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Old 11-15-2013, 07:53 PM   #1
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Inverter/Converter/Charger problem?

I have a 1994 HR Navigator with a Freedom 25 inverter/converter that I am having trouble with. When I start the generator, which is an Onan KDKAG 10kw diesel unit, and the AC power comes on, the charger current to the batteries as displayed on the Freedom 25 remote panel, ramps up to about 50 amps over about 3-5 seconds then the charger trips off for 5-10 seconds then repeats. Depending on battery state of charge, this goes on for a while (maybe 20 minutes) until finally the charger current remains steady at 50-60 amps then over time tapers down to the lowest LED on the panel which is 10 amps. I never really noticed it doing this when I plug the coach in at a campground, just when on generator power. According to the Freedom 25 manual, the charger is rated for 130 amps output so I don't understand why it would cut off at 50 amps.
Last weekend we dry camped for two days and ran the generator in the mornings to recharge and run hair dryer, coffee pot, etc.
On day two I noticed that not only was the charger current dropping off but the AC input LED was also going off too.
The day we got home I finished installing my 50amp plug at home so I plugged the coach in, immediately checked the Freedom 25 panel and it showed AC input and a steady charge current of 70 amps which of course tapered off to 10amps over time.
It seems the problem is only on gen power.
I need to figure out if there is a problem with the generator output, the transfer switch, or the inv/conv/charger or something else I haven't thought of.
Any ideas?
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:21 PM   #2
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It could be something going on with the generator but I don,t think so. Check your rating for the generator. If it is a 10kw output, it is probably split into 2 circuits. Each circuit probably rated for 5kw. 5kw is around 45-50 amps @ 120 volts. So each circuit is limited to that. Check your manual for exact output. If you are using a few amps (refrigerator, AC) on the same circuit as the freedom 20 charger it will further limit the output of your charger even lower.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:01 PM   #3
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GA

I've got a 93 Navigator with the same generator. It has 40 amp main breakers that feed the transfer switch.

Based on what you described, I'd say check the wires inside your transfer switch. I'm guessing you have the same model as mine. I had to replace mine a couple of years ago. The internal wiring on the generator side was undersized and one of the leads had burned through.

In your case an undersized wire would restrict amperage going to you main panel. On the main panel you should have a 30amp breaker feeding the inverter/charger. My guess is a partially burned wire in you transfer switch is choking off the amperage to something less than 30amps.

BTW... I replaced my transfer switch with the same make and model... And guess what... The new version had heavier Gauge wires.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:33 PM   #4
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Mgscott thanks for the reply. If I remember right , the gen has a double 40 amp breaker. That would coincide with your description.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:38 PM   #5
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Vtwinwilly:
Thanks for your response. I don't know where the transfer switch is. Is it near inverter under bed or closer to generator or somewhere else?
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:56 PM   #6
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Unrelated, but if anybody needs manuals, I have original stuff for 1994 HR Navigator, Spartan chassis, Onan HDKAG generator, Howard Powersteer, Freedom 25, Primus heating system, and probably some others I can't think of right now. I would be glad to scan and email to help anybody out.
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:38 AM   #7
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Vtwinwilly:
Thanks for your response. I don't know where the transfer switch is. Is it near inverter under bed or closer to generator or somewhere else?
Yes... Assuming yours Is the same as mine, it is located under the bed behind the inverter/charger. It is accessed by lifting the bed and removing the top access panel.
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:18 AM   #8
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If one of your house batteries has a bad cell it will keep the inverter from working properly, I just had the same problem .
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:21 AM   #9
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If one of your house batteries has a bad cell it will keep the inverter from working properly, I just had the same problem .
Hopefully not. Trojans are only about 3 months old.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:15 PM   #10
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I messed around with it some more today and now it seems the inverter will not pass through power when getting 120V from either generator or shore power. I can plug into shore power and get nothing to microwave etc. Then turn on the inverter switch and it makes inverted power for about 15 seconds then switches over to pass through from shore. I can tell the difference because I have an electronic pest repellent that makes lots of noise on inverter power but almost silent on shore power. I can then switch off the inverter switch and it stays connected to shore power. It used to pass through power without turning it on.

