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Inverter Low Voltage


AlanC2
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We're dry camping at the ocean on our first outing of the year in our 02 Windsor and fear we may have an inverter problem.  We're keeping the batteries charged with 680 watts of solar power and primarily are using the inverter to power our Samsung 197 fridge.  We've owned the coach 5 years now and have done plenty of dry camping and have not had this problem before.

In the last two days, the Samsung has stopped working twice on inverter power. While the breaker was not tripped, I turned it off and back on again and the fridge started working again.  After the second time, I noticed that the "charge" light on my laptop was not on while I had it plugged in to charge.  I checked the voltage at several of the 110V outlets and am only showing 95-96 volts!!!!!  I reset all of the inverter breakers  on the electrical panels, shut off main battery switches and turned back on, and turned off the switch on the Trace inverter and turned it back on as well as hit the "reset" button.  With the genset on, I'm showing 122 volts at the outlets. The Victron BMV 712 shows the batteries charged 100%.  

We have the original Trace charger/inverter/RC& GS that came with the coach as well as a hard wired Progressive Surge Protector.  

I'm worried about low voltage damage to the fridge and looking for some ideas as to what may be wrong.  Bad inverter?

Thanks in advance!!

AlanC2

02 WIndsor PST

 

Alan

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When our inverter went bad in our 2002 Windsor, we had a beeping at the Trace. We replaced the Xantrex 2012 last year and upgraded to a Xantrex 3012 to handle a larger load- if need, like your domestic refrig.

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16 hours ago, AlanC2 said:

We're dry camping at the ocean on our first outing of the year in our 02 Windsor and fear we may have an inverter problem.  We're keeping the batteries charged with 680 watts of solar power and primarily are using the inverter to power our Samsung 197 fridge.  We've owned the coach 5 years now and have done plenty of dry camping and have not had this problem before.

In the last two days, the Samsung has stopped working twice on inverter power. While the breaker was not tripped, I turned it off and back on again and the fridge started working again.  After the second time, I noticed that the "charge" light on my laptop was not on while I had it plugged in to charge.  I checked the voltage at several of the 110V outlets and am only showing 95-96 volts!!!!!  I reset all of the inverter breakers  on the electrical panels, shut off main battery switches and turned back on, and turned off the switch on the Trace inverter and turned it back on as well as hit the "reset" button.  With the genset on, I'm showing 122 volts at the outlets. The Victron BMV 712 shows the batteries charged 100%.  

We have the original Trace charger/inverter/RC& GS that came with the coach as well as a hard wired Progressive Surge Protector.  

I'm worried about low voltage damage to the fridge and looking for some ideas as to what may be wrong.  Bad inverter?

Thanks in advance!!

AlanC2

02 WIndsor PST

 

Alan

The batteries are charging to 100% but they may be old or have damaged cells so the voltage will drop off fast when a load is applied. My first suspect would be the batteries. Keep in mind that if your inverter is a Modified Sine Wave (MSW) Inverter it does not have a sine wave output and you cannot accurately measure the output voltage unless you have a True RMS Voltmeter. Most folks do not own a Ture RMS Voltmeter.

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Sorry to take so long to respond. After experimenting with different things related to this issue, last evening we decided to bail out this morning as the Weather service is calling for miserable weather over the next few days which is to include heavy rain, 35mph winds with gusts to 50, and finally snow. We headed out this morning as in the past, we have spent one night in the Windsor with 3 cats and all of the slides in and definitely did not want to spend two more nights like that.  

On 3/17/2021 at 5:09 PM, vito.a said:

First you need to check and clean the battery terminals.  

How many batteries do you have and how old are they?

Is it cloudy on the coast?

 

Vito, we have 4- 235 amp 6 volt batteries wired in series/parallel that are 23 months old. I brought the motorhome back to the house 3 weeks before our trip to get it ready for the season and cleaning terminals is on the list.  Two weeks before we left I turned the fridge on as we were connected to 110 volt power.  The fridge worked fine. 

