Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A peak inside the Xantrex ProSine 2.0. . .

In response to the question:  Can it be saved?  in  the answer is No.

Over this past week I have taken the ProSine 2.0 apart looking for any obvious signs of trauma and nothing jumped out at me.

Overall, this unit looked like a clean design and seemed well put together. Separated into a High Voltage side and Low Voltage Side the system consists of 4 major components   The bottom board handles the FETs and high current stuff,  two upright boards (HV and LV control board) each with a PIC micro controller and related logic to control things, and an AC relay contained inside the black box..

I would say the air flow though it is a bit hampered - all the exhaust had to squeeze under the black box on the right. Cardboard air flow control added to airflow resistance and as such I am not surprised  it overheated when trying to supply more then 80A of charging current.

 I did however notice that it used a lot of what I could consider questionable connector technology for a marine environment, ala:
Example of PCB connector 

The connects used appear to be tin-plated.  Going back to my history in PC manufacturing, we would NEVER have used non-gold plated connectors in such an application.  Seeing these I had hope that this was perhaps a major cause of the failure, and simply cleaning them and re-seating the boards (thereby doing a whipping action on the connectors) would bring it back.

Example of cables
And these insulation-displacement cables also caused me concern. Again, a technology less reliable then a proper crimped-on connector technology which gives good metal flow between the wire and the connector.

Hoping nothing overall was wrong and these connectors were a major weakness I disassembled the unit, cleaned everything and put it back together.  Alas there was no joy.

I noted in the diagnostic screens the system would display their firmware number, except for the High Voltage Board.  So I pulled it again, and re-seated the CPU in its socket.  Still no luck.

HV Board 
And looking at the PIC controller part number I noted that a Consumer temperate range part was used, as opposed to an Industrial range part.  Does save money (under a $ each), but given the high temp environmental I would have expected Industrial parts, not Consumer grade parts that are typical used for items inside a house or office.

At this point I am giving up.  Xantrex provides NO support for their products to the end consumer, nor their dealer network.  Parts are not available, and in short - if anything goes wrong the only choice is to round-file it.  (This started coming to light about a  year after I had purchased the unit.)  Even if I did dig more into it it would become a hobby for me.  So, to Ebay as Parts Only goes this unit, and a new Magnum MS-2000 had been order I also looked at Outback units.  Both of which have a good rep these days.   Not a chance I will ever purchase another Xantrex offering, based on their current support policies alone...

And of you want some interesting reading, here is one persons behind-the-scenes look at what happened over the years:

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