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Home Forums Technical Discussion Washing Machine

This topic contains 8 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  MrEnergy 5 years, 4 months ago.

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    Hi all. I have been living off-grid out in the Mojave Desert for the last couple of years. Doing it all DIY and getting very good at it. The only problem that I cannot get my head around a solution for (except crank up the generator) is my washing machine.

    I have a Maytag Centennial EcoConserve Washer (

    I have been able to run it off of my system, but when my battery bank reaches the high end of it’s charge the washer becomes, basically, non-responsive. So I have to run it at the right time in the morning where there is enough charge on the batteries to run it, but not enough that it doesn’t want to work. With the weather cooling down this gets earlier and earlier and 15 minutes can mean the difference. I have the same problem with my vacuum cleaner. The best solution I’ve found so far, besides the generator, is go through the house turning on all the lights until there is enough load on the system to get the devices to operate normally. To humor my dad (my collaborator in this venture) I’ve called Maytag tech support, but surprise, surprise they are of no help.

    Is there anything I can do or put between the wall socket and the washer to prevent this sensitivity?

    Some other technical info: this side of the house runs off of a 24v system, with a mod-sine wave inverter.



    That is a toughie, the only thing I can think of that might be causing the problem is your modified sine wave inverter, I do know that computer chips, especially those with timers do not play well with modified sine wave inverters, sometimes not at all. Your washer definitely has computer chips and timers. I have to avoid anything digital on my system, I’m running a smallish solar system using a modified sine wave inverter. I tried running a microwave (with digital inputs), I had enough power to run the microwave, but the timer part did not work, and it acted funny so I didn’t trust running it, the same thing happened with a bread machine and my digital alarm clock. Can’t explain why it works sometime and not other times though…

    I’m not surprised that the Maytag tech people couldn’t answer your questions, it’s not in their manual. :)




    Hmmm… kind of a wacky thing to be happening isn’t it! Is there any way that you can take the washer to a friend’s house that is on the grid? That way you would know whether the problem is the washer itself or something else. Another thing to keep in mind is that some motors and/or some electronics really just don’t like the modified sine wave from the inverter.They want a good sine wave from the invertet Considering all the electronics in modern washers the problem could even a water supply or drain issue. Or even a ground problem between the washer inverter, and battery bank. Let us know how it turns out.

    Good Luck!




    Check the “Bulk” and “Float” voltage levels on your controller. Maybe the voltage is going a bit high for the inverter to accept a big load while the panels are putting out..

    Take a day when this is happening and disconnect the panels from the controller. Wait ~10 minutes and try to fire up the washer. If this works, we discovered the problem..



    To Add..

    It’s possible for the “Bulk” voltage level to be too high for the inverter. During the “Float” charge, it shouldn’t happen. Set your “Float” voltage level slightly below the maximum input voltage of the inverter. A few tenths of a volt will make a big difference..



    I also bought a front loading efficient Maytag and it would not run on “modified sine wave” power. I returned it and bought a Staber 2000 which is not sensitive to modified square wave, uses only 135 watt hours per load, and 15 gallons of water at max capacity.

    Minor gluing of cracks in some of the plastic parts, and the yearly drop of oil on each of two bearings. It has run well for 12 1/2 years now. It only uses 1 oz of regular liquid detergent or 1/2 oz of ultra, but lately we have been successfully using the Green Ball.

    The Staber is not cheap. It was $1K back then. $1,300 now.

    I got one with a small dent in front and it was 1k shipped. Shpg will be another 100-200, depending on zip code.

    Before that we were using a hand crank 2 gallon washer from Real Goods for a year and a half. We still have it in the attic. They also carry higher capacity and more expensive hand washers called Jane’s Washers.


    Pahana Tribe

    This may not be the solution your seeking however it is a nifty idea so what the heck.

    Hand Powered Washing Machine



    It is a James Washer, not Janes;

    Here is more of a description of use and a good site;



    Your inverter is putting out more voltage than it should while charging. I have seen this happen before with off-brand inverters. I have found that the LG brand of washers using DC converters to run the motor etc will tolerate overvoltage and undervoltage without any problems. We run one of them here. These convert the 120V 60Hz AC into ~130-140VDC and step it down to run the electronics and motor controls as well as the solenoids for water input. I have tested them up to 69Hz down to 52Hz frequency variation, and up to 130 Volts AC, and as low as 98 volts AC and the washer will still run fine. They will easily run on a small generator such as the Honda EU2000, and even smaller if the load is not too large for the spin cycle to handle.

    I design inverters and off-grid electronics for a living btw if you ever need any help troubleshooting.



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