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Old 12-04-2018, 07:50   #91
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

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Originally Posted by missourisailor View Post
John is mostly talking about the DC side of the circuit.
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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
DC loads, which of course includes the inverter.

Ah! The fog is lifting, got it now. Thanks for your patience.

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Old 12-04-2018, 08:33   #92
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

I want to sort it out a little and explain why a combi charger / inverter is a good idea.

lets start with separate devices first.
In a plain installation you have AC comming in and the charger starts loading. If you have no AC from shore, but use the inverter to feed the AC lines, the inverter uses the battery to produce AC and the charger would take part of the produced AC power to charge the battery, what limits the output power of the inverter and heats the vessel. With separate charger and inverter you have to make sure, the output of the inverter is never connected to the input of the charger. You can do thi by some relays.
when you use the generator, you want to have the charger on the AC path to charge the batteries, so you need an intelligent transferswitch, that can distinct between shore, generator and inverter AC. You can do it manually, but this is not a good solution.

A combi-unit, like the Quattro has this logic built in, the charger inside knows when the inverter generates power and does not kick in. However you still have the problem, if there are secondary AC charger on board, but then you can connect them to AC out 2 of the Victron. This output is only active, if external AC source is delivering power, so no additional logic necessary.
The next advantage is, the Quattro transfers the power and is able to improve the Quality of AC out with power assist, so the4 frequency and wave form and load can be better than the AC source. Especially with a generator and heavy loads this is an advantage.

The next big advantage are the analog and digital inputs and outputs. They can be used to connect a BMS and also to control slave units. And last but not least, you can parallel the units either to increase the power output on a single wave - or even create a 2- or 3 phase AC system.

For the price of a charger and a inverter you get an intelligent transfer switch and lots of useful features. Beside this, a 220A charger and a 5000VA inverter are more expensive, than a combi unit, it is not easy to find a 220A charger any way.

if you want smaller units, maybe you are better off with cheep chinese inverter and a separate charger, but if you want a sophisticated solution, better look for a good combi unit.
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Old 12-04-2018, 18:29   #93
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

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I want to sort it out a little and explain why a combi charger / inverter is a good idea.

lets start with separate devices first.
In a plain installation you have AC comming in and the charger starts loading. If you have no AC from shore, but use the inverter to feed the AC lines, the inverter uses the battery to produce AC and the charger would take part of the produced AC power to charge the battery, what limits the output power of the inverter and heats the vessel.

The battery is the main power source so it is the limiting factor.
It will take a large capacity bank to keep it going for very long.


With separate charger and inverter you have to make sure, the output of the inverter is never connected to the input of the charger. You can do thi by some relays.

Many ways to hook it up. A common way is to run the charger off of the main breaker panel from a C/B. In this case, just open the breaker.

Another way is to connect the charger BEFORE the inverter. As most inverters have a pass through function. So when they are inverting, no power is present on the input side (UL, NEC, ABYC etc... standard, you don't want a male plug energized ). With no power on the input side, the charger will not be charging.

when you use the generator, you want to have the charger on the AC path to charge the batteries, so you need an intelligent transferswitch, that can distinct between shore, generator and inverter AC. You can do it manually, but this is not a good solution.

Simple solution is to connect the genset after the shore power connection and before the charger then inverter.
Of course, proper circuit protection will need to be also included.

A combi-unit, like the Quattro has this logic built in, the charger inside knows when the inverter generates power and does not kick in. However you still have the problem, if there are secondary AC charger on board, but then you can connect them to AC out 2 of the Victron. This output is only active, if external AC source is delivering power, so no additional logic necessary.

The next advantage is, the Quattro transfers the power and is able to improve the Quality of AC out with power assist, so the4 frequency and wave form and load can be better than the AC source. Especially with a generator and heavy loads this is an advantage.

The next big advantage are the analog and digital inputs and outputs. They can be used to connect a BMS and also to control slave units. And last but not least, you can parallel the units either to increase the power output on a single wave - or even create a 2- or 3 phase AC system.

For the price of a charger and a inverter you get an intelligent transfer switch and lots of useful features. Beside this, a 220A charger and a 5000VA inverter are more expensive, than a combi unit, it is not easy to find a 220A charger any way.

if you want smaller units, maybe you are better off with cheep chinese inverter and a separate charger, but if you want a sophisticated solution, better look for a good combi unit.
Like others and I have said previously, unless design consideration warrant separate units, a combo unit is the best solution in most cases.
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Old 12-04-2018, 22:15   #94
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

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lets start with separate devices first.
In a plain installation you have AC comming in and the charger starts loading. If you have no AC from shore, but use the inverter to feed the AC lines, the inverter uses the battery to produce AC and the charger would take part of the produced AC power to charge the battery,
Huh? If no AC input, there's no charging going on.

And before it was claimed can't do both at the same time anyway?

> what limits the output power of the inverter and heats the vessel.

No idea wtf that means.

> With separate charger and inverter you have to make sure, the output of the inverter is never connected to the input of the charger.

I can't imagine a system layout where that would ever be possible in the first place.

> You can do it manually, but this is not a good solution.

Perfectly fine in many cases

> if you want smaller units, maybe you are better off with cheep chinese inverter and a separate charger, but if you want a sophisticated solution, better look for a good combi unit

In some cases better. Neither smaller nor separates need to be associated with cheap or lesser quality.
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Old 12-04-2018, 22:46   #95
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

Are all the main combi brands multi-voltage on AC input?

