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Old 14-04-2009, 18:33   #16
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Another vote for the Multi units from Victron. Have used both 110v and 230v units. A neat feature is that the inverter will automatically come on to cover momentary peak loads that might otherwise pop a shore power or genset breaker. Excellent battery charger too (multi-stage, temperature compensated, and all parameters can be custom set).

Very conservative ratings. The 3000 watt 120v unit will handle brief loads of 6000 watts. 120 amp (12v) charger. The US price is only about $1800

For about $100 you can buy a connector to connect the Multi to a laptop and run a nice piece of software that sets all of the parameters. Much easier than fooling with dip switches.

No relation to the company

Carl
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Old 14-04-2009, 18:48   #17
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When I buy high initial cost equipment like chargers or invertors the final choice is often made based on the stability and reputation of a company.

Last year I upgraded my DC management and after studying all…went with Victron because of their pedigree of customer satisfaction and company stability serving all marine industries.

They have harmonized their equipment thru the years to be elegantly robust yet flexible enough to suit every need in managing both AC and DC power situations.

One telling example was that I had an old (still working) Victron 24v/50A Skylla Charger on board that had no manual but the original German invoice of 1982.

I was able to go online and download in PDF from the “old manual section” this exact model number together with instructions on how to change dip switch settings so as to harmonize charge parameters to suit the new AGM’s and work with the new Victron 24v/70A/3000w Multiplus combi that I decided to upgrade to.

That impressed me as does the charging efficiency and power management features of this new Victron Combi Invertor/Charger. Their Battery monitors are great also.
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Old 14-04-2009, 19:55   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
Another vote for the Multi units from Victron. Have used both 110v and 230v units. A neat feature is that the inverter will automatically come on to cover momentary peak loads that might otherwise pop a shore power or genset breaker.
Hi Carl,

Very interested in this feature but not sure how it would work. Do you mean that the inverter comes online to add power to the same circuits or loads in your AC system in sync with the shore power or genset? Not sure how this would work as the inverter output would have to be in phase with the other AC source. Also what is to keep the inverter power from feeding back into the shore power system?
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Old 14-04-2009, 20:26   #19
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We had a Prosine 3.0 (Xantrex). It worked, but used a lot of power in standby mode (5 amps!). Made a lot of noise - acoustic and electrical. Worst thing is their support. Or should I say lack of support. Awful, awful support system. Put on hold for hours over several days. When I got a person, they didn't know squat, were unfriendly and put me on hold for hours until I finally hung up. I sold it and bought an Outback. Beautiful engineering and when I called the company, the phone was answered by a real person and I was immediately connected to an actual engineer who had deep, fundamental understanding of the unit, inverters in general and all sorts of other rich boat wiring knowledge. The engineer was eager to talk about inverters, engineering and AC/DC details as long as I wanted to listen. Late last year, the unit blew the FET board, which is most likely the fault of our generator that had a faulty voltage regulator at the same time. Their phone was answered on the second ring and the person who answered was able to help me. Without a worry and without cost to me, Outback overnight shipped me the complete electronic guts (4 boards) with the instructions to swap them all out and send back the old boards at my convenience. They didn't ask when I purchased it, or even consider whether it was actually under warrantee. Didn't ask for a credit card. They seemed most concerned with me having a working inverter as soon as possible. They sent along a field service manual used by their actual service reps that was a hoot. I like when a company has a sense of humor up and down the chain. The design of the unit was impeccable and VERY field serviceable. I was very impressed when I opened it up and found the entire unit can be easily serviced with a few basic tools. No way a lay person can work on the ProSine units - I don't think they are serviceable at all, but are throw aways.

I wanted a Victron, and agree that these are top notch, but the unit would not fit the space I needed it to go into to. I am very happy with Outback and think they are equivalent engineering to Victron (and less expensive).

When Xantrex bought Trace, the Trace engineers left and formed Outback. Recently, some of these same engineers left Outback and formed Magnum. Magnum wasn't around when I was buying a new inverter, but looking at them now, they seem to also be a very good choice with good prices.

Mark
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Old 14-04-2009, 21:15   #20
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Skipmac

Yes. The Victron goes inline between the shore/genset breakers and the AC house panel. The inverter will provide power in phase with the ac source frequency (shore or genset) and also dynamically matches the incoming voltage. It does not feed back. If the source AC is lost (entirely or just a brownout), it disconnects from the input and just uses the inverter off of the batteries as a UPS. Note that the range is limited. You need to choose a 110v or 230v unit and feed power in that voltage range (although either unit will take either 50 or 60 hz).

There are several articles on their web site that shows how this inverter "PowerAssist" allows the fitting of a smaller genset - saving fuel, cost, and damage from low RPM genset hours. At marinas I can also get by with a cheaper 30amp shore power service since the inverter cushions the air conditioner compressor start load. A nob on an external panel lets me set the maximum shore power amps for the hookup. I'll typically set a 30 amp service at a marina with older wiring to 25 amps just for an extra measure of safety

Before going to the inverter, the system will first reduce the battery charger load to accommodate a high AC load then later restores the battery charge rate after the AC load goes down.

