Archive for August, 2008

Advanced Energy GC-1000 Grid-tie Inverters Wanted

Posted in WANTED on August 28, 2008 by wizbandit

I’m looking for any burned-up, non-functional GC-1000 grid tie inverters built by Advanced Energy.  Also I’m looking for the AM100 control monitor as mine has become brain-dead and needs to have its MPU re-flashed.  I can also repair these as I have all the parts needed and the engineer repair schematics BUT it won’t be cheap.  Around $500-$900 per unit with a 30 day warranty.

LG, I want a refund on this Fridge…

Posted in Problems on August 21, 2008 by wizbandit

I just want to post a few reviews I found on this LG Fridge.

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DON’T DEAL WITH “LG” – OVERALL RATING IS “AVOID THIS COMPANY” AND ESPECIALLY DO NOT PURCHASE THIS REFRIGERATOR!
Overnight, during the 2007 Holiday Season, the lights stayed on inside our 4-1/2 month old French Door LG refrigerator. In the morning we found the light sockets scorched and the plastic cover over the lights melted. The whole refrigerator smelled like scorched plastic, forcing us to throw out any food that wasn’t in a jar!
Concerned of the hazard to ourselves and our home, we contacted LG immediately – what if this had happened while we were away?
LG suggested the obvious and told us to contact their repairman, which we had already done. Still in shock with their response, we went to Home Depot to report the incident and were told there was nothing they could do & we had to work through LG. We later found out our complaint had not made it past the “salesperson.”
The LG Repairman replaced the “defective parts” but could not guarantee the “fix” & neither will LG. (The “fix” was explained as replacing a circuit board & putting a thermostat in the refrigerator that will turn the lights out if it gets too warm in the fridge. When it cools down, the lights regain power.) HOW SAFE IS THAT FOR OUR FOOD?
We emailed the company and their response was they would replace the lost food if we could provide them with a receipt! Again, they couldn’t guarantee the incident would not recur! Not one word of concern!
Sent our story and pictures to LG CUSTOMER INTERACTIVE CENTER in Huntsville, Alabama on December 31st – NO RESPONSE.

February, 2008 – Back to Home Depot to report LG’s lack of response & our having a “new problem” of the ice maker not working. Our hope was that Home Depot would stand behind us and get this defective, hazardous refrigerator out of our home!

A week after the manager contacted LG, and another call from Home Depot, LG did send an order to the repairman to replace the defective ice maker. This is when we found our “convection” oven motor needed to be replaced in the LG stove we purchased the same time we purchased the fridge. YEOW! What next?

Again, we called LG – this time, about the stove. While on the phone, we discussed the fridge and their response was that LG would “consider” replacing the frige if we have three “legitimate” complaints? (We’re now at Number Two + One stove complaint!!) WE HAVE YET TO RECEIVE ANY KIND OF APOLOGY OR NOTE OF CONCERN! Contacted Home Depot’s manager to report latest incident – said there was nothing they could do – was told that no matter who we talked to at Home Depot the answer would be the same – again, no concern!

In the meantime, we have been forced to use our old, dependable 15-year old refrigerator in the garage to house anything that isn’t in a jar; and, because of the unreliability of our LG icemaker, purchasing bags of ice!

NOTE: This is not the original refrigerator delivered! The first one (delivered in July, 2007) had a small scratch in the door, and we offered for LG to just replace the door. We were told it was “against their policy to leave a defective product in a customer’s home” but would “allow us to use the one delivered” until the new one arrived. Obviously their policy has changed since they are “unconcerned” about a fire hazard.

Fortunately, we had purchased extended warranty, but are sorry we spent over $4,000 for their microwave, stove, dishwasher & fridge! WE ARE WONDERING “WHY IS ANYONE SELLING PRODUCTS FROM A COMPANY THAT OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T GIVE A HOOT ABOUT THEIR CUSTOMER’S SAFETY?”

WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CONFIDENCE IN THIS REFRIGERATOR AND ARE STILL USING OUR OLD REFRIGERATOR IN THE GARAGE FOR ANYTHING THAT’S NOT IN A JAR! ALL THE WHILE OUR “USELESS LG REFRIGERATOR” IS GETTING THE GLORY OF ‘LOOKING BEAUTIFUL’ IN THE KITCHEN! AT THIS POINT, OUR CONSCIENCE WON’T EVEN ALLOW US TO “DONATE” THIS USELESS APPLIANCE. WE ARE ALSO DISAPPOINTED IN HOME DEPOT.

P.S. I must note that my spouse is totally disabled with an intestinal disorder – obviously, the quality of her food is imperative (as should it be for all of us!)
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I bought the same fridge when we re-modeled our kitchen. We spent around $40,000 on the total kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite, etc.The one thing I wanted I told my wife was a refrigerator that I could get nice cold filtered water from the door. This is the fridge we bought.After running 20 gallons of water through the filter, the directions said to run 5 gallons, but the water tasted identical to tap water and after speaking with LG Customer Service we were told to try more, the taste was still the same.My neighbor has a water tester. It will tell you how many particulates per million is in the water. Our tap water has roughly 400 per million… guess what? SO DOES OUR WATER FROM THE “PREMIUM FILTERED” LG FRIDGE! … and it tastes just as crappy.So I called LG again, they sent a technician out who told me there was nothing wrong with the refrigerator, but put a new filter in non-the-less. We again ran gallons of water thought the thing and with the exact same crappy water result.If you are looking for a fridge with nice filtered water LOOK ELSEWHERE!!!!!
I now get the blow off when I call LG. I had the kitchen built around this fridges size so I am pretty much stuck.

If you are looking for a company that will stand behind their product LOOK ELSEWHERE!!! I have had nothing but poor service from LG.

I am now told that if I want it looked at again I have to pay for the technician if they can find nothing wrong with the fridge. When I ask why the water is exactly the same as tap water they have no legitimate response.

I will never buy another LG product.

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I won’t rehash the other reviews here, except to say that if you’ve never bought an extended warranty on an appliance before, you might want to reconsider if you buy this LG. Thermistor went out after six months, leaving us with no refrigeration. That was fixed under warranty…but at month 13, we noticed the top portion was quite warm (again), but the freezer was cold. A day later, there was a distinct burning smell coming from this section. After some investigation, it turns out that the lights (120 watts worth) were not turning off after the doors were closed! The lamp reflector showed obvious signs of melting and burn marks, and the lamp cover was completely warped out of shape.LG will not sell parts direct to the consumer. After much Internet digging, I found a website called Parts Store that had the main computer board for $75 (search the site for PCB with your model number). It takes about 15 minutes to replace, and the lights are working again. This would probably have been a $300 repair with labor charges and parts markup.Buyer beware on this one, as looks can be deceiving. I would suggest that if you have this refrigerator, you go ahead and buy the main PCB now so you will have one available when you need it.

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Good Points: Nice looking! Stainless Fridge on top

Bad Points: Used less than 1 year but purchase date was 1 year 10 days(no warranty). Lights are in control panel on top of fridge. Lights stayed on for maximum of 3 hours melted plastic control panel anchors (C.P. falling into fridge). melted plastic control panel cover. Drawer slides are plastic have broken! This happened 5 months after use.

General comments: This is Korean manufactured plastic garbage. Buyer beware, I bought top of line LG dishwasher micro-hood, range, fridge, LCD tv and I am happy with none of it. As a local contractor, I will buy no more of these products. Uneven temperature on range no constants/lcd tv picture stinks/Fridge as have stated above/Fan on Microhood cfms not as claimed poor exhaust, have not used microwave portion, scared to. Customer service is poor!

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Hacking the Schumacher SPEEDCHARGER for PHEV & EV use

Posted in PHEV, Tips-N-Tricks on August 12, 2008 by wizbandit

    If you find any of this information useful please leave a comment.

My project for the past few weeks has been hacking into a nifty little battery charger manufactured by Schumacher called the “SPEEDCHARGER” model SC-600A.  A fellow EVer told me about this AGM charger he bought from Wal-Mart.  Now the last place I would look for a charger for AGM batteries was at Wal-Mart.  I bought one and when I got home I tore it all apart.  Later in this report I will explain its operation in great detail.  I was excited to find a simple 3-stage battery charger in such a small package, all the logic was on a 3 inch square PC Board.  What I have done is created a 320VDC supply using the MPU in this little charger to control the power into a 20 battery (12V each) PHEV Prius pack.  It would also be easy enough to modify it to work with any number of 12 volt batteries up to 20, like 12 for a 144VDC EV pack or 10 for a 120VDC EV pack.

