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Old 14-04-2009, 13:20   #1
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Inverters - Let's Talk Brands

It's been a year or so since this topic has been under discussion so perhaps a fresh look would be appropriate. I'm looking for a inverter for our boat as a part of our refit. I've deduced we need a pure sine inverter, which certainly narrows things down and I want a minimum of 3,000W (4,000 would be better, I like my power, what can I say? ) which narrows it down even more.

In doing my due diligence here a salesman told me Outback is far superior to Xantrex. Hadn't heard that before, but......well it came from a salesman, ya' know, but on the other hand he carries both brands....so.....HELP!!

Another brand that turned up is Charles Marine, which I know nothing about. Comments about your experience with these products would be appreciated.

Regards,

TJ
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Old 14-04-2009, 13:42   #2
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Victron, Victron, Victron.

The MultiPlus can put out 3,000 watts with no problem, and includes a very hefty smart battery charger. Top quality construction, design, and engineering.

See Victron Energy - Inverter/chargers - Inverters - Battery Chargers - and more

Have had one for 3 years...love it. Have installed them for clients, and a friend has 3 of them (BIG boat)!

First time I took the cover off of one I was blown away by the build quality....and I'm an electronics guy and see a lot of equipment :-)

Bill
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Old 14-04-2009, 13:46   #3
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I have a 3000 watt Statpower that is around 8-10 years old now. Yes, I know Statpower's parent company is Xantrex now. That does not necessarily mean that their big expensive true sine wave inverters are crap though...they still keep the Statpower name. I run some pretty sensitive scientific equipment that requires a true sine wave waveform. I have had no problems with it.

I don't think you can judge Xantrax by one type of inverter. They have a quite a variety of different inverters, cheap modified square wave inverters to true sinewave inverters designed for sensitive electronics.

This is the one I use: Xantrex Technology Inc. - Boats - Prosine 3.0 - Product Information


Something I find annoying about some of the inverter advertising... The advertising calls some of the cheaper inverters a "modified sine wave" Bull poop, its a modified square wave. Why would you want to alter a sine wave?....that's what you want!
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Old 14-04-2009, 14:55   #4
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Bill: The Victron seems to only offer 220V outputs. Which is fine for some things, but most of my AC appliances are 110V. Is there a work-a-round with this brand?

David: Well ya' know those salesmen, they gotta sell ya' somethin' so maybe they push the brand that makes them the most money, or maybe the brand the is truly better, but how do you tell which it is?

Regards,

TJ
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Old 14-04-2009, 15:01   #5
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Nah...they have 120VAC models. The one I mentioned (and the one I have) is a 120VAC inverter/charger. It's called the MultiPlus. There's a datasheet on the U.S. version available here:

Phoenix MultiPlus 12 / 24 / 48 Volt / Phoenix MultiPlus Compact 12 / 24 Volt - Victron Energy

One feature I really like with the remote control is the ability to quickly dial the maximum current draw you allow when using the 120A battery charger. This is very handy when powering the charger from an onboard generator, when you have other things to do and don't want to overload the generator. For example, I only have a 3.5KW generator, so I often dial down to a maximum draw of 6-8 amps or so when I'm running an A/C or other high power-draw item.

Bill
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Old 14-04-2009, 15:24   #6
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Inverter research

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yachts66 View Post
It's been a year or so since this topic has been under discussion so perhaps a fresh look would be appropriate. I'm looking for a inverter for our boat as a part of our refit. I've deduced we need a pure sine inverter, which certainly narrows things down and I want a minimum of 3,000W (4,000 would be better, I like my power, what can I say? ) which narrows it down even more.

In doing my due diligence here a salesman told me Outback is far superior to Xantrex. Hadn't heard that before, but......well it came from a salesman, ya' know, but on the other hand he carries both brands....so.....HELP!!

Another brand that turned up is Charles Marine, which I know nothing about. Comments about your experience with these products would be appreciated.

