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Old 30-09-2015, 08:14   #1
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Inverter Installation Paradigms

What is the better installation paradigm given that I already have a great charger (Mastervolt) and do not want a combined Inverter/Charger?

Install so that:

1) All the outlets are always powered via the inverter direct from DC. Which maintains a completely separate system, or;

2) Use the inverters built in transfer switch to determine how to power the outlets?

I see #1 as being less complicated and when we go to places that do not have 115 volt/60hz service we don't have to worry about the voltage or frequency.

Does running high amp DC current through a battery all the time hurt the battery?

I already have a few small inverters but I want to upgrade to a whole-boat Mastervolt inverter.
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Old 30-09-2015, 08:25   #2
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

I don't understand where you see a conflict with using the transfer switch. When tied to 115V/60Hz power, it gets passed through to your outlets. When the power available is otherwise, you don't want to use it anyhow, and the inverter runs your outlets.

Things plugged into outlets generally aren't consistent high amp loads. Those types are best served with dedicated breakers, and often separate from the inverter.

However, running consistent high amp loads off a battery does increase the absolute discharge cycles and decreases its relative lifetime accordingly. Even worse if you are not regularly recharging it.

If you mean that a high amp load would be drawn from the battery while the battery was being supplied the same charging load, then the battery is acting more as a ballast and the lifetime is not effected as much in terms of discharge cycles.

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Old 30-09-2015, 09:42   #3
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I don't understand where you see a conflict with using the transfer switch. When tied to 115V/60Hz power, it gets passed through to your outlets. When the power available is otherwise, you don't want to use it anyhow, and the inverter runs your outlets.

Things plugged into outlets generally aren't consistent high amp loads. Those types are best served with dedicated breakers, and often separate from the inverter.

However, running consistent high amp loads off a battery does increase the absolute discharge cycles and decreases its relative lifetime accordingly. Even worse if you are not regularly recharging it.

If you mean that a high amp load would be drawn from the battery while the battery was being supplied the same charging load, then the battery is acting more as a ballast and the lifetime is not effected as much in terms of discharge cycles.

Mark
And what if I am hooked up to something other than 115-120volt?

Actually - you just pointed out a problem with my choosen inverter. It only supports 120 volt.

Is there an inverter that will take 220/50 and convert to 120/60?
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Old 30-09-2015, 10:00   #4
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post

Is there an inverter that will take 220/50 and convert to 120/60?
I haven't heard of one. That's not what inverters do. That's called a transformer.

Much depend son what your plans are. I'd use either. If you use the transfer switch method (which we have on our Freedom 15, understood it's not a standalone inverter, but the concept is the same), it requires managing the water heater to make sure it's off when the inverter is on.
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Old 30-09-2015, 12:28   #5
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

My new/old boat came with a nice Trace pure sine wave 110v/60Hz inverter/charger. It works fine now but I worry that it will break someday (not if, when). It is wired on the AC side so that all shorepower AC goes through it, so if I have shorepower plugged in, I have to have the inverter ON or no AC - anywhere. I want to at least add a selector switch to select the source to my panel and the outlets. So when the inverter needs to go to the shop or get replaced, I will have shorepower AC. These switches are not cheap though.

I am not aware of any inverters that will transform 220 to 110 AC. That does not mean they don't exist but I am not aware of them. Most modern marine chargers can handle 220/50 or 110/60 fine but all they do is output DC to the batteries. You will need a transformer to do the conversion for AC to AC. They are big and heavy.

However, the "best" way to wire an inverter into a house AC panel is to isolate the power hogs (heaters, reefers, sometimes microwaves, etc.) so they only run off of shorepower/gererator and not off of inverter/batteries. Heavy constant use of the batteries will dramatically decrease the life of the batteries as noted by Mark above. Isolating the outlets from the others requires also isolating the neutrals so it is a PITA job but not terribly hard with a clamp-on ammeter to detect which neutrals are on or not by circuit breaker. You have to modify the panel though to isolate the hots. That's not "hard" either, just a PITA.

I like separate inverters with separate chargers but overall with a combo inverter/charger you can get monster size charging amps for less money than standalone. HD chargers are freaking expensive.
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Old 30-09-2015, 13:03   #6
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

In diagram 8 shown in the link below, they have two AC outputs. One output says "POWER (only available when grid is connected to AC INPUT)" which I take to mean that this is where you would have your high draw items connected.

And then they have another that says "SHORT BREAK (switches between ACINPUT and inverter power)" which I take goes to the circuit breakers that supply the normal use 120volt outlets throughout the boat.

