Inverter problem, over and over

I've had a 3000+ watt inverter for about 3 years and it goes out repeatedly.  Control board, AC Board, transformer, etc.  I have everthing up to code and everything the manufacturer wants, but including surge protection and the largest wire sizes possible.  It just keeps breaking.

My system has two arrays. 
1, with 22, pvl-136s and
1, with 18 pvl-144s.
2, 80 amp charge controllers and rigged for float coordination.
Charging 8, Trojan L-16H-ACs @ 435AH.

The batterys connected to 2, inverters thru the appropriate breakers.

I have 2 inverters used one at a 1500 watt for low wattage for heavy clouds or very cold temperatures.  The small one draw much less power.

The bigger one, very high end and expensive goes out and goes out.  The smaller one, an Aims industrial has lasted 6 years and doesn't quit.  I used it in the beginning to build my house, but found that when it's below freezing outside, it draws much less power and keeps the battery voltage higher.

The more expensive one is thoroughly grounded and protected in every way, going into my load center, and it breaks all the time.  The smaller Aims is completely undergrounded and only uses extension cords on the floor.  It never breaks.

Never had an issue with the charge controllers at all, just the one, very expensive inverter.

Any ideas or comments welcome.


  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,803 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What 'expensive inverter' do you have? and what exactly is it doing? 

    I would think the first step would be to check how it's grounded, since that's the obvious difference.

    Also what is hard wired that isn't run on the small inverter.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former, 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,593 admin
    Guessing you are in/around San Antonio, Texas?... A pretty lightning prone area in general. Do you get nearby strikes/any strikes seem to be related to your inverter failures? And information on what the failures were (surge, dust, bugs/lizards in the electronics, etc.?

    What kind/brand/model of surge suppression? With lightning, it seems that AC Inverter output failures are most common wrt lightning.

    Are the "expensive" inverter and the AIMs inverter driving the same/similar types of loads? Similar wiring on the DC input and AC output?

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