Question about Black & Decker PI400AB Power Inverter
I've had this inverter for about two years now, bought it for a cross
country road trip to power my laptop and a couple of other things. I've
pretty much liked it. Yes, the fan is a little noisey, yes, you have to
use the provided battery clips for heavy loads. But it powers my Dell
Inspiron 8500 laptop just fine (and its an old powerhog).
Recently a I let a friend use it with his inflatable mattress air pump during a camping trip.
What I didn't know is his pump has insane wattage, and it fried/bricked the inverter instantly.
Agh! I thought it was a goner, but took the time to look inside the unit. (Which is a solid and sturdy metal case, not plastic as another reviewer indicated). I was thrilled to discover there were some internal fuses. And while the fuses are soldered to the circuit board, if you've done any soldering at all they really are a snap to replace.
If you remove the four screws that hold the end cover plate on the side with the fan. You can remove the end plate and have just about a half inch or so of clearance. The entire lower circuit board will then slide out with firm pressure about an inch and a half (don't try and go any further, components on the other side prevent it).
On the right side (positive/red terminal side), you will see two 25 amp mini-fuses that are directly soldered to the circuit board. If these are blown (you can see through the semi-transparent sides if they still connect), that is most likely your problem. They are easily available from most auto and big department stores (Walmart, Target, etc) in their automotive sections.
I used a 40 watt soldering iron (30 watt should work fine), and applied it to the bottom of the circuit board where the fuse legs poke out the bottom. Using a pair of pliers, I applied a firm steady pressure to the fuse, pulling up, while applying the soldering iron to each of the legs (alternately) of the fuse. The solder melted, and I was able to work the fuse out in a few seconds. I did this for both fuses.
The replacement fuses cost all of $2. I dipped the new fuse legs in flux, then put them in the place of the old fuses. Again I heated the circuit board solder from below, and pushed the new fuse in place. Repeat with the second fuse until it is in place. Flip the board over and add some more new solder until it is firmly in place. Put it back together, and you are back in business! And for a whole lot less than a new inverter.
I've got pics of this process if anyone would like them. Good luck, and happy inverting.
Posted on Sep 21, 2010
I Have the Type 2 Model of this and you cant get to the fuzes without taking off the end plate with the receptacles. I cut my end plate across just at the top of where the AC receptacles slide into the plate. This way I didnt have to unsolder, resolder the AC receptacles. You will need de-soldering braid to remove the solder from the fuses. Pretty dumb design, having fuses soldered and inaccessible. If I blow mine again, Ill definitely install fuze plugs. Anyway thanks for the info. Got me going in the right direction.
Posted on Oct 27, 2012
I'd suggest (if you have the soldering skills that is) removing those "replaceable" fuses on the board and installing one in the housing that holds the wire nuts for hooking up the DC power. Pain in the A$$ but then you really WILL have a replaceable fuse. Make sure it's the same rating as the ones inside though ...
Posted on Mar 22, 2010
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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