Inverter, battery, or charger problem? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Problem Solving | Owners helping each other
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-13-2019, 04:11 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Milam, Texas
Trailer: 2016 ESCAPE 21
Posts: 132
Inverter, battery, or charger problem?

When the inverter is on [battery voltage 12.7] and I apply a heavy 120 load like the microwave, voltage drops rapidly and in less than 30 seconds the inverter shuts down because of "low voltage input". The batteries are interstate [dual 6v setup] and 1 1/2 years old. My rig stays plugged in during storage so voltage has never been low on the batteries. [water level is fine]

I call Samlex about the inverter and tell them the story and they say it is not possible for the inverter to cause this. Period.

I took the batteries to two battery stores and had them load tested, was told they were fine. The onboard charger holds the batteries at about 13.3 volts all the time, it never seems to vary much from that.


SO... do I have a inverter problem, a battery problem, or a charger problem. One more thing, I replaced the batteries 1 1/2 years ago when this was happening and the day the batteries were installed, the inverter worked fine. I tried it 6-9 months later and the inverter shut down.
__________________

thumper-tx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 04:27 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 11,916
Quote:
Originally Posted by thumper-tx View Post
... do I have a inverter problem, a battery problem, or a charger problem.
It doesn't matter how the battery got charged, as long as the battery is charged when the inverter is used, so I would take the charger out of the list.

I would tend to believe the inverter manufacturer, and guess that this is likely a lack of voltage to the inverter, not the inverter getting more demanding.

I would add a wiring problem to the list. The battery is at 12.7 volts, but what voltage is reaching the inverter? If the resistance of the cables and their connections is too high, there will be a significant voltage difference at high current.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thumper-tx View Post
One more thing, I replaced the batteries 1 1/2 years ago when this was happening and the day the batteries were installed, the inverter worked fine. I tried it 6-9 months later and the inverter shut down.
Both battery degradation and loosening electrical connections could explain a change in behaviour.
__________________

Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 04:30 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
PGDriver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Southern Alberta, Alberta
Trailer: 2015 Escape 5.0TA
Posts: 1,692
Inverter, battery, or charger problem?

I think you have a wiring problem.
I had the same thing, upon checking the gauge of the wire connecting the inverter to the batteries I determined it needed to be heavier. I went from 4 to 2 gauge and all was well.
Hope this helps
__________________
Cheers
Doug
PGDriver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 04:36 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Milam, Texas
Trailer: 2016 ESCAPE 21
Posts: 132
The wiring is factory on a 2016, 21Escape so I believe the wiring is heavy enough or everyone would have the same problem.
The readout on the inverter control shows that all the voltage in the batteries is getting to the inverter at the start.
thumper-tx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 04:51 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Vermilye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Oswego, New York
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21, 2018 Ford F150
Posts: 3,473
There are a few causes of an inverter shutting down due to low voltage.

1. The batteries are not fully charged, or are in poor condition.
2. The wire size is inadequate resulting in too much voltage drop between the batteries & inverter.
3. Bad connections that cause excessive voltage drop under heavy loads.
4. The load is too high for the inverter/wiring/connectors.

If you have a volt meter, measure the battery voltage at the battery terminals while the inverter is under load. Compare that to the voltage at the inverter input terminals. Some drop (a few tenths of a volt) at the battery terminals should be expected due to the internal resistance of the batteries. If there is a lot more voltage drop at the inverter terminals, I'd suspect the wiring or connections.

Running a 700 watt microwave for more than a minute or two with a pair of 6V batteries is on the edge of capability, so everything has to be in good condition.
__________________
Jon Vermilye My Travel Blog
Travel and Photo Web Page ... My Collection of RV Blogs 2018 F150 3.5EB, 2017 21
Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 05:15 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
PGDriver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Southern Alberta, Alberta
Trailer: 2015 Escape 5.0TA
Posts: 1,692
Quote:
Originally Posted by thumper-tx View Post
The wiring is factory on a 2016, 21Escape so I believe the wiring is heavy enough or everyone would have the same problem.

The readout on the inverter control shows that all the voltage in the batteries is getting to the inverter at the start.


