May 17, 2020

How to fix a power inverter? - Basic Troubleshooting

If you're living in a remote place where you have only Direct current for power, a power inverter is a necessity. The same applies if you're going camping on an RV or have only the SUV for power. Power inverters or digital inverters are extraordinarily efficient when it comes to using batteries as a bigger power source. They will help you turn the DC from your car battery into AC and let you charge your devices, run a laptop or so.

However, if you end up getting a faulty power inverter, and have no other option but to repair it yourself, this article is for you. I'll talk about everything you should know about power inverters, what they are, and how they work. Once you know how your inverter works, you'll get through the processes you should follow to repair it as well. Stay with the process and get your inverter repaired all by yourself.

What is a power inverter?

A power inverter is a power converter device that can convert the DC from a battery into the AC. It is an oscillator that can switch the polarity settings rapidly from DC into AC and make a square wave. With a power inverter, you can use the devices that require AC instead of drawing DC power. You can get both a 220 Volts or 240 Volts current output with an inverter which helps you run any type of device. There are three most popular types for inverters, the pure sine wave inverters, square wave, and the modified sine wave inverters. You'll also find inverters with phase types, single-phase, and three-phase inverters for different types of jobs.

power inverter

Why my inverter isn't working?

Knowing all the reasons why your inverter could go wrong will help you decide the proper troubleshooting techniques. Here are the most common reasons why your inverter might have stopped working or don't function well:

  • Faulty battery connection: The battery you're connecting to the inverter might have a loose connection or no connection at all.
  • Corroded battery terminal: If you're using the inverter for quite a while, the battery terminals may have corroded due to humidity or hydrogen release.
  • A faulty power switch: If your inverter isn't powering up at all, the fault might be with the power switch on the inverter.
  • Discharged battery: Maybe the problem isn't with the inverter at all; instead, your battery may have not enough charge in the first place.
  • A blown-fuse: If you're using it with a permanent terminal and the oscillator goes out of order all of a sudden, the fault might be a blown fuse!

How to fix a power inverter

If you end up getting a faulty inverter that you might be thinking of being dead, it may not be completely out of order after all! If the problem is repairable at home, you can do it yourself by checking the inverter. Here are the things you can do if you have ended up with a faulty power inverter lately:

1. Troubleshoot a faulty power switch

When a power inverter isn't turning on after pushing the power switch, the problem might be with the switch! At first, you have to check if it's okay or not, and the process is simple to do. Unplug the power inverter from its power source, plug in another appliance to it, and turn it on. If it doesn't turn on, you have to get a replacement for the power switch. Call a professional electrician and get a replacement unit for the switch to change it. If you're okay with doing it yourself, you can replace it yourself as well.

2. Check the battery connections

If you're using the setup for a long time, and the inverter isn't working or turning on, the fault might be with the battery. Most of the time, the problem is a loose connection to the battery, which requires you to clean and tighten it up. If the problem isn't with the connector, the battery might have rusted or corroded. Inspect the battery and check for corrosion, if there are any, disconnect and take the battery out and clean it. To clean it, take some baking soda, mixed with hot water, take a stiff toothbrush and scrub the terminal with it after dipping in the mixture. Once the corrosion is removed, clean the connectors and dry them with a paper towel. Reconnect them and try turning the inverter again.

3. A discharged or faulty battery

The fault may not be with the inverter at all in the first place when your power inverter isn't working. The problem might also be with the battery, especially if you're running it for a long time. The battery might have been weakened and discharged quickly, or it might have a fault inside. If your battery is weak, you might have to get it replaced or repaired if possible. If the battery is lead-acid based and running out of acid, you have to get it acid replacement, and that'll be enough.

4. Diagnose the inverter

If the problem isn't in the power switch or the battery, it might be in the inverter itself, and you have to run a diagnosis to resolve that. The best way to do that after getting to know how the system works, get a diagram of the inverter. Once you have the diagram, it's time to check the contact points one by one after opening the housing up. If you find the contact points seem good, move on to the rest of the components. You have to test the voltmeter, followed by the other components. Take extra safety precautions to be sure that you're out of danger, disconnect it from everything first.

5. Order and replace parts

If you have found out the faulty parts, it's time to order their replacements and install them. Get the replacement parts from the same manufacturer if possible, to ensure better quality. Once you have the components, remove the older parts from the inverter, and carefully install the new one. In the removing process, remember how you removed it and which way the part goes. It will help you get the new part in its place correctly.

6. Test the inverter

Once you have the new parts installed to the old faulty parts and shouldered on the places if necessary, now is the testing time. Connect the inverter to your battery and plug it in a controlled and limited power like a low voltage lamp. Now, use a voltmeter to get the reading of the inverter output and see if it works fine. If everything is okay, the machine should work perfectly, and the lamp should light up as well.

FAQ

Here are the most common questions about power inverters people ask about, and you may have interest in:

How do you reset an inverter?
Press and hold on the ON/OFF button for 15 seconds and wait for the charging LED flashes rapidly.
How many watts does an inverter use?
A regular inverter battery will charge at 10 ampere and 12 Volts, which sums up on 120KW.
Will a 2000 watt inverter run a refrigerator?
Yes, a 2000W inverter can power up a 500W deep freezer, including some extra lights as well.

Final Words

A power inverter is indeed a great tool to have as it can help you run devices with DC even if they run with AC. It will keep you on if you don't have a connection to the power grid while after a power outage or while camping. However, if it goes out of order, you can fix it yourself if the problem goes with the ones I've mentioned above. Remember not to keep it connected with the AC adapter when you're working inside the inverter. Disconnect it before starting working with it, or there could be a problem as it works with electricity.

Author: Johnathan Roos is owner of yorator.com where he writes about all the latest power backup tools machinery like different types and powered Generators, inverter and it’s related accessories and use and maintenance information.

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