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Old 04-15-2013, 10:17 PM   #1
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Inverter Question

I have a 1000 watt Xantrex inverter. Part of a 200 watt PV solar system with three 12V 75AH AGM batteries (225 AH total). It came with the AS we purchased last July. It also came with a flat screen TV with a built-in DVD player. When we were dry camping last October we tried to watch a DVD. The inverter seemed to be working, but it would not power the TV and DVD player properly. The DVD player was making a strange noise and not working right so i turned it off and the inverter as well. I used the TV and DVD player with shore power after and did not have any problems. This equipment is all several years old, possibly 10 years old, including the TV. I say that because of the screen dimensions. Even though it's a flat screen (definitely not a CRT) I don't think it's HD I doubt this matters, just trying to present the information I can. I do have booklets and manuals for most of the equipment so I can probably answer questions.

I only know enough to be dangerous when it comes to solar and inverters, so I could use some help trouble shooting my problem. The DW and I are getting ready to go on a four month trip in about 2 weeks and I'd really like to get this working to make boondocking a bit more comfortable.

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Old 04-15-2013, 10:56 PM   #2
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Pete

Great that you and Phyllis are going on a 4 month trip.

Have you checked the inverter voltage? How does it do powering other stuff like a vacuum cleaner, 120v fan, hair dryer on low (less than 1,000 watts)?

Dan
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
Pete

Great that you and Phyllis are going on a 4 month trip.

Have you checked the inverter voltage? How does it do powering other stuff like a vacuum cleaner, 120v fan, hair dryer on low (less than 1,000 watts)?

Dan
Hey Dan!
Good question, I'll check that tomorrow. As someone else suggested it very well could be due to the modified sine wave produced by my Xantrex.

Pete
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:56 AM   #4
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Hey Check to see if your Xantrex inverter is a true sign wave or a modified sign wave type, the difference between the two is the way they stabilize 60hz or 60 cycles the which is the frequency, if you we're to look at the two styles on an oscilloscope the true sign pattern is a never ending pattern of smooth rising and falling kind of like the waves in the ocean whereas the modified sign has a very flat rise and fall maybe resembling railroad ties under track rails. The problem with the modified sign current is the fast steep rise and fall of the alternating current frequency older electrical devices, incandescent lights and most electrical motors have no problem coping with the modified frequency but sensitive electronics like laptops, audio equipment, Tvs, and communication equipment like Ham radios don't deal with it well often first off by squealing or humming and eventually dying or keeping that annoying hum no matter where you plug them in. So I would suggest you check to see what style inverter you have, the true sign inverters usually cost 3 times more than the modified sign style, if your tv is the only sensitive thing you power in your camper it might be cheaper to buy a 12 volt television. Good luck
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:50 AM   #5
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Hey Check to see if your Xantrex inverter is a true sign wave or a modified sign wave type, the difference between the two is the way they stabilize 60hz or 60 cycles the which is the frequency, if you we're to look at the two styles on an oscilloscope the true sign pattern is a never ending pattern of smooth rising and falling kind of like the waves in the ocean whereas the modified sign has a very flat rise and fall maybe resembling railroad ties under track rails. The problem with the modified sign current is the fast steep rise and fall of the alternating current frequency older electrical devices, incandescent lights and most electrical motors have no problem coping with the modified frequency but sensitive electronics like laptops, audio equipment, Tvs, and communication equipment like Ham radios don't deal with it well often first off by squealing or humming and eventually dying or keeping that annoying hum no matter where you plug them in. So I would suggest you check to see what style inverter you have, the true sign inverters usually cost 3 times more than the modified sign style, if your tv is the only sensitive thing you power in your camper it might be cheaper to buy a 12 volt television. Good luck
Thanks, I think you're right. I'm going to try Dan's suggestion which should confirm what you are both saying.

Pete
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:16 PM   #6
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So I ran a couple of tests today with the inverter, but first a confession. I'm not sure where I got the idea that I had a modified sine wave inverter. As I mentioned it's a Xantrex and I found out today it's Prosine true sine wave inverter. I'm sorry for the confusion. Anyway I ran a small electric broom using it and all went well.

I also called Xantrex and found that they are actually part of something called Snyder Electric. I learned from their technical help line that the inverter is at least 10 years old, which is what I suspected. I also found out that I should not have been seeing it producing 1000 watts yesterday on the readout since there was no load on it.

When I ran the electric broom this morning, it did not register any watts hardly. Which is how it should behave I learned. Later in the afternoon I was trying a different TV with it and I heard the inverters fan come on. I checked the readout and it was producing 1000 watts. I felt the inverter and it was cool to the touch so it was not over heating. Obviously something is wrong. I'll call Xantrex back tomorrow and see if this new information is helpful. Earlier one of the techs told me it might be able to be reset, but he said it would require a professional to disconnect it. I'm pretty sure that will be me. I'll see if I can coax some more info out them tomorrow.

All they offered to do today was replace it by giving me 30% off the price of a new similar model. Cost after discount nearly $650. Holy stun gun batman! I think I'll definitely be looking for a less expensive alternative.

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Old 04-16-2013, 09:19 PM   #7
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You might find that it's less expensive, in today's environment, to obtain a TV and DVD player that will work on 12 volt DC.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:11 PM   #8
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I agree.
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Old 06-16-2013, 02:54 PM   #9
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Considering upgrading to a 1000W inverter. The dealer is suggesting that I add another solar panel and 2 more batteries. Any thoughts on this? He is saying that I then would have the best of both worlds. When plugged into shore power all is good. When boon docking I then would have plenty of juice (within reason) to do just about anything. All ideas on this subject would be appreciated.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:45 AM   #10
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upgrading to 1000W inverter

we are looking at a 2013 FC with 600W inverter. Did you figure out the answer to your question regarding the upgrade. if yes can you share and also what was approx cost and did it do anything to the AS warranty coverage [like cancel it]. the 2014's all come with 1000W inverters now....
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dsterritt View Post
we are looking at a 2013 FC with 600W inverter. Did you figure out the answer to your question regarding the upgrade. if yes can you share and also what was approx cost and did it do anything to the AS warranty coverage [like cancel it]. the 2014's all come with 1000W inverters now....
I can tell you that my 2014 FC with the 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter works well. However, the idle current (draw when on, but not doing anything) is 1.75 amps, which is quite high. When I run the factory TV, DVD player and Sony sound system all together, on the battery, it has a total load of about 6 amps.

The inverter does power my toaster (850 watts) and my tiny microwave (not an AS one) very well. Since they are short term loads, they really don't take too much from the batteries... for a very short term, yes, but it is load plus time which is the battery killer.

So, no experience with the older 600 watt AS inverter, but the new ones are good.

BTW, I am adding 200 watts of solar panels, the system is in but the panels are not yet on the roof. I am using the AS pre wire with a Blue Sky MPPT charge controller, and Grape Solar panels from Costco. Total cost will be in the <$700 range, with my own install labor free.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:21 PM   #12
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Your money would be better spent on a gasoline generator.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:38 PM   #13
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we are looking at a 2013 FC with 600W inverter. Did you figure out the answer to your question regarding the upgrade. if yes can you share and also what was approx cost and did it do anything to the AS warranty coverage [like cancel it]. the 2014's all come with 1000W inverters now....
They can only cancel the warranty on things that are effected by your modifications. Example: if you don't get a true sine wave inverter they might be able to cancel the warranty on the electronics you could power with it.
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