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Old 01-17-2010, 04:14 AM   #1
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Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

I have a Xantrex Freedom 30 Inverter/Charger (yes, I know its not the best on the market but its what I have).I am experiencing the following symptoms:
1.When running on shore power or generator, the AC frequency is right on 60Hz.
2.When I switch to the inverter (with nothing running except the fridge), the frequency pegs out at 65+Hz (the gauge only reads to 65 but the needle is hard pegged).
3.When this is happening there is an audible buzz/hum from the main circuit breaker panel.
4.When I turn on lights and other appliances, the frequency drops down to around 63-64Hz but there is an audible buzz/hum from any operating lights or appliances.
5.If I have nothing running except the fridge and I start turning off the breakers on the AC panel, the frequency gradually drops to 60Hz when I turn off all outlets (even though nothing is plugged in or running on those outlets).The buzz/hum in the circuit breaker panel also disappears when the frequency drops to 60Hz.If I turn on any one outlet breaker the frequency starts rising and the buzz/hum returns and gets louder with each outlet breaker that I turn on.
6.The Inverter/Charger seems to run awfully hot (~110F as measured with an IR thermometer).It also has a distinct buzz/hum when operating.All that heat has to come from something and I am burning through battery amp-hours at a rate that cannot be explained by operating lights and appliances (about 20% faster battery burn than calculated).
*
I would really appreciate any ideas as to what is causing this and what I should start doing to fix it.
Thanks!
Jim


-- Edited by Yorksafloat on Sunday 17th of January 2010 05:14:56 AM
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:58 AM   #2
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

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Yorksafloat wrote:


I turn on any one outlet breaker the frequency starts rising and the buzz/hum returns and gets louder with each outlet breaker that I turn on.

-- Edited by Yorksafloat on Sunday 17th of January 2010 05:14:56 AM
*
Does that apply even if nothing is plugged in to the outlets?

Is there any AC on your DC supply?

It sounds like you have a ground somewhere. Have you contacted Xantrex, it is hard to believe this will be a new one on them.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:14 PM   #3
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

Quote:
RickB wrote:It sounds like you have a ground somewhere. Have you contacted Xantrex, it is hard to believe this will be a new one on them.
Hi Rick,* In the most respectful tone, how do you think a ground would affect frequency?* I would guess that the frequency should be stable from no load right through full load (such as when there is a short in the hot wire) or even above at which point the C/B should trip. I would think that even an open, shorted or high resistance neutral shouldn't affect the frequency. I'm no expert, but my guess would be that the inverter is seriously compromised.* I wouldn't trust it until it had been fully checked out at the factory or an authorized service center.* It's next trick might be far worse than simply a variable frequency. With it running hot, I'd disconnect it until it was repaired. Just sayin..........

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:27 PM   #4
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

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Hi Rick,* In the most respectful tone, how do you think a ground would affect frequency?*
Because ground loops and harmonics can create bizarre effects on cheap inverters.
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:38 PM   #5
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

I had this problem when my shore power / generator switch went bad. When running on generator power the inverter/charger would buzz loudly and not charge. Autopsy on the switch showed that one side (I forget white or black) had burned thru the contacts and wasn't making contact when in gen mode.

My system runs the inverter/charger off both shore and gen so its not identical to your setup, but the buzz and switching seem to be similar. Take a good look at the switch before you deep six the inverter.

Ken
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:11 AM   #6
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

Ken,
Which switch and contacts are you talking about?* The switch that is supposed to automatically switch based on AC availability?* The contacts where the incoming AC enters the inverter?
Thanks.
Jim
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:01 PM   #7
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

Is your vessel steel hulled / additional grounding questions may arise if yes.. Suggest a good boat electican go through system. But first, has this been a problem since day one or recently. If recently ask yourself what new marina did you recently plug into, what new things have been*done or changes made etc.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:48 PM   #8
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

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Yorksafloat wrote:

Ken,
Which switch and contacts are you talking about?* The switch that is supposed to automatically switch based on AC availability?* The contacts where the incoming AC enters the inverter?
Thanks.
Jim
My system doesn't have an automatic switch to choose between shore and gen power. It is a manual switch that has 3 positions, Shore - off - Generator. When on the Gen position one power wire did not connect and it apparently tried to feed power thru green? I believe this was what caused the buzz. After I replaced the switch the problem went away.

As near as I can tell, since I didn't install the system, all my AC/110 power goes thru the inverter and the inverter either takes DC power from the batteries OR 110 from it's 110 input. The 110 input is connected to the switch mentioned above.



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Old 01-22-2010, 07:59 PM   #9
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

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When on the Gen position one power wire did not connect and it apparently tried to feed power thru green?

Gee ... a problem with the ground eh? Who'd a thunk it.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:28 AM   #10
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

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2bucks wrote:
When on the Gen position one power wire did not connect and it apparently tried to feed power thru green?

Gee ... a problem with the ground eh? Who'd a thunk it.

I think the ground was ok. The problem was the hot wire that couldn't connect with the other half of the circuit and defaulted to ground. As opposed to a corroded ground, open ground, loose ground, etc. which is normally the problem. I can only wonder what might have become charged with 110v had the ground not been working.

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Old 01-28-2010, 10:56 AM   #11
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RE: Baffling Inverter/Charger problem

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*2bucks wrote:

I think the ground was ok. The problem was the hot wire that couldn't connect with the other half of the circuit and defaulted to ground.
Not wishing to belabor the point but what you just described is known in electrical terms as a "ground." If you had a "ground detector" circuit on your switchboard you would have seen an indication of a ground fault.
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