Nexus Escape Inverter-Epic Fail!

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  • Updated 3 months ago
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(Full disclosure: I'm an electronic dummy; no clue of difference between amps, watts, volts, etc. I do know my ass from a hole in the ground-if that helps!)

Having purchase several Ego tools and two batteries over the last few years, it was a no-brainer I'd get the Nexus Escape for a mere $75  when it came out last year. I did some quick research and was quite impressed by Kite Army's video review featuring multiple devices plugged in at once and working flawlessly. After purchase, I quickly tested a light and a radio to make sure it worked. I then stored it away, awaiting our next hurricane season here in south Louisiana. 

As Tropical Storm Barry approached the coast last week, I charged my Ego batteries and got inverter ready (along with plenty of other regular batteries/lights/radios, etc.)  When our electricity went out last Friday, I hooked up the Nexus to an Ego battery. I then plugged in an LED nightlight which draws a whopping .3 watts, figuring it would last at least a billion years. Imagine my surprise when the converter cut off after 2 minutes. As I unplugged the nightlight, I noticed it felt warm and smelled burned. (I'm smart enough to know the Escape wouldn't power my AC or fridge -but a nightlight?) I also unplugged Ego battery, but later plugged back in to test. A small 2 speed fan worked at a very slow speed, but Escape again shut off after 2 minutes. (I have now read user comments that Escape won't do well with motors.) Next, I plugged in a small radio; again, Escape shuts off after 2 minutes. Then tried an LED light bulb-same.

Fortunately, the power outage lasted only 2 hours. I tested the 'fried' nightlight in a wall socket and confirmed it was dead. I also read an online review from someone who said the Escape had fried two Lasko fans. Once Escape is repaired or replaced, I will resign myself to fact that it's merely a device to recharge phones, ipads etc. However, I may be nervous that the Escape could possibly damage expensive electronic devices.
So, before I  call customer service for repair or replacement, I would appreciate any feedback (expressed in layman's terms).
1. Could a super low watt nightlight have caused a problem?
2. Is anyone else nervous about possibly damaging  electronic devices?    
3. Any other thoughts?
(FYI: I'm not considering the EGO 3000W generator. Instead, I'll be trying to convince the wife we need a whole house generator as we already have a natural gas line.) 



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Bruce Cameron

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  • bewildered.

Posted 4 months ago

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Ken, Champion

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I do think the inverter was a bit of a miss. The lack of sine wave output limits its usefulness, and I would be hesitant to plug any electronics into it.

The Power Station gets everything right because it it has a pure sine wave output.

But if I lived in south Louisiana I definitely would have a whole-house generator!
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summetj

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Yah, you want to test anything you plan on powering with the nexus escape before you need it to make sure it works with the square wave power output.  If they had only done a pure sine wave (or even modified sine wave) 150 watt inverter it would be  a nice product.

Still good for running a hot glue gun or soldering iron (single temp, don't try it with one that has a high/low switch) at a remote location, or charging USB devices.
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Michael G

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Also, I found out if the device being powered is below some threshold current (don't recall the value) the Nexus thinks nothing is hooked up and powers down.
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szwoopp, Champion

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Agree - seems limited to simple devices and perhaps better with the built in limits/controls on USB powered devices.
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Tae Cooke

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A switch-mode power supply (like the ones used on computers) should be able to handle the output fine. It's the "simpler" devices (fans, transformer-based power supplies, capacitive-dropper supplied devices) that aren't "dirt simple" (like an incandescent light or heater) that will have problems. It is probable that the night light you tried to use had a non-switch-mode power supply in it which was fried by the unexpected supply waveform. In the future, use a USB-based light to avoid problems. I would imagine that a dimable LED bulb would be ok to use as well, but am unsure, not having the Nexus escape to test it with. (All the above is my conjecture, having studied electrical engineering and physics)
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summetj

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Yah, the 5V DC output for the USB outlets is flawless and will run/charge any USB device just fine. Only the square wave AC output causes issues with some devices.
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Bruce Cameron

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Thanks to everyone for all your comments/suggestions. As I've been digesting all of that, I've also been reading more forum threads on the subject as well as many more Escape reviews. Wish this wealth of info had been available before I purchased as I probably would have passed. 

