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Old 10-08-2009, 21:11   #1
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Inverter / Charger vs Seperates

Was wondering what would be better a inverter charger like the victron 3000 watt/120amp model, OR separate inverter and separate chargers.
I know that the circuitry is similar to the same, and one unit would mean less space used, less wiring etc.... but having separate units also gives easier upgrades, same or less money, and the space is not that much.

Since my 1500 watt inverter got dunked, and I have to replace it, that thought occured.
Interested to hear your thoughts.

Bob
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Old 10-08-2009, 21:34   #2
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When I was shopping around, I was surprised to see that high-amperage three-stage smart chargers were just about as expensive as similar-sized inverter/chargers.

So I bought a Magnum MS-2812 inverter/charger (2800W inverter, 125A 12V charger), and a couple Iota DLS-75/IQ4 chargers. The Iotas are a lot of bang for the buck, and I got a really good price for the Magnum (about $1750 eighteen months ago)...

I wouldn't be surprised if the Victron costs more than the the Magnum and the Iota combined.
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Old 10-08-2009, 21:42   #3
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I read that inverter/charger combo's do a better job charging than dedicated chargers. The author of the book (slips my mind at the moment) claimed 5-10% battery life improvement with an inverter.
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Old 10-08-2009, 22:24   #4
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If you buy a quality combi like the Victron, install and operate it properly, it will last for ever, so buying solely based on price is a false economy.

My original equipment was a 1984 Victron Charger and separate Prosine Inverter.

When I upgraded the size of my house bank to a large AGM bank, I kept the original Victron Skyla 50/24 ( Still Worked!..just changed dip switches per their updated online manual, for AGM charging levels) and installed a new Combi 24/3000/70/

When doing amp tests on equal charge rates the Combi was about 15% more efficient than the old Skyla charger but using both, it still makes a great Bulk Charger for the first hour or so of charging.

What I like about Victron is that while they are leading edge on smart DC management, they do not sacrifice ruggedness or the versatility to still use original equipment for basic functions.

The key is getting a smart monitor to manage your DC charging system which Victron has

2008 list price for a Victron Inverter/Charger 12/3000/120-50 was Euro 1426, so it seems about the same as US models that seem to be more gimicky in my opinion
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Old 11-08-2009, 08:31   #5
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Yes I agree.
The victron 12/3000/120 that I am considering is 2300 usd.
I planned on using the blue sea system vsm to manage monitoring. I have a link 10 now.
The victron 3000 watt inverter only can be had for 1200, and the victron centuar 60 amp charger for 570 usd. So the price diference can buy the bss vsm, a savings of 500 usd.
Since i felt that charging under power, or using the solar/wind is a bit more important than charging at the dock, I wondered if some economy can be had buy getting them seperate. Not sure why the combined inverter charger is much more expensive than a inverter, since I have read that they use a lot of the same circuits to do the job.
And if I ever wanted to double up on the inverter, or the charger (for the newer battery technology for instance where high acceptance rates are ok) it would be cheaper to do so rather than buying another combi unit.
Thanks for the replies.
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:10   #6
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I have done this on the cheaper end of things. I have a Xantrex XM1000 inverter, and a Iota 45amp iq4 smart charger. They both work well. The only drawback I have found thusfar is if you want to integrate the inverter into your shorepower wiring. To do this with the Xantrex, you need to have both the shorepower panel and the batteries very close together. It allows you to wire it in such as way that it will automatically switch over depending on the source available. If they are not close, it won't work. So to wire the inverter into our system, I'll need to add a manual transfer switch, another $75-$100 dollars I did not count on.

Chris
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:51   #7
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The Victron is a wonderful piece of equipment. I have one on my boat, and have installed others on client's boats. One of my colleagues has 3 on his 60-footer.

These units have lots of useful features. One of them is Power Assist....if the shore or generator source is unable to supply enough current for the load -- e.g., a hard-starting electric motor -- the Victron will take power from the batteries, convert it to AC, and add it to whatever is incoming from the dock or generator. Very useful for managing temporary large loads.

But, whoever said an inverter/charger can charge batteries better than a similarly-sized dedicated battery charger is talking thru his/her hat. That's just plain nonsense.

BTW, the Victron you're thinking about has a 120A charging capacity, or double the standalone charger you mentioned. On a boat your size, unless you've got an energy budget much smaller than most, you can well use the extra charging capacity.

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Old 11-08-2009, 15:32   #8
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I have a Mastervolt 24/60/2500W combi. It is an install and forget unit, to the point that you have to make sure your batery bank is up to it. There is a significant idle current (in my case 1-4 amps) to consider, because all of the electronics are active all the time. The power support option is very handy, you wont trip the shore fuse and in my case I can use it to take peaks off my little old Onan 2KW genset. I can start the aircon unit (220V) with help of the battery after which the genset takes the regular load.

Power support is only possible with these combined units, because the phase of the power from shore or genset and the power coming from the battey/inverter are synchronised. That alone was reason for me to go for the combined unit.

Just my 2 cents .. :-)
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Old 11-08-2009, 16:09   #9
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you save the cables, complication, fuse etc by getting them together...
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:44   #10
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Ah yes, all good points.
I have decided, after much careful reading from the board... to get the victron inverter/charger.
Thanks all for the comments.
Bob
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:36   #11
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Good choice.

By the way, Victron has a new battery monitoring system which looks pretty good. You might have a look at that as well as the BSS VSM.

Good luck,

Bill
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Old 15-08-2009, 07:30   #12
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Bill I looked at both. The victron looks very good, but the BSS monitors much more. Cost wise it seems a no brainer. But then the BSS VSM is limited in how many tanks it can monitor, and only one bilge pump, so I may go to separate systems for that, in which case the Victron 602 would be my top choice. Peter Kennedy is my guy to go to when I need this stuff. His prices are unbeatable for the most part, and his support very good.


Victron Energy BMV 602 Precision Battery Monitor - VICBMV602
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Old 14-10-2009, 23:41   #13
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One reason for considering seperate chargers and inverters is to deal with various types of power at various marinas and have a consistent power on the boat... For example, the standard 125/250 50A connector can be supplied with either split phase power (two 120V phases 180 degrees out of phase for 240V between the phases) or two 120V phases which are 120 degrees out of phase for 208V between the phases. Then there is 120 50A, 120 30A, 120 20A, and 120 15A. In many cases the shore power has significant voltage sags.

Then, if traveling to foreign ports with 50 cycle power there is the whole question of if the equipment aboard can deal with it, even if it can then the european standard has a neutral and a hot with provide 230V 50 cycles.

So, that said, if you convert everything into DC power and then use seperate inverters to power the equipment everything is getting consistent power.

For example, only some inverters can deal with a wide range of frequencies while the battery chargers are often capable of consuming anything from 90V to 260V without an issue. Those inverters which can handle a wide range of frequencies will generally slew back to their "preferred" frequency when the outside power source goes away.

I am currently looking at the Victron energy 100A @ 24V chargers and hope to use two or three of them to consume the 208V 50A connection at my marina. Then produce both 120V and 240V split phase power aboard avoiding all of the problems with different power sources.

My biggest question is do I need an isolation transformer to provide galvanic isolation if the only place the power from shore goes to is some breakers and then to the battery chargers. (i.e. does ships ground need to be connected to the charger for safety? Or does the charger act as an isolation transformer in some sense).
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