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My install and review of the AIMS Prius 2kW Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Backup Power Generator

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by AHetaFan, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Thanks for the comment! Do you have a link to the thread where you originally attached that guide? I found that PDF in a Google search, and it's obviously a PriusChat attachment URL, and I wanted to link to the thread where it's attached, but I have never found a good way to trace back from an attachment URL to the post where it was attached. (I meant to ask the mods, and forgot.)

    I did see that mentioned in this thread (I think the fix details are on page 7). The unit I got at least did not have that problem (or someone fixed it before I got it; maybe that was a reason it had been opened). This one gives a megger reading of ∞ (beyond the 2 GΩ scale) at 250 volts, from either input terminal to the case.
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    One other thing I meant to mention and forgot: where AIMS installed that ground stud in the rear panel, they didn't scrape the paint from the panel first, so I did that before putting the stud back.

    I have seen tools specially made for taking paint off ground locations, sort of like wire-wheel cups with a point in the center to keep them centered in a ground hole. I don't have one, but my Dremel came with a grinding stone that's kind of concave on the end, and I just poked a stick through the hole in the panel from the other side and let the stone center itself on that, and it stayed centered and took the paint away from a nice circular spot about the right size for the stud.

    Edit: remembered what the tool I had seen is called: a piloted bonding brush.
     
    #242 ChapmanF, Jan 7, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2021
  3. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The steel back panel is just about the limit for my hand-squeezed nibbler tool. Still need to carve a bit of sheet metal or something to blank the two finger-sized openings that are left below the GFCI.

    gfci.jpg

    If the existing wires to the L and N positions of the terminal strip had been long enough, I could have used them to feed the strip from the load terminals of the GFCI. The N one was long enough, but L just not quite. For now anyway, I don't mind not using the terminal strip; there isn't anything very safe about a big terminal strip of that style sticking out the back, with 120 VAC on it and nothing but a push-on plastic cover. The neutral wire used there was a pretty good length to reuse on the GFCI upstream side.

    The little square plastic panel that holds the LED and blanks off the rectangular opening (that I guess was for a seven-segment display) already has a screw at one lower corner just about perfectly placed for one GFCI mounting screw. The hole (in the plastic and in the back panel) needs to be ever-so-slightly enlarged, to 9/64". The other screw needs just the slightest carving of one of the ventilation slots. I put a couple washers there between the GFCI and the back panel, to correspond to the thickness of the plastic blanking piece.

    gfciint.jpg

    Beyond the little Euro block added in the earlier post, there's now a ground bus. The grounding conductors of course all go there, and to make a grounded neutral upstream of the GFCI, a jumper from the neutral terminal of the Euro block to the ground bus does the trick, and the GFCI line-side neutral goes to that bus.

    I've noticed Xantrex inverters come with a screw that can be removed from the bottom, to un-bond the neutral and ground, as apparently some applications or jurisdictions may require. That could be done here by removing that jumper, and connecting the GFCI neutral directly to the Euro block.

    The 240 VDC wires to the Mean Well power supply get a little close to the neutral screw on the underside of the GFCI, so I added the short length of split loom around them.
     
  4. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    60 mm by 21 mm piece of 26 gauge galvanized, notched in two bottom corners and the middle, then bottom edge beaten out into a lip:

    filler.jpg

    The back panel of the AIMS is about 1.2 mm thick. I made the lip by clamping the blank piece over a spare electrical box cover (about 1.6 mm, close enough), then running back and forth over the lip edge with an air hammer. My first time trying such a thing. Note to self: next time, turn the regulator pressure way down. The air hammer makes really short work of it, and at 90 psi even the lightest trigger pressure is quickly on to beating the metal out into whole new shapes, not just bending it over.

    The strange corner in the bend at the left is because I was bending over the edge of an octagon-box cover. I had meant to do most of the edge and then slide it over onto the straight part to finish up, but it all went so fast....

    filled.jpg

    A little black Plasti Dip on that plate and I think I'll call those holes filled.
     
  5. VeganBiker

    VeganBiker Junior Member

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    Does anyone know where someone can source one of these currently?
     
  6. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    As far as I know, these were a special order in some limited quantity, custom ordered from AIMS by Jack Chen and sold on his eBay store. Earlier in this thread, some members corresponded with Jack Chen, and if anybody still has contact info for him, maybe he remembers roughly how many of these should exist.

