Monday 6 July 2015

Temperamental Inverter ruins Dinner plans.

WARNING! This post has gratuitous amounts of techiness in it, please look the other away if you find this disturbing.

Its not often our Joanne has much free time so when she tells us she is visiting us we pull all out all the stops.

Chris stocked up with the perquisites for a slap up Roast Beef dinner and desert while I got the wine sorted and chilling in the fridge then prepped AmyJo for cruising. As it was Friday and such a lovely evening we planned to cruise the short run down the Shroppie and wind at the Shady Oak pub then moor and have dinner aboard. We would then return to the marina before it got dark, or to late.

All was going according to plan and Jo arrived at 5.30pm with her friend who is visiting from London. With clear blue sky, temperature in the mid 20s and little wind we immediately slipped the mooring lines and turned out of the marina. A lovely cruise ensued and the two girls took advantage sitting on the cabin roof enjoying the peace while watching the world go by. Life felt good.

Meanwhile Chris had been slaving preparing the veggies and was trying to light the oven but it would not come on no matter how she tried. She then noticed a lack of power (the oven is a 240 volt fan assisted gas oven). On checking the inverter we discovered it had not switched on automatically as it should, so that meant we had no 240 volt power throughout the boat. I tried resetting the inverter by cycling the on off switch, nothing. I phoned Fernwoods and on Peter's advice turned the inverter off. Turned the display off then turned on the inverter followed by restarting the display. Nothing. The invertor would not wake up.

Most people recognise the Victron inverter

With no means of cooking we winded at the Shady Oak and booked in for a meal there.   Its the first time we have had a meal in the Shady since it re-opened.  They do the usual fish and chips, burgers and so on.  The menu is reasonably varied if slightly limited.  I have to say when served the food was excellent.  Well presented, cooked properly and served hot.  The one drawback was service was very slow (it took the barmaid all on 15 minutes to pour my drinks and locate change of a tenner).

Back at the marina next day and with Peter from Fernwoods on the phone we worked through the electrics with and Avo meter.  When on the mains I had 28.8 Volts at the datalink box bus bar, 28.8 Volts after the 300 amp fuse and 28.8 volts at the inverter battery connections so the problem was not a fuse.  We then tried to cycle the inverter and display on and off again as before to no avail.

Yesterday Andy Munro at Fernwood rang back to say Peter would be coming to us on Saturday to remove the inverter to send it back to Victron in Holland and that would take a week.  He would jury rig the electrics so we would have power when connected to the mains but no battery charging so we would have to be frugal with our lighting use.  I admit I was not too impressed with that idea but needs must as they say. We are planning our trip to Middlewich for the sea worthiness check next Friday and did not fancy cancelling the trip nor did I fancy sitting in candle light, though some might think that a little romantic I guess.

Finally last night in a last bid attempt to get it working before we ripped it out Peter called again and suggested I disconnect the mains, then disconnect the to inverter link cable and turn the invertor on.  To our surprise the inverter burst into life!  I shut it down again, reconnected the link cable, tried again turning the invertor on and nothing, dead as a dodo.  So it seems the VE.Net link was the issue not the inverter.

The display, in our case showed the inverter (top center of display) disconnected

I took a look at the display settings and noticed that one device setting was set to "Charge only".  Could this be a coinidence?  The inverter would only work if switched to "charge only " mode when connected to the mains.  I cycled the settings for the device and found they were "charge only, "off" and "on".  I turned off the mains and switched on the inverter and as expected nothing happened, still dead as a dodo.  I then changed the device setting to "on" and hey presto the inverter sprang into life.

Now not being an expert in electrics I only look at the VE.display to see how the battery are charging and have never played about with it so how it got switched to "charge only" mode is some what of a mystery.

I would like to add that Peter is Fernwood's electrician and is one of the nicest blokes you could meet.  Since AmyJo was launched he has really looked after us in our electrical needs and goes out of his way to help and give advice when needed or asked for.  Thank you Peter.

The good news is we now get to cruise to Middlewich after all. Oh and the roast Beef dinner?  Well that got eaten Tuesday night and very nice it was too :-)

No comments: