Xantrex GT inverter recall

halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
Ok this was sent to me and I figure I will post it here. I can not imagine what component degrades enough to off gas enough to cause them to explode?

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11099.html
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Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,465 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Teasing the DC disconnect at noon ?
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,076 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Yet another reason to go offgrid. Electrolytics?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    this does sound like a capacitor and maybe a wrong value for working voltage may have been chosen for what sounds like an electrolytic cap. they're being recalled, but are they to be fixed or just replaced? even if fixable many companies don't mess with that and just go for replacement. if anybody hears more on this i'd be curious to know.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,229 admin
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    My guess is they were already replacing them before the recall. They had already scheduled with my installer to R&R my 5+ year old working 3kW gt inverter over a month ago.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    I remember reading somewhere that in the SMA GTI's they would use capacitors rated at 600Vdc, and then they would rate the inverter itself as having a 600vdc input limit. This struck me as bad practice, surely you should leave some safety margin between the components will-die-for-sure rating and the devices own input rating? Is this standard practice?
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,465 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    600v caps woud surely never be run at their limit. Maybe Solar Guppy can chime in, if he's not been NDA'd to death.

    SMA could be using two 600V caps, and then have a 1,200V limit for all we know.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,229 admin
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Depends if it is maximum working voltage rating out never exceed rating.

    Obvious, for longer life and to account for operating at extreme temperature, derating conmponets is important.

    At this point everyone is guessing and may have nothing to do with the reason for the recall.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Just got off the phone with them it is a capacitor issue.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall
    Yet another reason to go offgrid. Electrolytics?

    Huh, almost all SMPS uses electrolytics, unless your into the utra-relibaility stuff that can afford film caps for large values. That HV charge controller you are beta testing has a bunch of them in it, and I'd bet a dollar more than half of the electronics is identical to the GT inverter. Xantrex long talked about using the GT's front end and replace the DC to AC section with instead a DC to DC converter to make a HV controller, hence the high cost.

    Seems odd, a cap, pisses out smoke in the inverter section can some how get an explosive gas in the BOS section, there is nothing air-tight there that I'm aware of.

    Also the cover is screwed on, pretty strange, this could put just about any power supply into the explosive failure category, which doesn't seem correct to me, learn something new everyday

    Mike, I have no active NDA's with Xantrex, haven't done anything with them in close to 4 years
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall
    Huh, almost all SMPS uses electrolytics, unless your into the utra-relibaility stuff that can afford film caps for large values. That HV charge controller you are beta testing has a bunch of them in it, and I'd bet a dollar more than half of the electronics is identical to the GT inverter. Xantrex long talked about using the GT's front end and replace the DC to AC section with instead a DC to DC converter to make a HV controller, hence the high cost.

    Seems odd, a cap, pisses out smoke in the inverter section can some how get an explosive gas in the BOS section, there is nothing air-tight there that I'm aware of.

    Also the cover is screwed on, pretty strange, this could put just about any power supply into the explosive failure category, which doesn't seem correct to me, learn something new everyday

    Mike, I have no active NDA's with Xantrex, haven't done anything with them in close to 4 years


    Seems odd to me as well I suspect the 5 cases just happened to be the cap spewed at the same time someone switched the disconnect? I see no way the cap would spew explosive gas for more than a day or 2 at the most before it was cooked.

    I had heard the same rumor on the Xantrex charge controller that it was basically the gt inverter without the ac side.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,229 admin
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Actually, I am wrong about the failure--There is a mode where a failing (defective?) poly cap can leak out a flammable gas..

    In any case--Xantrex/Schneider is doing the recall.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    well the unit is far from sealed and the customer service rep said that the case fills with gas and then a spark inside sets of the explosion blowing the covers off ripping the screws through the covers. They have 5 confirmed cases out of 25,000 sold is what he told me. I will post a couple pics when I do the repair on one of the several I have out there running.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,076 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall
    Huh, almost all SMPS uses electrolytics, unless your into the utra-relibaility stuff that can afford film caps for large values. That HV charge controller you are beta testing has a bunch of them in it, and I'd bet a dollar more than half of the electronics is identical to the GT inverter. Xantrex long talked about using the GT's front end and replace the DC to AC section with instead a DC to DC converter to make a HV controller, hence the high cost.

    A joke, small humor! But seriously date and lot codes are often how you trace components that have a problem. In aerospace and heavy industry we get GUIDEPS for capacitors every year or so. It happens with the best quality components often enough that it is not surprising. And I would take you up on that bet except that is a specific subject I promised on!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,076 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    I was told it definately is a capacitor as the source of the failure. Anyone who has done FA's will tell you that the source and the end result are often very different.

    If you want to see some outgassing, look at this one!
    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 1,003 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    If these are fairly new-ish GT inverters, it may just be that Pylon or whoever is manufacturing these units in China just swapped in some bad caps instead of what they are supposed to be using.

    These inverters have been running OK for quite a while now, right ? I guess that Xantrex did have some other problems but nothing like this where they blow through the cover ! That's pretty severe.

    boB
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    FTA MPEG satelite reception is my other hobby. China is using a bunch of junk capacitors in the mpeg receivers they make. If you get a receiver to last more than 2 years you are lucky. There is a satelite dealer I know that changes out the junk capacitors for good ones. I just bought a used one from him that I think will last longer than a new one. Maybe the Chinese put some of these junk capacitors in the xantrex inverters. :Dsolarvic:D
  • GreenerPowerGreenerPower Solar Expert Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Yep, the power bricks for ATT and SW Bell would go out after over a year in service. Guess what, an electrolytic cap went bad. Their customer service would suggest to swap out the brick when the DSL box suddenly not working and the power LED stays RED instead of GREEN. I've fixed a few by just changing out the cap. They (edit: these caps) all seem to come from the same (Chinese) manufacturer.