I assume most folks rewire their existing AC circuit breaker panel into two sub panels. One for the high watt items and one for the normal circuits.

http://images.mastervolt.nl/files/Qu...bi080731US.pdf
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Old 30-09-2015, 20:23   #7
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

Zboss,
I found this from a user manual at: http://www.marinewarehouse.net/image...0%28230%29.pdf

"
The Mass Combi has two AC-outputs available;

SHORT BREAK output. The “SHORT BREAK” output
switches between the AC-in
put and the out
put of the
inverter. The AC input has the highest priority. In
principle, AC-power is always available on this output.
However during a switchover the loads connected to
this output are not supplied with AC-power for a very
short period of time (short break). It is the ideal output
for loads that need AC-power permanently like
personal computers, interior lighting and the
refrigerator.

POW
ER output. This output is always internally
connected to the AC-input. It
is therefore only available
when an external AC-source like shore power, a
generator or an outlet is present. Larger loads like a
hot water boiler, electric cooking appliance or washing
machine should be connected to this output"

At another website it said that the Mass Combi will supplement the AC Output (when external AC is supplied) from the generator or batteries for heavy loads. Not for sure what this means. I would check that out as it may mean that it will still use the batteries in certain circumstances. I don't know the product so it may be configurable (or not). But it looks promising. Somebody with experience with these units may be able to help you more. It would be a nice feature.


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Old 30-09-2015, 20:31   #8
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

the inverter pass through wouild have a main breaker feeding it. say 30a. if you turn off that breaker then the inverter will no longer pass through and invert instead.


so if you are plugged into correct power, inverter breaker is on, inverter is passing through. wrong power, breaker off, inverter is inverting. but that does require manual input for use.



then you always have 120 at the outlets.


you would be better off having a contactor setup controlling when the inverter can get passthough power, controlled somehow, depending on how you are chosing 120/230 shore power




the only real downside to always inverting off your batteries (which is a lot easier to wire) is the charger is always taxed. and your charging will then be limited. IE if you have an 80a charger and at the dock you are running AC loads off the inverter you might be drawing 80a. and therefor are not longer able to charge your batteries. if you have a constant inverter setup like this, you probably want ~200a+ of charger. enough to keep up with inverter draw + charge your batteries.




choosing which loads to run through the inverter and direct from shore is a whole nother issue and not the question he asked in the first post. it is already assumed he has split this up. now he is trying to control when the inverter passes through, or doesn't pass though. based on if he is plugged into 120 60hz (inverter can safely pass through) or 230 50hz. (inverter can not pass through and must invert instead), charger running off 230v keeping batteries up with inverter on
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Old 30-09-2015, 22:11   #9
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
the inverter pass through wouild have a main breaker feeding it. say 30a. if you turn off that breaker then the inverter will no longer pass through and invert instead.
Great info.

Assuming a non-charger inverter (not the one previously posted):

Would you run the DC input from the batteries to the inverter through a large circuit breaker (say 30 amps) AND run the AC input power (shore power) to the inverter through a panel circuit breaker? I know you always want to fuse the wire just wondering if you also run it through a switch on the DC side - that way you could completely turn off the inverter when not hooked to shore power.

Right now, power goes through my ELCI to my main panel which has a large 30 amp breaker, then out on a internal bus to the rest of the AC circuits, including my 70 amp charger.

You would have two circuit breakers for the same inverter -one DC and one AC- on your panel. The scenario would be that if you are hooked to shore power and the AC switch for the inverter is ON, the inverter would choose to be powered by the circuit breaker on the shore power bus, simply passing through the AC current.

If you turn off the AC power switch (or are not hooked to shore power) then the inverter can get its power when you turn ON the DC circuit breaker.

Turn BOTH AC and DC switches OFF and the inverter gets no power and the outlets are dead.

Turn BOTH AC and DC circuit breakers ON and the inverter automatically chooses.

In that configuration I would not bother unganging the high watt AC devices from the normal AC panel bus (because you need to be hooked to shore power to run them) but I WOULD ungang the boat electrical outlets from that bus and hook them to a separate AC bus in the panel to be fed by the inverter.

That way I have a split AC system - one powered only by shore and one powered by shore or by inverter.

