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Old 10-18-2021, 12:24 PM   #1
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Inverter Issues….any thoughts?

Probably should put this in the RV systems forum, but asking the 5er crowd since the inverters and load are likely very similar whereas maybe not for the motor coaches.

I have a 2016 Keystone Alpine with a 1000w inverter (WFCO Wf 5100) which is the OEM inverter that came on the trailer. The only appliance on the inverter is the Samsung residential fridge. Only time we use the inverter is when traveling, no Boone-docking…always have 50amp shore power at destinations.

Have discovered on several occasions now, the inverter will power on, but then ultimately shuts off at some point during traveling which is discovered when we make a pit stop and grab a drink or snack from the fridge only to discover no power to fridge.

I can then mash power button on the inverter (turning it off,) unscrew the fuse holder with the glass 15amp fuse, put the same fuse back in and hit power button and inverter powers up….essentially re-booting it per se. It is then good for a while but frequently discover the same at a future stop or on arrival to destination. When inverter is running it shows output voltage to be at 113-118V.

My first thought was poorly charged battery as it seemed to last about 3-4 hours max, sometimes less, but battery charge is always good. I recently doubled the batteries and now have 2 new deep cycle (GR27’s) and still having same issues.

I’ve checked all terminals, ground, AC output wiring (fridge is hard wired) and connections all are solid/tight.

Just back from a trip to the Ozarks last week. Day 1 was 4 hrs to overnight stop and inverter never shut off. About 6 hrs of travel next day and about 3 hrs in discovered it had shut off. 3 more hours to park and discovered it was off again. Return trip home was 9 hours in one day and lost inverter by about 2 hours in, and again by 4 hrs in.

My thoughts shifted to vibrations during traveling as the culprit, since pulling and reinserting the fuse would reset it. So checked this theory today by turning it on while parked at home. Showed 115 VAC output and batteries are at 12.7V. Inverter shut off after 15 min. Inverter case was not hot or anything…cool to touch. Checked battery voltage again and still 12.7V.

Sounds like time for a new inverter, maybe?

Anyone experienced similar issues and/or what have I missed in my troubleshooting?

Thanks much for any insight or wisdom here.
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Old 10-18-2021, 12:44 PM   #2
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2 conditions just 'shut that inverter down'

*DC Input voltage.....below 10VDC or above 15VDC
*Inverter AC Output Current Limiting

DC...battery issue
Current Limiting...Inverter fault
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Old 10-18-2021, 03:47 PM   #3
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Do you have a dedicated transfer switch for the fridge? We do and our transfer switch was going bad until it finally went out. I was having issues very similar to your statement. At least check it first. When I had to replace mine it was $75.00 and took 10 minutes to remove and reinstall the new one in the compartment.
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Old 10-18-2021, 09:13 PM   #4
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Thanks to you both for the replies.

Hamm2018, I do have a cut-off switch on the inverter batteries, and haven’t thought to check it….much appreciated; switch problem would be an easy fix. I’ll by pass the switch and run it to see what happens. If it’s still misbehaving then It must be an inverter issue and it’s time to replace it.
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Old 10-19-2021, 06:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by RVnAggie View Post
Thanks to you both for the replies.

Hamm2018, I do have a cut-off switch on the inverter batteries, and haven’t thought to check it….much appreciated; switch problem would be an easy fix. I’ll by pass the switch and run it to see what happens. If it’s still misbehaving then It must be an inverter issue and it’s time to replace it.
Also my inverter has a GFCI outlet on the bottom where the transfer switch is plugged in. It has been known to trip, check it also to see if it is tripped.
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Old 10-19-2021, 06:50 AM   #6
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Your 1000 watt inverter is only good for 8.3 amps. Most residential refrigerators use more than that. Overloading may be causing your issues.
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:21 AM   #7
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Your 1000 watt inverter is only good for 8.3 amps. Most residential refrigerators use more than that. Overloading may be causing your issues.
Most residential fridges have a 5 to 6 amp rating and that's with all lights on, compressor running and making ice, 1000 watts is fine.
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RVnAggie View Post
Thanks to you both for the replies.

