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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. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Sorry for the typos . . . way too many hours at work and then the home chores.

    Bob Wilson
     
  2. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    Makes sense. They can design the board such that the circuitry stays clear of the mount points and use all metal hardware. This may have been a mod of another model perhaps a 12v model and they missed a step in production to mod the board to lift an intentional ground.
     
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Are they still selling via Ebay or do they have a sales web site up?

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    As far as I know this ebay store is the only place: items in AutomationTech Inc store on eBay!
    It is my understanding that Jack had these custom made by AIMS.
     
  5. AimsPower

    AimsPower Junior Member

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    Yes a manual restart by turning it off then back on.. not just taking the load away

    The 120V AC out will always be 120 +/- 10% no high output voltage at start up.

    These inverters were a special design for a customer who purchased in bulk we have no records of who re sold them to sorry.

    This pure sine inverter is sensitive to cold weather and will not operat at 32* but i still have seen temperatures of 40* still have start up problems..

    Yes. I have to agree electrolytic caps are very sensitive to low and high temitures and cause power constraint. especial aluminum electrolytic caps
     
  6. AimsPower

    AimsPower Junior Member

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  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    When I order mine, do I need to specify something to request the ground-fault fix?

    BTW, I would like to hear that our pioneers have tested the repaired units and the "B- to chassis" is fixed and the "ground fault" problem resolved.

    I have been thinking about how I'm going to integrate it with my wife's ZVW30 and have a slightly different plan. It will be removable but it may be integrated with another experiment . . . pre-charge the traction battery. <grins>

    Bob Wilson
     
  8. AimsPower

    AimsPower Junior Member

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    You will have to order it from Jack @ Aims Prius 2KW Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Backup Power Generator | eBay to purchase one.

    please ask him to check the DC to case ground before sending it to you. I have not heard from him as far as fixing the inverters he has.
     
  9. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    Andrew with AIMS called me to tell me that he found the DC negative ground connection and was able to repair it by removing a metal washer that was used in place of the correct nylon washer. He also removed some of the ground plane material that was around the metal mounting hardware. He sent me a picture of the location of the ground connection to the metal case.

    I look forward to receiving my repaired inverter unit, check the resistance from DC to case ground, check the operation with the case connected to vehicle chassis ground and verify no ground fault alarms are generated by the vehicle. If all works well I will be ready to use my inverter whenever the need arises.

    I appreciate AIMS' Andrew Frey (manufacturer tech support) and Jack Chen's (eBay seller) support in helping in troubleshooting and then the repair of the unit under warranty.
     

    Attached Files:

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  10. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    Thanks much for the picture.
     
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  11. Bear E

    Bear E Junior Member

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    4/27/2013 Bear E -- I read with interest this backup generation thread; but for year of 2012 I have been trying to get Toyota to offer the option:


    After the earthquake, we heard that our Estima Hybrid minivan played a helpful role by letting people charge their cell phones, thanks to its electricity-supply function.
    Realizing that hybrid vehicles can help out in an emergency if the electricity stored in their batteries can be used to power electrical appliances and equipment, we decided to the offer the power-supply function of the Estima Hybrid as an option in the Prius in about one year.
    In addition, we will install, for free, devices with the same function in units of the Prius in service in Tohoku prefectures

    ……..
    July 19, 2011
    Akio Toyoda, President
    Toyota Motor Corporation
    ------------------------
    ... this option available to Japanese Prius Owners, but Toyota does not want to offer to U.S. owners. See also web -

    http://www2.toyota.co.jp/en/news/11/07/0719.pdf


    I would sure like this option on a vehicle I start/drive every day than to spend mucho $$$ on
    gas/generator that is likely not to start when I need it. owner of 2002 gen I, now 2008 gen II prius,
    still waiting for the innovative techology to come to U.S. homeland !! CDbear--


     
  12. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    It would be nice if Toyota would offer a 120 volt power option on Prius sold in the US. For now it seems there are only 3rd party options. There are a number of stories on the Internet of people attaching Inverters to their Prius and using them for backup power. Mostly with 12 volt inverters which imposes a 1000 watt limit. Here are some:
    Running an Inverter off a Prius for Backup Power | Peak Prosperity
    Priuses power house during 24-hour grid outage in Washington DC
    There are other solutions such as the one using an UPS that accepts 200+ volt DC input as described by Prius Chat member techntrek on this board and here Using a Prius as a generator and probably by somebody else here https://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/02/automobiles/02POWER.html?_r=0

    What I like about the AIMS inverter I bought is it provides 2000 watt output power at reasonable cost and it is pure sine wave so I can run any 120 volt load from it. This is a much more capable backup option for home and primary power for car camping than any 12 volt inverter a Prius can support.
     
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  13. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    Since I had already paid to return my inverter for the power light repair AIMS gave me permission to fix the DC negative ground to case problem on my inverter and provided basic instructions. They said I could return for repair if I did not feel comfortable doing the repair myself. Further they said I can post DIY information for the benefit of others but to make sure to say that you can return your inverter to AIMS for repair if not comfortable doing it yourself. I will post pictures and instructions for the repair in a separate post when I have more time tonight or tomorrow.

    I repaired my inverter and this is my result:
    I can now ground my inverter to a good chassis ground without tripping the Hybrid system warning light. When the inverters ground terminal is grounded to the chassis the inverter makes a quiet whine sound but works normally. (When not grounded to the chassis the inverter is silent.)

