Sunday, August 21, 2011

Warning Light

About a month ago I was in my utility shed when I noticed a flashing red light on the inverter. Solid read indicates a critical error whereas flashing red indicates a warning. I checked the control unit mounted in the kitchen and learned the internal fan had failed.

Internal fan? That was a surprise. It is a sealed unit for harsh environments. Seals prevent moisture, dust and air from entering the unit.. The inverter has an external fan that was working and the indicator was a warning so I assumed it wasn't time critical. This happened less than a week before we were scheduled to leave for two weeks of vacation.

I phoned the manufacturer and a person answer the phone. No "push 1 for sales, push 2 for tech support, etc". A person and not a recorded announcement. Nice!

I explained the failed internal fan to the young lady who answered the phone and she replied "I'll transfer you to Robin (or Kathy or some female name) and she'll take your name and address and send you a free replacement fan." Wow! Pleasant, knowledgeable, courteous, efficient. Robin answer the phone after only one or two rings. I explained my problem and she replied "Oh, I'm sorry. We'll get a replacement shipped to you. I need some information...". And it was free. I didn't expect that. I was ready and willing to pay.

When we got back from vacation I expected to find a box containing the replacement fan. No luck. I phoned the manufacturer a second time and a gentleman answered the phone. He apologized for the problem and said "let me walk back to shipping". I heard him ask a woman about the order and then he said "I'm sorry, we were out of fans and when they came in we failed to send one to you. We have printed a label and put it on a box. It will go out today."

Three days later I received the fan.

Outback inverters have a good reputation. I can affirm the customer service is excellent.

The replacement of the fan was simple. I connected the defective fan to a twelve volt battery and confirmed it had failed.

The instructions advised testing the unit by connecting three nine volt batteries in series to insure the twenty-four volt input inverter powered up safely. This drained the three batteries quickly but was safer then connecting it to the large battery array that has enough power to do serious harm and expensive damage. I was confident the inverter was reassembled correctly but decided to be cautious and perform the test. The unit powered up and I heard the fan running, The green light illuminated indicating the unit was working and the red warning light never flickered. Success.

Outback Invert.
I mounted a board under the inverter to hold the weight before removing the screws that mount it to the wall.

Outback Invert.
The external fan and polycarbonate cover have been removed. The next step is to turn off the breaker between the inverter and batteries and disconnect the wiring.

Outback Invert.
Inverter, tools, instructions and replacement fan.

Outback Invert.
The defective fan mounted inside the top cover.

Outback Invert.
The fan cools the copper colored component in the bottom of the photo.

Outback Invert.
Reassembled and ready to perform a simple test using three nine volt batteries connected in series.


Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

Better hope you don't run out of dilithium crystals....we don't know how to make them yet....hehe.....

8/23/2011 07:39:00 AM  

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