Brad Dull avatar image

Quattro 10k overload fault, fire risk

Quattro 10k professionally installed March 2013. Off grid system, traction batteries 48v. Solar power 10 kw, 2 Sunnyboy TL 5000. Power failure at 0830 hrs August 2019. On investigation Quattro indicated an overload condition. (At this point in time basic load including 3 refrigerators could have been operating. All occupants of house in bed alerted by security system indicating a mains failure condition “No real load”. On advice from installer all AC output from Quattro turned off. All PV input systems shut down. Only power to Quattro was now DC at around 49 volts. Overload condition remained, indicated by overload LED. Attempted reset by turning Quattro to off position waited 5 minutes then turned Quattro on to Inverter mode. Quattro reset with no overload indicated. Waited a a few minutes then turned load back on to inverter. Same load as before (Virtually no load) system was working as expected. Ensured load was restricted for a while to ensure no overload possibility. All seemed to be working as designed. Returned to check system 15 minutes later and found the Quattro was indicating overload, making a horrible grinding sound and smoking. I isolated system by shutting down all AC load, shut down PV system and isolated battery bank.

This system has been well maintained, never overloaded and the room where it lives is cooled in summer to avoid overheating.

Very disappointing that the Quattro actually flamed out after 6 years. Contacted the closest Victron service agent. He didn’t sound surprised At what I had explained and mentioned “short circuit”.

This unit is not that far out of warranty and I am expecting no joy from the agent. I was surprised to read of how many instances where the overload situation has occurred with Quattro and Multi units. Seems this sustainable energy thing is very expensive especially if things catch on fire.

Any help would be appreciated in helping me understand how this unit could work well for 6 years then almost catch on fire. I would have thought protection would have been built in to avoid this situation.

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3 Answers
Hudsoncl avatar image

I have a 5K/48V/120V Quattro which was installed in my sailboat in 2013. I powered it down to transport the boat overland. Just tried to power it back up and experienced the same grinding noise you experienced followed by the overload LED. Tried resetting and same result. Took some measurements with power off. Output #1 appears to be a dead short circuit inside the unit.

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Hi @HudsonCL, Sorry to hear, as with all Victron hardware faults the best next step is to contact your dealer for support, service or repair.

Brad Dull avatar image

Thanks Guy,

My occupation for the past 31 years has been a fire protection office (fire fighter) and yes the frogs and lizards can cause short circuits just like the sun shining through a glass bottle can start a wild fire however it’s pretty rare and difficult to prove as the house has burned down or the wildfire has covered vast areas. Reputable manufacturers of modern electrical equipment to my knowledge have pretty well vermon proofed their product and in my case I have a purpose built room for my off grid system so the equipment is not exposed to out door elements including lizards and frogs etc.

August where I live is winter and the lizards and frogs etc usually aren’t active.

I am seeking advice at present as to what direction I should take, I have been told by others who have had issues such as mine with Victron equipment that they don’t usually repair and depending on the circumstances may offer a replacement unit at cost. Still a considerable outlay. Then there is the safety issue and a responsibility to report issues with electrical equipment to the Electrical Safety Office. Have no idea what to do, the service agent when hearing the age of the unit went a little flat. As time goes by, what about powering my property. I would say the best way to do that would be to buy another unit, not something I would have expected to do, unless the lifespan of Victron equipment is like the cheap white goods of today where they are on the footpath waiting for the curb side pickup to take them to the tip after five or six years.

Will keep you posted

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The next step is definitely to talk through resolution options with your dealer -

Brad Dull avatar image Brad Dull Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) ♦♦ ·

Next step initiated, $150 to take a look at the unit. First comment from service agent was the lizard crawling into the unit scenario. Yes I suppose with an IP 21 rating I could expect anything up to 12 mm to crawl in! I wasn’t aware of the low ip rating and I don’t think my installer was either. Definitely will put netting around the unit If I get it back.

The good ole gecko could have taken out my $7000 Quattro. WOW

Have shipped the unit to the service agent. Before the technician opened the unit he contacted me for exact details especially the detail about the evidence of smoke when the unit failed. Some time later I received a quote to repair the unit. The cost total was $953.00. This included $135 for the investigation and the remaining cost for the supply and fitting of a Power PCB.

I asked for a description of what caused the smoke and received the following reply.

There was damage to the FETs which are part of the power board of the unit. These can fail for a number of reasons such as power surges, or having a reduced life expectancy due to operating at high temperatures caused by dust/dirt on the block affecting heat dissipation.” Reasonable reply however none of the conditions could exist as the room is climate controlled and surge protection is in place. The dust and dirt just doesn’t happen, it is continually cleaned including fan intakes! I know how to maintain electrical equipment.

I spoke with the service agent and asked “what did Victron say.” He replied by saying “nothing, it’’s out of warranty” but you get six months warranty on the replacement board. Is that a new board?

As and end user what can you do. Nothing but just pay up and hope for the best. I need the unit back in service as it’s costing money everyday the solar energy isn’t being used. Nearly a month out of service!

I will be requesting I remain in possession of the damaged board.

Thank goodness someone checked on the unit after what appeared to be a successful reset after a shutdown and the overload LED illuminated.

For all of the people reading this war and peace story who have experienced the mysterious shut down and overload indication on the Quattro, please be careful. Especially when you know very well that there has been no overload condition. Get the unit looked at immediately. In my case I reset mine a couple times within the warranty period and it appeared to solve the problem however obviously it didn’t!

Monitor the unit closely after the reset. In my experience Fire is generally final and devastating when it takes hold.

Hopefully I’ll get a bit more service out of the unit before it’s needs another fist full of dollars thrown at it!

All costs mentioned do not include freight

Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) avatar image

It’s not easy to say, as an example though, an internal short circuit caused by a lizard or other small animal bridging internal contacts could lead to the situation you are describing.

I would suggest discussing your options with the dealer or service agent, they can apply for an RMA.

Depending on the damage and the cause, the inverter may be repaired.

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