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Dave A avatar image

Multiplus II failure due to lizard

Hi Victron staff and community,

I live in rural Central Queensland, Australia. This morning I woke up to find no power. The red light was showing solid on the Multiplus II. I turned off power, isolated the inverter and decided to remove the front cover to see if anything obvious had happened.

So I found, a ghecko (mini lizard) had thrown himself across the transformer secondary tracks on the top of the main PCB. (see photo).

It seems the ventilation holes at the top of the enclosure are quite large and I believe that is the only way he could have got in.

I spoke to my Victron distributor this morning and we established this is not a warranty issue and apparently I'm up for a lot of $$$s for repair. (the main board is quite severely burnt).

The point of my post is to make Victron staff and others aware of what can happen in some parts of the world due to small critters.

I believe a suitable remedy would be to place and secure a fine mesh above the ventilation slot at the top of the enclosure, probably a $5 fix. Well worth it to save a $1700 inverter.

Other than that, I am very impressed with Victron equipment integration and operation, totally gutted at a bit of bad luck and looking forward to getting the unit fixed and back up and running.

Multiplus-II
victron-1.jpg (90.1 KiB)
victron-1.jpg (90.1 KiB)
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Hello @Dave A,

indeed, what a bad luck. Sorry for the problem and sorry for the lizzard! It is such an interesting community here, really spread out all over the world. There are problems in Down under which I even don't think or realize can happen here in northern Europe, much colder as Australia. ;-) From my side, I wish you the best and that your system is working properly very soon. Thank you for joining this bad circumstances with us.

DayAndNight
7 Answers
Mark avatar image
Mark answered ·

Just a thought.......

be cautious using a very fine mesh!, as I’ve found in the past the finer the mesh the quicker it clogs up with dust over time,and blocks the ventilation slots which defeats the object of them!

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NigelFXS avatar image
NigelFXS answered ·

I have had an Inverter Air-conditioner (external unit) explode due to a gecko/lizard getting into the control module. It looked like their slightly moist/conductive "droppings" happened to bridge some high-voltage tracks!

After replacing the complete electronic control board for the AC, I sprayed the board and housing with "Go-Gecko" silicone-based repellent (see https://www.peststore.co.za/product/go-gecko/). I have not had any further problems with geckos in my Air-conditioners since then (5 years ago).

Note: I am not sure if this is suitable for Victron equipment, so use at your own risk.

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Fideri avatar image
Fideri answered ·

A mesh-like solution would be welcome in warm climes, including Africa.

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RayMiller avatar image
RayMiller answered ·

I find the size of any protective screening needs to be no more than the size we use for insect screening i.e. about 1-2.1 mm opening. I successfully have retrofitted (electronic equipment) with stainless steel mesh which is used for insect window screens in bushfire areas as being very robust, corrosion-resistant, minimal airflow restrictive and readily available.

https://www.bunnings.com.au/cyclone-910mm-x-2-1m-stainless-steel-insect-screen_p4110427


The use of conformal coating on all PCB's is very useful in giving electronics a higher level of protection from a wide range of environmental stresses and unwelcome guests.

Quite a number of insects are attracted by small openings and dark places to make nests as well as crawling lizards. I've even had baby snakes about 6mm in diameter squeeze into power supplies causing similar problems. Cold-blooded crawlers are attracted by warm places.

Many visitors to Australia are unaware of the extent and variety of our insects as well as wildlife compared to many other parts of the world and a lot of our power equipment will not be housed in areas which are protected from many environmental risks.


Cheers from Australia


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The issue with using a fine mesh to protect a cooling path is that it will get clogged with fluff due to the constant airflow.

So it will likely require some regular cleaning to keep it cooling efficiency.

jbakuwel avatar image
jbakuwel answered ·

Hi Dave,

Greetings from across the ditch. Thanks for the reminder: I noticed this issue as well but have been too busy to act as yet. I found a skink in the battery box last week that looked like it was pleased to see me (might be harder to find a way out than in).

cheers,
Jan


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mvader (Victron Energy) avatar image
mvader (Victron Energy) answered ·

Hi @Dave A, thank you for the detailed report; and I'm sorry to hear this.

Yes, we're aware this must be better. Actually we already have implemented an improvement for this in production. For those into the details: the improvement will be done in two stages, first by making it harder to crawl under the PCB (in case lizard already in product). And later we'll also go into mesh to make sure critters such as lizards can't even get in the product. But thats needs more testing & more work so for now is not implemented yet.

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Hi @mvader,

Do you think something like in the photo would work? Secured with a few blobs of polyurethane adhesive around the edges? The mesh is formed into an arc so at the centre of the arc there is around 12mm clearance. The space below the mesh should help alleviate air flow restriction?

Please note: that bit of mesh is for demonstration purposes only I'll get a new piece, of course.

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RickP avatar image
RickP answered ·

Wow, bad luck on that! Looking at my Multiplus, there are several places a lizard could enter by, especially on the bottom. I’m going to have to look into this!

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