Over the last few days, I have been scientifically/methodically testing numerous devices with the Escape, and I am proud to say there have been no fires or explosions (as of yet). My findings concur with what many of you and others have pointed out: There does seem to be a minimum threshold current. For example, lamp with 40w equivalent LED bulb (5 actual watts) would cause Escape  to shut off, but using 60w equivalent LED (10 actual watts) would stay on (but bulb became way too hot for my comfort.)

I will not be wasting time calling EGO customer support, as several others have done so and reported that EGO's response is Escape is really limited to recharging phones, laptops, etc. I'll keep the Escape boxed up with reminder notes to avoid using outlet and use USB ports to recharge phones, i-pad, etc if no other options. Don't currently have anything else with USB cords, but if I get any, might try them also. 

Here's one more question regarding something I tried. Would appreciate any feedback on whether or not this is the most brilliant-or most idiotic- idea in human history:

As I mentioned, lamp w 60w LED equivalent bulb worked in Escape outlet (despite excess heat).  A low watt (1w?) radio caused Escape to shutoff. As an experiment, I then plugged a 6 outlet surge protector into Escape outlet. Then, I plugged in both the lamp w LED bulb and the radio into power strip. Once I turned on the Escape, the LED Bulb and radio (and of course, the power strip) all stayed on and did not cause Escape to shut off.  I discontinued experiment after 5 minutes, fearing possible damage to devices, as well as Escape and EGO battery. (and yes, the LED bulb did get quite hot during this trial.) 

So, any thoughts on that would be appreciated. Regardless, I still anticipate only using USB ports. 

     
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Tae Cooke

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Besides the issue with the LED getting hot (probably due to the power supply trying to filter that horrible square wave), as long as the total power doesn't go above 150W, using a power strip shouldn't pose an issue. I do suggest using a non-GFI equipped one (the more basic the better), as those could be damaged / not like the square wave and floating ground.
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Brian - W9HLQ

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Yesterday I tried to use the Escape 150 W inverter to power a small air pump for a fish aquarium during a move.  The load on the inverter was 6 watts.  I was terribly disappointed to learn the inverter would run about 2 minutes and shut down.  I had to continually power on the inverter to keep the air pump running.   This was as perfect to my remote power needs, and it failed.

I came home and put a 40 watt lamp on as a load and it worked OK for over an hour.  Seeing that success, I switched back to the air pump.    Now it is working fine for over an hour.  So I have a non- trustworthy inverter associated with an excellent battery system.  Sad.


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summetj

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I believe you are running into a "low power shutoff". The Ego Nexus Escape will shut itself off if the load falls below a minimum threshold. (I believe the idea is that if you have a low power charger (like for a phone/tablet or small laptop) plugged in, it will give it power when it's charging the device, but then shut off when the draw gets low enough.

Apparently, the 4 watts for the fish tank pump is right at this line. You could fix it by adding another device (perhaps a cell phone charger, or nightlight or something) to bring the 4 watt load up to 6 or 10 watts to keep it on.

I believe I remember reading about somebody else with a remote BBQ thermometer (or rotisserie motor?) that had the same issue, they had to add a few USB lights or something else to add draw to keep the nexus escape from shutting down on it's own.
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Brian - W9HLQ

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I agree it appeared there was some sort of low power shutoff affecting things.  But today I have the unit running with no load at all.   So what I was experiencing must have been one of those unexplained things.  I am going to some more testing with various loads so I don't get caught again.   I want to build my confidence in the reliability of the Escape.  summetj, thanks for your reply.