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Old 07-24-2021, 05:20 PM   #1
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Understanding Tripp Lite Inverter

We are newbie Sportsmobile owners and are trying to better understand the lights on the Inverter panel - the Load and Battery Voltage indicators. When plugged in we were told by the previous owner to always turn the inverter OFF. So, we do that when plugged in. Usually, when plugged into friends' houses for power, just the Load light "Low" blinks green. My understanding is that means that 120V is being received? But, there hasn't ever been a light on the Battery Voltage side of the panel. I just plugged into a campsite, and now the Load "Low" light is blinking green AND the Battery Voltage "High" green light was illuminated steadily for about 1.5 hours which I had never seen before. Then, the Battery Voltage "High" green light was coming on for a couple seconds every once in a while for about five minutes. Now, the Battery Voltage light is totally off. I am wondering which is to be expected/indicates it's working correctly - should the Battery Voltage indicator light be on at all when plugged in? Thanks for any advice as we learn how to be responsible Sportsmobile owners.
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Old 07-24-2021, 06:25 PM   #2
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I will go by my recollection of my tripp-lite inverter that was installed in 2004, in my old van. They pretty much haven't changed the design so it should be good.

First we need to determine what switch we are talking about, that you turn things off and on with. The switch that is on the inverter/charger



or the switch on the APSRM4 Remote Control Module



They are both similar, but the one on the actual inverter has a off switch, which means no inverter, no charger,

The switch on the remote will give you two choices, Inverter on or Charger on. It is wise not to turn the switch to inverter mode unless you truly want to invert power for something. Like you need to use something that takes 120 volt AC. Leaving it on will put it in search mode which will consume battery power, this can be limited by adjusting the load sense dial(if your unit has one). Switching the unit to charge will turn on the charger and pass thru AC power from a shore power connection. If there is no shore power, the charger will of course be off.

From the manual

Indicator Lights
Your Inverter/Charger (as well as an optional Tripp Lite Remote Control Module, sold separately or included with select models) is equipped with a simple, intuitive, user-friendly set of indicator lights. These easily-remembered “traffic light” signals will allow you, shortly after first use, to tell at a glance a wide variety of operating details.

“LINE Green LED”: If the operating mode switch is set to “AUTO/REMOTE”, this light will ILLUMINATE CONTINUOUSLY when your connected equipment is receiving continuous AC power supplied from a utility/generator source. If the operating mode switch is set to “CHARGE ONLY”, this light will BLINK to alert you that the unit’s inverter is OFF and will NOT supply AC power in the absence of a utility/generator source or in
over/under voltage situations.

“INV” (Inverting) Yellow LED: This light will ILLUMINATE CONTINUOUSLY whenever connected equipment is receiving battery-supplied, inverted AC power (in the absence of a utility/generator source or in over/under voltage situations). This light will be off when AC power is supplying the load. This light will BLINK to alert you if the load is less than the Battery Charge
Conserver (Load Sense) setting.

“LOAD” Red LED: This red light will ILLUMINATE CONTINUOUSLY whenever the inverter is functioning and the power demanded by connected appliances and equipment exceeds 100% of load capacity. The light will BLINK to alert you when the inverter shuts down due to a severe overload or overheating. If this happens, turn the operating mode switch “OFF”; remove the overload
and let the unit cool. You may then turn the operating mode switch to either “AUTO/REMOTE” or “CHARGE ONLY” after it has adequately cooled. This light will be off when AC power is supplying the load.

"BATT VOLTAGE" LEDs: If the operating mode switch is in the "AUTO/REMOTE" or "CHARGE ONLY" position, the LEDs indicate the approximate charge level and voltage of your connected battery bank and alert you to several fault conditions. See Chart for charge and voltage levels.
LED Function with Switch in "AUTO/REMOTE" or “Charge
Only” Position Approximate Battery Charge Level*
LEDs Battery Capacity
Illuminated (Charging/Discharging)
Green 91%–Full
Green & Yellow 81%–90%
Yellow 61%–80%
Yellow & Red 41%–60%
Red 21%–40%
All three lights off 1%–20%
Flashing red 0% (Inverter
shutdown)**
* Charge levels listed are approximate. Actual conditions vary
depending on battery condition and load. ** Inverter shutdown protects battery against damage
due to excessive discharge.
Fault Condition
LEDs Fault
Illuminated Condition
All three lights Excessive discharge
flash slowly* (Inverter shutdown)
All three lights Overcharge (Charger
flash quickly** shutdown)

-greg
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Old 07-24-2021, 07:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalf77 View Post
I will go by my recollection of my tripp-lite inverter that was installed in 2004, in my old van. They pretty much haven't changed the design so it should be good.

