April 25, 2015

Technical glitch

We have had a technical problem with our residential refrigerator installation.
As described in this article, the refrigerator is supplied with 120 volt power full time from a Xantrex pure sine inverter. The installation has worked flawlessly for over two years and two round trips across the country.
I awoke two days ago, opened the fridge to get milk for my morning tea, and found that the fridge was off, with no interior lights.
Inverter installation

I went outside, opened the cargo bay to check the inverter, and discovered that the inverter was off. I pressed the "power" button, it started up, and the fridge started to run. There were no error codes stored in the inverter, so I put it down to one of those unexplained anomalies and went about my business.

Later that day, we went out to dinner, and when we arrived home, I checked the inverter, and once again, it had shut itself down. I plugged the refrigerator into a regular outlet, and resolved to investigate further the next day.

The following morning, I plugged a 750 watt heater into the inverter, and turned it on. It ran for about 5 minutes, and then shut down with an E-4 error code, which means "Low Battery Voltage". I could detect an odor of burning plastic. Battery voltage checked out fine at 13.2 volts.

I started poking around and looking at the connections between the battery bank and the inverter, and I soon discovered that the 80 amp fuse, which I originally installed to protect against a short circuit, had melted, and taken the fuse holder with it. This fuse is installed in the battery compartment, which is steel lined and fortunately fireproof.

I am glad that the inverter did not fail. That was my initial suspicion. I did not relish spending $300 on a replacement. Instead, I spent $10 on a replacement 80 amp fuse and fuse holder, and my refrigerator installation is operating properly from the inverter again. Happy ending!

Replacement fuse holder

Tomorrow morning we leave early for a 300+ mile drive to Elkmont, Alabama, where we will stay for a couple of days at a peaceful, rural campground near the Alabama-Tennessee state line.


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