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Old 12-28-2013, 08:30 PM   #1
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400 Watt stock Inverter

hey all

i have an inverter problem. I have the stock AS inverter [in my 2013 - which is still under warranty] that seems to randomly shut down.
meaning while watching a movie boondocking the TV/bluray will all shut down. clicking the remote button restarts it..sometimes we can watch an entire movie..sometimes it happens 3 times during.

i used to think it was the load, or some bad wiring to the amplifier but recently it happened while my son was charging his iphone. the ONLY load, was his charger..and it just turned off. no beep, nothing.

restarting always works.

i can't imagine it's heat as this occurrences have happened in near freezing and in desert summer temps with the same sensation of randomness.

of course, it never happens while at the service center

SO - before i just start replacing something (it's a real hassle to take the AS in and have it serviced and THEN find out it didnt solve the issue] - anyone have any clues on how to solve it? could it be a faulty inverter, a bad remote switch, bad cabling..or all of the above?

cheers and thanks for any advice!!

chris
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:24 PM   #2
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The inverter in the 2013 FC 20 is a 600 watt one, under the front bed. Since it is still under warrantee, the dealer, even though hard to get to and a hassle, should be the one who is responsible for the repair. You want to have it documented that you have told them about the problems, even if they don't repair it. That effectively will extend your time to have it repaired. A call to JC might also be in order, if you don't think your dealer is doing right by you, or has any idea of what to do.

There are so many things which could be causing this (your all of the above statement) I don't think you can get anything but general comments here, and I doubt that they would be very useful. Random electrical problems such as you are experiencing are often very difficult to diagnose and repair by anyone, dealer or individual, which is why JC might have to be involved, to authorize things like a new inverter.
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:46 PM   #3
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A interesting story that won't help you immediate problem, but:
In case they are using the same type inverter as they did my 2010-

When I investigated my new trailer, I found that the inverter had a A/C plugin cord, that was left dangling. A little research showed that if that cord was plugged into a wall outlet, a relay in the inverter would bypass the inverter circuitry and use the shore power for the inverter sockets, anytime there was power present where that cord was plugged in. I plugged it into the nearest socket and it worked as advertised. I have left it that way, with idea that it probably saved wear and tear on the inverter.

Ken
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:55 AM   #4
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Two questions.
Are you on shore power or boondocking?
If on shore power. Why use the inverter?
If not. What is the condition of the battery(s)? And the connections.
The inverter will shut down on low input voltage as well as an overload condition.
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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A interesting story that won't help you immediate problem, but:
In case they are using the same type inverter as they did my 2010-

When I investigated my new trailer, I found that the inverter had a A/C plugin cord, that was left dangling. A little research showed that if that cord was plugged into a wall outlet, a relay in the inverter would bypass the inverter circuitry and use the shore power for the inverter sockets, anytime there was power present where that cord was plugged in. I plugged it into the nearest socket and it worked as advertised. I have left it that way, with idea that it probably saved wear and tear on the inverter.

Ken
Most typical inverter installations are wired this way. First, many are inverter/chargers and need to be connected to 120VAC to perform their battery charging function. They are also wired directly (or should be) to specific 120VAC outlets marked 'inverter' that you can then use when off grid.

When properly installed, the inverter function is NOT AVAILABLE with 120VAC shore power present, as the internal transfer relay in the inverter allows the shore power to pass thru the inverter to these outlets.

When off-grid with the inverter 'on', the transfer relay then allows these 120VAC 'inverter outlets' to be energized from the inverter circuitry which draws it's power from your 12VDC battery bank.

I have re[placed many factory inverters with Magnum inverter/chargers, and have also found the 120VAC power cord from the inverter not connected, and duplicate 120VAC outlets marked 'inverter' located next to regular 120VAC outlets. Why Airstream goes thru this extra trouble to install duplicate circuits when the design of the inverter allows them to use existing outlets for both purposes is a mystery to me…..

Your problem might be with a faulty inverter or bad battery in your battery bank. I would have both checked by your warranty agent.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:43 PM   #6
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thanks for all of the responses. i took the advice and have taken it in - it's there at the dealership right now. we'll find out what they think soon.

cheers!

cb
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:30 AM   #7
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We are in the middle of a 5 week trip in our 16' Airstream now and our inverter died.

Just a cautionary note for you, the company who produces these no longer makes the 600 Watt model and although it is under warranty the solution is to simply issue a 1000 watt replacement. I have just finished craming one of these babies into the limited space available where the original was installed. It was not a pleasant job to take on while on vacation or any time. Also WFCO changed the connector on the remote control cable to an RJ 22 type so you will need to find ends to replace the RJ 11 ends currently installed. The remote itself has a square base and also does not volt in...