First we need to determine what switch we are talking about, that you turn things off and on with. The switch that is on the inverter/charger



or the switch on the APSRM4 Remote Control Module



They are both similar, but the one on the actual inverter has a off switch, which means no inverter, no charger,

The switch on the remote will give you two choices, Inverter on or Charger on. It is wise not to turn the switch to inverter mode unless you truly want to invert power for something. Like you need to use something that takes 120 volt AC. Leaving it on will put it in search mode which will consume battery power, this can be limited by adjusting the load sense dial(if your unit has one). Switching the unit to charge will turn on the charger and pass thru AC power from a shore power connection. If there is no shore power, the charger will of course be off.

From the manual

Indicator Lights
Your Inverter/Charger (as well as an optional Tripp Lite Remote Control Module, sold separately or included with select models) is equipped with a simple, intuitive, user-friendly set of indicator lights. These easily-remembered “traffic light” signals will allow you, shortly after first use, to tell at a glance a wide variety of operating details.

“LINE Green LED”: If the operating mode switch is set to “AUTO/REMOTE”, this light will ILLUMINATE CONTINUOUSLY when your connected equipment is receiving continuous AC power supplied from a utility/generator source. If the operating mode switch is set to “CHARGE ONLY”, this light will BLINK to alert you that the unit’s inverter is OFF and will NOT supply AC power in the absence of a utility/generator source or in
over/under voltage situations.

“INV” (Inverting) Yellow LED: This light will ILLUMINATE CONTINUOUSLY whenever connected equipment is receiving battery-supplied, inverted AC power (in the absence of a utility/generator source or in over/under voltage situations). This light will be off when AC power is supplying the load. This light will BLINK to alert you if the load is less than the Battery Charge
Conserver (Load Sense) setting.

“LOAD” Red LED: This red light will ILLUMINATE CONTINUOUSLY whenever the inverter is functioning and the power demanded by connected appliances and equipment exceeds 100% of load capacity. The light will BLINK to alert you when the inverter shuts down due to a severe overload or overheating. If this happens, turn the operating mode switch “OFF”; remove the overload
and let the unit cool. You may then turn the operating mode switch to either “AUTO/REMOTE” or “CHARGE ONLY” after it has adequately cooled. This light will be off when AC power is supplying the load.

"BATT VOLTAGE" LEDs: If the operating mode switch is in the "AUTO/REMOTE" or "CHARGE ONLY" position, the LEDs indicate the approximate charge level and voltage of your connected battery bank and alert you to several fault conditions. See Chart for charge and voltage levels.
LED Function with Switch in "AUTO/REMOTE" or “Charge
Only” Position Approximate Battery Charge Level*
LEDs Battery Capacity
Illuminated (Charging/Discharging)
Green 91%–Full
Green & Yellow 81%–90%
Yellow 61%–80%
Yellow & Red 41%–60%
Red 21%–40%
All three lights off 1%–20%
Flashing red 0% (Inverter
shutdown)**
* Charge levels listed are approximate. Actual conditions vary
depending on battery condition and load. ** Inverter shutdown protects battery against damage
due to excessive discharge.
Fault Condition
LEDs Fault
Illuminated Condition
All three lights Excessive discharge
flash slowly* (Inverter shutdown)
All three lights Overcharge (Charger
flash quickly** shutdown)

-greg
Ahhh. So I am actually talking about the remote control panel! It has the option of "INV OFF" and "ON" on the remote panel. The previous owner told us it was counter intuitive - that on the remote it looks like you're switching the inverter off when it's really on and vice versa on this remote panel. So, we have been pushing it OFF by depressing the switch towards the word ON. And, the green Load LOW light flashes when we do this when plugged in.

The photo you posted had Auto Invert and line charge only options for the switch. Ours says INV OFF or ON as the options.
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Old 07-24-2021, 07:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finckey View Post
Ahhh. So I am actually talking about the remote control panel! It has the option of "INV OFF" and "ON" on the remote panel. The previous owner told us it was counter intuitive - that on the remote it looks like you're switching the inverter off when it's really on and vice versa on this remote panel. So, we have been pushing it OFF by depressing the switch towards the word ON. And, the green Load LOW light flashes when we do this when plugged in.

The photo you posted had Auto Invert and line charge only options for the switch. Ours says INV OFF or ON as the options.


Hopefully this link will show the photo of our inverter remote.
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Old 07-25-2021, 06:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finckey View Post


Hopefully this link will show the photo of our inverter remote.
Your link did not come thru, this does not sound like the standard tripp-lite inverter/charger I know of. The remote I am talking about is not intelligent ( as their is no communication protocol) it just really is GND and six LED states and a line to turn the inverter on.

The remote switches only real capability is to turn "on or off" the inverter. If the actual unit switch is "Auto"

If you can get the link to work or post a model number of your tripp-lite.
Also have you checked the voltage on your house battery? Three of the LED's should be some indication of battery voltage, or charge.