Checked the transfer switch and everything is fine there. I checked voltages on the output side going to the breaker box and all looked good. There are two big relays inside the inverter housing and I wonder if they are the culprit.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:03 AM   #11
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I recently had a similar problem. Sometimes, not always, the inverter/charger was not charging, and no power was being passed thru to 120v circuits when connected to shore power or generator.

I thought my inverter/charger was shot!

Turned out I was not receiving 120v power from the 30 amp breaker on the main panel. The problem was the contact on the back of the breaker had become corroded.

I disconnected from power, removed the breaker and used one of DW's Emory boards to clean the contact on the breaker and its corresponding contact in the back of the main panel.

This is easy enough to test with a volt/ohm meter. You just have to be very careful as you must remove the panel cover and perform the test while the panel is still hot.

Just remove the panel cover and place the red probe on the breaker contact (or screw) where the black wire attaches, and put the black probe on the bus bar where all the white (common) wires attach. You should get a reading of approx 120v. If not, try testing a different breaker to be sure your getting power into the panel.

If you're getting power on other breakers then you've at least isolated the problem to the 30amp breaker. This is where you kill the power to the panel, remove the breaker and visually inspect the contact on the back of the breaker. Mine was visibly corroded. Cleaned it, reinstalled it, re-energized the panel and everything has worked normal since.

CAUTION: if you are not 100% comfortable working with electricity, then ignore everything I said above, and find someone who is.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by vtwinwilly View Post
I recently had a similar problem. Sometimes, not always, the inverter/charger was not charging, and no power was being passed thru to 120v circuits when connected to shore power or generator.

I thought my inverter/charger was shot!

Turned out I was not receiving 120v power from the 30 amp breaker on the main panel. The problem was the contact on the back of the breaker had become corroded.

I disconnected from power, removed the breaker and used one of DW's Emory boards to clean the contact on the breaker and its corresponding contact in the back of the main panel.

This is easy enough to test with a volt/ohm meter. You just have to be very careful as you must remove the panel cover and perform the test while the panel is still hot.

Just remove the panel cover and place the red probe on the breaker contact (or screw) where the black wire attaches, and put the black probe on the bus bar where all the white (common) wires attach. You should get a reading of approx 120v. If not, try testing a different breaker to be sure your getting power into the panel.

If you're getting power on other breakers then you've at least isolated the problem to the 30amp breaker. This is where you kill the power to the panel, remove the breaker and visually inspect the contact on the back of the breaker. Mine was visibly corroded. Cleaned it, reinstalled it, re-energized the panel and everything has worked normal since.

CAUTION: if you are not 100% comfortable working with electricity, then ignore everything I said above, and find someone who is.
I unplugged from shore power today to go get some propane. I left it unplugged for several hours when I got back and the inverter was running the Samsung RF197 during that time. I turned off the inverter before plugging in to shore because the fridge doesn't like the switch. I hooked up to shore power and had no 120v in coach. I turned on inverter power switch and had inverted power for about 20 seconds then the AC input LED came on. Charger current went up to about 70 amps with no clicking off like before. I flipped the inverter power switch back off and the shore power and charger stayed on.
Today it seemed to operate normally except for not automatically connecting to shore power.
I've been looking at the Magnum inverters and it looks like I can get a comparable unit and the Magnum remote panel is exactly the same size as what I have so should be easy to change out. I don't want to spend the money if I don't have to, but I'm worried that this old Freedom 25 is about to die.

I don't think my problem is the same as yours because when the inverter's internal transfer switch or pass through or whatever you call it closes, I have power to everything. I know the power is coming from shore not inverter because the electronic pest things are quiet. I am thinking the inverter has internal problems "seeing" the 120V input from shore/gen or the relays that allow the shore power to pass through are not working correctly.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:39 AM   #13
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...

I don't think my problem is the same as yours...y.
Based on your most recent description, I'm inclined to agree.

I like the Magnum PSW inverter/charge series. I was a heartbeat away from ordering a Magnum 2800 when I discovered my breaker problem.

Good Luck to you.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:04 AM   #14
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Just had a friend with the same problem(caused by a bad neutral contact on power cord). If you take the cover off the inverter, make sure no power, there are 4 fuses I on two different boards. Two are 25a blade, and on the control board are two 250vdc/250mA glass fuses which control the incoming power sense circuit (among other functions). Both looked good, but one read bad. Found new ones At Radio Shack. Problem solved. Did have to repair cable plug at pedestal.
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