3 Biggest mistakes when installing an inverter

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3 Biggest mistakes when installing an inverterInverters when installed correctly will provide endless years of energy conversion providing the needed AC power for your appliances and electronics.

Here are 3 of the biggest mistakes typically made during inverter installation:

1) WIRE SIZE - The DC connecting wires from the inverter to the battery bank. It is always best to get the inverter as close to the battery bank as possible (min distance), which may not always be practical. Most inverters have 100% overload capacity therefore when sizing the inverter always figure on 2X the inverters full load DC current when sizing the wire (2% drop or less). Not sure which wire size to use? Talk to a technical expert to get the best advice on this one, it’s worth the time and wise to invest in the correct cable up front before installing. More information is also available at our Wire and Cable Section

Wrong wire size typically results in inverter nuisance shutdown when high demand loads are trying to operate (such as refrigerators, freezers, ice makers, microwaves, water makers, etc.) This connection must always have circuit protection (fuse or circuit breaker)!

2) LOCATION - Location can be life or death of the inverter. Make sure the compartment has plenty of clean air, is large enough for air circulation and not exposed bad elements like: salt water (like a wet locker); excessive heat (like an engine compartment) or corrosive elements (non-sealed flooded batteries gassing). Only certain manufacturers inverters can handle harsh environments (typically sealed) but they do come at a higher cost. Investment in this type of inverter will pay off in the long run when the right compartment space is unavailable. Always check the manufacturer’s manual or ask a knowledgeable source to gain advice.

3) MOUNTING - Mounting the inverter abnormally (other than vertical) may be necessary due typically to available space (not an unusual problem). Mounting them in creative places such as: the ceiling of the compartment; in a horizontal position; on a high vibration surface: or next to a large heat producing source will affect the inverter life. Always refer to the manufacturers recommendation as many inverters cannot be mounted in any of these positions while only a few can.

Consider and avoid the previous mistakes when installing an inverter. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance installing or need inverter repair services.

1 comment(s)
Jacob Mukai March 11, 2015 3:04 PM reply

I have to agree that the inverter installation mistake list highlights some really good common mistakes, but one of the things that wasn't mentioned was regarding the DC wiring. Few people know this and/or aware of this problem until the inverter fails.The DC wiring to the inverter should have at least one twist between the negative and positive wires. This eliminates high voltage spikes that may be created when high loads AC are turned on and off on the inverter. I am ABYC certified marine electrical and know first hand this is a problem that has a simple solution. I hope this helps other installers. Happy Boating!

1 comment(s)
PJL March 22, 2015 2:55 PM reply

One other recommendation regarding wiring. Put at least one twist in the DC wires to eliminate possible voltage spikes generated from quick changing AC loads

1 comment(s)
Framboise April 24, 2015 10:03 AM reply

Another issue - if you wire you inverter into you master AC panel, you have to be sure you do not turn on things like hot water heaters and air conditioners. I use a rotary switch so that only my AC outlets are connected to the inverter output. Otherwise, you may end up with dead batteries and perhaps even a fried inverter.

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