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Old 23-03-2010, 13:23   #1
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Differences in Marine and RV Inverters / Chargers

I am considering a RV Xantrex inverter/charger made for RVs. The appearance and performance look identical. There may be some differences in the coating applied to components but it was not clear. I will be mounting in on the inside of the boat which seems that same the inside of RV. Anyone have any ideas here.
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Old 23-03-2010, 13:39   #2
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There is a big difference in many charges not sure about this model but if it is not approved for marine use do not use it. The marine models, mainly the isolation of the hi and low voltage circuits as well as the ground and neutral being separated. Using a non marine charger can cause galvanic or stray current corrosion as well as represent a shock hazard to those on board or in the water near your boat.

I have said it many times in this forum if the charger is not rated for marine use you are at risk and risking others. There are several cases of deaths related to using non marine chargers as well and many cases of corrosion problems.

So just because they look alike does not mean anything and there is more involved than the paint job.

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Old 23-03-2010, 13:41   #3
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I have a standard inverter on my tri ,its been 6 years with no problems i really cant see what the difference would be except as you pointed out with a protective coating over the circuit board to me buying a "marine grade " would be an invitation to charge extra $ for something that i think your R/v inverter/charger would do nicely ! but thats up to you good luck
andy
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Old 23-03-2010, 13:46   #4
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I bought a cheap ($300) 5000 watt invert off ebay-brand new chinese knockoff and had absolutely zero issues with it. I properly installed the power leads, soldered connectors, spray coated the lugs and exposed metal and put it in a very dry and warm (as opposed to humid and hot) ventilated space. I grounded it and it worked perfectly from day one. I suppose you could say it wasn't "marine grade" but at that cost and the fact it was considered a "throw away" unit due to cost. I'm happy and it provided all the power I needed and then some.
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Old 23-03-2010, 14:27   #5
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Most inverters that are designated specifically as marine models have transfer switches that connect the neutral to ground and are not installed to a permanent ground system.

If you are just using it only as a stand alone inverter and not passing shore power through it, a non-marine inverter will work just fine.

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Old 23-03-2010, 14:28   #6
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1. non marine items can have the ground and neutral connected......bad on a boat
2. non marine items can have the ground and battery negative connected.....bad on
a boat.
3.Neither 1 or 2 are hard to spot and with careful checking you can save a
considerable amount of $$$
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Old 23-03-2010, 14:46   #7
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The differences are more than just the ground neutrals being connected there is a difference in the isolation of the windings. This prevents problems if overheating occurs and prevent internal shorting leading to stray current problems. Just because some of you have gotten away with it does not mean it is a wise thing to do. I charge up to $150.00 per hour finding the cause of corrosion in boats and I for one would not use a non marine unit. Inverters as well need to be marine. I know I am on a soap box here but I speak from having investigated the cause of problems on boats. You might save a few bucks now but be buying a new prop later. Or worse the story that sticks in my mind is the 8 year old boy killed when swimming next to a boat with a non marine battery charger that failed. The op asked the difference now he knows

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Old 23-03-2010, 15:23   #8
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Thank you sailvayu, for your reply based on your professional experience

I had the installation of an inverter/charger, and battery upgrade, along with a high amp alternator and regulator installed by a professional. Sure it cost bucks, but the trouble/worry free proformance was well worth it.

John
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