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View Poll Results: Which brand - AMPLE or Xantrex/Balmar?
Ample charger/inverter and Monitoring with AMPLE alternator and AMPLE' multi-stage regulator 1 16.67%
Xanttrex MS2000 pro-sine charger/inverter/multi-stage regulator with Heart monitoring and Balmar alternator 5 83.33%
Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 19-01-2004, 15:21   #1
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Question AMPLE or Xantrex prefered

If you were going to install a comprehensive 12-volt system in your cruising boat, which inverter/charger and monitoring system would you use: AMPLE (with AMPLE alternator and regulator) or Xantrex MS2000 (and Heart monitor with Balmar alternator)?

If you care to post a rationale, feel free!


"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye". A.deSt.Ex
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Old 19-01-2004, 16:05   #2
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Xantrex will be introducing a new line of Network-Managed Power equipment (spring 2004), billed as the next generation Inverter / Charger platform.

MS2000 Sine Wave Inverter/Charger
Designed for marine applications to power advanced onboard electronics. The MS2000 features 2000 watts of sine wave output and an advanced three-stage battery charger together with industry-standard networking capability.
Additional features include a complete DC monitor system, & automatic generator start.

XC Series Battery Chargers Independant 3-Bank Control @ 30A or 50A.
XS400 Sine Wave Inverter (400W Continuous, 800W Surge).

I'll be very interested in seeing this next generation gear.

Gord May
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Old 19-01-2004, 19:05   #3
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The MS2000 is on the Xantrex web site...I couldn't imagine installing any other product until I see this stuff. Supposedly, it's also software upgradable which is a plus.

This is where the comparative revenues and R&D budgets of Xantrex and AMPLE need to be considered. For grins, I think I'll ask my trusty fiancial analyst wife to take a look at the viability of these two companies. The best equipment choice MAY lie in which company is strongest.
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye". A.deSt.Ex
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Old 17-02-2005, 05:40   #4
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I won't vote since I can't share the pros and cons of each system. I have a mix of older equipment from both companies.

I have a Trace (now Xantrex) 2500 watt inverter/charger. It seems to work well. The only issue I have is some noise in the SSB when it is charging the batteries from 110V. It is a tolerable amount, and I plan on spending a little time trying to reduce it. Away from the dock it is not an issue.

On the DC side I have all ample power. I have their alternator, smart regulator, eliminator cross charge regulator and system monitor. All of the equipment is about 11 years old and still works great. I have owned it for the past year.

Xantrex is certainly the larger company, but I like Ample Powers' grass roots approach and informative web site. I am not sure who would give you the better support when your in the Islands and need help.

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Old 17-02-2005, 13:37   #5
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I actual have the precursor it looks like to the MS 2000 which is a Prosine 2.0. Installed it about 4 years ago and has been very reliable. Primary reason was the very efficient charger. 100 amps with only 15 amp draw.

Paired with that is a Link 2000R fro the house bank driving a Vital 270 amp dual belt alternator. The system has been working very well since install.

Seperatly I have an independant alternator/charger/regulator for my starter bank so everything is fully redundant and isolated. I would need to throw a switch to let any battery bank see the other. [note: regualtor is plug compatible with the 2000R so if one failes I can easily swap or back-up with spares.]
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Old 28-02-2005, 19:43   #6
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The good news for us consumers

Historically there is an interesting river delta of distribution in companies which will provide us with viable productrs in the marine industry. It is imperative that I indicate that everything written henseforth is merely my opinion in ordrer that I not become a recepient of some lawsuit. In truth I have no "axe to grind" with the originator of Ample Power, ornly to truly respond to the question in this thread.

In my opinion the originator of Ample Power is technically competitent yet inordinatly devoid of the ability to accept competent marketing input which would efffect/affect a potentially resultant product capable of providing the best soluton for intended customers in general.

Next is everyone else!

Xantrex has an original power supply "set" of engineers quite capable (and has demonstrated as such) of delivering designs that can do whatever the existing technologyy is cabable of doing.
What might be missing is that the engineers could be insulated from and inexperienced in the market of marine applications. Such an omission is critical to the development of products which best solve the needs in our respective areas. For example, what good does it do for a great engineer to develop a design for a battery charger having great regulation between zero and 16 Voltsw when it is totally irrelevant to the user to have such capabiolity below 10 Volts or so and the cost is additive to the design?

