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Loud Clicking From Inverter When Plugged Into 15 Amp Service

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#1 songofthefrog

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 01:13 PM

I am new to owning a class A motorhome. I used to have a truck camper that was way less complicated, but I am eager to learn. :-)

 

What I have: 2002 Itasca 32' Suncruiser with a Xantrex Freedom Inverter with a remote panel. 

 

At home I only have a 15 amp plug outside so that is what I use. However, when I do this there is a very loud clicking sound coming from the inverter every 10/15 seconds. I took it in to my local RV service department and asked them to check it out. They plugged it into a 30 amp service and said the clicking wasn't there, but when they plugged it into a 15 amp service it started clicking just like at home. They said they didn't know why this was happening, maybe the inverter couldn't handle not getting 30 amps. This answer didn't leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. So I thought I would ask here. 

 

Question: Is this normal or does this indicate a problem?

 

 

 

Megann


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#2 ticat900

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 02:28 PM

Not much of a RV repair shop if what you said is exactly what happened (they said did not know whats up?). I have found that a lot of times depending what breakers are on and State of house battery charge is at.low battery charge high draw rate

This will happen when trying to use 15 amp.The draw is more than the 15 amp line is able to supply therefore most likely kicking INVERTER/CHARGER ON/OFF ON/OFF. Try making sure there are no high power draws and batteries are charged up.Then retry the 15 amp plug.

make sure if using a extention cord as short as possible and #10 preferably 15 amp is only good for lite charging, lites low draw things of any nature.

Not hot water or 1200 series fridges etc.  

I bet it works properly


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#3 wolfe10

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 02:48 PM

Megann,

 

Pull out your Xantrex owners manual or pull it up online.  Go to "programming" or "setting dip switches" (depends on age of inverter).

 

One of the programming options is "power share" or "power save".  What it does is limit the amps that the inverter/charger can use for battery charging.

 

Lowest setting is generally 5 amps.  Try that.

 

And, at high amp demands, particularly if minimal size house wiring and/or an extension cord, voltage can drop below acceptable levels. Check voltage with a digital voltmeter at any outlet in the coach when this occurs.  Acceptable voltage range 108- 132 VAC (120 VAC +/- 10%).

 

And, lastly make sure no other high amp draws are running.  Things not easily seen like 120 VAC water heater element, block heater, etc.

 

Brett


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#4 songofthefrog

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 06:25 PM

Thank you for the quick reply.

 

Yes, that really is what they said. That is why I wanted to seek another opinion. We live in a pretty rural area and they are the only RV service shop around. 

 

I have set the "Power Share" to 5 amps, made sure the hot water heater was off and checked to make sure nothing else was drawing. I got the same results. I used my voltmeter to check an outlet inside of the coach while I was plugged into the 15 amp service and got 120.5. 

 

I think I may have something going on with my hot water heater, just to be sure it was off I flipped the 120V breaker for the hot water heater and the clicking stopped. When I flipped the hot water heater breaker back on the clicking started again.

 

Also I noticed something else strange. We have already winterized, but yesterday I went to flush out the hot water heater tank, because I had mistakenly got some antifreeze in there due to a bad bypass valve, and noticed that the fluid that came out was warm even though both switches for the hot water heater are turned off.

 

When I had the hot water heater breaker turned off the clicking stopped, but the Charge light on the Remote panel was not on. I believe this means that the batteries are not getting charged. Is that right?

 

Thanks again for the help.

 

Megann


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#5 ticat900

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 08:33 PM

You just answered your own question? U said  once u shut off the heavy power draw it quit clicking?exactly what I told u was the problem. why could your RV repair guy not figure that out? Just because you got antifreeze in the HWT does not mean you need to immediately flush it out. Its no big deal and hurts nothing.

 

I don't get any connection between your HW breaker and your charge light not lighting up either.


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#6 wolfe10

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 08:56 PM

Agree, something else is going on.

