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Old 07-16-2012, 10:18 AM   #1
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Inverter consumption at rest

The remote switch indicates that 200 Watts of power are being consumed at rest. That is, the TVs are not on, the fridge and water heater are on propane, and the microwave is plugged in but not operating.The dealer installed solar system is hooked in through the front 110 supply inlet. The airstream is a 2012 30' Signature with three 95 Watt panels, 4 AGM batteries, and a 1500 Watt inverter. What is happening or is this normal?
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:11 AM   #2
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What is your metering system ?
Typically if the inverter has no load on it 200 Ma would probably be close to right (.2 amp) less than 3 watts. If the TV set is actually plugged in it will draw a little current to keep the remote control receiver alive but it is likely not much. The numbers I quote are for my 1000 watt inverter but others should be similiar

200 watts would be over 16 amps and you would have dead batteries in in a day or less.
Try unplugging all 110 volt items and see if it changes.
Also is it possible you are not interpreting your meter readings correctly??
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:12 AM   #3
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I can't visualize what your system is like from your description (what is the remote switch?) but if you have some meter which indicates a 200 watt power draw idling with nothing on something is very wrong, and your batteries will not last hardly through the night.

The idle current for an inverter such as you mention should be 20 watts or less if it is a pure sine wave inverter, and may be less than 5 watts if it is a "modified sine wave" type.

We may need more information to help you out.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:16 AM   #4
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Would it be charging the batteries. Check again after dark when solar is not providing anything, and no external power applied.

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Old 07-16-2012, 12:42 PM   #5
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It is definitely possible that I am not interpreting the meter readings correctly. The remote switch is the start stop button I press that is located on the ledge behind the setee. It is more accessable than the inverter itself that is located behind the dinette seat. The switch has two digetal readings that I will check tonight after work since I am now confused on what I may have been looking at. I am not sure if it is watts or Ma. My fear is that the inverter is trying to charge the batteries due to the nature of the hookup. I have not yet had the opportunity to spend the night in a boondock condition since we have wanted to run the AC due to the extreme (for us) temperatures. I will also get some brand names off the inverter, the charge controller and the remote switch and if I can, some pictures of the readings. Thanks for your comments to date.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:37 PM   #6
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Suggest using a Kill-A-Watt or similar device to check the current draw on all devices connected to your inverter:

Amazon.com: P3 International P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor: Electronics

Note: Above link is for reference purposes only. Other devices and/or sources may be better and/or cheaper.
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:20 PM   #7
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I sense some confusion in what you're looking at. Pictures may help. There may be no problem.

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Old 07-16-2012, 07:11 PM   #8
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You are correct on the confusion bit. I revisited all the stuff that I thought was off and discovered that the fridge was operating on electric. OOPS. When I shut it off, the consumption in watts went to 0 so I think everything may be ok. So it would appear that a fridge draws about 200 Watts. So, when operating from the inverter, fridge on propane, air off, water heater on propane, french press only, and to keep the racket down, I will inform my wife that the hair dryer will most likely not function.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:32 PM   #9
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Good job Jim. I wouldn't consider using anything that heats or cools on the inverter. Just too much power draw for the batteries.

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Old 07-16-2012, 08:36 PM   #10
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it is possible that the hair dryer might work on a low heat setting but will sure eat a lot of the battery charge.
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