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Old 12-29-2012, 08:31 PM   #1
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Inverter quits, shore power fails

When i connect my 2009 Airstream Interstate to shore power, the inverter starts ( fans runs ) and then quits within about 20 seconds. This prevents any power from flowing from shore power. What might cause this? Even if I turn all internal power and circuit breakers off, it fails. No circuit breakers trip, the inverter just quits. 30 AMP connection at this RV park. Tried another spot in the park. Still fails.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:13 PM   #2
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You don't want to hear this, but it sounds like the converter is bad, and needs to be replaced.

I would do one test, however, and remove all load from the converter, and see if it fails again. A short on one of the circuits might make it fail like that.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:34 PM   #3
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When i connect my 2009 Airstream Interstate to shore power, the inverter starts ( fans runs ) and then quits within about 20 seconds. This prevents any power from flowing from shore power. What might cause this? Even if I turn all internal power and circuit breakers off, it fails. No circuit breakers trip, the inverter just quits. 30 AMP connection at this RV park. Tried another spot in the park. Still fails.
I think you mean the converter, not the inverter. The converter turns shore power into AC. An inverter turns DC into AC.

Are your AC outlets dead as well?
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:03 PM   #4
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I am attempting to post a photo of the piece of equipment that turns off and thus disable / prevents shore power from flowing into the coach.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:16 PM   #5
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I am attempting to post a photo of the piece of equipment that turns off and thus disable / prevents shore power from flowing into the coach.
It's the PowerVerter Tripp-Lite DC-to-AC Inverter/Charger unit that turns on (fan runs) and the EMS panel shows 30 AMP light with current Amps being drawn, then it quits.

Perhaps it's turning off because of a different problem? (I.e it's a symptom of another problem). I don't fully understand how shore power is handled and what might cause it to shut off.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:28 PM   #6
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If you're on shore power you don't need an inverter. You have AC. It's there to provide AC when running off the batteries.
If shore power is dropping off there's something else going on I suspect.
Perhaps someone with an Interstate will jump in.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:36 AM   #7
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Might be wrong but interstates have inverters and not converters? Jim
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:13 AM   #8
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Actually you do need the converter to work. All of the lights, the fridge and the heater work from 12 volt DC. You will run off the battery until it runs down. You can also charge the battery from the tow vehicle but run the risk of running that battery flat too if the truck is not running.
Get an automotive battery charger at any auto parts store and an extension cord. Plug it into the outside AC outlet and hook the charger up to the battery. Pull the fuse for the converter in the trailer so that there is no 120 AC supply for it. This will get you through this trip and you can fix yhe converter when you get home.
Try to buy a 12 volt/12 amp charger.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:16 AM   #9
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Might be wrong but interstates have inverters and not converters? Jim
You are correct. Interstates have a Tripplite inverter/charger. When using the house batteries only, the inverter provides 15amp AC power to appliances such as the televisions and microwave. When using shore power or the Onan generator, the unit works as a trickle charger to top off the house batteries, and is not providing power to anything else.

RV40, don't use the inverter/charger fan as a troubleshooting method. The fact that the fan runs at all— albeit for only 20 seconds— means that it's working normally.


In mine, when I connect the shore power, the inverter/charger fan runs for about 20 seconds, and then stops. As long as the house batteries are fully charged, that's entirely normal and no cause for concern.

The inverter/charger has three possible settings: Auto/Invert, Off, and Charge Only. These settings ONLY control how power is drawn from or fed to the batteries; they have no bearing at all on whether your shore power works.

If set to Auto/Invert, then when you're not using shore power or generator, it works as an inverter, but when you connect a 120vAC source, it works as a charger. Important note, in the Auto/Invert setting on the unit, that activates the remote panel in the curbside overhead locker, and you need to set THAT to either Auto/Invert or Charge Only as well.

If set to Off, the inverter/charger does nothing. I only use that setting when I'm storing my unit, since my rooftop solar panel charges the house batteries through a separate charger.

If set to Charge Only, the inverter/charger ONLY works as a charger. It will not automatically switch back to an inverter when the 120vAC power source is disconnected.

If you're not getting shore power into the coach— i.e. none of the AC appliances work— then the first place to look for a problem is the circuit breakers. Both the ones in the coach and the ones on the external power pedestal you're plugging into.