I think I am missing something here... maybe a common ground? I guess I would hook the inverter ground to the same place the charger ground is connected?
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Old 01-10-2015, 00:14   #10
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

every inverter needs it's own battery switch and a fuse. the inverter should be <5' from the batteries so the power does not go to your DC panel. straight from battery to inverter, both pos and neg. (through swith and fuse). the DC fuse is a class T and more like 200-300a depending on size of inverter.


generally the battery switch is a service swtich (to disable all power if working on the boat). and the inverter is turned on and off from a remote control during normal use, not the switch, which is harder to get too next to the batteries.


from the main ac panel you'd have an AC breaker feeding the inverter, on the same bus as the charger, and other big loads IE hot water tank etc, and then the inverter output goes to a sub panel with the outlet breakers. (or properly split up the existing panel, both hots and netreals)


the ac grounds are all together.


the only downside is if you are on 220 and flip the inverter breaker on. you might blow it up. or things pluged into the outlets when they get 220. a more advanced system somehow with a relay or lockout to disable the inverter getting ac power when pluged into 220 would be ideal. so you can't screw something up by mistake.


you also need to make sure the devices not on the inverter (on the main bus like charger etc) can also handle both voltages.
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:49   #11
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
And what if I am hooked up to something other than 115-120volt?
Well, I assumed that none of your appliances, etc work on 240/50, so you would not be plugging that in and running it through the boat.

If the shore power to the outlets is connected through the inverter transfer switch, then when on acceptable shore power, it passes through to the outlets. When the shore power is the wrong type, you do not use it and the inverter supplies the 120/60 needed.

If you have need for both 120 and 240, then you will need separate panels for them where you can select some of the loads to be powered by 240, while the others are powered through the inverter.

For example, our AC panel is split into two sub-panels with one wired through the inverter transfer switch. Each sub-panel has its own shore power inlet, but they can also be paralleled if only one outlet is plugged in. So we could theoretically plug 220 into one side while using the inverter for the other side. If we had only one shore connection, we could still connect one side to it while using the inverter for the other side.

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Old 01-10-2015, 09:03   #12
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

OK -thanks... I understand now. Add the inverter install to the list for 2016!
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Old 02-10-2015, 15:30   #13
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

There is something missing from a lot of these posts.


If your appliances and outlets are all 110Vac, then you need a 120Vac inverter.


If you ever want to hook this boat up to 240Vac / 50 Hz supply, then you need a separate shore power connection, distribution panel, inverter, receptacles, and loads.


Appliances (other than small electronic devices with universal power supplies) will not work on both 120Vac, 60 Hz, and 240 Vac, 50 Hz, and the system needs to be foolproof, to ensure you can never plug a 120Vac 60 Hz load, into a 240Vac, 50 Hz supply.


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Old 03-10-2015, 10:33   #14
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

Good posts from colemj and ramblinrod. You never want to be able, even by accident, to put 240v to your 110v system. And v.v. Things will blowup. PITA to put in the panels, inlets, etc. but well worth it. I have already decided to avoid that by having a battery charger that accepts all voltages and frequencies and just charges the batteries, with a 110v/60Hz inverter to power any AC I need. Unfortunately, that means you can't run the heavy AC loads that way. It's a tradeoff but much simpler and more foolproof. A separate 220/110 transformer can be plugged in to at the dock or onboard to provide AC at 110, although it would still be 50Hz. Water heaters don't care but an inverter/charger (unless it takes universal Hz) would. And electronics and clocks and some/most motors.
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Old 03-10-2015, 21:43   #15
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Re: Inverter Installation Paradigms

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Originally Posted by exMaggieDrum View Post
Good posts from colemj and ramblinrod. You never want to be able, even by accident, to put 240v to your 110v system. And v.v. Things will blowup. PITA to put in the panels, inlets, etc. but well worth it. I have already decided to avoid that by having a battery charger that accepts all voltages and frequencies and just charges the batteries, with a 110v/60Hz inverter to power any AC I need. Unfortunately, that means you can't run the heavy AC loads that way. It's a tradeoff but much simpler and more foolproof. A separate 220/110 transformer can be plugged in to at the dock or onboard to provide AC at 110, although it would still be 50Hz. Water heaters don't care but an inverter/charger (unless it takes universal Hz) would. And electronics and clocks and some/most motors.
I think that is what we will end up doing.

Our current charger works with worldwide voltages (90-265 V AC, 50 or 60 Hz) so if we put in a 12 volt inverter and reconfigure the outlets to only be powered through the inverter, it's a lot less hassle.

We never run anything high amp through the plugs anyhow. The closest thing we have to high amp through the plugs is our slow cooker - which I am encouraging my wife to get rid of. Mostly its wall-wart stuff like our camera chargers and computer chargers which run at any voltage or frequency commonly used throughout the world.
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