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Beware WAECO PP2000 2KW Inverter


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Hi Everyone,

Just posting this for your information.

Last weekend I visited our boat 'Evening Star' moored at Potter Heigham to carry out some preparation work before the refit starts in a couple of weeks.

I arrived with my 11 year old daughter around 10:30pm and to my dissapointment -3 degrees C and a fairly thick covering of snow with a considerable ammount of ice beneath.

Anyway, boarded ES and turned on lights, problem, no lights or electrical power at all. Cant start engine as she is winterised... Managed to get some heat from gas hob before we both went to bed... Very cold indeed !!

I had brought up my spare batteries to swap over and in the morning swapped them over. All seemed ok until connecting up the domestic supply. Large spark when connecting positive terminal, so I thought we had left something on? After checking everything we had not left anything on at all, Amp meter is showing a negative draw of around 8 - 10 amps!

By a process of elimination it turned out that disconnecting the supply to the inverter the current drain was eliminated. The supply drain is apparent as soon as the supply is connected to the inverter without it being switched on! When the inverter was switched on though, it did work as it always has done? - Very strange.

I removed the inverter and took it back home with us for further investigation.

On further inspection, the inverter has caught fire internally with several of the regulator components completely charred !!

This inverter is only 14 months old, and had very little use, but just out of warranty. I called WAECO only to be told that it was probably unrepairable and the only real option was to by a replacement unit at £375.00 + vat. The replacement unit is a PP2002 and I have had a chat today with Herbert Woods who fitted the Inverter, In their words the PP2000 is "not the most reliable" but no problems so far with the later PP2002 model. A quick search of ebay revealed two sellers both selling the PP2000 model as faulty units brand new out of the box. Not great then !!!

I now have PP2002 on order and Herbert Woods have an adaptor cable that they make up to connect the older remote on/off button (so they obviously change a few then).

Product : 2KW Power Inverter

Manufacturer : WAECO

Model : Perfect Power PP2000

Fault : Caught Fire

cheers!

Andy

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Sad tale Andy and lucky the out come was not worse.So annoying that these manufacturers wash there hands on the stroke of 12 months.I have had several items just out of warranty and as it was a manufacturing fault ,not fit for use etc and in several cases by pursuing it got satisfaction .We tend to be to easy on these people and in your case a not inconsiderable sum of money involved. :o:naughty:

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I would still have a go at persuing a claim via trading standards on the grounds that this item failed prematurely, had a safety issue which ended in fire, and was therefore 'unfit for purpose'.

I read on a caravan forum that someone had done this with a failed Motor Mover, which burned out just out of a 3yr warantee, and they managed to get their money back because the gadget was under 5 yrs old.

Im sure that trading standards have template letters for this kind of claim, they cartainly have them for things like Mobile phone contract disputes :naughty:

Worth a try anyway :)

Julz :wave

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Hi Andy,

Sorry to hear of your problems. It is well worth pursueing. There is actually no time limit on when you can return an item. All items sold should be fit for purpose and if not should be replaced or repaired at the retailers choice. Sounds like a repair is not possible, so a refund or replacement would be in order. Fit for purpose is very debatable, but a washing machine that fails within 14 months could be argued to be not fit for purpose, whereas one that fails after 3 years would be a lot harder to argue. The most important point though is that within the first 6 months of purchase the onus is on the retailer to prove that the item was fit for purpose. After 6 months the onus is on you the consumer to prove it was not fit for purpose.

For items over 6 months old, it helps if you can find additional supporting evidence. For example I had a Panasonic hard disk recorder that was 30 months old. The power supply started to fail causing the unit to sit there constantly powering up and down. A search of the web showed an inherent design flaw with a small range of Panasonic recorders all suffering from the same fault at anything from 18 month to 36 months old. I contacted Panasonic and complained that the item was faulty from manufacture, it had an inherent design flaw and was not fit fo purpose and they agreed for me to take it into a local service agent for inspection. If it had the fault they would pay for the cost of the repair, which they did.