Where did the engineers experienced in such applications go? They went from Xantrex, upon acquisition, to their own newly formed companies such as Magnum Energy, Outback Power, and a few others. Look for great products from these companies which have knowledge not to be gained in just a few years potentially from merely a theoretically state of mind.

Make no mistake that a company new to an application specific area can produce a product which will perform as claimed, it is a problem that what is claimed might not be just what is needed for your application.

I have great respect for the engineers at Xantrex. I just (in my opinion) have learned reservations regarding the abilities of the Xantrex marketing people to deliver knowledbgable information to the design engineers so as to provide you (the users) with a product specific to your needs. To be sure, one must assume that they will get there eventually.

Meanwhile look for many other companies to come forth with great products which will best solve your marine application needs!
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Old 01-03-2005, 04:21   #7
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Reliance on any "alternator based system" for your electrical needs is a waste of money. All electrical systems should include a renewable source for primary generation under weigh and of course, local power at the dock. An alternator will supply the power you require, but at what cost? The major drawback to the systems you propose is that the engine must be run to generate power. Good for a power boat, bad for a sailboat. The cost of a marine engine is a good reason to invest in another source of power.
Ample has a small diesel generator that employs an alternator for power for considerably less than the cost of a main propulsion plant.
Running your engine a mere two hours per day for a period of a year will put more than 700 hours on the engine annually. Add to that another few hundred hour per year for propulsion and you have entered the realm of high cost. In a mere 10 years you have consumed the engine and are looking at a $15,000 plus bill to replace it.
A couple of solar collectors and perhaps a wind generator would serve the same purpose with no maintenance for the solar panels and minimal maintenance for the wind generator.
In my opinion, you need to reassess your energy needs and means to provide them.
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Old 01-03-2005, 10:28   #8
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Jim and Michael

I don't entirely disagree yet would like to point out a few ideas. With the increase in marine traffic it is neither safe nor prudent to go cruising without a diesel engine. As such that engine MUST be always kept in reliable running condtion. PV and wind generators, therefore, must take secondary priorities...they just are not safety items.

The center of the "bell-shaped curve" of cruising sailboats describes a 40 HP diesel and around 400 Amp-hour battery bank size which supports a less than 50% depth-of-discharge daily cyclical use of energy with ease. The daily energy consumption is around 150 Amp-hours (again I am describing the general overwhelming numbers of users, not the extreme ends). With a properly set up adjustable s-step alternantor regulator and a 165A hot rated (you can get close to 200A cold) alternator you have a large frame unit (that means 1 inch larger in diameter to the usual 105A small frame units) you can recharge in about 1 hour a day of engine run time if you have no additional sources of power like PV or wind. The cruising design must not be dependend upon wind or sun to be reliable.

What really makes this work reliably is a properly designed pulley ratio and often a custom alternator mount with dual 1/2 inch belts. The alternator bearings are huge compared to the small frame ones and will last a very long time. So will the belts. What you might not realize is that with the proper pulley ratio you can pick a "nice" fast engine idle speed which does not cause undue noise or vibration, such as 1300 rpm. With the correct pulley ratio you can properly load even a 50 HP diesel at that rpm using just the alternator and not have problems attendant with unloaded diesel operation...look at your HP/touque/fuel consumption curves versus engine rpm and THAT is the answer. You DON'T GET 50 HP from a 50HP diesel at 1300 rpm.

As the rpm drops the alternator output current versus spindle speed curve drops thereby automatically unloading the engine. Obviously one must check the curves to verifty that at max engine rpm that the max rated spindle speed of the alternator is not exceeded.

I've done this with several engines and the first one that I did in 1980 is still working well with the same alternator. The original Hitachi alternator is also still there running only the engine electrics and, therefore, lightly loaded saving its own belt for longevity.

There are several problems with those small single-cylinder diesel/alternator combos. They are very noisy, they vibrate like hell, the mounts, mufler and everything attached just want to shake off and fatique the attachment brackets, etc. and the overall installation takes WAY more space than a properly installed large frame alternator on the main engine. Fine for a backup yet the customers with which I am famaliar never have as reliable of an operation than their main engine gives them.


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