Hamm2018, I do have a cut-off switch on the inverter batteries, and haven’t thought to check it….much appreciated; switch problem would be an easy fix. I’ll by pass the switch and run it to see what happens. If it’s still misbehaving then It must be an inverter issue and it’s time to replace it.
Do you own a multi meter? You should. A lot easier than disconnecting and bypassing stuff. $20-40
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Most residential fridges have a 5 to 6 amp rating and that's with all lights on, compressor running and making ice, 1000 watts is fine.
Like AC's fridges have compressors and with that comes a startup load which is higher than the running load. I've been thinking that the 1000W inverters are on the ragged edge, unless they added some sort of soft starter. (I have done all of the above......)
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:51 AM   #10
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The inverter/fridge is Factory setup from 2006.
If the 1000 watt inverter was not powerfull enough, it would have been discovered many years ago.
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Old 10-19-2021, 10:41 PM   #11
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Thanks for the added comments/suggestions.

I do have a multi-meter which is how I checked battery voltage prior to turning on inverter and again while under the load of the fridge. Will certainly use it to check continuity on cut off switch, but can also jumper/by-pass the switch very easily if necessary to remove any doubt.

I’m sure the 1000w inverter is the smallest that Keystone could get by with and still be considered “adequate” as is the case with most RV systems for the sake of cost & profit.

However, I don’t believe the fridge load is too much since the inverter has done fine in the past and ran for several hours on our trip last week.

More to come after testing the switch……
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Old 10-20-2021, 12:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
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The inverter/fridge is Factory setup from 2006.
If the 1000 watt inverter was not powerfull enough, it would have been discovered many years ago.
Makes sense unless over time the compressor is getting a little worn, or possibly the inverter is starting to get weak from years of high heat......or the wiring could have a loose connection somewhere.....but yes the original design was likely sound
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Old 10-20-2021, 11:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Most residential fridges have a 5 to 6 amp rating and that's with all lights on, compressor running and making ice, 1000 watts is fine.
Twinboat the inrush current is far higher. That's why they are on a seperate circuit.
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Old 10-20-2021, 11:57 AM   #14
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What size is the wire running from the battery to the inverter? How long is the wire from the battery to the inverter? You need to look at both positive and negative. Voltage drop with 12dc is very important , any extra wire is bad idea. Any wire smaller than 1/0 that is longer then 8' could be your cause.

There are several things I would suggest doing.
#1 install a victron smart shunt , by doing this you can monitor your battery status. Voltage , amperage used , state of charge ( how much is left before you need to recharge), battery temp with a optional $20 part.

#2 now that you know how your battery's are doing never go below 50% state of charge , in your case that isn't very long with just two group 27 battery. I would guess that if it's hot out you may get 4 hour then your at 50% SOC. (State of Charge). Going below 50% on any type acid battery your doing long term damage and shortened the life of your battery.
We have a 1000 watt magnum energy inverter and it runs our 22 cubic foot residential frig for 8~9 hour on a full charge of our 220 amp hour battery bank(again on using 50%) . 50% of a depleted acid battery is 12.1 volts at rest(no load). Your low battery shut off on your inverter should be set no lower then 11 volts DC assuming you can program that.

#3 install a DC to DC converter in your trailer so you can keep your battery at or near full charge while your driving. With out really big wire and special connector to get the power from your truck to the trailer it is impossible to get more then a 3~4 amp charge rate out of the standard 7 way round rv plug . The wire is to small and its to far from the alternator, and you will never keep a full charge on your battery's. All you need is a victron Orion smart or renorgy , don't go with a really cheap one! I have. 18 amp Orion smart any larger then 18 amp output and the truck wires are to small to power it. It puts out a full 18 amps at what ever voltage you program it for. Very easy to program also using a cell phone via blue tooth. Mount it as close to the battery's as possible on a surface that heat will not harm. Read the directions carefully .


#4 install a modern smart charger that can bring your battery to 14.4 volts and is a 4 stage charger that can be programed for battery type. Assuming you have LED lights your not going to need a high out put charger 45 amps will do just fine. You want a charger to do these stages ( bulk , absorb , float, desulfate) , desulfate works very good to extend your battery life with battery's that are getting deeply discharged like yours.most trailer converters put out 13.6 and that all. I like the deck mount power Maxx pm4 converters.its fairy easy to install and disable your original charger.

As I pointed out above two group 27 is battery is really small for a trailer with an inverter. You most likely only have 80 amp hours available @50% SOC. Adding the DC to DC charger is possibly your cheapest fix but you have no idea where your battery state of charge is, the stupid gadget on the monitoring panels in your RV are USELESS FOR BATTERY'S.

We dont boon dock but planed on some over night parking lot dry camping on long drives. We plan on going to south Carolina in the spring so basically one night and 2 days on the road. We have a 540 amp hour AGM bank of battery's so I can turn off the truck and go about 12 hours parked and get on the road charging again the next morning. At that point I will have used about 35% of a full charge after sitting for 12 hours.
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