    GP
  • Solar squatchSolar squatch Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Beware of the xan[language]... At this point I have re-installed some 130 to 150 customers xantrex 3.0 s Several customers are on the third or fourth unit. Very slow to pay the measly 250 bucks (120 days to a couple years) but they are quick to throw end users and solar contractors under the bus. I go way back in the trace and pulse days... If it is a service call it's a xantrex. It only took them five years to recall. Shame on you xantrex.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,076 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    If this helps anyone this is what I was told. --Dave



    I am supposed to direct you to our 1-800 number:

    1-800-714-7176.

    where the team has been briefed on all the details to answer any questions you have on this recall notice.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    An update , I called the 800 number and it is a simple swap out of the BOS pcb. Xantrex ships out the board for free, and you OR an installer swaps out the PCB, They are paying $250 for the first unit and $150 for each additional unit on the same site

    It has nothing to do with power electronics, it all in the BOS box, there are three caps on the AC line for EMI supression, sounds like they are shorting out and causing the problems. So I'll get 400 bucks for a 2 hours work ...
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,229 admin
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    BOS=> Balance of System board (input/output connects, filter caps, cutoff switch, etc.) as I recall.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Several customers are on the third or fourth unit

    How many other people have the same problem?

    Something sounds fishy to me.

    Russ
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Here is a web site that explains wht a lot of equipment is failing prematurly.
    http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=4
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Very interesting reading there. I have had 4 GT's fail myself and all 4 where caps somewhere that shorted the input and caused them to stay asleep. Xantrex did ship me replacements and paid me $250 bucks a piece to swap the inverters.
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Got notified today about my GT3.8 recall from supply vendor. Called Zantrex and they said they would be shipping the PCB kit for mine mid to late Feb. Since I am not a licensed solar installer I won't get paid, so I figured I would give local installer the business. Called him and he hadn't heard of the recall!! He will get $300.00 for first kit and $150.00 for all others at same location. Haven't had an explosion or lost a cover yet. Unit purchased 06/10 mfg 04/10 working fantastic so far. Has Generated 2932 kWh since install 07/28/10, I like my $4.50 PG&E bills per month. Hope they don't want the old board back, will change capacitors and keep as spare?
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall
    solarvic wrote: »
    Here is a web site that explains wht a lot of equipment is failing prematurly.
    http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=4

    Just as a side note, about 4 years ago when I installed a new high-SEER air conditioner, one of those same type caps failed after about 4 weeks on the control board, so it is seems to be industry-wide. We also had a few Xantrex C40 and C35 charge controllers go bad for the same reason about 3 years ago.

    It appears that all the caps were made in China, but these days pretty much everything is :blush:
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    Years ago I had a new HP O scope do about the same thing. Blew the top out after about a month's of use, maybe 2 hrs on time.
    With a 5 in 25,000 explosive failure if that is a correct number will take chance on continuing to operate until replacement board arrives. Now that the rain has stopped for awhile producing 10-12 kWh each day and getting better as the days get longer.
    My next inverter when system expansion comes into play will be another Zantrex GT3.8. All I have to add is panels, inverter and just A/C wire to Inverter combiner box. Preplanned the doubling of system size on the a/c side to main panel.
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall
    Windsun wrote: »
    Just as a side note, about 4 years ago when I installed a new high-SEER air conditioner, one of those same type caps failed after about 4 weeks on the control board, so it is seems to be industry-wide. We also had a few Xantrex C40 and C35 charge controllers go bad for the same reason about 3 years ago.

    It appears that all the caps were made in China, but these days pretty much everything is :blush:

    In some cases, it wasn't just that the caps were made in China, but a number of companies concealed the problems and were then sued. Big time.

    I recall the Koreans having the same problem about 15 or so years ago. I don't know if it had the same cause (the Chinese problem, as someone pointed out up-thread was they stole an incorrect formula ...), but it was pretty wide spread that go 'round as well.
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    I've been replacing caps in consumer electronic products for the last 20 years. Mostly in switch-mode-power-supplies (SMPS) which have taken over most applications during that time. I think there is a general mis-understanding on the part of designers. They don't realize that electrolytic capacitors performance declines as the frequency of operation increases. Electrolytics are generally never used as high frequency filters and drive to smaller, cheaper, lighter has driven SMPS frequencies up and up. This is a factor that is not quantified in cap specs very well and it is easy to choose a cap that seems good enough but can't take it long term. Failed caps should be replaced by lower impedance types. While your at it - up the uF's too. These caps have a whole range of values of Voltage, Capacitance, Temperature, and Physical size, so it is tempting to save a few pennies and choose one that is just what is needed with minimal margin for error. These companies need to stop pinching pennies on caps and it would be money well spent on reliability.
    I used to repair a lot of VCR's and watched over a ten year period how some power supply engineer at Panasonic redesigned their SMPS over and over. He went through about 30 versions - gradually putting in better caps on the secondary side until finally the later models were reliable. I doubt he ever really understood what was going on.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,229 admin
    Re: Xantrex GT inverter recall

    These were Poly Film caps, and as I understand, these capacitors may use acetylene compounds in their manufacture--And acetylene gas can be output during some failures(?).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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