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Old 12-04-2014, 23:42   #31
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

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Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
I think I'll install a MasterVolt. I was seriously considering a I/C from Magnum but in an email to me they said they would not honor the warranty if it was installed in an engine room.
While Mastervolt is a good choice, it's life will be shortened considerable if installed in an engine room, especially in a hot locale like Thailand. Neither batteries or chargers and inverters should be in a space that can easily reach the hot temps where the engine is located.

Magnum is a very good product in my experience.
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Old 13-04-2014, 05:19   #32
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

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Neither batteries or chargers and inverters should be in a space that can easily reach the hot temps where the engine is located.

Magnum is a very good product in my experience.
Well, i guess I'd have to go along with nhschneider on that one. It might be a good product for someone else's application, but in my case the boat builder put the batteries in the engine compartment. Of course they did. The engine compartment is large, ventilated, and it made sense. A charger not designed to work under those conditions is not useful to me, no matter how good it is "somewhere else'. I don't need it to work where it's happy. I need it to be working where I'm happy. Magnum is off the list.
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Old 13-04-2014, 06:12   #33
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
While Mastervolt is a good choice, it's life will be shortened considerable if installed in an engine room, especially in a hot locale like Thailand. Neither batteries or chargers and inverters should be in a space that can easily reach the hot temps where the engine is located.

Magnum is a very good product in my experience.
According to Mastervolt's web site, the specifications for their model 2500/120 Combi say, and I'm pasting from their web site here:

* Temperature range (ambient temp.) -25 C to 80 C, derating > 25 C
-13 to 176 F

I'm not disagreeing or challenging your statement that the longevity may be impacted by high temperatures, but rather that Mastervolt seems to be okay with installing the unit in an engine room while Magnum told me it would void the warranty. My very old Heart Freedom 2500 has survived 18 years in the engine room and maybe that's why it's dying!

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Old 13-04-2014, 06:42   #34
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Amazes me inverters are of such interest, how are you using so much 110 underway or on the hook? I watch TV/DVDs and keep my handheld VHF charged, but that's about it - my 1000 watt inverter is overkill, and usually turned off. If you can't live without hair dryers, microwaves and electric coffee pots, you would probably rather stay at the dock anyway.
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Old 13-04-2014, 07:18   #35
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

Kind of judgmental, don't you think? I'm sure we could cherry-pick something on your boat that we could pin a "dock queen" label on and deride you for your choice. Even your choice of having any AC inverted power at all could be pejoratively labelled by those that see no need for it.

To answer your question, many people choose inverter/chargers for the charging part. The chargers on these combos are larger than what is offered by separate chargers. The higher inverter rating is simply the flip side of that.

In addition, the larger inverters allow operation of high draw AC devices like HO watermakers to be operated while motoring.

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Old 13-04-2014, 08:21   #36
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

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Amazes me inverters are of such interest, how are you using so much 110 underway or on the hook? I watch TV/DVDs and keep my handheld VHF charged, but that's about it - my 1000 watt inverter is overkill, and usually turned off. If you can't live without hair dryers, microwaves and electric coffee pots, you would probably rather stay at the dock anyway.
Looks like you're pretty easily "amazed" then. This should really make you smile.

I guess I missed the part where I asked what Sailor Bob thinks about my use of alternating current on my boat, in my circumstances. Basically put, it's really none of your GD business if another sailor wants a hair dryer on his boat.

Here, let me try to explain my reaction to your intentionally unhelpful and combative reply:

You watch T/DVDs??? Then I think You should stay ashore. They have lots of TVs ashore. I don't have a TV on my boat. Your boat should be JUST like my boat. You should do exactly as I say and do. That's your message here, right? In response to a question specifically about combined inverter/chargers. Is there something in your reply about inverter/chargers vs separate units? No? Gosh, I guess I am losing my patience in my old age.

Thanks Mark, that makes sense. Do larger inverters typically draw more in acquiesent mode than smaller ones? Cost more, I suppose, and there are some weight issues. I'm definitely interested in the larger charger aspect of it. Being able to recharge off shore power in four hours instead of eight has some plusses.
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Old 13-04-2014, 08:29   #37
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

I have a magnum charger inverter. Other night the power on the doc went out. I turned on the inverter to run 2 small 110 volt table fans. the inverter would not start and was in the search mode. I turned on a couple of 110 volt lights and they started and acted normal after that. the perhaps the inverter could not sense the very small loads the fans were asking for?
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Old 13-04-2014, 09:24   #38
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

My last two boats have had Victron inverter/chargers in the engine room without problems.

The 2kw Victron Multiplus (80 amp charger, 4000w peak inverter) is $1505 at Jamestown Distributors.

Besides the items mentioned, there are a couple of other features that some but not all inverter/chargers offer.

