Xantrex Freedom HF 1000 and Generators

I'm looking for some assistance or maybe to offer some advise to someone building a system similar to mine. I have a small 26X26 cabin on a lake and purchased a Xantrex Freedom HF 1000 modified Sine Wave inverter/charger tied to two Trojan 6volt batteries in series. I was running the entire system using a Honda eu20001 inverter generator. Upon first hooking it up I noted that the Xantrex immediately recognized the power supplied by the Honda but would not allow the Xantrex to switch over after the 20 second "test" phase. I contacted Xantrex and was advised that the inverter charger may not like the low power emitted while the Honda was on ECO mode. I then turned the Honda off ECO mode and all was good. Did that for a while and suddenly the Xantrex would recognize the Honda on ECO mode (even better). 
I then upgraded the cabin to include a 1/2 hp Myers jet pump to supply water. However I quickly realized that the 2000 watt Honda could not provide enough power. I did some research and decided on a Firman 3650/4550 watt generator with remote start. I hooked up the Firman as I did the Honda and the Xantrax would NOT recognize the power emitted by the Firman generator. I tried putting a load on the Firman and it would work sometimes and not others. Not only would it not charge my batteries it would not allow the generator power to pass through the Xantrex and power the cabin, it was almost like there wasn't a generator running outside. If I bypassed the Xantrex I had power in the cabin, but once I re-hooked up the Xantrex it would only run off batteries and completely ignore the generator power. 
I contacted Xantrex and they suggested that the frequency of the Firman maybe outside the 60Hz required by the Firman. I noted the Firman posts a 60Hz reading.
I then decided that I would just got back to the Honda and "work around" the pump issue for now, but suddenly the Xantrex won't allow the Honda to switch over in ECO mode. I really don't care about the ECO mode thing, however I would like to solve the power issue as I would like/need a bigger generator, without having to fork over thousands for a larger Honda inverter generator.


  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,454 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Maybe try putting a load (eg 60w filament light) on the generator to help stabilize voltage and frequency?
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • HuntingCabin72HuntingCabin72 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    I tried putting a load on the Firman and it would work some of the time. To be clear it was the exact same load each time.
    I did get it to work briefly, then was running a circular saw and managed to overload the plug.. after that the Xantrex would not recognize the Firman.
  • HuntingCabin72HuntingCabin72 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    I have been doing some reading and “grounding” appears to be a popular issue. I have my cabin panel grounded to a ground plate, I ground the Xantrex to the same ground wire.. Not sure if that is the issue??? Can’t see it, but I’m at my wits end with this.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,182 admin
    You (generally) cannot ground one leg of an MSW inverter's AC output (to make a ground referenced neutral/white wire).

    If you ground the DC battery (typically negative bus) and an MSW AC output, it creates a dead short through the inverter and lets out the magic smoke.

    Grounding the inverter case to ground wire is correct (aka back to the battery negative bus). If there is a short circuit on the DC bus, this will pop the breaker/fuse.

    The other reason for the ground rod is for lighting safety. (The actual ground rod does not do much useful for 12 VDC or 120 VAC safety).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • HuntingCabin72HuntingCabin72 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Thanks for the reply and excuse my electrical ignorance. Are you saying that what I did was correct? Or did I make a mistake?
    Appreciate the assistance
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,182 admin
    You did not really say what you did... The "correct" grounding I would suggest is:
    • Use a 6 awg (minimum) cable from the battery negative bus to the ground rod (keep short and straight, any bends should be nice large rounded corners, and outside the foundation). Hopefully, the battery bus is next to an exterior wall (short, no sharp bends, etc. are if you have lightning in the area).
    • Run a minimum of 6 AWG cable from the housing/chassis of the inverter to the ground rod (same ground rod).
    • If you have a solar panel rack on the roof, the panels+rack should have its own 6 AWG cable from the rack to the same ground rod... If the solar panels are mounted separately from the the cabin, still run the ground cable from the panels to a local ground rod, and run a second 6 AWG cable from the solar ground rod to the cabin ground rod (this is to ground short circuits). If lightning in the area, keep cable from panels frames/rack short and wide bends.
    Grounding should not affect the normal operation of the inverter (properly grounded or not grounded, does not matter).

    When troubleshooting, do you get any other indications of issues (error codes, LEDs, fan running or not, etc.)?

    The Honda eu2000i has very stable frequency and voltage output. However, its ability to start heavy loads (surge current) is not great. In ECO mode (low motor speed), it is even less.

    Do you have an HF1000 or HF1055? The 1055 has 55 Amps of output charging current, and should be dialed back to 20/40 amps with the euc2000i.

    What type/size of battery bank (golf cart batteries/etc., what AH rating is the bank)?

    I guess that you have no AC loads on the inverter when you are trying to qualify the genset voltages?

    When running the circular saw--Did you have it plugged into the genset or the AC inverter?