I would check to make sure you have 2 gauge, ours came from the factory with 4 gauge and we had the exact problem you have. Now we run the microwave as long as we like also toaster, coffee maker, blender, electric kettle etc. with no problems.
__________________
Cheers
Doug
PGDriver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 05:59 PM   #7
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,861
Is there a formula of some sort that tells what the voltage would go down to at a given amperage load? I see similiar, if I kick on a heavy load I can get my non ETI inverter to beep for low voltage, it will also kick out of it goes to low like Thumpers.

I see the voltage drop when pretty much any load is on the system, take away the load and the voltage goes back up. I use 2 awg, roughly 6' total run
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 06:45 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
tdf-texas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Baytown, Texas
Trailer: 2017 21' Escape - since 1/9/2017
Posts: 1,480
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Is there a formula of some sort that tells what the voltage would go down to at a given amperage load? I see similiar, if I kick on a heavy load I can get my non ETI inverter to beep for low voltage, it will also kick out of it goes to low like Thumpers.

I see the voltage drop when pretty much any load is on the system, take away the load and the voltage goes back up. I use 2 awg, roughly 6' total run
https://www.calculator.net/voltage-d...s=10&x=53&y=12

Just remember - the total run is the distance there and back, positive and negative.
__________________
If It Isnít Perfect, It Isnít Finished
tdf-texas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 07:13 PM   #9
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,861
Doesn't explain what I see, I get down in the 11v range when a large load is active. I'll do some testing and get some real numbers tomorrow.
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 09:32 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
tdf-texas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Baytown, Texas
Trailer: 2017 21' Escape - since 1/9/2017
Posts: 1,480
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Doesn't explain what I see, I get down in the 11v range when a large load is active. I'll do some testing and get some real numbers tomorrow.
The crimps on my inverter leads had to be redone due to high resistance - you may have the same problem.

Strange looking triangular crimps on the cables and half of them tested bad. The only times I have seen these type of crimps is when someone used a hammer type cable lug crimping tool to crimp them.

A 10 ton hydraulic crimper and some Ancor lugs fixed it right up.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
__________________
If It Isnít Perfect, It Isnít Finished
tdf-texas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2019, 10:49 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 11,916
This recent thread might be informative:
how many watts for how long
While the initial question is not about inverter voltage issues, the discussion turns to this at post #30.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2019, 04:14 PM   #12
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,861
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Doesn't explain what I see, I get down in the 11v range when a large load is active. I'll do some testing and get some real numbers tomorrow.
I have a Trimetrics battery monitor, Maximum Dynamics 1000w CSW inverter, WFCO converter, and 2014 dual 6v Interstates. Total 84" of cable from batteries to inverter and back again, 36" is 1/0, the rest is 2 awg, couldn't make the bends with 1/0. The connectors are soldered.

Voltage across batteries before powering up inverter, 2 LED lights on, 12.55v.
12.54v at the inverter.

Inverter on, no load. 12.46v across batteries and at the inverter.

Turn on dehumifier, 15A, 12.11v at the batteries
12.03v at the inverter

Turn off dehumidifier, voltage bounces back to 12.4v

Start toaster, 86A, 11.33v at batteries
11.09 at the inverter

Bounces back to 12.3v when toaster stops and I turn off the inverter.

FWIW, inverter beeps with a low voltage level when the toaster is on. Low voltage warning alarm is at 11.2v. Inverter shutdown is at 10.5v.

Question is why does the voltage drop when the inverter is running? Is this normal or indicate a problem?
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2019, 04:23 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
tdf-texas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Baytown, Texas
Trailer: 2017 21' Escape - since 1/9/2017
Posts: 1,480
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Question is why does the voltage drop when the inverter is running? Is this normal or indicate a problem?
Batteries can be practically modeled as a voltage source and it's internal resistance, ie a resistor. As more current is drawn from a battery, increased voltage is dropped across this internal resistance, lowering the voltage available from the battery.

E (voltage drop) = I (current draw) x R (internal resistance)

Here is a good article that explains battery internal resistance and what affects it.
https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...nal_resistance
__________________
If It Isnít Perfect, It Isnít Finished
tdf-texas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2019, 06:30 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 11,916
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
Batteries can be practically modeled as a voltage source and it's internal resistance, ie a resistor. As more current is drawn from a battery, increased voltage is dropped across this internal resistance, lowering the voltage available from the battery.

E (voltage drop) = I (current draw) x R (internal resistance)

Here is a good article that explains battery internal resistance and what affects it.
https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...nal_resistance
Yes, but there is both the internal resistance of the battery, and the resistance of the circuit external to the battery.