That's an important design criterion for me, all AC devices are fed from inverters so no changes are needed as grid feed voltage changes.
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Old 13-04-2018, 04:59   #96
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

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Are all the main combi brands multi-voltage on AC input?

Our ProMariner (main brand?) combi is not multi voltage on the either side. Different models for 110V/60Hz, 230V/50Hz and then within those there are also different units for 12V or 24V and QSW or PSW. I think Sterling (main brand?) is exactly the same across their offerings.

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Old 13-04-2018, 10:11   #97
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

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Are all the main combi brands multi-voltage on AC input?

That's an important design criterion for me, all AC devices are fed from inverters so no changes are needed as grid feed voltage changes.
"Multi-voltage" and/or "Multi-Freq" are kinda miss leading.\

To the very best of my knowledge and experience, all marine units will only "pass through" what is provided on the input side.
In other words. If you have 50hz on the input side, it will only PASS THROUGH 50hz.

A lot of them can input or output either 50 or 60hz.
But I don't think they can change the freq on a pass through.
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Old 13-04-2018, 11:41   #98
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

Mastervolt combi can manually switch output frequency between 50 or 60Hz. But it canít switch output voltage. It is either a 110V or 220V output depending on the model purchased.

Mains input frequency can be between 45-65Hz.
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Old 13-04-2018, 11:48   #99
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

same for victron...
you can also push up output voltage a little between 220 and 240V...
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Old 13-04-2018, 15:21   #100
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

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Mastervolt combi can manually switch output frequency between 50 or 60Hz. But it can’t switch output voltage. It is either a 110V or 220V output depending on the model purchased.

Mains input frequency can be between 45-65Hz.
Okay, I understand that the inverter output freq is selectable.

But my understanding is that no mater what the inverter is selected to, when in pass through mode, it will be at the freq of the input.
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Old 13-04-2018, 19:11   #101
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

Well then that's another dealbreaker for me on the combi concept.

All my chargers are universal/international 115/240V 50/60 on the input side, can pull into any marina good to go, only using shore plug adapters.

Inverters are only sparingly used, mostly per load device, so if I needed to buy a new toaster could be any style mains.

Even the genny could be swapped out to whatever's sold locally.
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Old 13-04-2018, 19:47   #102
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

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Well then that's another dealbreaker for me on the combi concept.

All my chargers are universal/international 115/240V 50/60 on the input side, can pull into any marina good to go, only using shore plug adapters.

Inverters are only sparingly used, mostly per load device, so if I needed to buy a new toaster could be any style mains.

Even the genny could be swapped out to whatever's sold locally.
Have you put your charger setup to use on multiple voltage/freq? Has it worked well?

What power assist inverter do you use?
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Old 13-04-2018, 20:20   #103
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

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Well then that's another dealbreaker for me on the combi concept.

All my chargers are universal/international 115/240V 50/60 on the input side, can pull into any marina good to go, only using shore plug adapters.

Inverters are only sparingly used, mostly per load device, so if I needed to buy a new toaster could be any style mains.

Even the genny could be swapped out to whatever's sold locally.
It would be impracticable to have an inverter that output multiple voltages since most of the devices powered by the inverter will not be universal input voltage. And if they are what does the inverter voltage matter? So the inverter will almost certainly be used at only one output voltage compatible with the boat's AC system design.

As for a universal input voltage charger that is obviously a handy thing. And a boat that encounters multiple voltages can put such a charger to good use. But the reality is that most cruising boats only infrequently if ever move from one voltage to another. A low cost universal voltage charger is a nice luxury but hardly mandatory. As in all things there is no "one size best for all". But a combi inverter/charger is going to be preferred on more than 50% of cruising boats I think.
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Old 13-04-2018, 21:07   #104
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

We're going separates for this very reason. With our planned setup, we would be able to plug into any marina with any voltage to charge our batteries with the victron phoenix charger. Then we can push our native (USA 120v 60hz) voltage to the boat AC and run everything from the batteries or for light loads from the charger as a power supply. The only thing is to be able to plug the charger from shore directly so the inverter supplies the AC circuit board instead of shore.
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Old 14-04-2018, 07:06   #105
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Re: Inverter/Charger Recommends

Now let me state from the start that I have NO first hand personal experience with multi volt/freq input, constant volt/freq output converters.
I think the actual term is "power conditioners"

But from my understanding, they are nothing more than big honking ass chargers wired to inverters. Basically a multi input charger, who's DC output leads are connected to the DC input of a single voltage, single freq inverter.
Meaning, what ever you plug into AC wise at the dock, you will always have 120VAC/60 Cycles at your boats AC plugs.

But all units would have to be Line Rated (able to carry the FULL AC load, 100% of the time).

So if you have a 30A shore connection @ 120VAC, this equates to 3600Watts(without power factor correction). This means that on the DC side, you need 268A @ 13.4VDC to produce 3600Watts (once again, no power factor).

Now does this mean you can use any ole charger that can produce 270A. NO, you have to have a charger that can provide 270A with at least a 100% duty cycle. 110% would be preferred. Same for the inverter.
And generally, to achieve 100~110% duty cycle, everything inside double's in size.

Now I guess that you could wire it like most separate charger/inverters are wire, with a battery between them. Then you could reduce the size of the charger and use the battery to make up any temporary short falls when high current demand AC units are used.
And most likely, what is done.
But I think John has the better solution...reduce your AC foot print.

Anyhow, just my ramblings.
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