Is there a drain on a inverter system?

shortfatguyshortfatguy Solar Expert Posts: 42
I've been told I have a low-end system.

Q: If a battery bank is fully charged and plugged into a inverter that is plugged into a wired camp, yet there is nothing running or plugged in. Is there a draw on the battery bank?

Cheers.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,870 admin
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?

    An inverter will take somewhere between (roughly) 1 and 6 watts or so--plugged into the DC battery bank, but with no load on the output (some may be more, some may be less).

    Generally, for a small system, you should turn of the DC supply to the inverter (or use the inverter's inhibit switch--if it has one), if you don't expect any loads.

    More advanced (expensive) inverter do have power save modes to "scan" for when loads are applied.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?

    For example, the Morningstar Suresine 300 draws 55ma (Less than a watt) while in search mode. It also comes with a remote switch system to turn it off.

    Icarus
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,502 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?

    No, my inverter is indoors, and does not collect water, so I don't have to have a drain connected.

    Seriously though, as long as the inverter is connected to the battery, and is presenting 120V to the outlets, it is ON and drawing power from the battery. The amount varys with brand/style of inverter, look for "standby" power consumption rating.
    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 ,

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    No, my inverter is indoors, and does not collect water, so I don't have to have a drain connected.

    WHAT ??

    Hahahaha That was a good one Mike :p:p
    Had me going there for a few seconds, wondering "what the heck is this guy talking about" Hahaha

    Wayne
  • shortfatguyshortfatguy Solar Expert Posts: 42
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?
    BB. wrote: »
    An inverter will take somewhere between (roughly) 1 and 6 watts or so--plugged into the DC battery bank, but with no load on the output (some may be more, some may be less).

    Generally, for a small system, you should turn of the DC supply to the inverter (or use the inverter's inhibit switch--if it has one), if you don't expect any loads.

    More advanced (expensive) inverter do have power save modes to "scan" for when loads are applied.

    -Bill

    So is there a auto-flow switch that can be plugged into the 120v side and wired back to the 12v side for auto on/off?

    Mw
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,870 admin
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?

    Nothing that I know of that you can buy... I saw a very old genset that would put 12 volts DC out the 120 VAC line and when it detected current flow, would autostart. Once the AC flow stopped, it would turn off and apply 12 vdc again and wait.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,502 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?
    So is there a auto-flow switch that can be plugged into the 120v side and wired back to the 12v side for auto on/off?

    Not a separate switch. Some inverters have the function built-in. Sometimes called Sleep, Search, Hibernate. You have to read past the marketing words to find the action the inverter actually takes.

    Here's one example of an inverter that has a very low "idle" (idle means fully powered, and ready to run a 120Vac load)
    http://www.morningstarcorp.com/products/SureSine/index.shtml 300watt run. 600W surge
    Inverter On (no load) 450mA
    Stand-by 55mA
    [requires 8 watt load to "wake up" to full power] (sleep)
    Inverter remote Off 25mA




    [repressed joke answer]
    A regular float switch for a bilge pump will start the drain
    [/repressed joke answer]
    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 ,

  • shortfatguyshortfatguy Solar Expert Posts: 42
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Not a separate switch. Some inverters have the function built-in. Sometimes called Sleep, Search, Hibernate. You have to read past the marketing words to find the action the inverter actually takes.

    Thanks. Picked up a new coleman 800w for $35 from a friend. It doesn't support "marketing words" so looking for some sort of auto on/off switch
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?

    I assume that the coleman is a generator.

    Beware Coleman's. In my experiance they have very funky voltage control, as well as floating neutrals.

    Icarus
  • shortfatguyshortfatguy Solar Expert Posts: 42
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?
    icarus wrote: »
    I assume that the coleman is a generator.

    Beware Coleman's. In my experiance they have very funky voltage control, as well as floating neutrals.

    Icarus

    No it is a power inverter that was never used. I have a typical house switch and wiring to my 5000w generator starter that I could rewire to be in-line on the 12v side of the inverter, seems like overkill
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?

    I'm a little unclear as to what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to kill the inverter load when it is not used, or are you looking for a transfer switch from inverter/generator? Or an auto on switch?

    I'm may not be reading it very well, If you are looking for a way to turn the inverter off, why not just use the dc breaker as a switch, or just a switch. If you are looking for a transfer switch from generator to inverter, a double pole, double throw switch will do just fine. (You want to use dc rated switches and breakers if you have any significant current however)

    Icarus
  • shortfatguyshortfatguy Solar Expert Posts: 42
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?

    I'm trying to get the inverter to shut-off automatically without trekking to my generator shed every time I want to use the inverter.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,399 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Is there a drain on a inverter system?

    Then it sounds line you wish to switch the dc side. Relay controlled switch perhaps. One that is energized from the dc side. I suspect that things depend somewhat on how far it is from inverter to the switch location.

    Icarus
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