We were set up in the campsite with fully charged batteries by 2, Tuesday afternoon and switched from generator to inverter power.  Later that day was the first time the fridge stopped working.  I flipped the breaker off, then back on, even though there was no indication that it tripped, and the fridge came back on.  Yesterday, we did have an overcast, but the solar was still able to generate over 1KW of power, of which the majority of charging time was absorption/float mode.   Furnaces and other 12 volt accessories worked just fine and over the two nights we were there, the readout from the Victron battery monitor (BMV 712) showed that the voltage never dropped below 12.4 either night. The second time the fridge quit was yesterday and that time, I turned the master battery switches off, and reset all breakers having to do with the inverter/charger and the fridge.  After that, it did not shut off again. Today, while we were on the road, I had it powered by the generator, and no hiccups.

7 hours ago, Bob Nodine said:

The batteries are charging to 100% but they may be old or have damaged cells so the voltage will drop off fast when a load is applied. My first suspect would be the batteries. Keep in mind that if your inverter is a Modified Sine Wave (MSW) Inverter it does not have a sine wave output and you cannot accurately measure the output voltage unless you have a True RMS Voltmeter. Most folks do not own a Ture RMS Voltmeter.

Bob, Today as we were driving home, I thought about the voltmeter not being able to get a good output reading from a MSW inverter as a possibility.  Thanks for verifying that. As I said above, the Victron monitors I have showed that the DC voltage never dropped below 12.4

I'm still wondering why all of a sudden, while on inverter power, the fridge would shut off twice when we've never had that happen before in the 5 years we've owned this coach. We did run the generator some this trip.  I know the automatic transfer switch is involved in switching from shore power to generator power, but is it involved in switching from generator power to inverter power? If so, could it be going up? I have gotten in the habit of turning all off the heat pumps, and breakers for other 110v circuits off, (except for the fridge breaker) when switching from shore to generator power to reduce arcing at the relays.

15 hours ago, eddie4ne said:

When our inverter went bad in our 2002 Windsor, we had a beeping at the Trace. We replaced the Xantrex 2012 last year and upgraded to a Xantrex 3012 to handle a larger load- if need, like your domestic refrig.

Ed, thanks for that info. Once the weather clears up, I'll turn the inverter back on and crawl into the belly and check it out.  When you put in the Xantrex, did you put in a remote with auto generator start, and were you able to use the same wiring harness from the trace for that?

 

Thanks again to all who responded!

 

AlanC2

2002 Windsor PST

 

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On 3/17/2021 at 4:09 PM, AlanC2 said:

We're dry camping at the ocean on our first outing of the year in our 02 Windsor and fear we may have an inverter problem.  We're keeping the batteries charged with 680 watts of solar power and primarily are using the inverter to power our Samsung 197 fridge.  We've owned the coach 5 years now and have done plenty of dry camping and have not had this problem before.

In the last two days, the Samsung has stopped working twice on inverter power. While the breaker was not tripped, I turned it off and back on again and the fridge started working again.  After the second time, I noticed that the "charge" light on my laptop was not on while I had it plugged in to charge.  I checked the voltage at several of the 110V outlets and am only showing 95-96 volts!!!!!  I reset all of the inverter breakers  on the electrical panels, shut off main battery switches and turned back on, and turned off the switch on the Trace inverter and turned it back on as well as hit the "reset" button.  With the genset on, I'm showing 122 volts at the outlets. The Victron BMV 712 shows the batteries charged 100%.  

We have the original Trace charger/inverter/RC& GS that came with the coach as well as a hard wired Progressive Surge Protector.  

I'm worried about low voltage damage to the fridge and looking for some ideas as to what may be wrong.  Bad inverter?

Thanks in advance!!

AlanC2

02 WIndsor PST

 

Alan

Just want to follow up on my original post.  I still don't know what caused the problem, but all appears to be functioning normally now.  I purchased a True RMS voltmeter and measured the voltage at an outlet powered by the inverter while the Samsung RF 197 was putting a load on the system - Result - 117.5 volts. I then ran the fridge for 48 hours straight (with the motorhome unplugged from shore power) powered by the batteries/inverter, and charged only by solar, and there were no issues. I had the Auto Gen Start set at 50% just in case but it was not needed. The minimum battery voltage shown during the "test" period was 12.14. We're headed back to the beach for two weeks soon, and hopefully, all will continue to function normally.  

AlanC2

2002 Windsor PST

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