I got it all in there (barely) and I am comfortable that it is safe were it is but when we get home I will clean up the installation. It was no fun!
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:06 AM   #8
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I got it all in there (barely) and I am comfortable that it is safe were it is but when we get home I will clean up the installation. It was no fun!
Is there adequate empty space around it to allow for ventilation? All that effort will be for nothing if it overheats.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:39 AM   #9
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There is but barely...
I will move things around when we get home to make it better but there is ventilation.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:50 AM   #10
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really late update to this thread -

i took it into my local airstream dealership and they tested over 3 days. unfortunately, they could not reproduce the issue.

i haven't had to use the inverter since then, so i havent seen repeats of the issue. it's off warranty in a few months, so i hope to see it soon and i can capture it on camera or something..frankly, part of me wants to just replace the inverter myself. its almost more of a hassle to go back and forth to the dealership!!

chris
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:36 PM   #11
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More on inverter issues with the newer Airstreams.

I have the inverter option on my 2014 FC 20. Quite frankly the inverter is marginal. It is a WFCO 1000 watt sine wave, foreign made. It has given me no problems actually, and I can use it to power my microwave (very small one) and toaster. Both take about 900 watts and the inverter does them ok. About a 90 amp load on the batteries when they are on according to my Tri Metric meter.

The real issue with me is that the idle current for the inverter is 1.9 amps, sitting there doing nothing at all. So, if you leave it on, or forget to turn it off, it gobbles away at your batteries. If you use it to power small loads like the TV or DVD player, it takes far more power than it should due to the large standby/idle load.

I had mentioned this in other posts here on the forum. Someone else (forgot who, sorry) stated that they had installed a Moringstar 300 watt sine wave inverter and it had a search function on it. I was familiar with the Moringstar inverter but had not seen that it had a search function. The search function is great. It shuts the inverter essentially off, and yet constantly looks for a load to be applied. It searches every second. If something has been turned on, the inverter powers up and the device operates. Even in full on mode, the Moringstar only takes 0.45 amps, which is one quarter of the Airstream WFCO inverter's 1.9 amps. When in search mode the Morningstar only takes about 15 mA, (0.015 amps) essentially it can be left on all the time with very little power draw. I installed one recently in addition to the original WFCO. It does not have the capacity to operate my toaster or microwave, but I am using it to power a table lamp with an LED bulb in it which makes the AS look very cozy with the much warmer light than the cold "bright white" Airsteam LED original lights. The Phillips 800 lumen LED bulb (equal light output to a 60 watt incandescent bulb) only draws about 1.35 amps through the inverter when it is the only thing on. That is about 17 watts, including the inverter losses. (V x A = W or 12.6 x 1.35 = 17). The package the Phillips bulb came in says it takes 11 watts. So, the 6 watt difference is what the inverter is taking.

If you operate a computer charger, the DVD player or TV at the same time, the inverter supplies them with virtually no additional inefficiency, that is they take just what their normal draw is, the inverter does not add an additional penalty for a larger load. The very best part is that with the search function, the inverter shuts off automatically when all the AC load is removed and has virtually no load at all on the batteries. So, you don't have to remember to shut it off.

I had hoped to use the WFCO cord and plug in system to power the "inverter outlets" with the Morningstar. In other words, plug the WFCO cord into the Moringstar and pass the Moringstar power through the WFCO without powering it up. Unfortunately although my WFCO has a cord and plug on it, they are apparently internally not hooked to anything (strange, huh) and the manual makes passing reference to the pass through function "if specified" which apparently Airstream did not do, at least on my 2014 unit. So, although it looks like I could use the pass through function, I cannot and the WFCO case is riveted together so I can't look inside.

So, for now my Moringstar is operating with extension cords. I may put a switch on the "inverter outlet" wire so I can chose either inverter, but that is undecided yet.

At any rate the little Morningstar 300 sine wave inverter is a winner in my book. The search function is great, the load when powered up is small, and other than the microwave and toaster, I only need small amounts of AC power for the computer charge, TV and so on. So, 300 watts is just fine. The monster 1000 watt WFCO can sit there waiting for the toaster or microwave and I will only turn it on when I need either of them.

And BTW, the Moringstar used to be US made, but I note that they are now foreign sourced, however the design is identical to when they were built here. I too wish everything was still made here, but fact of life is that it is not.

Another long story, sorry.
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