Why won't my inverter drive a domestic fan? - Motorhome Forums, Motorhome Discussion, Motorhome Chat

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 11:09 Thread Starter
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Why won't my inverter drive a domestic fan?

Hi there,

I thought that I was reasonably up on electrics and know for example that you can have trouble using inductive loads on an inverter but I can't get a 300 watt PSW inverter to drive a 35 watt domestic cooling fan. Within seconds of switching it on the inverter alarm will sound and the fan stops.

I accept that some motors use up to 5 times their rated power to start but I would have thought that 300 watts would have started a 35 watt rated fan.

If I'm never going to do it without up-rating the inverter, which I normally only use for laptop and toothbrush etc., what other suggestions for cooling in the motorhome are there. We have a "Transcool" 12 volt "wet cooler" but it's pretty noisy. It was OK when we had dogs as they had no option about the noise and in any case they were pretty deaf!! Are there good and reasonably inexpensive 12V fans? Small dashboard ones don't appear that sensible.

Thanks in anticipation.

Geoffrey (HyFy)
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 11:25
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I think it should work, but have no clue as to why it won't we have the cheap type inverter, 600 watts and it runs a normal fan just fine. Maybe try a different fan.

Here is an idea I use. I have put 12v cigar lighter type plugs in a few places. Then use the 5v cell phone charger plugs to charge phones, but also I bought 3 5V fans that are made to plug into computers. They are fairly quiet, don't use much power and make a nice little breeze especially for sleeping. The 12v fans I had before make a terrible noise.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 19:26
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hi geoffrey

just a thought try connecting the wiring the other way around in the plug

those cheap inverters are funny things and may not like the dirty noise that the motor might be giving the inverter

also you could switch on and of the fan as it ramps up to speed

just a thought


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 19:47 Thread Starter
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Thanks for that reply John.

There's lots for me to try. I'll try another fan and then if that doesn't work maybe upgrade the inverter or look at the computer fan idea. I think that I have a couple somewhere!
I'll let you know.
I won't say that we "got caught" by the heat in Spain/France last week because we knew it was en route but we tried what we had on board to keep cool without much luck. LIDL was the best!!

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 19:59 Thread Starter
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Thanks Barry.

I had already tried the switching without success and I've tried a different (40 Watt) fan again without success.

I guess that I will just have to invest in a better inverter if I need to use a fan. I used to have huge inverter on another vehicle but that played havoc with recharging a computer because it wasn't PSW and also oddly also with re-chargeable toothbrushes which I understand are susceptible to anything other then PSW inverters.

I will keep trying but I rather like the idea of Johns above i.e the use of a number 5 volt computer fans in various places!

Geoffrey
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 22:03
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Hi,

We have used a small mains fan on our inverter without a problem.
It can be a bit noisy as it's a clip-on type so can vibrate.

This year I took a small, about 4inch fan that plugs into a 5v usb socket and I was impressed by it's performance. I got it from Wilko for about £6 but have seen them elsewhere.

Steve
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 22:07 Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve,

The two 5v computer fans that I had in the workshop didn't really work. I'm near a Wilko tomorrow, I'll take a look.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 14:24
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 08:04
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I have an Endless Breeze 12 volt fan (cigarette plug). About 2 amps on full. Expensive (made in the USA), but quite powerful (not far off a domestic one). Reasonable amount of noise given how powerful it is. Only problem is it doesn't oscillate, so you'll be fighting for the sweet spot. It has 3 speeds, but even on low it's good. Really good during the 36 degree days in France recently. I've used it slung up in the skylight to extract too.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 19:41
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Hi, In my previous van I had an inverter, two huge batteries and two huge solar panels. This ran a large frig/freezer and could also power a big built in acon in the rear of the van amongst other things. As I am not a techie etc I was wondering then what your battery is like that you are using to invert from. Just a thought, maybe something in it. Frig/freezer on all the time and only once did the inverter ever ping and that was because we travelled on a camping ferry from Greece to Italy with no sun on the solar panels and then we met rain at Ancona, Italy all the way to a campsite when the inverter pinged in the middle of the night. Switched the inverter off until leaving next day with sun.
Good luck

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