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dwjack
dwjack

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:12pm

Post Subject: Electrical - Inverter

We dont seem to have much luck with Inverters on our boat. When I first became a part owner, it was fitted with a "Prosine" 1800w inverter. This failed, fault traced to a faulty switch, repaired and OK for some time. The next failure was terminal, sent to Prosine distributer in Poole (I think)who said it couldnt be repaired. They offered a replacement at a discounted price but we did'nt accept.We next had the boat stretched by 10ft at Streethay. They refitted the rear of the boat and recommended a "Mobitronic" 2kw modified sine wave inverter. The first unit lasted only a few weeks prior to failure. Streethay replaced this under warranty 2 years ago. The replacement has now failed.We have been offered a replacement at a good price by distributers in Mirfield, Yorkshire, but I wonder how long that will last. What inverter would the experts recomment?

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:56pm

Post Subject: Electrical - Inverter

Dear DW You ask for a recommendation for an inverter, well my recommendation is stick to a 12/24 volt boat with a small "Maplin special" inverter for charging batteries and phones etc. However this is not the advice you want to hear. A burnt terminal usually means it was left loose so it was probably not even a warrantee failure. Before making any other pronouncement I would need to know what you are running off the inverter, what its starts up surge current is, what overload the inverter is designed to cope with and for how long. If you are running a fridge from it the massive start up surges will take their toll unless the technical specs. show the inverter is deigned to handle them. 2kW makes me think something like a washing machine may be involved, again with a high start up surge. You must also consider the charging voltage. If you have a very modern alternator or some forms of alternator controller you may be supplying the inverter with excess voltage which again will cause premature failure. I think you need to take a very close look at the boat and its electrical system. Also look at how it is used. I noticed you said part owner - what are the others doing with the inverter - any chance they might be using hair dryers, electric hair curlers and an iron at the same time? I regret I can not recommend any particular make of inverter apart from saying that you tend to get what you pay for. Tony Brooks

dwjack
dwjack

Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:19am

Post Subject: Electrical - Inverter

Thanks Tony for your prompt reply.We have a Gas fridge and no washing machine. We bought a mains TV to replace an ageing 12v B & W. We also use a small vacuum cleaner, sometimes a hair dryer, and having 230v we are able to use small power tools such as orbital sander and electric drill. I dont think we make great demands on the 230v, it is just a convenience. Once again, thanks for your comments, will look at what Maplin has to offer. David

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:37pm

Post Subject: Electrical - Inverter

Sorry not to get back sooner, but no mobile internet at canal level in Braunston. With those sort of loads your inverter should have been able to cope perfectly so as long as your charging voltage is not excessive and it was sited in a dry, cool & well ventilated compartment (NOT IN A STERN ENGINE HOLE) I suspect a low specification inverter built down to a price. If the inverter is mounted in a damp, hot or poorly ventilated location that was probably the cause of the problem. I would treat Maplin type inverters as throw away items and would never try to run a TV off one. I do not think you will go far wrong with an inverter from the likes of Mastervolt, Victron, or one of the well advertised specialist MARINE suppliers. Tony Brooks

gloria
gloria

Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:09pm

Post Subject: Electrical - Inverter

my understanding is if anything designed to produce heat is used via an inverter it will damage it.born out by people using hairdryers,electric blankets etc.my question ,does the same apply to usind a small microwave from an inverter ?

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:02pm

Post Subject: Electrical - Inverter

Dear Gloria I am afraid your understanding is not correct because the things you list produce the lowest starting surges. Anything with large capacitors, electromagnets (including motors and possibly the magnetron in the microwave) will cause a large starting surge and stress under specified inverters. Too many people only look at the inverter's rating on the box and fail to investigate its ability to cope with a starting surge so we get (say) a 1.5kW trying to drive a 1.5 kW washing machine and having to supply perhaps another 500 Watts of starting surge so it fails. Another problem is that much mains equipment has something called a power factor which basically means the numbers on the front of the inverter is an overstatement. Add this to the many re-badged, far eastern, low build quality inverters often mounted in totally inappropriate conditions and you have a recipe for early failure. Also far too many people see a mains socket and assume they can plug anything into it so the inverter gets overloaded and burns out. Please be aware that the wattage quoted on microwaves is the cooking power whilst its actual consumption will be far higher. Check the actual consumption, the starting surge current and how long the surge is present with the manufacturer/importer and then check your inverter is specified to cope. Please also be aware that any microwave with an electronic timer may not work on a modified sine wave inverter. A good quality, over-specified for the load, pure sine wave inverter should drive any microwave or heating appliance without a problem. However if the load is such that the batteries become discharged the low voltage may cause the inverter problems. Tony Brooks

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:16pm

Post Subject: Electrical - Inverter

I have just read a thread elsewhere from a well respected electrical bod who's company used to mend inverters who said that the most common cause of inverter failure on modified sine wave units (one of the better makes) was using power tools even though the inverter looked over specified. Tony Brooks

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