Monday, 1 October 2012

I've Been A Bit Of A Chump

I've been a bit of a chump. Yep! even me who is normally very, very careful with measuring, checking, measuring, reading the manual / instruction, and then doing it all again just for good measure etc.

Especially when there is expensive equipment at hand! 

So what did I do? 

In a perverse way I did exactly what I was doing to avoid doing what I did. When I put the inverter in I was concerned that it should be somewhere cool so I decided the engine room bulkhead would be ideal. OK, I know it gets warm in there when the engine is running, but when stationary it's the coolest place and besides when we are on the move the inverter is not really being used that hard. It seems to get hottest when charging which would be on hookup which has so far been never, or on the generator. 

With the top calorifier pipe running inches away from the inverter, several blog readers voiced their concerns that it really wasn't a good setup. I had to agree in hindsight. So  a few weeks ago it was "move the inverter day". The move was from the engine room side of the bulkhead:- 


to the cabin side under the stairs. 

Something that with a bit of floor hole cutting for cold air from the bilge to be drawn in and a bit of carpentry modification to the back of the stairs, a bit of cable re-routing etc. should have taken only 3-4 hours with cups of tea and ponder time. 

Having done the necessary I powered up the inverter only to hear a massive "CRACK". That's the sound a 400amp fuse makes when it lets go. 

So what had I done? Well despite having to put 2 very large +ve and -ve wires on each terminal in the inverter and despite the inverter having very clear "Battery +" and "Battery -" instruction on the terminals, somehow in a complete an utter parallel universe I had actually managed to ignore these very simple but fundamental instructions. I really don't know how I did it, I truly don't. My wife thinks its the onset of something more sinister, and TBH so do I. Despondently I realised what I'd done and set about investigating inside the inverter expecting to see a mass of exploded components, but with fingers crossed there was a trip or something I could reset, sort of like an idiot button. But there was no trace of either.

I contacted my Supplier Intellitec who rather than laugh at my stupidity said to send it back and they would make it better again. Within a few days the problem had been resolved and my inverter was back safe and well.  What brilliant and speedy service.  So a big thank you to them.

So with repaired inverter in hand last week I set about finishing the job.  This time doing it as per the instruction not my way. In under haft an hour the inverter was back fully working in its new home under the stairs.

So in attempt to move the inverter to stop it getting damaged, I damaged the inverter moving it.  What a knob!  I am however consoled by the fact that if the calorifier pipe did blow the damage that could cause would have been worse for the inverter than my faux par.

Lesson Learnt!!


  1. How else do we learn? Thankfully you had an waking great inline fuse in place.
    Are you on the boat this week, we are into Ely tomorrow, BSC Wednesday, new chimney flue Thursday.

  2. Thank you for sharing this Kev, It is a timely reminder that even at 12 or 24 Volts If there is enough Current available then Electricity can be dangerous and should ALWAYS be fused correctly as yours was.
    I had a big wake up to this back in the 70's when part of my job as an Electrician was doing'Night patrol' (Touring round the area checking which streetlights weren't working)and one night I could smell burning then my back got hot, VERY hot! The battery on the old Austin J4 van was behind the drivers seat, the Positive cable running through the floor down to the starter solenoid. All ok except when the Grommit through the floor wore out with vibration, the cable insulation rubbed through and the battery cooked as it wasn't meant to be discharged that quick. I have since met someone who was badly acid burnt when they had a battery explode through the same cause. PLEASE people reading this, do as Kev did and if it's got electric, FUSE IT. Andy W.