    Chances are most were bought by hybrid owners, maybe even PriusChat members, and maybe they will occasionally turn up for sale on PriusChat, perhaps when people trade out their cars. That's how I got this one.

    There was a very similar unit, also from AIMS, sold for a while by ConVerdant (the former business of Randy Bryan, whose new/resurrected business is PlugOut Power).

    Note that it wasn't quite identical; compare the back panel (terminal strip below the NEMA 5 receptacles rather than off to the side, switch off to the side rather than above, no blanked off rectangular opening).

    [​IMG]

    Or maybe the ones sold by Jack Chen and the ones from ConVerdant all were built with a mix of the back panel styles. I don't know.

    Maybe Randy Bryan has an idea how many were sold by ConVerdant. Again, I'd expect some to occasionally show up on PriusChat when people are ready to sell them.

    Maybe a want-to-buy posting on PriusChat would flush some out of hiding, but I don't know.

    Finishing up with the back panel on this one, added a bit of a barrier between the low-voltage rocker switch and the GFCI terminals:

    barrier.jpg

    I was looking for some thin but sturdy plastic stock, and what should my eyes light on but the packaging some Bosch windshield wiper blades came in from the friendly local auto store.

    The wire that goes only to the switch (purple here, but I think AIMS just pulled strips three wires wide at a time off some rainbow ribbon cable, so in other units they could be three different colors) is at the same potential as the − output of the Mean Well 24 VDC power supply (which I'll call 0 VDC from here, and by the way, it is jumpered at the Mean Well terminals to the − input from the HV battery, so that can also be called 0 VDC).

    The wire only to the LED (blue here) is a volt or so below +24 VDC. The wire common to the switch and LED (green here) is pulled up to about the same when the switch is off, and of course turning the switch on pulls it down to 0 VDC. This might be of interest to anyone wanting to remote the switch and LED. So the resistor for the LED needs to be chosen for operation across 24 VDC.

    Some observations of the six LEDs on the ZXB-KZ11-02 board:

    In a first power-up (when the unit has been unpowered for a long time), HL1 and HL3 will blink very briefly (just two video frames):

    s1.jpg

    They quickly go out, while HL6 comes on, along with HL4 and HL5, but the latter two go out after just about eight video frames. HL6 stays on for a moment by itself:

    s2.jpg
    s3.jpg

    That lasts for about a second in my bench tests, and it only happens after being unpowered for a significant time. I think the inverter is probably charging some caps, and remember my bench 240 VDC supply limits current to a fifth of an amp. HL6 might be a low-input-voltage indicator. On a supply without the 1/5 A current limit, I bet this charging goes much faster, or near-instantaneously.

    Next, HL4 and HL5 come back on, and HL6 goes out, I think when the input voltage is satisfactory.

    s4.jpg

    The inverter slowly ramps up its output to 120 Vrms. As the output slowly ramps up, HL1 and HL3 slowly brighten.

    s5.jpg

    And that's what normal operation looks like: HL1, HL4, HL3, and HL5 all glowing.

    If it is turned on after being off just a short while, and the caps are still mostly charged, HL6 does not light, and it goes quickly to HL4 and HL5 on, with HL1 and HL3 slowly brightening as the output ramps up.

    I have never seen HL2 light up, and I don't have any guesses what it would mean.

    @AimsPower, do you still get notifications here? Do you have any docs you could share about the ZXB-KZ11-02 or FYQ-2F0002F boards? If not any schematics, maybe what the LEDs actually mean or what the various trimmers adjust?

    Now for Phase Two ... the input end of the unit.

    It comes with these gargantuan, 100-amp-capable binding posts for the DC input. Again a photo from @tgtech's writeup:

    posts.jpg

    Again a giveaway that this was a modified build starting with a much lower-voltage-input inverter. If you were building a 2000 watt inverter from, say, 24 VDC input, you would need nearly 100 amps in. But for 200+ volt input, you're looking at no more than 12 amps or so, and these giant binding posts are severe overkill. Maybe I can save them in case I ever have a project where I want 100 amp binding posts.

    Similar 100 amp M10 binding posts on Amazon

    They are handy for bench testing, as they have banana jacks built in. But they will have to go, because, who on earth thought that exposing 200+ VDC on giant, external, Fisher-Price-colored twisty toys made any sense?

