Inverter problems

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:31
ThreadID: 11371 Views:2562 Replies:9 FollowUps:10
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I bought a Powertech Pure Sinewave 150watt Inverter a little more than 12 months ago. On the recent EO long weekend to Little Desert the inverter cooked itself with plumes of smoke emanating from the box. It was out of warraty and I couldn't find the purchase receipt.

My travelling mate, who is a retired lekky decided it was a a capacitor that was crook and whilst in Adelaide this week scouted around and found an electrical spares shop hidden away in a side street. There he bought the capacitor and soldered it in for me. The inverter is working again.

Cost? $1.35 for the part and some solder and a couple of city blocks of walking.

I wonder what Powertech would have charged me for a repair job.
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Reply By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:37

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:37
Gday Willem,hope this is a one off problem as Ive just purchased a Power Tech 300W inverter.I know $1.35 isnt dear but its the hassle of stuffing up in the scrub.
AnswerID: 50942

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:42

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:42
Willem,

I have a inverter myself and I would like to know what happened to the inverter. Mine is out of warranty also and would like to avoid a melt down

Wayne
AnswerID: 50943

Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:57

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:57
Wayne,

No idea. I had been running Moving Map for about 2 hours on a cool day. The inverter lives in my glovebox cavity( I have removed the lid ). There is ample air moving around. The inverter does get hot. But I have used it like this before for longer hours at a time. My lekky mate says that capacitors are like that. They just die. He bought me a spare one which we have tied to the inside of the unit in case of failure again out bush. I am lucky it is only a capacitor and not something else that is unfixable. The inverter also has a 20amp fuse but that had not blown.
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FollowupID: 312698

Follow Up By: Member - Eskimo - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 07:54

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 07:54
Capacitors do not like "not being used"..they need to be charged and discharged which prolongs their life.
However, having said that some things just give up earlier than others and die!
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FollowupID: 312774

Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:42

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:42
Willem,

the quote alone would be more than you paid for it. I reckon these guys must be making a killing. I had a computer looked at recently (by an absolute idiot as I was to learn) and it cost me $99 for 45 min work. That is $33 per 15 min for a jerk with no training, qualifications or common sense. They replaced the mother board and gave it back to me. When I booted it it did exactly what it did before the 'repair'. The machine was under a parts only warranty which is why I took it back to them. At the time I said "Its got a RAM or CPU problem".

These guys have minimal overheads, no professional indemnity costs, are booked days in advance, and charge more than many professionals.
AnswerID: 50944

Reply By: Jarrod - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:47

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:47
Willem, as a Qualified Electronics Tech, I can tell you what went wrong with your inverter - The smoke got out!!! ya see, everything electrical runs on "smoke" similar to water in a pipe. If somehow the smoke is allowed to be released (in your case the electrolitic capacitor burst) then the item stops - This is also true of some engines - However engines have lots more "smoke". Sometimes it all comes out at once - thats why they stop running!!

I know this wont help, but it made me smile when I heard it....

Jarrod.

P.s, same person who told this also said "life is tough. It's tougher if you're stupid".......
AnswerID: 50947

Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:51

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 20:51
Jarrod,

Same would apply to air in tyres.

Wayne
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FollowupID: 312697

Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 21:00

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 21:00
Jarrod,

A good joke is always appreciated :-)))))

Hope I never have to have anything repaired by you..hahahahahaha
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FollowupID: 312699

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:25

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:25
Jarrod,

thanx for the advice, I have silliconed up all the holes in my inverter especially that pesky fan at the back and now the smoke wont be able to get out, just to be sure I only use it when its securely fastened in a plastic bag, I keep under the seat.

Thanx Mate, you saved my inverter
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FollowupID: 312738

Follow Up By: joc45 - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 01:26

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 01:26
Some years ago, there used to be a DOS program called nosmoke.exe, which used to fix smoking computer power supplies. Perhaps it might work on inverters if a laptop is running off it.
Gerry
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FollowupID: 312771

Reply By: Member - StevenL - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 21:19

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 21:19
My parents Dometic Aircon on the caravan recently was not working. Guy came and checked it out and it was the capacitor.

Apparently when they start up there is a huge initial load so there is a capacitor that supplies extra kick to get things moving. Happens in a few things electrical I'm told. The job of a capacitor is to store electricity drawn slowly from a source and then release it quicly when triggered. I think camera flashes work on this principle.

Same as you said, the guy said that these things just give up the ghost suddenly. Dad now has a spare one ready for next time. The cost $16 for the capacitor and $50 for the call out.

Maybe a capacitor is in the inverter to smooth out start up loads of equipment plugged into it???

StevenL
AnswerID: 50955

Reply By: Mad Dog Morgan (Geelong) - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 21:21

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 21:21
Parts can be cheap but diagnosis can take a bit of time pushing up the cost. Anyway pleased to hear it's working and I'm surprised you didn't have a bag of spare caps...don't go bush without em :)
AnswerID: 50957

Reply By: Member - Des Lexik(SA) - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:27

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:27
Good old Uncle Milt eh. What a bloke to have as a mate.
AnswerID: 50973

Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:42

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:42
Why do you think I take him on trips?

He is the cook
He is clever with electrics
He comes up with ideas how to fix things.

So the benefit works both ways. I take him on trips for free. He fixes things when I break them. He also has a welder which is handy. I do pay him for his efforts though.

I knew a bloke once who said that if you ever bought a house by the sea make sure that one neighbour has a swimmingpool and another has a boat. Then all you have to do is to arrive with a slab under your arm.
Mercenary, eh?
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FollowupID: 312746

Reply By: Member Eric - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:43

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:43
Willem , from what i was TOLD , the start up factor is what kills them . This is why I purchased such a large unit , at least it will handle any surge
AnswerID: 50981

Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:58

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 22:58
Yes, but mine had been running for a while on that day. We were in flat country(Little Desert...tracks for beginners or those with fancy 4bies hahaha) and as Jarrod said, the smoke escaped.

Can't see ypu burning that humungus inverter of yours. Jeez, you could run Satellite TV off that one...:-)
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FollowupID: 312754

Follow Up By: Member Eric - Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 23:09

Thursday, Mar 18, 2004 at 23:09
At least Ruth knows how I run the electric blanket lol
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FollowupID: 312757

Reply By: Member - Toonfish - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 00:44

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 00:44
good to hear Willem
Great job there uncle
now powertech should pay you for tech support!

all chefs are multi skilled

maybe someone can hire me out when i get older and hopefully wiser
AnswerID: 51000

Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 14:45

Friday, Mar 19, 2004 at 14:45
Toonfish...chefs are always popular :-)
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FollowupID: 312822

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