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Vector 3,000 watt power inverter question

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Mike, Dec 27, 2006.

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  1. Mike

    Mike Guest

    I just bought a Vector Maxx SST 3,000 power inverter. Hooked it up today to
    my car battery. (Tried it with the motor running as well as without). When
    I powered up the inverter, with a 40 watt light lamp load, I noticed the
    light is pretty dim and the fans did not start and run on the inverter.
    Looking through the owner's manual, I don't see where they say anything
    about how the fans operate. I am wondering if someone out there might have
    one of these inverters and can tell me if the fans are supposed to start as
    soon as you apply the 12 volts or are they controlled by a thermostat and
    only come on when needed?

    So far I am really disappointed with this unit. I bought it to power a
    microwave, toaster oven and some lights when the power goes out at my house
    and I noticed first thing, in the owner's manual it says the inverter will
    not power any "high wattage" equipment that produces heat, such as microwave
    ovens. Yet, on the box, it says you can power a microwave oven. Looks to
    me like false advertisement.

    I also tried plugging in a little "milk house" heater that was set at the
    1200 watt setting. It won't run. Monitoring the AC voltage out of the
    inverter, I can see it go to zero when I turn on the heater.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Looks like the unit is defective, return it for an exchange.
     

  3. this is a repair newsgroup, not an exchange newsgroup you pain in the
    ass.
     
  4. If you haven't already, make sure your source (battery?) doesn't drop
    drastically when you run the inverter under load. If the source of
    power is good, then it sounds like the inverter is defective.
     
  5. Mike-

    Did you look at your car battery voltage as well? It is possible that
    the battery's current delivering capability and the voltage drop in the
    connecting wires, does not provide sufficient voltage AT the inverter's
    input for it to work, even with a small load.

    What size wire would you use to drive a 3,000 watt inverter? Even if it
    were 100% efficient, the input current would be about 250 Amperes at
    full load from a 12 volt battery. I think you would need heavy bus-bars
    connecting directly between the battery terminals and the inverter
    terminals.

    In other words, it may not be practical to use this inverter for the
    applications you have in mind. High power inverters I've seen used,
    were connected to banks of large, high capacity cells.

    Fred
     
  6. Mike

    Mike Guest

    The owner's manual says the input cables are #4 AWG and they are 3 feet long
    (there are two red and two black ones).

    I think you've helped me a lot Fred. I hadn't thought about running this
    battery off of a bank of batteries, but that may be what is necessary to
    make it do what I thought it was supposed to do.

    Since my first post I have hooked the inverter directly to the car battery
    using the supplied cables (the first test I had merely used some 6 foot
    jumper cables from the input wires of the inverter to the battery, so there
    was probably a lot of loss there). With the inverter connected directly to
    the battery, a 100 watt light bulb load looks good and I can turn the
    electric heater on in either the 1200 or 1500 watt switch positions and it
    will come on and produce heat. Fan speed seems about normal. I only let it
    run for about a minute. I have a charger connected to the battery (plugged
    into the household AC) and I can see the heater is really loading down the
    battery. (Would be pulling around 150 amps I guess). I have also
    discovered that the fans only come on after about 150 watt load is applied
    to the inverter. That was one of my major concerns as I thought there was
    something wrong with the (4) fans since none of them would come on when I
    powered the inverter up. I am feeling a lot better about it now. I think I
    just need more battery power. The inverter itself seems to be doing what it
    should be doing.

    Thanks.
     
  7. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Nobody gave you permission to poast here.
     
  8. T Shadow

    T Shadow Guest

    Wowzer, that's a big inverter. Have a couple of small inverters and was
    thinking of getting a 1200 watt to run the gas furnace blower motor.
    Maintaining sufficient battery power for that wattage(several heating
    cycles) made me rethink the situations cost/benefit ratio. Multiple
    batteries won't last long with the kind of consumption you seem to be
    contemplating. Look at the amp/hr rating of the batteries. Average
    alternator output is ~55amp so it's not much help and has the same carbon
    monoxide hazard as a generator. People have died from carbon monoxide using
    generators the last 2 seasons in our county alone.
    Let us know how it works out and what kind of battery power you end up with
    to get a reasonable run time.
     
  9. Ken Weitzel

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    Hi..

    But... your furnace blower is probably 1/4 horse, maybe 1/3.

    Take care.

    Ken
     
  10. webpa

    webpa Guest


    It is highly likely that the literature packed with the device
    (inverter) contained a pretty good description of how to get sufficient
    DC current into it. The OP's description seems to indicate this
    information was never read, never understood, never considered...which
    is normal, I guess. I attempt to help:

    For a 3 kw inverter to be really useful, you need a BIG (300 CCA
    minimum, deep discharge) battery. It must be connected to the inverter
    with 6 (4 is better) gauge cables no more than 1 foot long. 20 Foot
    "Jumper Cables" WILL NOT WORK!!!!!! They are usually 6 to 12 gauge
    (bigger is not better, here). Jumper cables can be useful to charge
    the inverter's primary battery from a truck in between house-furnace
    runs. But again...learn some physics (Ohm's law, etc.)...good is big
    (small gauge numbers) wire between the source and the drain (truck
    alternater and inverter battery).
     
