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Is there a device that I can connect to my inverter to keep it from shutting down due to voltage spikes from the vehicle?

The vehicle is a 2006 Chevy Colbalt and when the vehicle is started, the volts spike to 14.8 after about a minute. The inverter works fine when the vehicle is not running. It is connected properly. Is there some kind of protection device that can be connected between the vehicle's battery and the inverter that would limit the high voltage to the inverter? The vehicle's charging system is working properly

Posted by K. T. Sisk on


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John McPherson

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Short of shutting the inverter off momentarily, there is not a simple answer. because you could slightly modify the inverter's over voltage reference IC, but that requires knowledge of the inverter that the manufacturer does not want you to know normally.

if you are running the inverter off a second battery, you could isolate that second battery from the system through any number of time delay relays, time delay circuits comparable to intermittent wiper circuits.

However, if you are capable with a soldering iron, MOSFETs can be utilized as a voltage variable resistor. They can be in a parallel array to increase current. You need to know what current draw is by the inverter with the normal load.

Once you know that current, you can select a MOSFET of sufficient "Constant Current" or pair of them and wire them as "Voltage variable resistor."

The circuit actually does work, the resistor is adjusted until you aproach the "pinch off zone" and tweak it to the point you want to operate with. The MOSFETs will need to be on a heat sink, any you can even wire a switch across them to short across them to remove them from the circuit. The image only shows one MOSFET, but they can be operated in parallel for more current capactiy. Which why the constant current rating of the MOSFET needs to be known. The type of MOSFET is not critical, it can be a trench fet, hexfet, etc. You should plan for double the current draw in your MOSFET selection for purposes of a design centered value. You can use up to about 5 MOSFETs from that one pot. For extra margin in the design you could add 0.1 ohm (2 Watt) resistor in series with each MOSFET to balance current through the MOSFETS, although MOSFETS will self equalize to a point. When they heat up their internal resistance goes up so thermal runaway is not normally an issue.

Is there a device that I can connect to my inverte - 1_19_2012_6_48_42_am.jpg

Posted on Jan 19, 2012


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You said "ECU being funny if you connect any power source to any outlet"
You aren't connecting a power "Source" to the vehicle unless the unit has internal batteries.
The ECU is far more sensitive to someone connecting another lead acid battery to the system, as in Jump Starting the Car.
A spike or trancient voltage can damage the vehicles main control cpu or ECU but highly unlikely from a dvd player or mobile phone etc.
I wouldn't be overly concerned....
If the device you attaching draws only 1-2 amps then pinching a bit of power from the reversing light is the way we all do it.

But... you can insert a device like this in between to protect your DVD Screen from transients.

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We all use many devices and equipments that run on electricity. For all these to function properly they need uniform power supply (constant flow of electricity). As the electric supply in many countries is not uniform there is a need for a device to correct it. There are many such devices available in the market today. For example UPS (Uninterrupted power supply), Voltage Stabilizer, Constant Voltage Transformer are such devices available today.<br /> <br /> <b><u>Why buy a UPS?</u></b><br />We can never guarantee that we will get constant power. The power supply always has fluctuations. Surges, Spikes, Brownouts, Blackouts and Noise can damage your electrical appliances especially your computer. To prevent this from happening you need a device that does power conditioning. Electricity has to be uninterrupted. If the voltage is higher than the specified level then it is 'Over Voltage'. If the voltage is lower than the specified level then it is 'Under Voltage'. Both Spike and Surge come under 'Over Voltage' category. But there is a small difference between spike and surge. If there is very high voltage for an instant but comes back to normal immediately then it is called 'Spike'. If there is very high voltage for a slightly longer period then it is called 'Surge'. If the voltage is dangerously reduced to very low within a short period of time then it is called 'Brownout'. When this happens, the computer can be seriously damaged. If the power supply is totally cut then it is called 'Blackout'. Noise can mix with electromagnetic or radio waves or any signals. This is called 'Line Noise'. This may also reduce the voltage level to very low within a short period of time.<br /> <br /> <b><u>How can the UPS provide power when the main electrical supply is cut?<br /></u></b>A UPS has an internal battery. With this battery charger, an Inverter is also present. The inverter converts the 'Direct current' supplied by the battery to 'Alternatinc current' as required by the computer. When there is electrical supply the charger in the UPS charges the internal battery. When there is a power cut, the battery kicks in to supply the DC which is converted to AC by the inverter and power is supplied to computer.<br /> <b></b> <br /> <b><u>What if the battery loses its power?</u></b><br />When there is power cut, the required power is taken from the battery. Therefore the battery keeps losing its capacity. If the power supply comes back before the battery is depleted then the battery charger will start recharging, but if the power supply doesn't come back then the battery keeps supplying until it totally drains out. When the battery drains below a certain level the UPS sounds an alarm for your to shut down your computer and turn off the UPS. Some UPS' even have a built in system that shuts your computer down for you after a certain amount of UPS uptime.<br /> <b></b> <br /> <b><u>How long can the UPS provide power when there is a blackout?</u></b><br />This all depends on the specifications of the UPS and the requirement of the computer. A 600vA UPS for example can supply power to a computer with a 550W power supply for about 10 minutes or more.<br /> <b></b> <br /> <b><u>Tips for buying an UPS</u></b><br />The backup time of your UPS is the most important you need to consider. Other than that, you should know how many KVA (Kilo Volt Ampere) your UPS has. A computer needs atleast 0.5 KVA (500VA) to function. If you are planning to connect more than one computer to a single UPS then you need to get one with a higher KVA.<br /> <b></b> <br /> <b><u>What type of battery does a UPS use?</u></b><br />UPS uses <b>SMF</b> batteries (Sealed Maintenance Free). These type of batteries can be used for 5 to 7 years continuously.

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What's the difference between a surge and a spike in voltage?

A spike is an increase in voltage for 1-2 nanoseconds.
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First if you can, try the monitor with other PC first to make sure it is not the PC problem.

If it behaves in the same fashion, then most probably has dying power supply due to bad DC filter caps, just see the top side of the caps to ensure it has not bulged up distorted.See the images bellow
12_24_2012_5_33_15_pm.jpg OR


Then there is the logic board. Plug the monitor in but do not activate the power switch so the backlight inverter circuits will be off. Check the 5vdc and the 12~24vdc to make sure they are OK. They should be tested with the load, you can use 6V 1A (6watts) lamp for the 5vdc, and car lamps such as 1157 (12v 8watts lo/26watts high) turn signal brake lamp using high filament connection for testing the 12~18vdc (or use two 1157 in series for 19~24vdc) for the backlight inverter circuits.
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The backlight inverter circuits:
It takes the 12~24vdc and converts it to high frequency AC to drive the inverter transformers CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) assemblies. The transformers will drive the CCFL by applying the start up voltage (around 1500~2000v), when the CCFL start conducting, the voltage will drop down to about 500~800v.
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I can only give some general thoughts on this, I have patched up a few inverters.
Their core parts rely on a component called capacitors these over time degrade with heat which reduces their manufactured value this will mean they fail to fully do their job. The usual result is not providing a smooth supply rail allowing voltage spikes which trip over and under voltage sensing firing off the alarm, more so when not loaded with appliances as spikes can become large.
Your appliances would be snubbing out these through their loading but this can be trouble because they are absorbing this extra energy which may damage them eventually.
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Look up faulty capacitors in power supplies on the web for an insight.

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