    The HF-1000 is a relatively small (capacity) inverter, and could not run any larger loads (a refrigerator would be dicey, a circular saw--probably no way from batteries and may damage the inverter if on Genset AC power through the inverter).

    Other inverter issues can happen if your battery bank is too small of AH capacity (recommend at least 400 AH @ 12 volts to "reliably" run the HF-1000 at 1,000 Watt @ 120 VAC load). Also, you can have inverter issues if the cables are too small of diameter (AWG) and/or if you have a long(ish) 12 VDC cable run (need heavy, short cables with good electrical connections to run your DC power).

    Get a DC Current Clamp DMM to help you diagnose/monitor your system. A Kill-a-Watt type meter can be handy to look at your AC loads.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07546L9RT (inexpensive)
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019CY4FB4 (more expensive)

    Running an MSW (modified Square/Sine Wave) inverter can be hard on some loads... Induction motors do not like MSW. And some things like CFL lightning and many transformer & AC to DC wall warts/computer power supplies/battery chargers/etc. do not like MSW either. Probably 80% of your loads will be OK, and 10% will actually fail or have a shorter life... It is sometimes difficult to tell which load will work or not.

    Note that MSW AC output voltage will read low with Non-True RMS reading volt meters (more expensive). MSW vs PSW/TSW (pure/true sine wave) inverters is a good size subject in itself.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,182 admin
    edited July 2018 #8
    By the way, no problem on the questions... We all started at ground zero ourselves and others taught us the basics.

    And I hope we are not frustrating you... Starting in the middle of something that does not quite work is really frustrating for everyone. We are not there, you have an unknown (to us) installation, and we do not know much about your power needs.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • HuntingCabin72HuntingCabin72 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Wow.. that’s a lot.. Thanks Again!

    So I have a Freedom HF 1000 watt. My batteries are Trojan T-105 6V in series (2 batteries).
    I have included a picture, the lines coming from the inverter I’ve since been shortened, but the basic instal is the same. The yellow line from the outside wall goes to a receptacle that the generator plugs into, is a 12 gauge 3 prong extension cord, less then 20 feet. The green ground wire on the panel and inverter goes out through the floor to a ground plate directly under.

    When I was running the circular saw the generator was running and it was one of the few times that I had the inverter reading the generator. I had it pulled into an outside 15A plug, not directly to the generator. I was forcing the saw a bit so I get why it tripped, not sure why that shut out the generator.

    There is no large draws on the batteries, my stove is propane, I have LED lights, heat is supplied by a wood stove. The only large draw is the toaster in the morning. No TV, no microwave, very simple and basic. It basically only runs on batteries at night and a bit during tha day if we’re just sitting around having a drink and telling lies.

    There is no warning codes on the inverter it would just have a solid yellow light, showing it’s on battery power, even with the generator running and plug in.

    I did try and put a load directly on the generator (toaster plugged directly into the generator) to try and get the inverter to recognize the power and it did sometimes.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,182 admin
    A possible grounding issue for the inverter/charger... Some UPS system (uninterruptible power supplies) used with computers need the 120 VAC input to have a ground bonded neutral. If the AC input is floating (no green wire to white wire bond) in the "upstream" AC side, the UPS will not start.

    From the HF manual, it sounds like they may have the same issue:

    http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Inverter-Chargers/Freedom-HF/Freedom HF 1000-1800 Install Guide (975-0395-01-01_Rev-A).pdf (page 25 of the installation manual):
    A source of 120 V, 60Hz sine wave alternating current is needed to provide energy to charge batteries and pass power through to AC loads. This source is usually the utility grid (power company) or an AC generator. An automatic or manual AC source selector switch can be used to switch between the multiple sources of shore power to the Freedom HF system. The AC source feeding the Freedom HF must have the neutral conductor bonded to ground. When the inverter passes shore power through, it will lift the bonding relay on the output and will rely on the input being bonded in order to ensure that the power delivered to a sub panel is properly bonded. See “AC Output Neutral Bonding” on page 1–9 for more information on bonding relay operation.
    Normally, a UPS will report the "missing" AC bond as a fault... Not sure here.

    The eu2000i (as far as I know) has a floating AC output (the two AC leads are "floating" with respect to ground.

    The 3,500 Watt genset probably has the AC White(Neutral+greenwire+frame ground) bonded inside the genset... (My guess is that smaller genset and AC inverters tend to "float" their AC "neutral"--aka no-neutral; and larger gensets--something like 3,000-3,500+ Watt, tend to bond AC White+Green wire+Frame ground at the gest).

    Normally, simply bonding the white wire to green wire somewhere between the genset and the input to your AC inverter is fine... If you are really paranoid (with electricity, it does pay to be careful), use a 20-100 Watt filament bulb to "shunt" the white+green wires together... If the bulb lights (when genset is running), there is something wrong and needs to be addressed before shunting the two wires together directly (should be no power flowing between white and green wires except if there is a problem).