  11. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    I bought a 3500 watt Coleman generator and got to use it once already. Our
    power went out for about 6 hours a few weeks ago after a windstorm toppled
    trees and lines. I have a disconnect that allows me to hook the generator
    up to my fusebox. 3500 watts was enough for enough 60 watt lights, the
    furnace blower and my fridge. My 51" Panasonic tv, the sat dvr and audio
    equip are on a 1500 APC but the APC sure didn't like the generator. Must
    have been noise or something because the output was 119vac but the APC
    didn't want to come off battery.
     
  12. Run the blower at the lowest speed on inverter power. Let the burner cycle
    on the hi limit - you'll still get enough heat. That will reduce the blower
    motor power to maybe 200W.
     
  13. T Shadow

    T Shadow Guest

    Motor options for the furnace also shows 1/2 & 3/4. From the info I got from
    motor the way it was wired it may have ran on a 750 watt inverter. Did the
    math at the time. The wild card was starting current. Has to have enough
    current to start or its worthless.
     
  14. Jim Land

    Jim Land Guest

    ??? Because they ran them indoors? Or... ???
     
  15. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    What size wire are you using to connect it to the battery? 3KW is gonna
    pull about 250A from the battery so you'll need some BIG cable like
    you'd use to connect to a starter motor. Also don't expect to pull even
    half that much for more than a couple minutes without the engine
    running, even with it, most cars have less than a 100A alternator so
    your continuous load will be much lower, probably around 500W for an
    average car.
     
  16. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest



    Many are larger, mine is 1/2 HP. The run current is not too terrible,
    but the inrush is phenomenal, you need a bigger inverter than would
    first be obvious.
     
  17. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest


    That happened around here in a recent storm that blew through. One guy
    ran a generator in his livingroom(!?) and a few others had them in a
    closed attached garage. Evolution at work.
     
  18. Mike

    Mike Guest

    I am using the input cables that Vector provided with the inverter. I think
    I read in the manual that they are #4 awg and there are two positive and two
    negative cables. I didn't measure them but they are 3 feet in length or
    less.

    What I was hoping to accomplish with this was to be able to run a 1500 watt
    electric heater when our electricity goes off. (I thought a 1500 watt
    heater would just sit there and coast on a 3000 watt inverter). I'd also
    planned to use a microwave oven, a toaster oven, some 60-75 watt lights, but
    I didn't intend to run more than one or two of these items at a time, and
    obviously had planned to run the toaster by itself and the microwave and the
    heater. I didn't realize I was going to have to have so much input current
    available to power the inverter. Kind of foils my plan because I had hoped
    to put a battery in a nice case, put that on the bottom of a two wheel
    dolly, mount the inverter to a piece of plywood and mount that to the dolly,
    wire it up and then have a set up I could wheel into the living room when
    the power goes out and plug in the heat or some lights, the tv, or whatever
    I needed. I was hoping someone who has such a set up would see my post and
    offer some suggestions on what worked for them. It appears I should have
    gone the route of the generator, but I opted not to do that because of the
    carbon monoxide and also routing a power cable from outside my house to the
    interior won't be easy (all brick home).

    I like the idea of powering the furnace motor with a setup like this, but I
    have a heat pump so unfortunately, that isn't an option for me.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  19. Guest

    Where do you live? You need to be able to keep pipes from freezing,
    but that does not take a 3000 watt unit unless you live north of the
    mason-dixon line, and there aren't very many heat pumps that far north.

    H. R. Hofmann
     
  20. Ken Weitzel

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    Hi Mike...

    Respectfully suggest that you might perhaps re-think your project...
    if you're looking for heat, even a fully charged new(ish) car battery
    is only going to deliver 1500 watts of heat for about a half hour, and
    that assuming that the inverter is somehow 100% efficient.
    Even then - don't know where in the world you are, but I'm in Winnipeg
    (sometimes called Winterpeg), Canada, and 1500 watts of heat is just
    teasing. I'm not sure, but I might also be concerned about off-gassing
    from the battery at that kind of load.

    There are alternatives available - propane catalytic heaters or kerosene
    space heaters, with plenty of ventilation and safety barriers to protect
    youngsters work quite well, and the energy concentration of the source
    is much more dense than a lead acid battery. You might also consider
    putting in a wood burning fireplace, if you also enjoy the aesthetics
    and don't mind a little work.

    You surely don't need the fridge; if it's cold enough to require much
    heat, it's also cold enough on a porch or in a garage to store your
    perishables. And you can do without the microwave, if the outage is
    long enough, you can (again, do it safely) use a camp stove burning
    propane or white gas. Another idea - if you have a baby or toddlers
    who need quick and often access to milk or formula, you might
    consider one of the peltier effect (Koolatron) 12 volt coolers.
    Mine draws about 4 amps at 12 volts. A side benefit is you can
    use it in your car for trips for soft drinks, sandwich makings, etc.

    What you might like your idea for is a bit of lighting if you need it,
    but a 9 watt florescent (equal to 40 watt regular bulb) will run
    a long long time on a small inverter. Plug a small inverter into
    your cigarette lighter, and run a temporary extension cord outside.

    Take care.

    Ken
     
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