    I took measurements from the inverters ground terminal to chassis ground:
    VAC about 23.4 volts
    AC mA about 14.9

    VDC about 1.5
    DC mA about 1.4

    Also learned a valuable lesson about making sure the hybrid system is off when connecting the inverter. I was in a hurry to test my repair then leave home. I moved the car out of the garage and forgot to turn it off before plugging in the inverter. The connector terminals arced from one half of the connector to the other as I fumbled to plug the connectors together. When I tried the inverter it did not have power to it. I checked the semiconductor fuses and both were open circuit. With the Hybrid system off I replaced the fuses and connected the inverter then turned on the Hybrid system and all was well. The inverter worked normally with my two 1000 watt heaters I use for testing attached.
     
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  14. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    Fix for DC- terminal continuity to chassis ground issue

    If you are not comfortable doing this modification yourself you should contact AIMS Technical support for an RMA number and instructions for return and repair under warranty. 775-359-6703 ext 227

    As described to me by Andrew from AIMS Tech support: The connection to ground was through the mounting screw with a metal flat washer next to the large heat sink on the DC input side. I removed all 4 screws for the DC end cap and the 2 top screws on the AC end cap. (The cover is now off and the DC end cap is tethered only by wires allowing access to the mounting screw) After removing the mounting screw I cut the ground trace on the PCB and also counter drilled it out. Reinstalled mounting screw and problem was fixed.

    After removing the cover and DC end cap on my inverter, I noticed that a large capacitor made it difficult to access the nut on the top of the mounting screw and blocked vertical access to the mounting screw on the top side of the board (necessary to drill out the circuit path through the screw hole in the board). I had to carefully bend this capacitor to the rear to move it out of the way. For my fix, once I had the mounting screw removed I used an X-Acto knife to carefully slice the circuit trace around the screw hole off of the top of the board and a 11/64 drill bit to remove the circuit trace from inside the screw hole in the board. In an abundance of caution I slid a 1/4" long piece of 3/16 OD heat shrink tubing down through the screw hole to ensure the edge of the circuit trace on the underside of the board can not contact the screw. I reinstalled the mounting screw, washer and nut. I carefully bent the capacitor back into it's original position, attached the DC end cap and lid. I now measure over 30 Megohms the (limit of my meter) to ground for both DC - and DC +
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    Very nice description and pictures. Anyone that feels comfortable doing this repair should be able to follow your write-up with no problem. The heat shrink was a good move. I will probably add this to mine just for added caution as you say.

    My repaired unit from AIMS is scheduled to arrive today. I was interested in seeing what megohm reading you would get with yours so I could compare. I plan to check mine tonight when I get home, if time allows.

    Thanks.
     
  16. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    I'll be interested in your readings also including what you get from chassis to vehicle ground. I prefer analog meters and am never 100% certain certain I'm correctly setting and reading the digital one I got when the analog one died.
     
  17. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    My unit did not arrive until late. I only had time to remove the cover and inspect the repaired board connection.

    I did check the resistance between the DC+ and - inputs to case and case ground connections. All read >20 megohms which is my meter's highest scale. I will have to finish the rest of the testing hopefully tomorrow.

    I know what you mean by the old, trusty analog meter. I have used a digital meter long enough now that I am comfortable with most testing.
     
  18. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    I tested my repaired inverter today. My inverter case ground to vehicle chassis ground measurements were similar to yours:

    VAC 25.9 volts, AC mA about 10 mA
    VDC 0.2 volts, DC mA about 0.125 mA

    I thought the VAC measurement you were seeing was very similar to the 2.5 kHz ground fault signal that we were seeing on the HV DC leads. So I brought the oscope home from work today and sure enough the 2.5 kHz signal made its way through the inverter input to the inverter 120VAC output ground. See attachment below.

    The inverter ran fine with the case ground connected to chassis ground and did not trigger a ground fault alarm which is a good thing. I did not hear a noticeable difference in the sound of the inverter when case ground was connected chassis ground. Of course this could be my hearing ! I ran a small table fan on the inverter and it ran fine.

    I checked the inverter output connections with the scope and took readings on Line-to-ground, Neutral-to-ground and Line-to-neutral. I am not sure what problems, if any, the 2.5 kHz signal is going to make on the inverter load. The Line-to-Neutral waveform looks very good. I am going to pass these pictures on to Andrew and Jack and see what comments they may have.

    Other than the ground fault signal on the case ground, the inverter looks like it is ready to go whenever I may need it.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    I received a response from Andrew today concerning the oscope waveforms that I posted above. Andrew's comments were:

    All your number from your scope look correct. The inverter will show voltage from N to G due to feedback on the transformers but is ok because has 0 current. the reading on Hot to Ground and Neutral to Ground look normal and as you can see its only 60v Ac that's the reason why the sine wave looks strange. (Its only half of the 120V AC) the inverter is not Neutral and Ground bonded. The inverter obviously cannot create a true earth ground. so the only way of reading and measuring the 120v AC is Hot to Neutral.

    So I am ready to give the inverter a trial run sometime soon and connect it to the house panel and see what kind of loads that I can operate in the event of a power outage.
     
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  20. Bear E

    Bear E Junior Member

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