 

Your electric 120 VAC element in the water heater should NOT be running through the inverter/charger.  So, unless it is diminishing voltage or drawing sufficient amperage to open the breaker, I can't see the relationship.


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#7 ticat900

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 09:19 PM

Agree, something else is going on.

 

Your electric 120 VAC element in the water heater should NOT be running through the inverter/charger.  So, unless it is diminishing voltage or drawing sufficient amperage to open the breaker, I can't see the relationship.

Wolfe,

 

 I ran into the same problem(similar) on my Allegro bus. Its not the inverter/charger that's at fault. Its the fact that with the inverter- charger start up draw is fairly high,now add more draw if the batteries are low and the charger kicks in at the same time as the hot water element starts up. 15amp input is way way less than required so hence the problem.

 

My inverter did not make the clicking noise but in my case my ATS was sounding the same as the Op described and the result was the same and the fix was similar.


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#8 songofthefrog

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 11:49 PM

Thanks for the replies.

 

I am confused as to how to solve the problem or if it is even solvable. What I think I hear you saying is that I am not going to be able to charge my batteries on a 15 amp service because the design of the system. Or is it really that my water heater is drawing even though both switches are turned off? 

 

Is there a way to tell if the hot water heater is on even though both the gas and electric switches inside of the coach are off? Would there still be some kind of draw even though the switches are off?

 

Thanks,

 

Megann


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#9 ticat900

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 12:14 AM

You yourself told us  "just to be sure it was off I flipped the 120V breaker for the hot water heater and the clicking stopped. When I flipped the hot water heater breaker back on the clicking started again." So, you answered your own question plus we already told you that you can not run a 120V water heater and your Inverter system on 15 amps. Why your hot water heater is on even when you switch it off as you ascertain is a seprerate problem.For now leave the breaker off.

 

Of course you can charge your batteries on a 15 amp system. I never suggested you could not. I said  if your batteries are dead or low your Inverter/converter may try to draw more than the 15 amp line will allow.

 

Wolfe already told you to see if you can turn down the converter charger draw. Did you do that?

 

What I suggested is bring the batteries up to snuff with a  regular charger and then plug in the MH to 15 amp circuit leave the WH breaker off and the gas shut off.

 

Once the batteries are charged and you have no draws on system the 15 amp plug will easily run the inverter/charger and keep your batteries charged.


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#10 songofthefrog

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 12:49 AM

The batteries are not charging with the hot water heater breaker turned off. 

 

Yes, as I stated above, I turned down the converter draw to 5 amps

 

The batteries are brand new. I bought them less than a week ago. They have been charging from our solar panels during they day so they shouldn't be dead. 

 

 

Megann


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#11 wolfe10

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 08:52 AM

Megann,

 

You need to verify that with the water heat breaker off that the charger section of your inverter/charger does not work.  The only explanation I can think of is that they wired both the water heater AND the inverter/charger to the same breaker on your 120 VAC breaker panel.  That would not be a good idea!  Please verify that you have a separate breaker for each. If they are on the same breaker, you need to see if there is another available breaker of the correct amp rating that can be used, or if there is a block-off plate where you can add another breaker.  IF YOU ARE NOT SAFE WORKING WITH 120 VAC, HAVE THIS DONE BY A PRO. If they are on a separate breaker, you need to troubleshoot the reason that the turning off one breaker affects another circuit.

 

Brett


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#12 ticat900

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 10:37 AM

The batteries are not charging with the hot water heater breaker turned off. 

 

Yes, as I stated above, I turned down the converter draw to 5 amps

 

The batteries are brand new. I bought them less than a week ago. They have been charging from our solar panels during they day so they shouldn't be dead. 

 

 

Megann

The breaker may be the same circuit your inverter/charger is on. BUT your heater has its own sub-switch so in reality should not matter as long as HW is switched off.

 

The chatter coming from the inverter/charger now that we understand the situation in that the chatter quits because in fact you have turned off the inverter/charger,  kind of indicates your inverter/charger is defective as long as the story told is accurate.


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