    The panel holes these posts mount in are 14 mm diameter. (They have parallel flats where they narrow to 13 mm, to keep the post bushings from turning.) That means either hole would be big enough to bring in an actual two-conductor hybrid/EV rated cable (with a little space left for some kind of strain-relief grommet) and make the connections inside. The other hole can just be blanked off.

    coroplast.png

    The hole would even be big enough for the style of HV cable that carries low-voltage interlock conductors. Despite the two extra skinny conductors in their separate shielding, it's only a tenth of a mm wider overall (11.4 vs. 11.3).

    kroschu.png

    But as I envision attaching the cable permanently at the inverter end, there would be no need to include the interlock conductors in the cable; it can be terminated in the style of plug that just completes the car's interlock circuit internally.

    All the existing writeups I've seen of attaching to the traction battery are simply using, more or less, household extension cord and Anderson connectors. That's true even of the ConVerdant kits (and what I've seen of the newer PlugOut Power kits). But that punts on several details of how the car's HV wiring is otherwise done.

    • The Anderson connectors are cheap and widely available, but they aren't really what you'd call touchproof. (It looks like the new PlugOut kits are using the smaller PowerPole versions, and those are indeed better.)
    • The car's HV wiring is shielded, and the shield is continuous with body ground (which both HV conductors are isolated from).
    • The shielding serves two purposes: (1) because the car's power electronics do a lot of high-frequency, high-power switching, the cabling could transmit a lot of electromagnetic noise if not shielded; (2) because the car is always monitoring for breached isolation between body ground and the HV conductors, any mechanical injury to the cable from outside is likely to first squash the shield into one of the conductors and be detected as an isolation fault, triggering a code and shutdown.
    • The car has a separate 12 volt interlock circuit that is supposed to be broken by opening anything that could give access to high-voltage connections. It runs through the service plug assembly at the battery and all the way to interlock connections of the inverter covers at the front of the car.

    The kind of connectors made for this application are designed to address all those points:

    HVA280.png

    • They are touchproof, and environmentally sealed (IP67/IP6k9k when plugged together, IP2XB when unplugged)
    • They complete the shield connection as well as the power conductors
    • They complete the separate safety interlock ("HVIL") circuit
    • They are designed to pull apart in two distinct steps. The first step only pulls out enough to break the HVIL (which would trigger a code and shutdown if the car is in READY at the time). The second step breaks the power connection and the plug comes free.

    So what I would ideally like to do is add a fused pigtail to the battery, terminated in the 'cap' flavor of these connectors, and also cut into the car's interlock circuit (which is available right there at the battery anyway, because of the service plug) and bring it out to the cap's HVIL terminals.

    For use without the inverter, I would need a blind plug that simply covers the cap and completes the HVIL. That is a real thing in the TE catalog.

    I would then give the inverter a permanently-attached pigtail ending in a matching plug, which would also complete the HVIL when plugged in.

    So far, I've taken the spec sheets on the cable and connectors to my local friendly auto electric place, where I'm used to going to have 12 volt wiring made up. The timing was about right, because he said he hasn't had any business to date working on HV/EV wiring, but he had been thinking over the holidays it would be a good time to learn, and had just recently signed up for a training. So I left the data sheets with him, and will see what he finds out about getting the cables and connectors and crimp tooling through his distributor contacts.
     
    #246 ChapmanF, Jan 24, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  7. Randy B

    Randy B Member

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    To correct the grounding issue between the unit chassis and the main board, instead of cutting the circuit board copper and chase, just replace the bolt at that location with a similar nylon bolt [ACE hardware stores]. Chassis now isolated fromt he circuit board. Randy B
     
  8. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I guess it still could be possible to get away with replacing just one of the mounting screws with nylon. Maybe Andrew wasn't asked that specific question exactly.

    Hey @Randy B, do you have a record of roughly how many of these you sold back in the day?

    Do you remember if all the ones you sold had this back panel

    [​IMG]

    or were they a mix of that one and the other style?

    [​IMG]
     
    #248 ChapmanF, Feb 1, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
  9. wlai

    wlai Junior Member

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    This is an old thread so unsure if there's still any traffic on it, but here goes my question as I try to intstall a 1000w Pure Sine inverter to my 2008 Prius.