DLB435, what you say would be correct if it was a trailer. The Interstate is a motorhome, and so there is no tow vehicle involved.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:22 AM   #10
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Hope rv40 checks back this morning because Protagonist gave a great and thorough answer..... good on ya!
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:53 AM   #11
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Opps! You're right, I didn't note that this was an RV. That does complicate things a bit. He will have both an inverter and converter built into this system. I'm an industrial electrician so I always have a complete set of test instruments with me but I know most folks don't.
Still, a battery charger wouldn't be a bad idea. In fact, I think it would be almost an essential item to have with any RV. Is there only one battery in this system or does it have one to start the engine and one to run services?
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:24 AM   #12
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Opps! You're right, I didn't note that this was an RV. That does complicate things a bit. He will have both an inverter and converter built into this system. I'm an industrial electrician so I always have a complete set of test instruments with me but I know most folks don't.
Still, a battery charger wouldn't be a bad idea. In fact, I think it would be almost an essential item to have with any RV. Is there only one battery in this system or does it have one to start the engine and one to run services?
The main wet-cell battery starts the engine, runs the dashboard electronics, and provides power to the power retractable Fiamma awning and the the Project 2000 retractable step by the sliding side door. Late-model Interstates have two AGM house batteries, that power all of the other house systems. My AGMS are so-called "traction" batteries, designed for use in electric forklifts and such, and have decent but not outstanding ratings for both amp-hours and cold-cranking amps.

There's no shortage of built-in charging options. The inverter/charger will charge the house batteries when connected to either 30amp shore power or the built-in Onan propane-fired generator, which puts out 20amps. If one has the rooftop 50w solar panel, it will not recharge depleted batteries, but will at least float-charge the batteries to keep them topped off. Also, there is a relay system connecting the house batteries to the engine alternator so that when one is driving down the road the alternator will charge up the house batteries as well.

If one has the sofa/lounge model, the house batteries are stacked one atop the other (with a false floor in between) under the sofa, curbside. Using an external battery charger would mean removing the bottom sofa cushion first, before one could open the battery box and connect the clamps. Since the sofa extends and retracts electrically, powered off the house batteries, if the house batteries get too low to power the sofa motor, accessing the batteries is a right royal pain, because the machine screws holding the front of the sofa cushion can only be reached if the sofa is at least partially reclined. Fortunately, that's only necessary if ALL the batteries, main and house, are all depleted, such that one can't start the generator or the main engine, and no shore power is available.

For 2013 models only, there is also an "assist" switch on the dashboard that allows the engine starter to draw power from the house batteries if the main battery is too depleted. Basically, it allows the Interstate to jump-start itself. Wish my 2012 Interstate had that!
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:03 PM   #13
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Again, no converter in this system unless you are referring to the charger.? Jim
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:58 AM   #14
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You are correct. Interstates have a Tripplite inverter/charger. When using the house batteries only, the inverter provides 15amp AC power to appliances such as the televisions and microwave. When using shore power or the Onan generator, the unit works as a trickle charger to top off the house batteries, and is not providing power to anything else.

RV40, don't use the inverter/charger fan as a troubleshooting method. The fact that the fan runs at all— albeit for only 20 seconds— means that it's working normally.

In mine, when I connect the shore power, the inverter/charger fan runs for about 20 seconds, and then stops. As long as the house batteries are fully charged, that's entirely normal and no cause for concern.

The inverter/charger has three possible settings: Auto/Invert, Off, and Charge Only. These settings ONLY control how power is drawn from or fed to the batteries; they have no bearing at all on whether your shore power works.

If set to Auto/Invert, then when you're not using shore power or generator, it works as an inverter, but when you connect a 120vAC source, it works as a charger. Important note, in the Auto/Invert setting on the unit, that activates the remote panel in the curbside overhead locker, and you need to set THAT to either Auto/Invert or Charge Only as well.

If set to Off, the inverter/charger does nothing. I only use that setting when I'm storing my unit, since my rooftop solar panel charges the house batteries through a separate charger.

If set to Charge Only, the inverter/charger ONLY works as a charger. It will not automatically switch back to an inverter when the 120vAC power source is disconnected.

If you're not getting shore power into the coach— i.e. none of the AC appliances work— then the first place to look for a problem is the circuit breakers. Both the ones in the coach and the ones on the external power pedestal you're plugging into.

DLB435, what you say would be correct if it was a trailer. The Interstate is a motorhome, and so there is no tow vehicle involved.
Great information. Thanks Protagonist and everyone for all the responses. I will post back when the problem is resolved. Very impressed with the forum.
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