    The other possible issue is your breaker panel... "main panels" generally default to connecting the white wire/neutral bus to the metal case of the panel/box. And the panel box should be connected to your green wire/ground rod.

    Many Auxiliary type panels (and main panels--Talking about North America here--Other countries may have different requirements) will have a configuration connection--Screw in neutral bus that connects to sheet metal box (remove screw, no neutral to ground connection). In your system, the neutral bus should be floating (Not Connected) with respect to the metal box/ground bus.

    Your inverter has a GFI receptacle... If you have a Neutral+Ground connection on the output of the GFI, it will probably trip (this also depends on how you wired the AC output of the inverter. If you wire before the GFI/don't use the GFI, no false ground faults. If you wired your power after the GFI--It has "output" screws for downstream connections, you will probably get false trips if you have a ground+neutral bond in your small AC panel).

    Hope this makes sense... Grounding is a complex subject (note that your inverter has an internal transfer switch which disconnects the neutral from the Genset/AC mains power when the inverter is running--Correct and required for MSW type inverters).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • HuntingCabin72HuntingCabin72 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Thanks. I have spoken to a few people who have vastly more knowledge then me and grounding appears to be a likely cause. When I showed them what you wrote he said to fix the problem I should ground the generator through the ground lug to the same ground rod that the panel and inverter are grounded to. He said that inverter is sensitive enough that he’s confident that is the issue. I hope to get out there his week with a couple different generators (both regular and inverter) and test out the theory.
    Fingers crossed.
    I will certainly give an update. I’d like to say I’m confident but based on all the issues i’m cautiously optimistic.. about 60/40 confident..
  • HuntingCabin72HuntingCabin72 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    So I have tried the grounding to the same point with NO luck. I had 4 different generators out there and discovered that a "typical" generator does not work, for some reason the Xantrex will not "recognize" the power coming in from it. If the generator is an inverter generator (floating neutral) the Xantrex will recognize the power.
    So to clarify.. I have my generator outside and I run an extension cord from the generator directly into the Xantrex.. The Xantrex then feeds directly into my panel which feeds the cabin. I have checked my panel and as near as I can tell the neutral is NOT bonded inside the panel. There is certainly no green lug that I have been told would indicate that the neutral bus is bonded to the panel.
    So based on this latest piece of the puzzle I think that I may need a sub panel between the generator and the Xantrex, and inside that sub panel the neutral should be bonded?? Again, my knowledge of this stuff is basic AT BEST!!
    The initial thought was that my panel was bonded and that's why the Xantrex would not recognized the bonded generator (there were 2 bonds?!?!). Since I have discovered/believe that my panel isn't bonded I feel that a bonded panel is required??
    Does this make any sense?
    Could I install a bonded sub panel to correct the issue?
    Is it possible to simply bond my current panel?
    If I bond my panel (or install a bonded sub panel) would that cause the Honda (floating neutral) to no longer work?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,182 admin
    Ground bonding the neutral at the genset and floating in the rest of the system sounds like the way the HF is designed (always start with the manual).

    Floating the genset neutral and grounding at the panel (HF output), can be correct. However it seems like the HF auto grounds the neutral witha relay when the genset is not running. So panel bonding of neutral not required here.

    The other issue could be genset frequency. If i utility power is outside 59 to 61 Hz, it could be disqualified by the inverter. Or could be configured for a genset with 55 to 65 Hz as good power.

    Inverter gensets usually have very accurate frequency output. Mechanical govern gensets tend to have +-5 Hz or worst frequency control.

    Another trick that sometimes works is to put a 100 Watt lamp (filament type) or small electe electric heater on the genset to stabilize the output voltage and frequency.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The output of the generator may have harmonic distortion in the waveform, Honda inverter generators are said to have a smooth waveform based on this link on http://www.jkovach.net/projects/powerquality/ but that was one example, individual units may differ, without an ociloscope it's impossible to tell. On a similar note, I attempted using the output of a PSW inverter to input into my inverter charger, in an attempt to transfer energy from an under used system 300'away, the CSW 2524 would not qualify the input. 
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • HuntingCabin72HuntingCabin72 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    The even stranger thing is that I took an OLD!!! P3 Power generator back (I assume neutral bonded) and surprisingly it worked?! I can’t believe that this old generator would produce a smooth waveform?!
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,653 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2018 #16
    Older, properly wound alternators, with lots of iron and copper in the cores, produce a very nice waveform.  My "new" (2015) 3K diesel genset, with it's "lightweight" alternator, has a good waveform till about half loaded up, it can't sustain a decent load of my 1/2hp well pump without the waveform going bad
    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 ,

  • HuntingCabin72HuntingCabin72 Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    So I guess I need to have the wave form tested?
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,653 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It's more likely the amount of poor Power Factor the genset can handle before it's waveform becomes unusable
    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 ,

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