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Author Topic: Inverter stopped!! What's best, mend it or bin it?  (Read 4207 times)
yorkwils
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« on: June 22, 2010, 06:04:32 PM »

My setup is two inverters, modified square-wave for lights and pure sine-wave for fridges and TVs etc.

Mains went off last Thursday so switched on both inverters, everything was fine. Mains came back on so switched over to get back to normal. Both inverters were running fine after switching back and I left them running for a few hours. When I came to switch the inverters off the sine-wave inverter was displaying a DC-DC SHUTDOWN message.

Quick look at the book of words - it says that message requires a technician - boo!

It's a Statpower Prosine 1800i. I think the company is now Xantrex. They are in Canada so sending it back for repair might be tricky.

It seems a really good quality inverter and it would be a shame to lose it. Has anyone got any ideas or know of a UK repairer?

Thanks, Guy
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RichardKB
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2010, 07:05:48 PM »

Hi are you saying you left the inverters running with no load?.

Rich
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yorkwils
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2010, 09:33:16 PM »

Rich - For quite a lot of the time there is no load on the inverter because during the day it is used to keep the freezer and fridges going. As they cut in and out there is bound to be a time when they are all off together. In addition to this, the inverters are brought-in with changeover relays which swap the appropriate circuits between mains and inverter, so they are running without load before the changeover is made.

According to the handbook this is acceptable practice and the Prosine gives a constant LCD reading of DC current in and AC power out. Also, the troubleshooting guide tells the operator to disconnect all loads and run the inverter without load if a problem occurs to test the inverter and determine if the fault is the load itself.

The problem is that there is no real technical information at all in the handbook, and a search of the net has revealed nothing useful so far.

The system has been operating fine for about nine years and perhaps some would say it may be time for a new inverter, but the Prosine is in such good physical condition and the inside is absolutely pristine so it would be a crime to just scrap it without a fight. Plus, I'm not sure I could now afford another Prosine as they are very expensive.

I suppose my hope is that there is someone in the UK that is familiar with this unit and stocks spare parts for it, or perhaps there is a source of technical information that might offer a chance of repairing it.
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rogeriko
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2010, 10:16:27 PM »

Inverters are fairly simple electronic machines but when they go wrong basically its back to the manufacturer for repairs due to the lack of third party repair shops. Sending it to america/canada is out of the question because they will charge you vat on the new value of the item when it returns to england, I know this from dealing with Studer in Switzerland which is outside the european economic zone which makes it very difficult to get inverters repaired at the factory. Seeing as it is about 9 years old thats a pretty good age for all those little transistors I wouldnt bother to try and fix it.
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yorkwils
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2010, 10:31:43 PM »

Thanks for that Rogeriko.

Wow - vat at full price for a repair just isn't cricket. I didn't know that and it puts a repair in Canada out of the question. I thought it probably would need to be replaced but it's always worth asking just in case.

When I first installed it, I chose the pure sine-wave because it could start the fridge motors and the modified sine-wave inverters struggled to get them going. Now it seems some of the newer modified sine-wave inverters are better with inductive loads so perhaps that is the cheapest option.

I'll have a look at what's on offer - cheers.

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Billy
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2010, 07:01:55 AM »

Yorkwils,

Who's a busy boy then, nice site.

Best not mention heat pumps to Martin though, he might spit his dummy out.   ralph

Seriously, I did consider heat pumps but their performance in damp cold weather meant they would not keep me warm when I needed.  Always pretty damp where we are!

Good luck with the inverter.

Billy

 extrahappy
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yorkwils
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2010, 09:36:38 AM »

Thanks Billy

Ground-source heat-pump and underfloor heating seems the best combination. I'm at 1,000' asl and the air-source heat-pump can't be used for about 25% of the time.

Found a 1.2kW MSW job for around 100 plus postage, got to get the inverter up-and-running soon cos the power goes off a lot here so will probably take the plunge.

Guy
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KenB
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2010, 09:48:05 AM »

Guy,

You might find an old computer room UPS that is being scrapped.  These can be rennovated with new batteries and you get yourself a cheap sine wave inverter.

My 5kW sine wave inverter came from an emergency lighting system from a Bingo Hall in Swansea.  It's big and bombproof but serves my purpose.  I would be tempted to find something with a pure sine wave, than invest money in new MSW.



Ken
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rogeriko
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2010, 04:50:01 PM »

APC ups's are sine wave. I ran my whole house on one for a year with extra batteries of course search ebay for apc ups and you will find lots 3000kva is plenty add extra 48v batteries and your in business. Waterpumps fridges tvs no problem. The 1500kva are all 24 volt. I have 9 large models sitting here doing nothing but im in greece a little far away. They are about 40 kilos each.
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yorkwils
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2010, 11:48:18 PM »

Ken
I'd rather stay with pure sine if I can, your suggestion might just be the solution. I have the space and it doesn't matter what the unit looks like as long as it does the job. I'll root-about a bit and see what's on offer.

Rogeriko
Coincidentally I use a small APC 400 for my main computer UPS. Are they all sine or just the industrial ones?
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KenB
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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2010, 07:59:44 AM »

As a general comment, anyone considering inverters should be looking at pure sine these days.

The modified sine wave (MSW) units were designed to keep the costs down, and invariably lead to problems with some forms of equipment and appliances that are expecting real sinewaves from the mains.

Additionally, there was a spate of cheap inverters being dumped from the Far East via ebay, offering ludicrous kW outputs, dubious specs regarding their peak output and all seemingly powered from a 12V input.

It really is time to move away from these cr@p products.  If you expect a decent power output, then you need to raise your system voltage.  48V is probably a good starting point, and you have the benefit of being able to make use of 2nd hand forklift batteries.



Ken
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yorkwils
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2010, 08:28:50 AM »

I get your drift! I'm - 'on-message'. I'll hold-out for pure sine.

My battery-bank is 10 x 95Ah AGM configured for 24V. If I got another 2 or 6 batteries that would give me an increase in capacity and the possibility of configuring for 48V. If I go the UPS route, I may as well pick the 3kVA job and get a bigger margin for overload. I would need to anyway because my lighting inverter is 24V so the new one would have to do both lighting and power.

Do you have any idea how a UPS copes with a larger capacity battery bank? Presumably charging current is limited whatever batteries are connected?
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Local, small-scale combined-heat-and-power is one good solution!
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