Be Careful – Lethal Voltages inside

–   This information should only be used be qualified and technically competent  souls –

2/Jan/11 Power Tech MI5160 180W Sine wave Inverter picked up from the trash and treasure market, supposedly working (why I didn’t plug it into the car before leaving? Grrr). Attempts to power up greeted by merrily chirping of the buzzer and flashing of the Red Protection LED. So I stripped down the inverter, here’s the basic circuit layout…

and here are the internals…

What goes on in here?

The DC comes in, it is chopped up by a couple of low voltage/high current FETs (IRFZ44V) controlled by the TL494 SMPS IC, then into the step up transformer The secondary is then rectified by four high speed 3A diodes (HER308 ) and smoothed by a 68uF/450VDC capacitor. This HV DC is then supplied to, what is essentially a high voltage amplifier. A small daughter board in the unit generates the 50Hz sine wave, which is then fed to the four High voltage/low(ish) current FETs (IRF830), which in turn feeds the 240V output socket. I do not know what the two trimpots do, probably voltage settings, etc There is a heap of detail left out of this description, but as I don’t have a circuit diagram….


First thing to do was check the 12V lead, 25A fuse and DC input circuitry – all appeared OK. Then knocked the container with screws onto the floor. Next was the PCB, I did a basic power semiconductor test, and somehow missed one of the HV Rectifier diodes as conducting both ways. Promptly went on a joyride of examining each of the MOSFETs, a leading up the garden path with ESR checks of capacitors and re-soldering any suspect looking joints.

Eventually went around in a circle and got back to double checking (I thought) the diodes. Well, diode #1  appeared to be the problem, but I had no suitably fast 3A/1000V rectifier diode.

The fix:

I then stuck a 1N5408 in as a replacement (same electrical specs but not very fast at all), which proved the inverter would idle happily, but it promptly went to diode heaven after a few minutes of driving a 60W incandescent light bulb.

Farnell (Element14 or whatever) have an order for replacement diodes and FETs (just in case). Be aware that the circuit board copper is not the best, and lifts after a few solder applications.

5/Jan/11 OK, parts arrived and I replaced the HER308, and that’s all the problem appears to be. Ran the 60W/240V lightbulb for half and hour without any issues so far.



  1. Thanks very much for that. I have the 500W version and there are a lot of similarities in the design. Mine turns on briefly but quickly switches to overload light on mode (no buzzer though). Everything appears OK. I suspect something wrong in the control circuitry. I wish they’d publish schematics.

  2. Looking for help with Jaycar MP5207 UPS. Runs under-voltage with new batteries. 242In/213-6Out. Any help appreciated. Regards, KH

  3. Thanks for this great information,very useful
    I had one of these that would blow the fuse at switch on. With your schematic I fixed it by replacing a couple of the HER308 diodes and IRFZ44V FETs. (Used IRFB3806PBF Mosfet)


  4. Thanks for the info. I have a 600W that was full of ants and thanks to your description I gained the courage to give it a go. Turns out that 2 of the 4 output FETS were blown (hot ants I suspect). I replaced all 4 of the FETS (FB13N50A) and after some trouble getting a decent test setup I concluded that all was working fine again.

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