- A remote temperature sensor for the batteries. Quite important if your batteries are subject to a range of temperatures.

- A separate small voltage sense wire that is run to the batteries. When charging a lot of amps, even large battery cables will have voltage drop that can cause the charger to reduce charging prematurely

- Very high peak inverter wattage. A brief high load is not going to take the inverter off line

- Programmable - like the battery monitor you installed, there are dozens of conditions you can monitor. One particularly useful one is to shut down the inverter when the batteries get low. Most inverters don't shut down until the batteries are almost dead - hurting the batteries. I've programmed my Victron to shut off the inverter when the batteries reach 70% discharge.

- Laptop controllable. The Victron has so many setup options that it is best done using a laptop and their excellent free software download. You do have to buy the USB adapter.
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Old 13-04-2014, 09:35   #39
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

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I have a magnum charger inverter. Other night the power on the doc went out. I turned on the inverter to run 2 small 110 volt table fans. the inverter would not start and was in the search mode. I turned on a couple of 110 volt lights and they started and acted normal after that. the perhaps the inverter could not sense the very small loads the fans were asking for?

Yes common problem in lots of power saving mode invertors.

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Old 13-04-2014, 09:46   #40
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

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Do larger inverters typically draw more in acquiesent mode than smaller ones?
Yes, in standby mode the larger ones draw more than the smaller ones. Our Xantrex Prosine drew 3-4A in standby! Our same output Victron draws 1.5A. The smaller output units draw ~1A. If you chose a modified sine wave model (I don't recommend this), they draw much less on standby.

All of them have a "search" mode, where they turn themselves off completely and test the lines continually. If they find something requiring a load, they turn on and supply it. This search mode draws almost no current at all.

However, I have never got search mode to work in a manner that satisfies me. If you have any wall warts at all plugged in, then you need to set the "turn on" limit so high that other components do not kick it on. There is a very fine balance to be struck that is too easy to shove off balance again. Also, things like a microwave never kick the inverter out of search mode because the microwave is unpowered during that time, so the ON button doesn't work. But basically, the wall warts defeat search mode for us - they are constantly turning it on even when nothing is charging or running from them.

And even if I do get the search mode exquisitely balanced and adjusted correctly, there is that annoying lag from requesting power to receiving it. It isn't a long lag, but makes momentary things like running a drill annoying - pull the trigger and 1 second later the drill works, then stop drilling and pull the trigger again and wait 1 second, etc.

I find it much easier to just keep it off until we need to use it, and then just push the big "ON" button on the remote panel that is mounted in easy reach.

Regarding Magnum voiding warranty if installed in an engine room, almost all installation manuals that I have read specifically mention not putting them in engine rooms. I think Outback was one unit that had the fewest environmental warnings with it. However, their temperature ratings are all almost identical. I wonder if you talked to any other companies directly and asked that question whether you would get the same answer. A CYOA type of thing? It would be impossible for them to prove where you mounted it if you needed warranty work.

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Old 13-04-2014, 10:00   #41
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

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I have a magnum charger inverter. Other night the power on the doc went out. I turned on the inverter to run 2 small 110 volt table fans. the inverter would not start and was in the search mode. I turned on a couple of 110 volt lights and they started and acted normal after that. the perhaps the inverter could not sense the very small loads the fans were asking for?
Do you have the Remote Control panel?
If so, you can program the load sensing threshold as low as 5 watts.
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Old 13-04-2014, 11:06   #42
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

My personal experience with marine chargers, inverters and power supplies from Lewco, Newmar, Heart, Xantrex and ProSine has shown them to be extremely reliable.

Only failure was with the ancient Heart inverter/charger that came on Terra Nova. Ship's AC was provided through the inverter such that, when the inverter failed (while preparing for her delivery voyage home from San Francisco bay), no AC power. So I bypassed the inverter and wired the AC hull inlet directly to a duplex receptacle, just so we could complete our necessary preparations.

Once in home port I removed the inverter and had Mark at West Coast Marine Electric troubleshoot and repair it. Also I mounted a separate 20-amp ProSine charger, as a stand-alone/backup charger.

An inverter is handy on a sea going vessel. Allows the use of corded power tools, microwave, vac...
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Old 13-04-2014, 12:54   #43
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Re: Inverter/Charger the way to Go?

Engine rooms run way hotter than "standard" lab temperature, which is 20C/68F. Offhand IIRC you cut the life of electronic components in half with every 10F temperature rise, so if that goes from 70F -> 80 -> 90 ->100 -> 110.....160? 170?

Discrete electronics (transistors, etc.) typically have a 100-year life span when properly loaded and placed in a circuit at 68F, that's your starting point, generally.

You can see the progression, it would be very easy to take a component designed for that 100-year life and cut it down to 14 months at 170F. And that's without even figuring on how to keep the entire "machine" cooled down in the hotter environment.
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