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Old 04-05-2016, 09:07 AM   #1
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2016 Inverter problems - anyone else?

We picked up our 2016 26U FC in January and were on the road for 3 weeks. Several times while we were on shore power - the 120 receptacles that share an Inverter plug (lounge, tv) would not work unless the Inverter was turned on for a while. After an hour or so we could turn off the Inverter and, magically, the 120 receptacle would continue to work.

Our repair shop believes it's a bad relay switch. Although the AS is very much under warranty, the manufacturer, WFCO/Cheng, required the repair shop to pull the inverter and send it in, and now wants all of the documentation about our purchase. Seems a bit strange to us.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:12 AM   #2
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Just a guess, but by wanting the inverter back and sales documentation they have had previous issues, possibly to a fire incident and are preparing to defend themselves. Been there with a company I ran for a while. I am guessing they replaced your inverter right after they took it out? As I said, just a guess, we manufactured and sold a totally unrelated product, but corporate lawyers and CFOs are all pretty similar.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:14 AM   #3
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Some inverters have a pass through that allow 120 to be at the inverter plugs if you're on shore power. It does sound like there is a bad relay, taking too long to switch over to this feature. I don't understand why your dealer doesn't just swap out that one for another one and send you on your way.
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:44 PM   #4
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"I don't understand why your dealer doesn't just swap out that one for another one and send you on your way".
That is a very good question! I bought my first Airstream in August 2015 and within a month several of the LED lights ceased to function. My local Airstream dealer has a very rigid appointment system which made me think that a technician would work on it promptly - wrong! After a week I got call confirming that the lights were not working and needed to be replaced. They said it would take several days to get Airstream approval for the warranty work and THEN they could order the parts with 10-14 days delivery. In the end I picked up the trailer for a trip and said I would bring it back when the dealer could let me know the parts were available. I never got a call from the dealer. I have been through this disappointing sequence of events twice for the same simple warranty repair.

Yes, I'm looking for a new Airstream dealership.

Chris.
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:57 PM   #5
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Some of the WFCO inverters have a pass-thru feature, but I have never seen it connected. The 120VAC plug attached to these units is always bundled and taped.

This scenario then allows for the unit to only produce 120VAC from your batteries and sent into the outlets marked with a blue sticker that says 'Inverter'. If it had a pass-thru feature, you wouldn't need redundant circuitry and separate 'inverter-only' outlets which are NOT energized unless you have the inverter on. They are NOT energized by shore power or generator.

This is why they always appear next to a regular 120VAC outlet.

Airstream should step up and do 2 very important things:
• use a quality inverter/charger like a Magnum (they ARE used in their Interstate coaches) that will also serve as a great, fully programmable battery charger
• enable the pass-thru feature on a unit like a Magnum so that they don't require duplicate outlets and circuitry.

The number of outlets and their load capacity will be limited by the size of the inverter, but they would be marked so thou know which ones would be energized from the inverter. The pass-thru feature would also energize these same outlets on grid. Larger inverters can power every outlet in the trailer

This is how I wire my inverters, and I install between 25-35 a year.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:24 PM   #6
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Some of the WFCO inverters have a pass-thru feature, but I have never seen it connected. The 120VAC plug attached to these units is always bundled and taped.

This scenario then allows for the unit to only produce 120VAC from your batteries and sent into the outlets marked with a blue sticker that says 'Inverter'. If it had a pass-thru feature, you wouldn't need redundant circuitry and separate 'inverter-only' outlets which are NOT energized unless you have the inverter on. They are NOT energized by shore power or generator.
So even though there's a plug on the inverter, the pass through doesn't work???
The diagram I have for mine shows that you can plug it into a 120 AC and the Inverter plugs will be live when on shore power. I don't recall if the inverter had to be on or off for the shore power to work, I never ran a line to it to test it.