 

Here is the PIC controller LED board, this is the brain of the charger.  All I had to do is come up with a voltage divider that divides the 20 battery pack by 20 and feed this voltage into the control line. (It’s a bit more complicated than that but simply put.)

Here is my “Bread Board”, yes, literally mounted on a piece of shelf board.  I hacked up an old 200 watt AT power supply, stripping out all the LV components leaving just the HV capacitors, rectifiers & chokes.  The old AT power supplies used 320VDC, the way they got this was on 115V it used a voltage doubler, on 230V it just fed the bridge rectifier across the two series connected high voltage capacitors.

The SC-600A has settings for 6 volt or 12 volt as well as 2amp, 4amp and 6amp.  It’s kind of neat how they control the current as there is no current shunt in this unit as they don’t measure the current, they caculate it from the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). I’ll detail this later on.

 

Here is the finished Version 1.01 PHEV 260VDC battery charger.  I mounted the original right onto the old AT power supply.  Not bad for less than $50 for a 800 watt charger.  Version 2.0 will use a 450 watt ATX supply with the hope of a bit more power.

 

STOCK SC-600A – Theory of Operation  (Check back later!)

 

Voltage Doubler – How it Works (soon!)

 

EV Modified SC-600A – Modification & Theory of Operation  (Check back later!)

 

Interface Circuit Board Schematic  (Check Back Later!)

 

Terminology Used in this article (In Progress!)

[The Power Brick] – The Constant Current power supply used in the SC-600A, it measures 5.5″ x 3.5″ in size and mounts in the bottom of the case.  This unit has two separate sections as do most switch-mode power supplies.  The HV side has a power MOSFET controlled by the AP3845CP current mode PWM integrated circuit and a 14V house-keeping power supply.  The LV section has the 6AMP @ 15.5V output and a 14V house-keeping supply as well.  There is a 6V 3-terminal regulator that supplies power to the MPU PCB.  There also is a power resistor/12V zenerdiode supply for the 12V 1.5″ case cooling fan.  One odd thing about this is as the load on the output changes so does the speed of the fan, the zener just caps the voltage at 12V.  This unit is either ON providing about 6 amps of current or OFF. The way they get 2 amps & 4 amps is the MPU PCB itself uses PWM through an opto-isolator that turns the power brick ON and OFF.  By controlled ON/OFF the unit can effectually provide 2 amps or 4 amps of current into the battery.  In the 6 amp mode the MPU PCB just holds the power brick ON. This all happens until the MPU CPU needs to switch into Constant Voltage Mode when it uses PWM to hold the voltage constant.  Think of it as “pulsing” a PWM power supply On & Off to maintain a constant voltage. There is a relay on this board that is controlled by the MPU PCB, the reason for this is two fold, the MPU PCB checks for proper connection (6V or 12V battery) and correct polarity before sending power out to the cable clamps. This also prevents “sparking” of the clips while connecting them igniting nearby hydrogen gas causing an explosion resulting in sulfuric acid rain on all nearby persons.

 

[The MPU PCB] – The brains of this charger uses a simple PIC chip programmed to charge AGM type batteries.  The algorithm used seems to favor the AGM as there is no selection button as on the “Big Brother” Schumaker SC-1200A model.  I don’t see a problem charging flooded batteries using AGM algorithms, they still will charge up fine just a bit slower.  You will destroy an AGM battery if you charge it like a flooded battery. There are only 5 wires connecting this to the Power Brick, Ground, +6V IN, relay control OUT, Battery Voltage Sense IN and Power Brick ON/OFF (PWM).    (to be continued…)

[Chip Bag Clips] – Recycle everything, use them to hold chip bags closed. You don’t want up to 320VDC dangling on these so they get replaced with a 50A Anderson Power Connector.

