It’ll all come out in the wash

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin: Experts -

Q

Our Aquarius 6kg wash­ing ma­chine works fine when on shore power, but on our Vic­tron Mul­ti­plus 12/3000/120-16 in­verter (fed by 5 x 110Ah leisure bat­ter­ies, with or with­out en­gine run­ning) the drum just os­cil­lates. The man­ual gives power con­sump­tion of 0.644 - 1.048kWh at 230 volts. Is there a so­lu­tion? PHIL AND SUE BOSWELL, via email

A

TONY REPLIES: Mod­ern machines are fussy about AC, but as you have a pure sine wave in­verter it stands the best chance. As it works on shore power, that in­di­cates the prob­lem is on the boat.

If the LEDs on the Vic­tron are show­ing a fault con­di­tion, the prob­lem could be re­lated to low bat­tery volt­age, faulty bat­ter­ies, or un­der­sized in­verter 12v sup­ply ca­bles. Check the ad­justable in­verter out­put volt­age. The con­sump­tion you quote in kWh gives lit­tle in­di­ca­tion of the max­i­mum cur­rent de­mand. Is the in­verter (rated 2500W) and its ca­bling able to sup­ply the load de­manded? It is pos­si­ble the mo­tor start­ing surge, plus the heater cur­rent draw, is too high for the in­verter, so try run­ning it with the tem­per­a­ture set to cold.

If you can mea­sure the 12v in­put volt­age at the in­verter when the wash­ing ma­chine is turned on, or get Whirlpool to give you the max­i­mum cur­rent (amps) or power (kW) the ma­chine draws, that may also give a clue.

Al­ter­na­tively, it could be caused by the in­verter not be­ing ca­pa­ble of sup­ply­ing the mo­tor start­ing surge cur­rent with a suf­fi­ciently ac­cu­rate fre­quency.

I fear you need to con­sult a well qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced marine elec­tri­cian who should be able to take the mea­sure­ments re­quired and assess the ca­ble sizes.

A wash­ing ma­chine with a me­chan­i­cal (not elec­tronic) timer, con­ven­tional in­duc­tion or brushed mo­tors and the heat­ing el­e­ment dis­con­nected might have a better chance, but I doubt such a ma­chine is now avail­able in the UK.

Is the in­verter big enough to run a wash­ing ma­chine?

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