Power Inverter or power plant

donrael

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what are some of the issues to know when dealing w/ Power Inverters?

do they all run on gas?

is it better to buy it in US or DR?

whats a good price?

whats difference bet an inverter and a power plant?

which is better?

any other related tips and info. will be greatly appreciated.

thanks all
 

Rocky

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donrael said:
do they all run on gas?
Inverters are electrical converters that convert DC battery power to AC and have internal chargers to recharge the batterires when the power returns. Generators are mechanical units, driven by motors than spin generating systems and run on Gasoline, diesel and propane.


donrael said:
is it better to buy it in US or DR?
Hard to say. If you want it to be serviced, it would be better to buy it in the country.


donrael said:
whats a good price?
A good price/value, consists firstly of buying the correct equipment for your needs, in brands that are reliable and that can be serviced. Then, if you get a better than average price for the equipment you buy, it would be considered a good price.


donrael said:
whats difference bet an inverter and a power plant?
Answered above.


donrael said:
which is better?
They have different qualities and usages. An inverter will carry you through power failures until your batteries run out. If the power failures last longer than your battery bank can stand, then you're up a creek without a paddle. The reason so many people use them, is that they are silent, consume no fuel, do not emit fumes and switch over automatically in fractions of a second.
Generators on the other hand, could carry you through an extended power failure.
Most people who are properly equipped, have both.
They run 99% of the time on the inverter and only use the generator if and when the batteries give up the ghost.
 

PlantaFULL

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I just got a new 1kilo Xantrex/Trace with 2 Batteries installed today.... Because it is saturday and I can't reach them anymore I thought I'd ask this question here.

Since they installed the unit at 9AM it has been in "charge mode". 10 hours later (7PM) the charge light is solid yellow which according to the manual is the "Float charge". The 2 other lights (Status and Error) are still off and the Fan of the unit has been running ever since. I'm wondering if this is normal since the guy who installed it said this unit should have those 2 batteries (also new from Trace) fully charged within 2 hours and the fan would go off afterwards. Looked at at every 30 mins, all day, always the same thing. Should I worry?

PS: I'm 100% sure that there has been no power outage since it got installed.
 
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MrMike

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Dont worry, the float charge can go on for a very long time, since the amperage outputted will slowly decay as the batteries top off and ths is intended to top the batteries off without overfilling them.
 

PlantaFULL

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Thanks for the reply MrMike... I'll see if its still in this mode tomorrow morning.
 
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Rocky

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If this 1 K unit is anything like mine, it may have a setting for the battery type. If you have a manual, you could check to see if it does.
On our bigger models, we have to set them to position 7, for lead acid batteries.
If it were set to the wrong position, it might cause the symptom you are experiencing.
Do you have a battery tester?
If so, post the voltage here and we'll have an idea what's going on.
Are your batteries getting hot?
 

MrMike

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I think the 1 kilo unit, like the 1/2 kilo only really has 1 switch on it, the 3 way one for switching it from "off" to "inverter" to "search".

It has a handy little meter on the side that tells you how full/empty your batteries are too, but it's hard to read until you get used to your particular battery bank and know how many bars means full or empty.
 

PlantaFULL

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Noon now, its doing the same thing still. The power indicator flashes quickly (speed changes overtime) between 2 positions. It Never goes any further up or down. You are correct about the only switch being the "mode", which is set to Invert... All other settings are inside the unit in form of jumpers. I don't want to tamper with it myself yet since this was ordered from Trace/Xantrex themselves in SD and they have a warranty and reputation to keep.

Questions are: Is this perhaps an automated first install equalize mode? If so how long could that take with 2 batteries... Its 24 hours now (without power outage).

The other and bigger question in my mind is that when I get them to fix it on monday... and it maybe turns out some baterry setting was wrong... should I insist that they replace these batteries with new ones again? E.g. are they possibly already being damages by whatever charge this inverter may be sending them?

Photos:

www.newbraindead.com/trace01.jpg
www.newbraindead.com/trace02.jpg

PS: Batteries seem connected properly, neither the inverter nor batteries are hot, barely can tell the difference from room temperature.
 

MrMike

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Mode should be set to "search" not "invert".

"search" will charge when you have street power and invert when you don't.

The other two settings are for when you want it to to do only one or the other.

I do not have the manual in front of me so I cannot be sure, but it looks to me from your fuzzy photos like you may have a problem.

If you are feeling experimental go out to your electrical box and trip the input breaker and see if there are any changes.

