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Old 06-08-2013, 14:16   #76
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

Skip, I have removed the starter & waiting for a new one to come in. Although I have a Neg. connected to the engine block, could the unconnected leads that are for the starter be a problem as per the reverse polarity?
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Old 06-08-2013, 15:33   #77
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

The problem with an inverter feeding another inverter often has to do with the fact that most inverters do not put out a true sign wave.

There are two general families of inverter AC output types that I am familiar with. One is a "staircased" sign wave. The other is a pulse width modulated square wave. I'll give you the very condensed version of the difference.

The staircased sign wave output type gives a voltage output signal that looks like a sign wave with a bunch of small zig zags along the trace. This type approximates real AC fairly well, after it goes through a filter, but generating this kind of wave form is not real power efficient.

Pulse width modulated square wave outputs, usually actually put out a higher voltage than the stated RMS. They put it out in short spurts. The timing of those spurts is varies so that the current moving through the system will appear as a staircased sign wave. This type of loosely approximated sign wave will run most modern motors just fine. It is likely to give you trouble if you feed it into another inverter that is looking for a real sign wave as primary power. It may or may not work well with a cell phone charger, unless you have one of the old ones that are heavy & actually have a small transformer inside them. The lite weight chargers have switching power supplies that work on the same pulse-width technology.

I don't know what the inside of that Heart inverter looks like. If it has a transformer for the battery charger, then it should work on an inverter output. If it has a switching power supply, or some sort of fancy voltage regulation, then there may be problems working off of inverter power. I'd have to look at the inside of it to give you a more informed opinion on that particular unit.
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Old 06-08-2013, 17:14   #78
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

I think you hit it right on the head Jim... The Heart has a switching power supply. I remember that was the selling point at the time. It had the ability to switch from the charging mode to the inverter mode instantly without any additional programing or manual dictation. So that's why it may be having problems with the Honda, or any other inverter/charger on that type.
Thanks... That makes since
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Old 06-08-2013, 17:29   #79
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

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Originally Posted by pbiJim View Post
The problem with an inverter feeding another inverter often has to do with the fact that most inverters do not put out a true sign wave.

There are two general families of inverter AC output types that I am familiar with. One is a "staircased" sign wave. The other is a pulse width modulated square wave. I'll give you the very condensed version of the difference.

The staircased sign wave output type gives a voltage output signal that looks like a sign wave with a bunch of small zig zags along the trace. This type approximates real AC fairly well, after it goes through a filter, but generating this kind of wave form is not real power efficient.

Pulse width modulated square wave outputs, usually actually put out a higher voltage than the stated RMS. They put it out in short spurts. The timing of those spurts is varies so that the current moving through the system will appear as a staircased sign wave. This type of loosely approximated sign wave will run most modern motors just fine. It is likely to give you trouble if you feed it into another inverter that is looking for a real sign wave as primary power. It may or may not work well with a cell phone charger, unless you have one of the old ones that are heavy & actually have a small transformer inside them. The lite weight chargers have switching power supplies that work on the same pulse-width technology.

I don't know what the inside of that Heart inverter looks like. If it has a transformer for the battery charger, then it should work on an inverter output. If it has a switching power supply, or some sort of fancy voltage regulation, then there may be problems working off of inverter power. I'd have to look at the inside of it to give you a more informed opinion on that particular unit.
To be honest I have not looked into the method of how different inverters generate AC other than to read claims that some are pure sine wave and some are modified sine or square wave. I haven't connected a Honda output to an oscilloscope but those that deal with them say that the output is very clean. A quote from the Honda web site

Inverters produce the cleanest power of all. These units are ideal for sensitive electronics, such as computers.
Inverter generators offer a number of other benefits, including less noise, lower weight, and greater fuel efficiency as compared to traditional models.
Honda revolutionized the use of inverter technology in portable generators with our Super-Quiet EU series.


They also show a picture that supposedly represents the output wave of the Honda inverter and it looks pretty clean. Honda Generators - Selecting the right portable generator for you

Bottom line, I don't think the AC output of the Honda is causing a problem with the charger output of the Xantrex, assuming the Honda is working properly.
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Old 06-08-2013, 17:36   #80
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

Thanks Skip...
Maybe it's time to take it in to have it checked...
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Old 06-08-2013, 17:37   #81
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

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Skip, I have removed the starter & waiting for a new one to come in. Although I have a Neg. connected to the engine block, could the unconnected leads that are for the starter be a problem as per the reverse polarity?
As well as I can recall the problem with the reverse polarity light on AC panels when fed from a portable generator related to grounding the neutral wire to the frame of the generator. I think as long as you have a good ground to the block and from there to the DC panel then the lack of a hot wire to the starter shouldn't matter, of course as long as you have a good positive feed to the DC system as well.
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Old 06-08-2013, 18:25   #82
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

Skip,
Take another look at Andy's reply in the "Reverse Polarity" thread. He talks about connecting the positive & the ground at the plug in on the Honda.
I found this very interesting.
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Old 06-08-2013, 19:22   #83
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

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Skip,
Take another look at Andy's reply in the "Reverse Polarity" thread. He talks about connecting the positive & the ground at the plug in on the Honda.
I found this very interesting.
Sorry, can't locate that post. There are at least a half dozen threads with Reverse Polarity in the title. Maybe you can post a link.