Mine functions as above. I really don't even think about it.

Carl
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Old 14-04-2009, 21:50   #21
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Hi Carl,

Thanks for the clarification. The benefits you describe are exactly what I was looking for, just did not know they existed in readily available inverter. Want to add a small genset but need enough reserve power for the startup load from the AC compressor.

Anyone know if this feature unique to the Victron or is this common in most modern inverters?

Skip
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Old 15-04-2009, 04:59   #22
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As far as I know Victron are the only ones who have this power assist as a tried and true standard feature (plug and play), but I am sure others can provide the same with some 3rd party controllers
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Old 15-04-2009, 07:17   #23
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I just bought and installed the Victron 3000W inverter charger.

It is a solid device and works well, I have a generator that likes to run at about 12Ah (220V) and when I fire up heavy loads such as the AC or the water maker the Victron does an admirable job of adding inverter amps to the weak AC input to give enough "oomph" for starting up these loads. I am using the inverter mode right now to power up the notebook and just made a coffee (1800Watt espresso machine).

The Victron can be hooked up to a PC to set the parameters (far easier than using the DIP switches) and I also got the option remote panel, which lets me fine-tune the power draw. It can charge at up to 120Amps (12V) and a secondary output for the starter battery at 5A; this makes my charging time much shorter and if I set my max load to 12A @ 220V and fire up devices it will automatically reduce the charging voltage so as not to overload the A/C source.

One thing you really need to factor into putting an inverter on the boat is the DC cabling. The cables run between the battery and the charger are probably only spec'd for charging amps from a typical charger, let us call it 50A; but when charging with the Victron at full tilt or running a coffee machine (1800W converts to 150A DC) those cables are woefully inadequate and will heat up and cause large power loss and voltage drop. In my case, the cable run to the main breakers was about 6 feet and they used 30mm2, from there they used 60mm2 cable (AWG 2 and 1/0 respectively) and the AWG 2 cable run is woefully undersized, even for the original 50A charger. The AWG electrical code limits recommend a 1/0 for 190 Amps power transmission
Another thought is the size of your battery bank, as inverter loads can be quite high and the deep cycle marine battery is not necessarily suited to the sudden high drain imposed by an inverter; so you need to ensure that the bank is big enough to supply the equivalent of starting-type CCA from deep cycle batteries and to not drain too quickly.
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Old 15-04-2009, 07:21   #24
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I have a xantrax 3000 watt.

Very UNHAPPY with it. I would not buy another one.
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Old 15-04-2009, 08:59   #25
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I'm looking into the MAGNUM MS2012 and MS2812 units for an installation on a customer's power boat. The folks that make them are escapees from Outback (who, in turn, were escapees from Xantrex). It appears that the technology changes more rapidly when the engineers don't feel their inputs are being recognized fast enough, or maybe, when inventory of the older technology is too high to justify coming out with a new model. So, folks go out the back door and open a new shop (supposedly, that's how Outback got started, now, it's Magnum). It's nice having competition in technology, especially when you can get more bang for your buck.

I only have a small "beer can" inverter on my own boat, at the moment. The Magnum has full sine wave and charger. I'll be considering replacement of my shore power charger and installation of the 2000 watt inverter in the near future, now that the price has come closer to my reality level. At nearly fifty pounds, being able to dump a couple for the charger helps a tiny bit on a multihull.
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Old 15-04-2009, 10:56   #26
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Since I am not on shore power or use a gen set, nor large AC loads at anchor I am using Xantrex Tru charge (very very rarely) and 1000 watt inverter. So far so good.
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Old 15-04-2009, 12:05   #27
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This had turned out to be a great thread for me. Thanks to all who have contributed! I've learned a great deal and have now narrowed my search to Magnum and Victron. Oh the joys of the Internet and helpful people who contribute here.

Regards,

TJ
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Old 15-04-2009, 13:57   #28
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We have two Freedom inverter chargers, now owned by Xantrex. They are 24 v in and 3.5kw out each, don't know much about them but they seem fine. The microwave works so my wife is happy.
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Old 15-04-2009, 14:38   #29
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You should also look into the Mastervolt systems - they are rugged and those I've met who have one are happy. I almost got the Mastervolt 2000 or 4000, it has almost the same features as the Victron, in my case I had a real 2000W load and when you look at the charts the actual performance goes down quite a bit with temperature increases so in tropical conditions it would only have put out just over 1500 real watts and that would have been just short of what I needed for the coffee machine. The 4000 model would have been overkill, so I opted for the 3000 Watt Victron.
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Old 15-04-2009, 14:40   #30
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I've heard good things about both Charles and Victron, but I have a Mastervolt which has worked flawlessly for 4 years. It's a good unit, well made and simple to operate.
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