Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

So I've had some experience getting inverters repaired. Here is my real life experience.
SMA has 3 rates,
1. $700
2. $1400
3. Scrap metal, not economical to fix.

Solectria has told me they will not pay for return shipping even if their warranty papers say they will. They also want to charge me a $100 diagnostic fee. Mostly because I did not want to rehook up the inverter to tell them the error code. Now if there is nothing wrong with the inverter I'd be glad to pay said fee. But it is arrogant of them to say I should pay this fee regarless of whether they find a problem or not.

Xantrex also wanted me to trouble shoot the unit for them. They no longer service GT series solar inverters even thought it is only 6 years after the product was made (warranty was for 5 years on GT inverters).

Bottom line some warranties may not be worth much.

Comments

  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    Xantrex also wanted me to trouble shoot the unit for them. They no longer service GT series solar inverters even thought it is only 6 years after the product was made (warranty was for 5 years on GT inverters).

    Xantrex was bought by Schneider Electric in 2009 (or so), who shut down their manufacturing line completely for a while and eliminated some products. The products they dropped they (understandably, IMO) want nothing to do with. Ford probably won't service your Edsel, either. :D
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,389 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.
    ggunn wrote: »
    Xantrex was bought by Schneider Electric in 2009 (or so), who shut down their manufacturing line completely for a while and eliminated some products. The products they dropped they (understandably, IMO) want nothing to do with. Ford probably won't service your Edsel, either. :D

    I was recently pleasantly surprise by Buddy Stubbs HD, they agreed to service my 30 year old shovel head, the more local dealer would not even do tires on it. Point being not all dealers or manufacturere are the same,
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    "The products they dropped they (understandably, IMO) want nothing to do with."

    Well if the products are under warranty they will service them. So they have the ability to service them, but choose not too at this point and time. With that kind of attitude do you really think that's going to lure customers back to their product line?

    they can do what ever the heck they want and IMO, they are screwing their exsisting customer base. they'll save a few pennies now, but suffer the long term lost sales down the road.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.
    "The products they dropped they (understandably, IMO) want nothing to do with."

    Well if the products are under warranty they will service them. So they have the ability to service them, but choose not too at this point and time.
    Not necessarily. When was the product line discontinued? If it was long ago enough that there are no longer any in the field covered by warranty, they may no longer have the capability of servicing them. Or it could be that they are outsourcing that sort of thing; have you asked them if they can recommend someone else to work on them?

    Wasn't it you who had several broken rebranded SMA inverters you were trying to get fixed a while back? How is it you have all these busted inverters?
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    ggunn I am posting this information to help others who might be in a similar circumstances. How I got the inverters or how many I have has nothing to do with this discussion.

    You can call Xantrex and get it from the horses mouth. I'll ask them if they know someone who can service them, but my guess is they could care less, unless they are forced to under warranty. If they try to help me out I will consider buying from them again, but at this point in time, they have the worst customer support record of any inverter company I have dealt with. Wait I take that back I think Sunpower is even worse.
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    I and a friend both have had exemplary service on Fronius inverters on waranty. We both had issues early on and once they had the trouble code they sent us the parts and an detailed instruction sheet. A few years later my inverter dies due what I expect was a utility issue and I got a rebuilt one in 2 days.
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    I have had a different experience with Fronius, out of warranty. Tried to get information on a older GT and there reply was it was out of warranty and they could not help.
    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!!
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    "Tried to get information on a older GT and there reply was it was out of warranty and they could not help. "

    sorry to hear that, but honestly it does not surprise me at all after dealing with these companies, they only seem to care is if it is under warranty. And make sure you are the original warranty holder, dont' admit you sneezed on it, because that voids the warranty as well......Out of warranty??!?!?! Then GOOD LUCK!
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    Just found out that all 3 of my xantrex inverters have been recalled
    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11099.html

    Apparently because the lids have been blowing off of them.

    Now it seem strange to me that Xantrex customer service did not tell me this. Consider the safety ramifications it seems down right irresponsible.

    I'll talk with them tomorrow.
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    Upgrade kit is real easy to install. Will just have to supply data plate info. They won't pay the owner but will pay a distributor no charge to you. Haven't checked lately but they did have the PDF instructions on there site for download.
    They had less than 5 inverters fail out of over 25,000 in service. That's pretty low percentage. The recall was talked about in this forum. I was notified. From the business that I purchased from and then contacted Schneider. My GT3.8 Zantrex has produced 15.8 MWh since Aug 2010 and never missed a beat.
    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!!
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    5 inverters were REPORTED to have failed, the actual number is anyone's guess. Sorry, but safety is #1, even if it is a low percentage this company is irresponsible to not have told me this when I gave them the serial numbers and they could of told me based off that.

    I read the old thread on this topic. Looks like Xantrex will be paying $250 +$150x2 for the recall repair.

    I did forget to mention one company that' I've dealt with Power One Aurora Inverters. I had a warranty issue with a pv6000 aurora unit ground fault light would not go off and they responded fast and offered free shipping both ways. That's the best warranty support I've had. Not sure how good their out of warranty support is though.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.
    ggunn I am posting this information to help others who might be in a similar circumstances. How I got the inverters or how many I have has nothing to do with this discussion.

    Actually it looks more to me that you are posting more to vent your frustration than anything else. :D

    From what you have posted here and in other threads it just looks to me like you are buying up broken out-of-warranty inverters and trying to get them serviced to resell them, and not having much luck. If that is so, it might not be the best business plan, is all I'm saying. It's not just inverter companies that plan out a product's life cycle that way. They release a product for a time span, incur a warranty liability for a somewhat longer span, and after that they are done with it. They don't want to service the units after that, possibly because they would then have to pick up more warranty liability for an obsolete product; something else might fail as soon as it gets back in the field. You say that it is bad business and they will suffer for it, but I would be very much surprised if they had not considered all this in their plan and calculated otherwise.

    Anyway, good luck with that windmill, Mr. Quixote. :D
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.

    ah assumptions, they make life interesting, but are often untrue. I'm not going to comment on what you posted because it's just going to derail the thread..........Now if you have actual experience with in or out of warranty issues from any company I'd be glad to read about it.

    My guess is if any potential buyer reads this thread there are companies that are going to offer good after warranty support and others that don't.

    With Central Grid Tie inveters expected to fail after 15 years of service, I'm guessing most people want to buy from a company that actually services out of warranty products. Not a company like Xantrex that discontues support after 5 years.

    Seems like fixing an inverter is cheaper than buying a new one.

    I will admit that at the prices you can buy used inverters now a days, an alternative might just be scraping a broken one for scrap metal and buying a used one to replace it. Obviously it might be hard to find a "match" 15 years from now though.

    Actually these micro inverters aren't looking that bad. Even if ABC or XYZ micro inverter company goes bankrupt it seems likely there will be some company in the future selling them and you wont' have to worry about string sizes and minimum and max amp rates like Central GT require.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Inverter companies expect you to troubleshoot unit before sending it in for repair.
    Just found out that all 3 of my xantrex inverters have been recalled
    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11099.html

    Apparently because the lids have been blowing off of them.

    Now it seem strange to me that Xantrex customer service did not tell me this. Consider the safety ramifications it seems down right irresponsible.

    I'll talk with them tomorrow.

    I like this part of the first line of the recall notice: " It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product." I assume (there we go again) that once the recall repair has been done b the manufacturer the restriction no longer applies.
    If the units in question have not been repaired, does the manufacturer still have the requirement under Federal law to accept them for upgrade or refund their price, even if out of warranty? Worth looking into. The fact that this is a "voluntary" recall may have an effect on that.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
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