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Inverter Problems

Have questions on how to wire an inverter? One such query answered by an Expert is whether a 240 DC to AC inverter can be wired through a 100 amp panel box with both hot wires connected and neutral to run 120 volts through the box. Experts say, generally the 240 volts side of the inverter has only two hot wires and ground without a neutral. Problems usually arise due to the lack of a neutral, which 240 volt inverters do not require but 120 volt circuits do. Therefore, when the inverter is run from the subpanel, there would be two hot wires and a ground. However, when the 120 volt circuits are split, there would be no neutral to return on. Below are frequently asked questions on issues relating to inverter problems that have been answered by the Experts

What is the maximum wattage for an inverter that is going to be used on a motorhome so the LED lights won’t flicker?

Typically the inverter has a maximum output wattage which ranges from 300 to 500 watts and the output wattage of the inverter should not be exceeded. Moreover a 240 volts inverter is not advisable to power the entire motorhome. Most other units have a loop from the ground terminal on the 240 volts which bonds to the inverter case. Similarly the inverter case should also be grounded to the RV framework using screws. Additionally, the 240 volts is as dangerous as dealing with wiring in a home. Therefore, caution should be practiced, work should be inspected and proper permissions and permits should be obtained.

What should the inverter watt rating be if it needs to be used to operate a 1 HP compressor?

A reasonably reliable inverter generator should be rated 4 or 5 Kw. Though 3Kw may be able to start and run a motor, it can overheat and malfunction. A dependable inverter generator which runs at 1,750 RPM will cost more and is heavier but is more likely to function closer to full load rating.

Can a live power inverter 120 VAC output, where the batteries are powered by a wind turbine, be connected directly to the live 120 VAC house wiring?

An inverter can change power from 12 volts to 120 volts, it cannot produce power. The 120 volts can be used to power items which are within the tolerance of the inverter wattage. If power needs to be connected to the home, a complete system may be required. If the 12 volt batteries of the inverter are charged through a wind turbine, having a system can help harness the wind turbine production, charge the batteries which can in turn produce power through the inverter. In order to make this work, a controller would be required. This controller can isolate the circuits when there is sufficient power to use and then restore normal utility usage when the power is not required. If the power is connected to isolated circuits from the utility, then it is possible to use them separately. The power source cannot retract through the utility lines and has to be permitted and approved by utility and local authorities.

Why does a 1,200 watt inverter trip into ‘fault’ mode when six 26 watt compact fluorescent lights are turned on?

The initial current which goes to a fluorescent lamp is extremely high and though some inverters may have a “soft start” option, it may not work. Therefore, try rewiring so the lights do not all come on at the same time.

Listed above are some of the inverter problems being experienced by owners of invertors. There may be several other questions related to the above problems, or new questions which can arise on reading this article. Experts are a great source of good, reliable and customized information to resolve most inverter problems in a quick and reasonable manner.
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