LG Fridge turns into Easy Bake Oven! Family Escapes FIRE!

Posted in Problems on August 1, 2008 by wizbandit

Now to me, this is serious.  LG in its infinite wisdom installed TWO high powered 60 watt incandescent 120VAC bulbs in the top of this unit just behind the two front doors.  When my hysterically screaming wife scared the living ba-jeepers out of me saying “The LG Fridge is on fire” I ran into the kitchen from the bedroom falling over two end tables.  When I got there the white plastic frame was so hot I just pulled the screws holding it right through the melting plastic and unplugged the two pin connector.  The inside of the fridge had to be around 200 degrees if not higher.  French onion dip was boiling in it’s tub and slices of yellow cheese were no longer sliced, they were re-combined and flowing every so slowly.

The lamps must be controlled by a circuit board assembly somewhere as the wires on the lamp holders is about #16AWG and the wires on the two door-open switches is about #20 AWG.  Also this unit has a 60 second timer if the doors are left open it starts the piezo-beeper screaming “the door is open dummy!” so this is a sign that there must be a “lamp control circuit” somewhere.  I’m going guess either a simple relay that now has “welded” contacts or a failed semiconductor such as a TRIAC or failure in the driver circuit for either of these.  I have too many projects going right now to tear into the fridge but when I do I’ll post a complete report on what I find. The lamps have 120V60watt stamped in the base, they are the lamps that came with the unit.

   

   

The MODEL NUMBER of this LG Refrigerator is LFX25960SW and we bought it from Home Depot.  The last picture is a shot of the cavity where the light unit bolts on inside the fridge, all bubbled & melted.

Today, the day after the melt-down that cost us over $200 in food my wife sends an Email off to LG customer support, below is a copy of that Email.

I just had the dairy products, fruit and vegetables ruined. It seems the light didn’t go off when the door closed and overheated. The inside of my refrigerator was so hot and smelled so bad everything was spoiled. I had to unplug the refrigerator and let the light area cool down to get it out. At looking at it, the bulb socket was burned and the plastic cover was melted. (see pictures) This is really a serious situation as the light fixture was just minutes away from catching on fire. The fixture is out, and so is all my food. The refrigerator is cooling down now, but there is no light. This refrigerator is only a couple years old and I like the design (except for the ice maker-this is another issue)but this light fixture should be looked into. I would like a new fixture. Do you need the old one to find out what went wrong? Can a safer bulb be used, like a LED? Oh, in case you think the door wasn’t closed, both door buttons at the same time were pushed and the light did stay on.

The response from LG Customer Service was as follows:

———–Reply to Customer Inquiry————
Dear Linda, We are delighted to hear from you as our Valued Customer. We sincerely regret that you have experienced difficulties with your LG Product. While we constantly strive for better ways of keeping maintenance to a minimum, occasional failures can occur. The manufacturer’s limited warranty is designed to take care of any failures in the early life of the unit. Once this warranty has expired however, the consumer becomes responsible for any repair. Your unit is now out of the manufacturer’s warranty and we are unable to assist you with the expense of this repair. Regarding the LED, is not recommended for the customers to alterate the design of the unit. For information regarding accessory parts for your LG product, please contact our parts department toll free at 1-888-393-6484. A member of our Parts Department is available to assist you with your parts order Monday through Saturday from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Please have your model number available when you call. This would need to be looked at by a technician. If you have other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us again either via email, or by calling our customer service division at 800-243-0000 at your convenience. Adolfo C E-mail Administrator Customer Interactive Center LGEAI
 

I just wonder how long it will be, before this happens to some family, the house burns down and all the children are killed in the house fire.  This is clearly a bad design, I’m going to fix it and install a pair of 3watt 120V LED lamps in there.  The lamp housing is too far gone to put back in and I’ll be damed if I’m going to go out and buy a new one. Another shocker I got with this unit, every six months the ice maker filter needs to be replaced, at a cost of OVER ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!!  SHAAAAAA with that, I took the “custom cartdridge” out, opened it and ripped the element out and slapped it back in, yea, you can’t just leave it out.
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UPDATE 08/01 16:00 -est
Wow, that was fast, I was just contacted by: