I loathe electrical gremlins

I bought a spare.

After returning home from Asheville Monday I had a really weird experience plugging back in to shore power at our storage facility. It started when we noticed that the generator had shut off sometime during the trip but only noticed when we were in the storage lot. The generator light was kind of blinking at me still. I pressed stop to get it to knock it off and my memory is fuzzy about whether it did or not. I blamed it on the angle we were at and fuel starvation but tried starting it again when we were level and it started but then sputtered out after a few seconds. We were trying to get home so I decided to save troubleshooting for later.

So, we get unloaded and I plug in to the 20A outlet at the storage place. The Progressive Industries surge protector does its thing going through both lines, no issues, thumps as the relay kicks to allow power to the transfer switch and then shortly thereafter I hear what sounds like arcing from somewhere in the electrical bay… couldn’t localize. I unplug quickly. What the hell is that?

I realize we’ve still got both air conditioners switched on and likely set to want to call for power so I go inside and turn all that off. I switch off the inverter which was on “charge only” mode. I plug back in. The PI does its thing, thumps, and no arcing sound. Okay. I go over and turn on the inverter and I hear a thump of some kind from the electrical bay so I shut the inverter off again. Try again and same thing. Sit and stew wracking my brain for a while and turn the inverter on once more, hear the same things but decide to leave it go. The inverter starts doing what I expect it to do. Go back to check the PI and it’s displaying what I’m used to seeing, reasonable voltages and amperage loads, no errors, cycling.

I decide after much gnashing of teeth to leave it up as is and check on her in the morning. That check in the following morning showed no change. I hate electrical mysteries.

I suspect the transfer switch as the source of the arcing. The only thing I can think is that the relays were in the position to pull from the generator still, and when the PI sent power to the transfer switch it swapped over and had the inverter drawing and perhaps both air conditioners calling for charging the caps and we attempted to pull serious amps. Unsure why something in the chain didn’t throw a breaker, but that’s my theory. When I get troubleshooting time I plan to pull the cover off the transfer switch and check the connections and look for evidence of arcing.

Given how central the transfer switch is to the enjoyment of Qubie I decided to spring for a spare. Roughly $200 but if it fails me somewhere on the road I’ll be glad to have it.

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