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Old 06-28-2013, 07:51 AM   #29
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On our Alpine our inverter failed and I had it repaired. Certainly a lot cheaper. I think we paid about $300.
Well, that lasted one year......bummer. I think I will buy another new 458 and install at $1000 vs about $1800 for the other one. I certainly will not do a repair. There must be an electrical stress point somewhere. The first one had no issues for the first twelve years and I don't think I will own this rig for twelve more years.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:12 AM   #30
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Rick, you may want to look at the newer Freedom SW2012 which is a direct replacement for Xanbus support and provides full sine wave AC. A Google search reveals prices from $1000 to $1300. I'm thinking seriously about purchasing one and use my 458 as an emergency spare. NOTE: Be sure to purchase the latest SW2012 model because the initial versions did not support the Xanbus connection for your remote control panel.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:48 PM   #31
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Good Morning All!

We just had our trusty Freedom 458 rebuilt by an Authorized Xantrex Repair Center. (You'll find a list of them at the Xantrex website). The unit quit charging the batteries but would still output 120 volts (the Inverter half worked, the Charger half quit).

We're quite happy with the repair, it works as normal and the sound is no different than before.

One interesting thing that the repair shop told me was that for the past few years, Xantrex has been bringing in their Inverters from China (i.e. Made In China). And the repair circuit boards are now from China. With this in mind, I did go ahead with the repairs and 2 replacement circuit boards. I was also told that Xantrex was recently sold to Schneider Electric (Germany) and Schneider hadn't yet weighed in on whether they plan to continue the Xantrex division.

For me, the decision came down to:
  • Repairs with Chinese circuit boards: Estimated over the phone at about $350 but upon teardown it ended up costing $575.
  • Replace with new Chinese made Xantrex unit: approx. $1000 per Internet prices.
  • Replace with new Magnum: More money than above + expense of a new controller.

I figured that all of our current electronics work with the Xantrex and I don't have any immediate need for any new electronics.

I was thrilled with the service provided by the factory authorized service center: Ernie Foley in Richmond, CA. Ernie helped with packaging suggestions for shipping to him via UPS, then took the unit home so I could pick it up on a weekend when we'd planned to be nearby. What a guy! (Again, you can find Ernie's contact info on Xantrex's webpages).

Cheers!
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:36 AM   #32
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Mike- can you post the link on repair centre's? For a good long while it has been rumored that Xantrex has a policy of no-repair, just buy a new one you half wit wasteling hostage. T'would be nice to know otherwise.
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:08 PM   #33
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our Freedom 458 also has quit charging our batteries...on day 3 of no charging and my fridge wouldn't even run...yikes! We are plugged into shore power thankfully so I can at least use my AC side of things. We are in Colorado so no repair centers anywhere close. We are running out to buy a charger (lesson learned there) to see if we can salvage our batteries and at least be able to use the DC side of things. The 458 was built in 1999 so it is very plausible that it has crapped the bed. I am so afraid of using my multimeter to check things out (I did watch a bunch of Youtube videos last night so I feel comfortable doing the DC check and battery voltage check but not so much with touching the ins/outs to the inverter). We may have had voltage spikes and drops here at the Buckley AFB FamCamp as it has been very hot and everyone is running a/c's full bore. We live full-time in this rig so can't be without the inverter so shipping it off for repair really isn't an option. I have read HandyBob's blog and seems like that Magnum Inverter/charger might be a good upgrade as we plan to live in this house for a long time. Is installing a new unit something we could do or should we look for an electrician or go to Camping World?? I am in full-blown panic mode today
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:42 PM   #34
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Mike- can you post the link on repair centre's? For a good long while it has been rumored that Xantrex has a policy of no-repair, just buy a new one you half wit wasteling hostage. T'would be nice to know otherwise.
From their web site:

Authorized Service Centers

The guy in Costa Mesa repaired mine last year. He was a retired Electrical Engineer. He had a lot of them their and plenty of repair parts and electrical test equipment.
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:04 PM   #35
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Junebug-ordinarily I default to DIY, but if you are dicey on using the multimeter I'd suggest getting the install done by someone for whom that isn't a challenge. You'll be messing with high amp potential in 12v plus a 30A 120v circuit, and you need to be able to recognize when those end terminations are well made to know you've done the job right.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:17 PM   #36
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I agree with EngineerMike. It is DIY if, but only if, you are familiar and comfortable with high amp potential 12v circuits and 120v AC circuits. Your body makes one heck of a good conductor with 120 volts! 12 volts won't shock you, but high currents going through an arcing conductor will easily cause severe burns.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:27 PM   #37
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Varankins3,

The "Battery Charger" idea is exactly what I did. Our inverter failed in the middle of a trip while at a full-hookup park. But we were then going to a no-hookup park for 7 days. So, I ran the generator 2 or 3 times a day for an hour or so to keep the battery charge up a bit. Or I'd fire up the engine and charge the batteries up off the alternator for awhile every few days.

I see that you are near Aurora and the Xantrex authorized repair center is in Colo. Springs (only about 75 miles away). You might call down there and ask them if they have any rebuilt units on the shelf and whether they can do an install. Here's the contact info:
  • COLORADO One Stop Custom Shop 6923 Wyoming Lane
    Col. Springs, CO 80923
    Ph. 719-495-2740
One thing I forgot to mention was that the repair center gave me a 90 day warranty on their repairs.


Rick & Cork: Thanks for jumping in with that Link for EM.

Good luck with your inverter Rankins!

