A Problem With the Electrical System

Well, so far my little “Ziggy the Snail Shell” home on wheels has been very good to me. Mechanically, the only things I’ve had to deal with are typical things like new brake linings and shocks (though I did wear out a ball joint and had to replace that).

So now I’ve had my first difficulty with the actual “camping” part–the “house” electrical system. I’ve got a 1.5kw VertaMax inverter, which is the thingie that takes the 12v electricity from the house battery and converts it into 120v outlets that I can plug stuff into. Mostly I just use it for charging my laptop and camera battery, so it’s really a lot bigger than what I need (at the time I set up the electrical system, I was still considering the idea of running a microwave in the van).

The inverter itself uses a fair amount of power when it is running, so in order to save on the battery I always keep the inverter switched off whenever I’m not actually charging something. But yesterday after charging my laptop I went to turn the inverter off–and nothing happened. Tried the switch a few more times, nothing. Tried again today, still nothing. It’s stuck “on”, which means my inverter is now constantly pulling power from the house battery. Not really a BFD now, but in winter when the days are shorter and I have less electricity to play with, it will be a real difficulty.

One of the techy-types I’ve chatted with online thinks that one of the relays inside the inverter has probably overheated and fused in the “on” position.

For the short term, I can deal with it by simply disconnecting the inverter from the battery when I’m not using it and reconnecting it when i want to charge something. That will quickly become a PITA, though. So at some point in the near future, I’ll be visiting an RV repair shop and having the inverter replaced.

Given that it’s the first problem with the system that I’ve had in 3.5 years, I can’t complain.  🙂


2 thoughts on “A Problem With the Electrical System

  1. 3.5 years is a good life for an inverter in my experience. Mine usually last just a year or two, although they are pretty exposed to Florida humidity which takes a toll.

  2. Robert: Yeh, I can’t complain at all. It did me good service.

    I had it replaced, and since the house battery is also 4 years old and has over 1000 cycles on it, replaced that too.


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