Regards,

TJ
Yachts66,
You should definitly look at some other brands. I have quite a bit of experience with Freedom Series inverters which are modified sine wave. They are ok but hard on some kinds of gear.

With inverters you also must make sure to use GFCIs that have been tested and are known to work on a particular brand and model of inverter. there should be a list in the inverter instructions and one can always call the manufacturer to see which GFCIs work with their inverters. I have had some which did not trip when they were supposed to. I have seen this requirement ignored by builders and installers at times This is an important issue and is mentioned in the ABYC Standard A-31 Battery Chargers and Inverters:

31.5.7.2 An inverter that does not have an integral
ground fault protection device and is installed so that
GFCI protection is required by ABYC E-11, “AC and
DC Electrical Systems on Boats”, shall have the
required GFCI device(s) specified by the inverter
manufacturer as to GFCI manufacturer and model
number.

NOTE: Harmonic distortion of the AC output
waveform from some inverters may affect the
operation of some GFCI devices.


I would go with a full sine wave inverter as they do reduce the problems experienced with different electrical gear.

I have to agree with Bill about Victron. I am most impressed with them Victron Energy - Inverter/chargers - Inverters - Battery Chargers - and more.

You might want to go to their website and get their free "Blue Book" on their equipement. Order the book It is well written and provides a great deal of info on inverters and the ways they can be used. I keep it as a reference.
Also look around their site as there are some good downloads and white papers to get some more education.

Hope this helps you in your search,

John
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Old 14-04-2009, 15:27   #7
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By golly they sure do!! How'd I miss that?

Thanks,

TJ
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Old 14-04-2009, 15:34   #8
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Thank you John. I hadn't even thought about GFCI's yet. Good to know.

Regards,

TJ
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Old 14-04-2009, 15:38   #9
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modified sine wave??

are you looking for a unit that provides a modified sine wave or do you need/want a pure true sine wave output? The latter will be quite a bit more expensive to say the least..
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Old 14-04-2009, 15:43   #10
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For high capacity stuff I agree with Victron as probably the best. Outback might be challenging them but I don't have direct experience with them.

For smaller inverters, look at Synergex.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 14-04-2009, 16:35   #11
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I am about to purchase one myself.

Outback is the front runner in my research, but the marine electrician that lives on my dock recommends Victron, as does Boat Electric in Seattle.
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Old 14-04-2009, 16:38   #12
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No idea of the brand but it's surely Chinese. I got it at Northern tools for a great price compared to Worst Marine. Works well and will run my drills, grinder, sander and sabre saw. It won't handle my Bosch circular saw or my wet/dry vac for some reason. I run the power sorce for my laptop without trouble too........m
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Old 14-04-2009, 17:11   #13
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What about Charles River? Has anyone used them? They have quite a product line.

Regards,

TJ
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Old 14-04-2009, 18:02   #14
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Magnum Energy

Check out Magnum Energy inverters (both sine and modified). Their engineers used to be with Trace Engineering. They have years of experience in this field and applications as well.
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Old 14-04-2009, 18:21   #15
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Dear Yatchs

I have had three diferent Xantrex in the yatchs I had over the last 15 years. I never had a problem. the output is puresinevawe and I can not hear any RF interference in my SSB .

I can run microwave oven and the electric water heater at the same time from the batteries while sailing and is still delivering 238 Volts.

I m using the 2kw 240 volt model sold in Canada. The internal relay makes wiring very easy. internal relay is a cheap option on xantrex. Detachable panel is very easy to read and have digital measure of DC voltage and Amps and Ac output Voltyage.

Standby mode is really useful, the inverter doesnt draw any power ( 10 mA) if no load is connected, so we usually leave the inverter on while sailing so crew can charge phones,ipods or computers on the AC outlets while sailing.

I have some 117 volt outlets wired though a good transformer fused trhough a panel switch in case we need 117 volts.

Today most chargers are good from 100 volts to 240 volts either 50 or 60 hz as they use solid state switching electronics.

Maybe one of the few pieces of marine equipment I can recommend.

ZENCAP
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