Periodic inverter maintenance includes verifying and/or retightening terminal screws to the manufacturer’s torque specification using a torquing screwdriver.
With minimal maintenance and kept in the right environment, modern inverters can operate for more than a decade. You can ensure reliable, long-term performance by keeping them clean, keeping electrical connections tight, and ensuring that they have enough airflow to keep them cool.
Clean the Air Filter
Some inverters have a cooling-air intake with a protective filter to keep out debris. Over time, the filter can become clogged. Periodically remove the filter and—away from the inverter—shake it to remove any loose material. The filter can be further cleaned by washing it with water or blowing it out with compressed air.
Check for Rodent & Insect Damage
Good installation practices can prevent insect and rodent problems. In tropical areas, which have many insect issues, using a sealed inverter is a good idea. Mounting the inverters vertically (with the AC compartment at the top) can also stymie rodents, which may be attracted by heat. A vertical configuration also allows better airflow around the inverters. Keeping all of the covers on the inverter’s DC and AC boxes also prevents damage from chewing or nesting critters.
Check the Wires & Cables
The entire system’s performance is dependent on proper wire size and type, and the quality of the connections. At least once a year, thoroughly inspect all of the connections—with all sources of power off—as follows:
- Do a “pull test” to make sure that wires are secure in the terminal blocks.
- Look for wire insulation discoloration at connections. This can indicate a high-resistance connection.
- Look for signs of melted terminal blocks. This indicates a loose connection or excessive current.
- Properly retorque all screw terminals and bolted connections to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.
Check indicators and review data. Any error or warning messages or indicators need to be recorded, along with the date and time they occur. If the error or warning condition persists, the information should be provided to appropriate technicians who can help troubleshoot.
Depending on the configuration and components included in the system, stored data may be useful in analyzing the system’s performance and for troubleshooting problems. The method for accessing the data and the format of the data varies with each manufacturer, but most offer a method for downloading the data to a connected computer or saving the data onto an SD card for transfer to someone who can complete an analysis.
An example of a dust filter that needs a good cleaning by removing it, and shaking, blowing, or washing it out.
Attracted to the glow of the LED indicators, these moths worked their way into the inverter’s wiring compartment and could cause damage over time.
Check monitors regularly for battery voltage and state of charge, as well as any error codes.