    I am looking for best practice on connecting a thick gauge (4 or 6 ga) wire to the RED positive terminal, which will then go thru a 100A circuit breaker on the way to the positive terminal of the inverter. What kind of connector is best at the 12v battery terminal? I still have the original 3-tab safety cover, like this:

    [​IMG]

    Do I just crimp on a lug like the below to the wire, and insert it under the existing clamp? I was also confused by some thread that said the original Toyota battery type (which I bought an OEM replacement of) has a smaller post size than the standard industry 12v (e.g. Optima, etc.). Is there a size specification that I should look for?

    Thanks.


    upload_2021-2-8_17-50-17.png
     
  10. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    H᠎i,

    There is current traffic but this thread is about one very specific inverter model (the one in the thread title) that is special because it attaches to the car's high-voltage wiring.

    There are lots of threads here on PriusChat for talk about installing 12-volt inverters, so this belongs on one of those.

    Since you've asked, my recommendation would be (1) yes, put a ring terminal on the end of your positive wire, then (2) open the door in that connector housing that covers the bolt into the protected fuse leg, and attach your ring terminal there. Here is a photo of an attachment made where I don't recommend it, and an arrow showing where I would move it.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot (from a Gen 1 Prius) showing what that looks like with the 'door' open to show the connection.

    [​IMG]

    You can find more about the reasons for connecting there in this post and subsequent posts on that thread.

    For any followup questions about your 12 volt inverter, I would suggest looking for a recent thread on that topic to add onto, or creating a new thread.

    That way this thread stays on topic for the AIMS high-voltage DC input inverter.
     
    wlai likes this.
  11. smroid

    smroid New Member

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    I've listed one on ebay. Search for "AIMS 200VDC Inverter".
     
  12. Kaptainkid1

    Kaptainkid1 Active Member

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    Love this idea. I want to upgrade my Pure sine inverter system back up power source. Currently I have 2000 watt pure sine inverter hooked up to the 12 volt system and runs when Prius is set up in ready mode. My biggest complaint it can't run more than 500 watts before it triggers the fuse. So even though my inverter is rated for 2000 watts it never reaches that limit before blowing the fuse. So it runs my fridge, internet and fans but it would be nice to run my microwave and. Toaster in a pinch. 20200410_152753.jpeg 20200410_152804.jpeg

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  13. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Something fishy there; what fuse do you mean and what's its rating? Hooking a 2000 watt inverter to a Prius 12-volt system is kind of fanciful because you'll never get that out of it (excepting bursts brief enough for the battery to contribute support), but you should be able to get in the ballpark of 1000 sustained (assuming you're not running a lot of the car's high-draw accessories at the same time).

    2000 or 3000 watts from a high-input-voltage inverter off the hybrid system is no sweat.
     
    #253 ChapmanF, Jun 30, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
  14. Kaptainkid1

    Kaptainkid1 Active Member

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    I miss spoken I meant 1000 watt inverter and I have a 80 amp fuse attached to line connected to the 12 volt battery shown in photos above. When I get a spike like the fridge motor kicking on it sometimes trigger the fuse on the inverter and maybe if any time the 80amp fuse connected to the 12 volt battery.

    This other higher out put inverter sounds like a better solution to my emergency back up generator. Only issue is the cost for that inverter. I'm guessing that a $900 AIMS 200VDC Inverter at cheapest. At that price I can get a used 220 volt / 5000 watts gas generator for under $500 on offer up.

    I hooked up a 6 line gentrans box switch only powers up 6 locations. This gentrans can connect to gas generator for the higher output generator.

    Well if I ever find an AIMS 200VDC Inverter for cheap I would love to upgrade. 20200418_135538.jpg 20200410_152804.jpg

    SM-A526U ?
     
  15. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Well, you could go put a bid on the eBay one and see how it goes. Looks like $37 at the moment. I certainly paid less than $900 for mine (though mine arrived needing repair, the repair wasn't expensive once I stopped stewing and got around to poking at it).

    This eBay auction also answers my question up in #248 about the ones from ConVerdant, as the item there clearly has a ConVerdant label on top, but has the back panel the same as mine.
     
  16. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Does it have the correct fuse? Should it have a "slow blow" fuse?
    Just wondering...

     
  17. smroid

    smroid New Member

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    One day remaining on the auction.

     
  18. smroid

    smroid New Member

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    This item has been re-listed; bidding ends 2021-07-16. Search ebay for "AIMS inverter converdant".