-greg
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Old 07-27-2021, 09:37 AM   #6
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Following up with photos, hopefully!

The remote panel mimics the lights on the inverter... The inverter switch is on "Auto". Inverter model is RV2012UL

I saved the photos to Google Drive so hopefully these links will work:
Remote Panel:


Inverter:


When we plug into shore power, the previous owner recommended we turn the inverter off via the remote panel. FYI - the switch on here appears to be backwards. The previous owner agreed, and said he called Sportsmobile about it and they assured him it was installed correctly. Basically, it isn't the intuitive way to turn on-off on this switch. But, when we do it the opposite way that you would think, it seems to work (the inverter appears to be off when the switch seems to be "on").

As I mentioned in my original post, when we plug into shore power, the lights behave all different ways. Whenever we plug in, the Battery Voltage is always starting at High/Green because we have been driving it and charging the batteries. However, when we plug in and actually turn off the inverter, sometimes, only the Load green light is steadily blinking. Other times, the Battery Voltage lights are also on for a while... it's very strange to us newbies.

The other issue we are having (not to complicate things!) is that the batteries are draining pretty quickly, based on our calculations and those of the previous owner. We bought two new deep cell batteries and had them installed back in June (when we bought the van) via the mechanic that did the inspection. Pretty much within 12-15 hours, the batteries drain from green to yellow/red with just running the refridgerator at med/low temp. We don't ever use the microwave, and really only charge other items (phones/computers) when the van is on. This happens even when we are not sleeping in the van, so even when not using any lights, and it's just the fridge running. It hasn't been very hot throughout this month of traveling in the Northeast, so the fridge isn't working extra hard. I fear that the batteries weren't installed correctly and somehow they are not holding a charge. Or, the fridge is too old and needs replacing (though, the compressor doesn't seem to kick on too often when we are in the van, as I have been trying to pay attention to that).

I guess what I am hoping to understand:

1) What do all the different lights mean on the inverter's remote panel when plugged into shore power?
2) Why are the batteries draining so fast? We'd love to be able to stay parked in one place for a couple of days of camping off the grid. Is there a way for us to test the batteries? Or, should we head to a mechanic to do so? We have zero tools/experience so I keep suggesting we stop at a NAPA which is where the batteries were purchased from.
3) Do the batteries charge differently when driving the van v. plugging it into power? Either way, the remote panel always shows green (90+% charge), but seem to drain at different rates with the same "Medium" Load light on at all times. This could be my imagination, though.

MANY MANY thanks in advance! If these photos don't work, I did get a private message from another user who said I could email the photos directly and he/she could post for me. But, I figured I would try this approach first.
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Old 07-27-2021, 01:08 PM   #8
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Ok, I can see the confusion on the switch, I have never seen a panel with that on it


The lettering on the panel is clearly wrong.

Switch to the left = Inverter On

Switch to Left = Charger On (if AC present)
In this condition AC will also be passed through to your AC circuits




In this picture the right side LED's show yellow on -means the unit is inverting.

The LED's on the left side show Green & Yellow ON - indicating a battery voltage of (81 -90)%



This picture shows the inverter off, and no shore power available. The battery status is at Green indicating 91% to Full.

The battery level LED's will be misleading while the unit is charging, no matter what device is charging. The charge voltage for both the charger and alternator is higher. These are not extremely accurate in either case . But should go along with what I posted before. You could contact Tripp-lite and see if they could send a new panel.

The refrigerator is a pretty big draw DC wise, the only other item would be using the inverter. Again if not using it, leave it off. Your unit does have a load sense dial, but if watching power usage, I will only turn the inverter on when I am using it.

It is hard to make a opinion on your batteries, really need to know their size. There is a big difference in charging between the alternator and the Tripp-lite charger. The alternator is inadequate at ever getting the battery fully charged. The three stage charge in the tripp-lite will do a better job.

My general recommendation is to plug in and bring it to a full charge, after returning from a trip. If you can leave it plugged in do so. If not is best to disconnect all power devices between trips, this would be the refrigerator, and unfortunately maybe even the Propane/CO sensors.

There is lots of good info on this Forum, feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

-greg
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:25 PM   #9
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Forget about multiple days or even a single day of boon docking with any appliance running. Even a 220 aH HD battery will not last through the night with only the fridge and the fan operating and no inverter use. This is 2000 technology when boon docking was a propane and candle event. You must carry a generator or plan on running the van engine 3 to 5 hours a day.
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Old 08-02-2021, 06:12 AM   #10
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Finkcky - Here is one more complication to be aware of. Tripp-Lite equipment, maybe just the older ones, have a history of tripping ground fault receptacles and breakers. I believe that a work-around has been posted somewhere in this forum. You might want to confirm that your unit is compatible, (or not), with ground fault protection before ending up with 120V available but not able to use it.
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