Cheers!
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:07 PM   #38
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Mike and Mike....Thanks for the heads up about Colorado Springs...I had checked Xantrex's website and didn't see that listed...there were no repair shops until you got to the west coast (wish I was in Portland right now...have an electrician friend). I will call them tomorrow. I can cross my fingers that they have something there. The battery charger did it's job...the meter shows 75% charge. I wish running our coach engine would give the house batteries some charge but they don't. But if the charger part of the 458 is toast it wouldn't matter...no charge is getting through. And we can't start our generator either...we have a big mess on our hands. I thought with the batts charged up the gen would finally start..no deal.
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Old 06-30-2013, 04:21 PM   #39
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I would run the engine until the chassis batteries are fully charged. The alternator will charge faster than your charger. Put the charger on the coach batteries until they get charged up. If you have 12volt coach batteries connect to one and any others will charge also. How many batteries do you have?
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Old 06-30-2013, 04:26 PM   #40
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Varankins3,

In our Alpine Coach the alternator OR the charger in the Inverter charges the House batteries. The alternator charges the Chassis batteries and I'm pretty sure the House batteries also.

There is a $130 device called an Echo Charge, also made by Xantrex. It has 3 wires. One connects to the positive of a house battery, one to the positive of a chassis battery, and the 3rd to Ground or the negative of either set of batteries. It's pretty simple to hookup. This device will help you charge both sets of batteries from your charging source whether it is the engine Alternator, the Inverter Charger or the Battery Charger you bought yesterday. Here's a link to the webpage and once you're on the webpage, you can find the Owners Guide and download it as a pdf for Adobe Acrobat to open and read.

Battery Chargers | Auxiliary Battery Charger | Xantrex

If you want one in a rush, try your nearest West Marine store or any other large marine or RV store. (Boats also have 2 battery systems and use a lot of the same products we do).

As far as your electrician friend, let me tell you that the insides of our inverter were very toasted! The problem seemed to start with a relay and then took out a couple of other things on that circuit board and then took out a transistor and some other stuff on another circuit board. Once these things "smoke" you can't read the numbers on them to buy replacement parts. And Xantrex only sells complete boards (as far as I know) and only to their factory authorized service centers. So, you've got to play the game by their rules. And that probably doesn't include your electrician.

If you do decide to put in the Echo Charge, which will take you from one set of charged batteries to both sets charged, take off all of your rings and your watch for safety sake around the electricity and make sure you don't let any tools touch both a positive and a negative at the same time. Also don't touch a positive and the RV chassis (negative) with any tools.

If your generator won't start, it may be because it's Starting Battery (usually the Chassis Battery), isn't charged enough. I can't quite tell if your new battery charger was used to charge the House Batteries or the Chassis Batteries. Whichever you did charge, try charging the other.

Finally, one time I left something on and drained a lot of electricity and the coach wouldn't start. And the generator wouldn't start. I hooked the jumper cables up from my pickup truck to the coach and the coach engine started, which charged the batteries. So, you might want to try jumping from your toad to see if you get enough juice to start that generator.

BUT, starting the generator won't make 12 volt electricity to charge batteries because your generator makes 120 volt electricity which then is supposed to go thru the inverter/charger to make 12 volts to charge the batteries. So, don't get too excited about starting the generator.

If you do talk to the Xantrex folks in Colorado, make sure and tell them you are in a rush for the repairs. The guy in CA that did mine did it with circuit boards he stocks on the shelf on the first afternoon, then left it running overnight to test it, and I got it back the next day!

Best of luck!
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:36 PM   #41
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I REALLY appreciate all the help found on here. My hubby is amazed...he isn't used to people being so kind and helpful to a stranger!

We have 3 coach batt up in the front end of the rv... Interstates, 3 years old and probably on their way out due to our incompetence in keeping them maintained. We have a diesel pusher so the engine batteries are in the back by the engine.

We are looking at the solenoid on the gen but I am of the opinion that until we have good batteries, we can't really make a judgement about the gen. Our gen gets its juice from the front coach batts so...the gen turns (rrrr, rrr, rrr). We changed out the spark plugs which were in bad shape. We were getting close to the 150hr service anyways.

I am almost at that point that if we need a new inverter/charger, why not go to Magnum? It sounds like they have a better monitoring system. We will be talking to a few different people tomorrow and will have to make a decision then. The charger is keeping the house batts charged up for now and all I am concerned with is that my fridge keeps going...way to much in there to lose it now (meat aint cheap!!).
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:14 PM   #42
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Varankins3,

A couple of thoughts...

I'm a little surprised that you've got a diesel pusher and a gas engine generator. That would require a gas tank and a diesel tank. I thought RV manufacturers made RV's with a generator that ran on the same fuel as the engine. But, that doesn't really matter as it's your Inverter that's giving you problems.

One thing I forgot to mention was that the Xantrex repair guy did want some money for "troubleshooting" (checking to see what the problem is and creating an estimate). In your case, if you're going to have them remove it, it will probably cost more for their labor. But, by the description of your comfort level with electricity, it will be money well spent.

Your 3-year old Interstates are not really all that old. If they are "maintenance free", then they should be good for another couple of years. On the other hand, if they have the caps to remove and check your battery water level, and you haven't been doing it regularly, then their life span shortens.

I think the first stop ought to be an RV repair shop to get the general battery issue under control and the generator to start. You might want to consider the Echo Charge at that point. It's an option that you'll always be happy to have.

While there, I'd have them check the general wiring to and from the inverter and give it a quick test. This could all be due to a loose wire or blown main fuse.

If they confirm the Inverter is bad, then you can choose between Xantrex purchase or repair or Magnum.

Your Inverter options seem to be to go to the Xantrex repair facility for what might be a low cost repair or bite the bullet and spend around a couple thousand for the Magnum and it's controller.

Let us know how this turns out for you.
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