312

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 17:24

Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 17:24
Rob mate......in the last 6 years things have moved along quite away in the whole DC power thing.

Apart from the fact that if you could find someone capable of repairing the existing unit, you probably would not want to pay em what its worth to do so.
AND you can probably buy better technology for less than the original cost in the day.

In this day and age so much is designed to run and is more effifcient running native on 12 volts......you may well ask if you need the inverter at all.

I certainly think you will be better served to buy a good quality stand alone battery charger and may be a modern battery managment system that includes a Maximum Power Point Tracking regulator for your solar.

Go thru ya van an replace all the 12v lamps with LED, the telly with a 12 volt one..and then only run what absolutely must off the 240v

ALL that said......have you tested the existing inverter with a known good new battery.......the battery may just a little sad and not capable of delivering the 100pluss amps the inverter will draw when fully loaded.

I know it all seems drastic......but it may be all for the best.

AnswerID: 507426

Follow Up By: racinrob - Sunday, Mar 24, 2013 at 10:57

Sunday, Mar 24, 2013 at 10:57
All food for thought Bantam, I have full LED etc but will have the batteries tested under load and see about an upgrade as you suggest.
FollowupID: 784731

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 24, 2013 at 12:04

Sunday, Mar 24, 2013 at 12:04
Remember, inverters hit batteries very hard.....consider that a 1500 watt inverter fully loaded draws about as much as your stater motor.

in this day and age there is less and less good reason to have inverter in any caravan, camper or 4wd.

BUT inverters are very heavily marketed.

We have less real need, but more inverters sold than ever.

FollowupID: 784742

Follow Up By: Janos K - Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 18:11

Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 18:11
Hmm, same sympton of one i recently repaired. So your Victron is auto AC switching ?
Suggest some caution here but here we go .
1- disconnect all power
2- allow time 1/2 day to be safe for it to discharge
3- there will be either one or two relays
4- take plenty of photo's before disconnecting anything as this will help reconnecting , Also use masking tape and a felt pen .

The change over relays over time will increase in resistance and not change over completely.
there may also be a mains filter "yellow" capacitor ( google MKT Capacitor) This could be dead from spikes over its time.

AS there is no schematic some one withe a multimeter and basic electronics should be able to pin point the error.
Last other thing could be, .. fingers crossed that its not. the charger. If the charger has failed then the inverter will stay in 12v input mode. There could be a simple fuse internally.
FollowupID: 785039

Follow Up By: racinrob - Tuesday, Apr 02, 2013 at 21:23

Tuesday, Apr 02, 2013 at 21:23
Janos K, thanks mate, I will do the checks as you suggest, hoping it is the capacitor.
FollowupID: 785446

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