But you are correct, mine was taped over and there's no 120 connection nearby. I rarely use it but it would be nice if the inverter plugs could be live by plugging in the inverter to 120.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:58 AM   #7
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Chris if you're fed up with your San Diego dealer drive a few miles north to Orange County Airstream in Huntington Beach. I have had a great relationship with them. Several issues with both our new 23 and 28 we bought from them and repairs are always prompt and well done. Their work is better than the original build. Call Danny the service manager. The franchise owner is also the LA dealership owner and he has the Huntington Beach Infinity dealership. A well financed and run operation. He hires good people. Tell him the Baird 28 sent you.
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:05 PM   #8
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fixed.

Just to follow through - the inverter is one of the 3rd party warranty items - so that's why all the documentation was necessary. It was a bad relay. Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:31 PM   #9
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I would have to look up the Inverter mfr that is in our new 2016 AS but, in our unit, the side by side duplex outlets have been eliminated and the "inverter" outlets are energized when connected to shore power, along with all of the other duplex outlets, but the "inverter" outlets are the only outlets that are energized by the output side of the inverter when utilizing battery source.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:20 AM   #10
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Inverter outlets 2017 Classic

Dealer told me do not use coffee pot in inverter outlet these outlets are for entertainment use only (tv and DVD player). Of course those items are plugged into inverter outlets. Under dinette table is one more inverter outlet with nothing plugged in. Now why would you not use it for coffee pot?? Sure a coffee pot will suck power faster but seems the inverter should handle it. Dealer tech also asked me questions about solar panels. Grant you some of these guys have some knowledge about AS from taking courses on things. Keep in mind to me I expect 99.9 percent have never owned or camped in one. So I listen to them about the same as a preacher a great deal of what they say is how they see it. I find your own experience is the best teacher. Any thoughts on this??
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:41 AM   #11
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Lymen

Welcome to AirForums.

I don't know the size of the inverter in your 17 Classic, but as long as the power required by your coffee pot is less than the capacity of the inverter, as long as nothing else is plugged in, your coffee pot should work just fine.

Dan
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:46 AM   #12
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Your inverter may be sized too low for that draw.
Russ
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:55 AM   #13
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If you are going to use an inverter you need to consider more than that. A Keurig for example is listed as 1500 watts, at 12v, that is 125 amps on the battery feed to the inverter. I do not know what Airstream sized the wire for, but that is a lot more than "entertainment" loads. It is hard to think of Airstream overbuilding anything so I would worry about how they built and fused the inverter.
If you are boondocking and using the inverter, any large AC load like that, even if operated for a short time, is going to draw plenty of amp-hours from your battery. Many years ago I learned that on my boat and stopped using the toaster underway. Replacing the amp-hours was just too much trouble for what I got.
If you must have your coffee while disconnected why not boil water on the stove and use a French press?
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Some of the WFCO inverters have a pass-thru feature, but I have never seen it connected. The 120VAC plug attached to these units is always bundled and taped.

This scenario then allows for the unit to only produce 120VAC from your batteries and sent into the outlets marked with a blue sticker that says 'Inverter'. If it had a pass-thru feature, you wouldn't need redundant circuitry and separate 'inverter-only' outlets which are NOT energized unless you have the inverter on. They are NOT energized by shore power or generator.

This is why they always appear next to a regular 120VAC outlet.

Airstream should step up and do 2 very important things:
• use a quality inverter/charger like a Magnum (they ARE used in their Interstate coaches) that will also serve as a great, fully programmable battery charger
• enable the pass-thru feature on a unit like a Magnum so that they don't require duplicate outlets and circuitry.

The number of outlets and their load capacity will be limited by the size of the inverter, but they would be marked so thou know which ones would be energized from the inverter. The pass-thru feature would also energize these same outlets on grid. Larger inverters can power every outlet in the trailer

This is how I wire my inverters, and I install between 25-35 a year.
New Airstream's don't have separate inverter plugs like you mentioned...my 2017 fc 26U has 4 plugs marked as inverter but work on 120v shore power unless inverter button is pushed then same plugs switch to inverter power.

We don't have the extra inverter plugs like my previous Airstream's. No need to unplug and replug into different outlets when using inverter now. Thank you Airstream!
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