Reliable Inverters?

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 11:08
ThreadID: 4547 Views:2808 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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I have just stuffed my 3rd Altronics 380w inverter. 1st one didn't work at all, 2nd one died running a coffee grinder, latest one died running a coffee grinder - jeez we were bleep off - no fresh coffee for the rest of Easter.
With another big trip coming up, I have to decide whether to get it replaced/fixed, or go to another brand. Has anyone else had bad experiences with particular brands (I have heard several stories of unreliable inverters) and any good stories of reliability?
I use the thing to recharge digital camera batteries, friends' laptops and run small motor devices such as coffee grinders and bamix (no more than 130w motors), so it's not being overworked. I reckoned that as this one had a 1200w surge capablility, it should have handled a small motor like the coffee grinder (stall current about 2A/500w). My old home-made inverter ran for years, but I may now have to resurrect it.
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Reply By: Member - Moggs - Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 15:20

Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 15:20
Hi joc45, try Jaycar

Enter following Cat. No's in search function

Catalogue Number MI-5064 or MI-5082 (Pure Sine Wave)

I have friends with both of these units and they have never let them down. Rgds,Moggs ( Normanhurst NSW)
AnswerID: 18297

Follow Up By: wherethefugawi - Monday, Apr 28, 2003 at 18:25

Monday, Apr 28, 2003 at 18:25
Pss Moggs you didnt start telling me of your idea on whether or not its feasable/economical or what ever to convert a standard type camper for off road use...doesnt have to be a jayco
FollowupID: 11622

Reply By: Member - Moggs - Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 15:22

Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 15:22
In addition, I would avoid the MI-5062 as I reckon you may have similar problems with this unit as you have already experienced.

We too love our coffee camping and always pack the espresso pot. We grind our own beans at home and keep them in the CF50 - we only use the inverter to charge batteries or run the laptop.Moggs ( Normanhurst NSW)
AnswerID: 18298

Follow Up By: joc45 - Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 15:56

Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 15:56
thanks for that Moggs.
Yeh, the fresh coffee is a winner. Some years ago, I made an inverter to run a laptop in the 4wd. Later, when I upgraded the laptop to one I could run off 12v, I decided to use the inverter for running the coffee grinder, etc, till it died (due to other causes) last year.
Sadly, it looks like Jaycar have deleted both the 5082 and the 5064 off their web catalogue. Will drop in this arvo and find out what's the score.
I note both Jaycar and Altronics have lots of "refurbished" units in their bargain bin, I guess from all the faulty returns. Maybe there's a message there.
FollowupID: 11473

Reply By: raybates - Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 18:58

Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 18:58
Hi Mogs,
you seem to know quite a bit about inverters. Do you recon that the 5064 or the 5082 inverter will run an Engle fridge. No I am not made the fridge will only run on 240 and I am not prepared to pay big bickies to have it repaired. I would also run other things from it as well such as lights and a television set.
AnswerID: 18303

Reply By: William - Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 19:32

Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 19:32
A 380w inverter does not sound sufficient for a coffee grinder.

What wattage is the motor or what amperage does the appliance plate state?

I would expect a 500w minimum inverter would be needed.
AnswerID: 18305

Follow Up By: William - Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 19:55

Thursday, Apr 24, 2003 at 19:55
The small domestic coffee grinders I can find on the net are 250w. That would mean you would need a minimum 600w inverter.

There is probably nothing wrong with the Altronics inverter. You are overloading it and burning it out. The large majority of these up to 1,000w inverters are made by the same company in Taiwan. They are different colours and labels and even some cosmetic construction changes. Generally they are very reliable if used within the designed limits.
FollowupID: 11484

Follow Up By: joc45 - Friday, Apr 25, 2003 at 00:17

Friday, Apr 25, 2003 at 00:17
Nah! The coffee grinder is a Braun marked at 135w. DC resistance is 120 ohms, which means that the ablolute max stall current is about 2A, or roughly 500w. Given that the inverter is supposed to take a 1200w surge, with 380w continous, then it's well within the design limits. It even is supposed to have all sorts of overload protection to stop this sort of thing.
I used to use a home-made low-tech 150w inverter for the coffee grinder, etc, which went well for years till I stuffed it on something else. It just appears that the Altronics unit is fragile. It works fine on 350w of continuous resistive load, but seems to crash out on inductive loads. My old low-tech inverter handled the inductive spikes of motors fine.
To be fair, Altronics have given me a fourth unit today, no quibbles, so we'll see how this one pans out on the next trip. I'll just pack some pre-ground coffee just in case.
Might even fix the old inverter and carry it as a spare. (As an aside, the new inverter doesn't appear to be user-repairable, as the part id's have been ground off most of the components inside)
FollowupID: 11491

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