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Old 02-12-2012, 23:56   #1
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Inverters 101

Looked for this VERY simple answer with a search, couldn't find it.

Please forgive this question:

What is an inverter and why do you need it?

Whenever I charter I am always confused as to when to turn on the inverter and the whole shore power vs. 110v vs 12v, etc., etc., etc.

Can somebody explain this to me like I'm a five year old? I've got a boat that I'm going to have to do some re-wiring on, and I guess this would be the first question that needs answering.

**If anybody wants bonus points, a quick explanation as to what a "charger" does and why it is needed for solar panels, or if it is actually even required.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 02-12-2012, 23:59   #2
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Re: Inverters 101

And the whole AC/DC thing...
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Old 03-12-2012, 00:40   #3
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Re: Inverters 101

Ok an inverter will give you 110volt power from a 12volt battery, so if you want to run a television, toaster or any 110volt appliance you connect an inverter to your battery and plug your appliance in.

BUT that 110 volt power is limited in strength by the size battery and size inverter.

Although it is a simple box connected to a 12 volt battery the output can still kill you so treat it with same caution as at home.

Your battery will go flat using lights etc so you need to re-charge the battery, choices are a solar panel tops up during daytime.

A wind generator charges whenever the wind blows.

A "Charger" is a 110volt appliance that you plug into the Marina's power to charge your batteries.

Before you ask, NO you cannot run your charger off the inverter that runs off the battery to charge the battery.

AC/DC were a rock band.....
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Old 03-12-2012, 00:45   #4
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Re: Inverters 101

Victron has a book on it's website that contains most of what you need about electricity on board a yacht. Download it here:
http://www.victronenergy.com/upload/...yUnlimited.pdf
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Old 03-12-2012, 00:50   #5
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Re: Inverters 101

Also if you type the word inverter into google you get a load of hits, including wikipedia.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:03   #6
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Re: Inverters 101

Excellent, very helpful thank you for your responses!
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:17   #7
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Re: Inverters 101

If you are plugged into shore power when you are in a marina,you can run 110v appliances on the boat like a microwave without any equipment.
You generally want the shore power to also charge your 12v batteries. This is what a charger does.

When at anchor you have no shore power. You can use an inverter to convert the 12v to 110v. There are limitations with this, a microwave for example uses a lot of power, so the batteries would flatten very quickly.
A charger is no use at anchor.(unless you have a generator)

When at anchor if you need to charge you batteries you can run the main engine and/or use solar and wind to charge the batteries. Solar and wind cannot be directly connected to batteries and need a regulator (sometimes its called a controller, but its the same thing)

Hope this simple explanation helps. Some large boats also have a generator which gives them other options. A generator is a motor and electronics that will generate 110v. This can be used to charge the batteries and run the microwave, just like shore power, but you have the noise, cost and maintenance associated with another motor.
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