To put some values on it...
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
I have a Trimetrics battery monitor, Maximum Dynamics 1000w CSW inverter, WFCO converter, and 2014 dual 6v Interstates. Total 84" of cable from batteries to inverter and back again, 36" is 1/0, the rest is 2 awg, couldn't make the bends with 1/0. The connectors are soldered.

Voltage across batteries before powering up inverter, 2 LED lights on, 12.55v.
12.54v at the inverter.

Inverter on, no load. 12.46v across batteries and at the inverter.

Turn on dehumifier, 15A, 12.11v at the batteries
12.03v at the inverter

Turn off dehumidifier, voltage bounces back to 12.4v

Start toaster, 86A, 11.33v at batteries
11.09 at the inverter

Bounces back to 12.3v when toaster stops and I turn off the inverter.
I assume that the current readings (15 A and 86 A) are battery current as reported by the Trimetric.

So the internal resistance of the battery (plus the cable between the two batteries) causes a voltage drop between the internal chemical reaction and the external terminals of the batteries of:
  • 12.55 - 12.11 = 0.44 volts when 15 amps is drawn from the battery (0.44V/15A = 29 milliohms), and
  • 12.55 - 11.33 = 1.22 volts when 86 amps is drawn from the battery (1.22V/86A = 14 milliohms)
There's enough uncertainty in all measurements (and the lack of a true zero-current reference case) that these two different internal resistance values are not surprising. Also, the battery voltage doesn't recover fully, but it probably does recover more later, so there is an additional effect going on internally that is beyond this simplistic analysis.

And the resistance of the circuit to the inverter causes a voltage drop between battery and inverter of:
  • 12.11 - 12.03 = 0.08 volts when 15 amps is flowing through the circuit to the inverter (0.08V/15A = 5 milliohms), and
  • 11.33 - 11.09 = 0.24 volts when 86 amps is drawn from the battery (0.24V/86A = 3 milliohms)
The resistance of the circuit (cables and connections between battery and inverter) is small compared to the internal resistance of the batteries, in this case. This is a more straightforward situation than the battery internal resistance calculation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Question is why does the voltage drop when the inverter is running? Is this normal or indicate a problem?
So there are two reasons for voltage to drop when high current is drawn (by the inverter or anything else), and some drop from both causes is normal. It's only the amount of drop which might indicate a concern.

People who are having a problem with the voltage to the inverter only need to measure the voltage at the inverter (when there is a heavy load) to see if resistance somewhere is a problem, and only need to measure voltage at the battery and at the inverter (with and without load) to see if the problem is internal resistance of the battery of resistance of the wiring circuit.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2019, 08:51 PM   #15
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,861
If I'm reading all this correctly my results are telling me the batteries resistance is the issue? Would one expect to see less voltage drop with newer batteries? Suppose I could try an Equalization and see if it helps any, will have to wait for the sun to get a bit higher.
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2019, 09:03 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Milam, Texas
Trailer: 2016 ESCAPE 21
Posts: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
If I'm reading all this correctly my results are telling me the batteries resistance is the issue? Would one expect to see less voltage drop with newer batteries? Suppose I could try an Equalization and see if it helps any, will have to wait for the sun to get a bit higher.
Bob, Do you have one battery or two? I was curious if equalization works with the dual 6V setup Escape uses.
thumper-tx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2019, 09:21 PM   #17
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,861
I have 2 @ 6v. As far as I know it works, but I really have no way of knowing.
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2019, 11:27 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 11,916
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
If I'm reading all this correctly my results are telling me the batteries resistance is the issue?
Well, you're not hitting the shutdown level, so I don't know how much of a problem it is... but yes, most of the voltage drop appears to be due to your batteries; the wiring doesn't look like an issue.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2019, 11:51 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SLO County CA, California
Trailer: 2014 21
Posts: 3,398
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
I have 2 @ 6v. As far as I know it works, but I really have no way of knowing.
Bob- your batteries are old relatively. To me it's like tires: do you want to run them to the advertised life or?
__________________
"We gotta get as far away as we can!"
- Russell Casse, Independence Day
Rossue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2019, 06:10 AM   #20
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,861
It was really just a question of why I see the voltage drop so much then bounce back up, now I know. I'll use them till the toaster stops working. Thanks
__________________

__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Escape Trailer Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.
×