However, if the post said connect "positive" and "ground" in those exact words it doesn't make sense to me in any way. I assume this is in reference to AC electricity but there is no positive in AC. There is Hot, Neutral and Safety Ground. If DC, connecting positive to ground (unless you have an ancient British car that uses a positive ground) is a dead short.

As I recall, the fix was to connect the Neutral (normally the black wire in AC) to the Safety Ground (normally green) or frame of the Honda.
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Old 06-08-2013, 19:31   #84
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

Hi Coco! I think it is time to hire a professional marine electrician to get your electrical situation under control. You are not doing yourself any favors by messing around in an area you have very little knowledge of. Get the job done by a pro, and pay him/her for the service. It is well worth it as it will save you a lot of hassle and frustration; your time is better spent on sailing, not on electrical troubleshooting. Good luck!

Mauritz
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Old 06-08-2013, 23:04   #85
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

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Skip,
Take another look at Andy's reply in the "Reverse Polarity" thread. He talks about connecting the positive & the ground at the plug in on the Honda.
I found this very interesting.
I think that he said he connected the ground prong to the neutral prong. I would not want to ground the positive. That might get exciting in a bad way.
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Old 06-08-2013, 23:09   #86
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

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As I recall, the fix was to connect the Neutral (normally the black wire in AC) to the Safety Ground (normally green) or frame of the Honda.
Neutral is white in the US.

Black & red are both hot AC.
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Old 06-08-2013, 23:12   #87
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

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If DC, connecting positive to ground (unless you have an ancient British car that uses a positive ground) is a dead short.
Many old American 6-volt tractors were positive ground too. I can't remember if 6-volt American trucks from the '40s were positive ground or not. It's been a while since I worked on one.
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Old 06-08-2013, 23:22   #88
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

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A quote from the Honda web site

Inverters produce the cleanest power of all. These units are ideal for sensitive electronics, such as computers.
Inverter generators offer a number of other benefits, including less noise, lower weight, and greater fuel efficiency as compared to traditional models.
Honda revolutionized the use of inverter technology in portable generators with our Super-Quiet EU series.


They also show a picture that supposedly represents the output wave of the Honda inverter and it looks pretty clean. Honda Generators - Selecting the right portable generator for you
I haven't actually worked with one of those Honda inverter generators yet, so I'm going to be speaking without specific knowledge here, but I think that the claims on that web page are missing a few qualifying statements regarding the way that the generator output was loaded in each case. I'm not sure that they are comparing apples to apples with those wave diagrams. I could be wrong. Maybe those things really are just that good. I'd kind of like to hang my scope on the output of one sometime to take a look for myself. I'm curious now. I'd like to actually know for certain what they are capable of.

Regulating AC while switching a load that is a large percentage of the system capacity has always been a tough nut to crack. The issues they discuss are real. Their claims of a solution seem fantastic. The power companies that supply power to the grid have it easier because they don't often see sudden load surges of 60% system capacity in less than a second. Small private generators usually do see that kind of abuse on a regular basis. They lead a tough life.
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:24   #89
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Re: Solar Panels w/Amp Gauges

Good morning,

Skip, here is the post made by Andy about the jumper wire. My mistake... He was talking about the white wire & my mind processed it as the positive instead of neutral. My mistake... The 12v vs 120v translation factor & being too tired.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CoCoKnots,
I've been following your thread and feel your pain! Concerning the Honda EU200i/Heart inverter interface, I'm still using that combo with a mod to make neutral (wht) and ground (grn) common. The Heart shorepower input assumes it is connected to a correctly terminated ground to neutral connection at the power pole. The Honda generator is not. Since I wrote the above suggestions I now use a standard un-modified cord. Instead I made a standard U-ground plug and jumpered wht. to grn. and plug it into one of the Honda A.C. receptacles and move it from generator to generator (I have two) when I use it on the boat. As an aside I recently forgot to plug in the mod plug and the Heart would not accept A.C. so I know it works. (ten years now). Also since the neut. grnd. wires are shorted you should lose the flickering reverse/polarity light .
Andy
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:33   #90
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Many old American 6-volt tractors were positive ground too. I can't remember if 6-volt American trucks from the '40s were positive ground or not. It's been a while since I worked on one.
I do know that the 1946 dodge I drove in high school was 6V positive ground. Try getting a jump start with that!!!
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