One last thing, I may have misunderstood but it would appear that you left your boat with the invertor powered up, even if the "soft" on off switch was turned off. It is always a good thing to isolate all batteries where possible when leaving the boat. On my boat I remove all four isolator keys and have wired the two bilge pumps via their own inline fuses directly to the appropriate batteries. When my boat is left the gas is off, all batteries are isolated, the seacock is closed. The only power is shorepower to the chargers and 12V to two bilge pumps. Everything else is dead and the fire risk is virtually nil.

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The following is based on my understanding after reading the thread that the unit was fitted by HW prior to sale, if that is incorrect then most or all that follows it void in this case but nevertheless valid.It is unlikely that trading standards or any individual claim against WACO for that matter would succeed in this instance other than perhaps a safety investigation.

If the unit was already fitted to the craft when Andy bought it then no contract between him and the retailer (and it is with the supplier not the manufacturer that the contract would exist) exists and they have no obligation towards him. HW as a business would likewise have no protection under the usual consumer laws so little could be done there unless as a big customer of that supplier they could get some kind of goodwill gesture to retain their business as Simon (Plesbit) found out recently in a similar case. It may be worth asking if they can help, indeed if it was fitted and invoiced by them after the sale then it is they who you have a contract with and normal consumer law will apply.

All that said it would be nice if manufacturers stood by their products a little more and I am most surprised that WACO haven’t asked for it to be returned so for their own quality control measures they can inspect it and see if and how it can be improved, especially as there may have been a fire risk here.

Keith is dead right when he advises electrically isolating all non essential systems and turning off seacocks when leaving your boat.

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The safety aspect of this is certainly worrying Andy, even though these items are not cheap, I think the cost is secondary.

I would concur with Keith regarding the battery isolator. In our previous boat, I separated the battery banks so I had one battery dedicated to the engine, 2 for domestic and one for the inverter. That way, if the inverter flattened the battery (eg over-use of TV etc), the fridge and ligths were still okay. Each of the three banks had it's own battery isolator, and on leaving the boat I would turn off the inverter and engine banks.

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Thanks for all your comments. Before I posted this I had already started on my solution to prevent this happening again.

We have four 664 type batteries, one is for the engine circuit and the other three are in parallel for the domestic supply.

There are 2 isolators, one for engine and the other for the domestic. We have always isolated the engine supply and left the domestic supply on.

the inverter is powered from the domestic supply and so is the bilge pump, so it has to be left on.

My intention is to split the domestic isolation into 2 and feed the inverter through a third isolator. I dont want to power the inverter from a single battery

as we regularly use a 1400w vaucum cleaner and the drain when that is in use is considerable. Also we are using standard lead acid cells as opposed to leisure type

batteries. Lead acid cells will only full cycle (discharge below 11.8volt and the fully charge) around 200 times if you are lucky, as opposed to a deep cycle leisure battery which

will cycle over 500 - 600 times. So potencially the single battery powering the inverter senario will substantially shorten the life of the battery.

Andy.

post-750-136713646851_thumb.jpg

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nice looking cover plate you have there

did you make it yourself or buy it as a complete unit?

i wouldn't mind one of them for my boat

steve

Hi Steve

If you don't have the facilites that Andy has, you could always try Brian Ward Electrical at Brundall, as they manufacture bespoke panels for boats etc. They made the dash board for my last boat and did a first class job.

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thanks for that

i'll give him a shout

the trouble is with those cut off switches you have to cut such a large hole to get the terminals through

that they tend to come loose after a while

so the plate will help with that i think and make it look neater too

i actually have 4 cut offs on mine

1 each for the 2 engines

1 for the inverter

1 for the main 12v

i use a sterling charger and inverter

good products but a pain if the terminals aren't 100% secure

but at least you know if they're not because the charger stops working lol

took me ages to find the loose one tho

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