If everything is working properly the unit should instantly stop charging and start inverting. (you just simulated a blackout)

When you switch back it will take from one to two minutes to switch back and start charging because it is wants to make sure the power is really back for good.
 
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Rocky

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PlantaFULL said:
PS: Batteries seem connected properly, neither the inverter nor batteries are hot, barely can tell the difference from room temperature.
At least you are not cooking your batteries.
As Mr Mike said, if you can simulate a power outage by cutting the electrical supply off from the inverter, then put it back on, you may be able to determine if all is well.
 

PlantaFULL

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Simulated power outage went fine. The inverter kicked in. After turning the power back on the inverter went to bulk/absorption charge mode as it should. I'll report if it goes back into its endless float mode afterwards.

Found this online which is the same as in my manual.
http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/1042/docserve.asp

Search mode is basically the same as invert mode with energy saving function correct?

INVERT Mode
When the unit is in INVERT mode and it detects no AC
power available at its input plug, it will take DC power
from the battery and inverts it to AC power. That AC
power is then routed to the AC output receptacles to
power the AC loads connected to it. The duration of time
the unit can invert power is directly related to the size of
the battery (or battery bank).
To run the unit in ?INVERT? mode, move the slide switch
to INVERT on the control panel.

SEARCH Mode
To conserve battery power when an input source of AC
voltage is not available (as during a grid failure), the
SRCH mode can be selected. In this mode, the unit
checks the AC output circuit to see if a load has been
turned ON. If it detects a load, the unit switches to full
output power to operate the load. When the load is
switched OFF, the unit resumes its sleep mode and
continues to monitor the output circuit.
To run the unit in SEARCH Mode, move the slide switch
on the control panel to the SEARCH position.
The unit is now set to switch OFF the AC output during a
grid failure until the minimum load requirements are
met.
 

Rocky

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PlantaFULL said:
Search mode is basically the same as invert mode with energy saving function correct?
That is correct.
If I were to guess why your unit is showing a bulk charge all the time, I would guess that either the internal charger is not working at all or very little.
You are correct that it would only take hours to charge up your batteries, unless, the voltage entering your house is so low, that the charger will not activate.
If you were only getting 85 volts from the street, it would stay in that bulk charge 'till the cows come home and never actually charge your batteries.
I assume that you have no testing equipment. Is that correct?
Can you borrow from a neighbour?
With a couple of tests, we could know what's going on in a couple of minutes.
 

PlantaFULL

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I have no proper testing equipment no. What I have however is a servo-motor based voltage regulator plugged before my computer that shows me 110 on its needle. From my experience low voltage is not a problem in this street I live.

By now the inverter went from bulk/absorp into float mode. The fact that the bulk charge ends after a while indicates that the batteries did get charged no? This is what the manual says about float mode, no mention of how long it should stay in this mode tho:

FLOAT
During the final stage of charging, the batteries are held
at the float voltage (13.6 Vdc for gel batteries and 13.4
Vdc for liquid batteries). This reduces battery gassing,
minimizes watering requirements (for liquid batteries)
and ensures complete battery charging.
The CHARGE LED is ON solid while float charging.
 

Rocky

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PlantaFULL said:
I have no proper testing equipment no. What I have however is a servo-motor based voltage regulator plugged before my computer that shows me 110 on its needle. From my experience low voltage is not a problem in this street I live.

By now the inverter went from bulk/absorp into float mode. The fact that the bulk charge ends after a while indicates that the batteries did get charged no? This is what the manual says about float mode, no mention of how long it should stay in this mode tho:
Sounds like all is well.
It will always stay in float mode, as it maintains the batteries at the correct level, until the next power failure.
I guess you can now sit back & enjoy...
 

PlantaFULL

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Sounds good. I'll give them a call on monday to make sure this neverending float mode is normal. What's annoying is that the unit's fan never goes off and it is relatively loud. Similar noise level as a fridge but constant.
 

Rocky

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PlantaFULL said:
Sounds good. I'll give them a call on monday to make sure this neverending float mode is normal. What's annoying is that the unit's fan never goes off and it is relatively loud. Similar noise level as a fridge but constant.
The float is definitely normal.
The fan is not, unless those smaller units are different from the big ones, but I can't imagine why they would be.
If anything, the bigger units need more cooling, as they work harder.
I would say that you have a legitimate complaint.
If I were in your shoes, I would request a new unit, basing my argument on the fact that I bought & paid for a new unit, and that is what I expect.
There's a big difference between a unit that breaks down during the guarantee period, and a brand new unit being defective from the get-go.