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Old 12-19-2009, 11:17 PM   #1
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Question New Inverter for AC power/Help?

I'm looking for help from someone out there who is familiar with a Morningstar SureSine 300 inverter.

I bought the SureSine and installed it, but it isn't functioning correctly. So, I'm hoping someone can help me figure it out.

I have recently installed a solar system, which does well charging the 2 deep cell rv batteries, but I am still figuring out how to get that power to the AC receptacles.

Thanks, Tim
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Old 12-19-2009, 11:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
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I bought the SureSine and installed it, but it isn't functioning correctly.

whats she doing/not doing?
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:04 PM   #3
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Basic troubleshooting with any inverter:

1) Many inverters are damaged by reverse polarity, so if this has happened, you may have to $end it back for repair$ by the manufacturer.

2) Do you have battery power at the inverter terminals? Check with a meter.

3) Is it turned on? Did you bypass the remote control terminals, if necessary (details vary from one inverter to the next)?

4) Does the inverter show signs of life? Power LED on? Humming? buzzing? If there's input power and it looks and acts like a brick, it's probably toast?

5) Did you check for output power at the inverter itself to rule out any wiring problems? If there is an integral GFCI, is it tripped?

6) Is the inverter stuck in some sort of standby mode due to a lack of any load? Try hooking up an incandescent light or another small, resistive load to be sure it wakes up if sleeping.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:39 PM   #4
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I hooked up my Xantrex 400 watt inverter with reversed polarity, and found it had two 25 amp fuses that were blown, replacing the fuses fixed it.

Does your inverter have a remote on/off switch?
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:00 PM   #5
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whats she doing/not doing?

Thanks for the responses, and Jammer, for your relevant questions. OK, here is what I've got....
As for reverse polarity; it is protected by fuses, which I checked, and that part is fine. I'm as sure as I can be that it is wired correctly. The possibility of something in a circuit not being tight enough or something wrong like that is very real. I am going over everything over and over and haven't come up with an issue yet.

I do have battery power at the terminals.

Yes, it is turned on and it is turned on/off by remote switch that is functioning.

It has two led indicators; one for AC output, the other for status. They indicate that it is in AC standby mode, which means that there isn't enough of an AC load. And, no I haven't checked AC output (somewhere in the process I blew the fuse in my meter. Got another fuse today and will check it tomorrow). I also plan to run a jumper direct to the AC source to make sure there isn't a problem with that circuit. And i will try to hook up a load, incandescent light, to it in the process. that's a great suggestion.

This inverter was working and providing AC about a week ago. Then we had a freeze and some rain and sometime in there it went into standby and still is there. I have rewired my DC terminal and rearranged things so the electrical and solar components are more easily accessible, and I am learning a lot too. So good is coming out of this problem. It is just very frustrating not seeing the solution.

Also, we are living in it and off the grid. We're getting tired of the sound of the generator.

Also I am not an electrician. I still have trouble with the volt meter.

So I really appreciate and need the help. Thanks! I will report back tomorrow evening when I have finished the tests mentioned above.
Thanks again, Tim
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Old 12-21-2009, 02:04 AM   #6
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Have you checked your battery voltage? Many inverters go off line or into standby if the supply voltage is lowered - to protect your batteries from a complete discharge situation...
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:55 AM   #7
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The possibility of something in a circuit not being tight enough or something wrong like that is very real. I am going over everything over and over and haven't come up with an issue yet.
Doesn't match the problem at hand. I am a big fan of antioxidant grease and those toothed lockwashers for high current DC wiring once you get to that. You can find anything loose pretty easily by running a heavy load (200W incandescent light in your case) from the inverter for a minute or two and then going around with an infrared noncontact thermometer looking for hot terminals.

Quote:
I do have battery power at the terminals.
As Mexray said, check the voltage, be sure it's at least 12.0.

Quote:
They indicate that it is in AC standby mode, which means that there isn't enough of an AC load. And, no I haven't checked AC output (somewhere in the process I blew the fuse in my meter. Got another fuse today and will check it tomorrow).
Your meter should still work for volts. The fuse is just for measuring amps.

Quote:
This inverter was working and providing AC about a week ago. Then we had a freeze and some rain and sometime in there it went into standby and still is there.
With power off, check the security of the AC screw terminals on the inverter. They should be quite snug. Check to make sure the AC wires are actually attached to the terminals by pulling gently on them -- if they come loose, they weren't attached properly.

Check any GFCI you might have on the AC side as the conditions you describe will make them trip.

Quote:
Also I am not an electrician. I still have trouble with the volt meter.
Be sure you're using the VOLTS connector and not the AMPS connector on it. Measuring amps with a meter is hard to do properly. That's why you blew the fuse in it.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:15 PM   #8
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Hi Mexray, yes, my batteries are being charged daily by the solar system. They are usually above 13v most of the day.

I put a small load on it today, a 25 watt incandescent light bulb wired directly into the AC output, and it didn't even light the bulb.

I also measured the AC output at the terminals and got nothing.
I don't have a GFCI, and I am wired directly into the AC distribution box with no AC there with the inverter on, only with the generator running, which is a different system.

Connections are tight. Not sure what you mean, Jammer, by

Be sure you're using the VOLTS connector and not the AMPS connector on it. Measuring amps with a meter is hard to do properly. That's why you blew the fuse in it.

Unless you are referring to the meter settings. I'm measuring AC volts and DC volts with the meter.

So I'm pretty perplexed. I'm starting to think that maybe something went wrong and damaged the inverter. But I talked to the solar guy today and he said he never heard of one of these specific inverters going bad, but that Morningstar would stand behind their products. I'm also in email contact with tech support at Morningstar. Should hear something back from him tomorrow. I'm doing all I know to do to figure this thing out. Tomorrow is a new day and even though I don't know what the next move is I'm hoping for resolution.

Thanks for the input. I'll keep you
All posted.
Tim

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Old 12-21-2009, 11:24 PM   #9
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Tim,

Sounds like the inverter is toast. Happens with the best of them.

Do you have a transfer switch that isolates the generator from the inverter, or are the both connected straight to the breaker panel?

Jammer
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:51 PM   #10
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They are connected to the same circuit, but I have a power switch for the inverter and turn it off when I run the gen. I also unplug the Iota converter/charger when I run the inverter. So there is no mixing of circuits.

I hope its not toast, but it does happen; we'll see. Tim
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:40 PM   #11
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It's over for now

I spent some time on the phone with Morningstar tech support today. They determined that the unit was faulty and will replace it. So, as far as I can tell things will function again when I receive and install the new unit. Thanks all for your input.
Tim
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:36 PM   #12
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They are connected to the same circuit, but I have a power switch for the inverter and turn it off when I run the gen. I also unplug the Iota converter/charger when I run the inverter. So there is no mixing of circuits.
Some sort of interlock or transfer switch that would physically prevent simultaneous connection of more than one of any of the AC power sources you're using would be customary. This would provide safety benefits as well as preventing the damage to the inverter or generator you might encounter in the event of a procedural mistake.
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