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Old 19-03-2011, 05:13   #1
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Isolation Transformer: Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

We have decided to add an isolation transformer this year and I have been researching which one to buy and I was looking for feedback from anyone who has first hand experience with these. We have a single 30A 120V system and may wind up in 240V 50hz territory in a few years. The Victron and Charles can handle different incoming and outgoing voltage, and I fully understand that the output if we are in 240V 50 hz would be 120V 50hz.

The three models I am looking at are the Master Volt Mass GI 7.0kVA Mass GI 7.0 kVA/32A | Mastervolt Marine, the Victron 3600VA Isolation Transformers 2000VA / 3600VA / 7000VA and Auto Transformers - Victron Energy, and the Charles ISOG2 or the 93-IXFMR 3/8I-A. The Mastervolt weighs about 22 lbs and the Victron 50 lbs and the Charles 60 to 70lbs. The Mastervolt is the priciest and the Victron and Charles are close. The Victron is the one we are leaning towards because of the price, built-in softstart, fan cooling and Toroidal transformer type (suppose to be better? Less noise?)

How are the noise levels on these and how much heat do these really put off. Is Softstart really necessary. I did some research on-line and Toroidal transformer types (they say) have a bigger in-rush of current when first energized versus an traditional E-I type (Charles) transformer?? Is this true?

I tried searching the forum and I found a few threads and there is a lot of advice but I am looking for first hand user feedback.
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Old 19-03-2011, 10:24   #2
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

we have used a charles for 5 years. it does hum a bit when loaded up, but not bad even though it is in the locker near the sleeping berth.

As to heat, it will get warm, but not too hot to touch.

Don't know how you will get 'real' world comparisions as most on this forum will have only one unit installed, and the feedback is totally subjective.

good luck
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Old 20-03-2011, 07:10   #3
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

Isobelk,

Thanks for the info

Anyone have the Victron 3600?
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Old 20-03-2011, 07:41   #4
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

We have the Victron 3600. It hums quite a bit when well loaded. The breaker trips if you even slightly exceed the rated load. It's been a bit of a PITA. This summer I'm going to wire in a bypass for use when we are on the boat and using a lot of elec gear.
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Old 20-03-2011, 12:16   #5
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

Dockhead,

Thanks for the feedback. Doesn't sound good on the breaker issue. Is the internal breaker the same size as the dockside?
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Old 20-03-2011, 21:20   #6
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

The Victron breakers will trip when at 32A. At 120V this is 3,840W, well over it's 3,600W rating.

If you want to consume more than 3,600W then you must buy the bigger 7,000W model. If the breakers trigger at less than 32A @ 120V (= 16A @ 220/240V) then they must be replaced.

I love the Victron unit... it is much better than the Charles unit it replaced aboard Jedi. The MasterVolt unit is the most modern one and I think it does frequency conversion like 50->60Hz. It has a high frequency transformer which is the reason it's so light. I have no experience with it though.

Both Victron & MasterVolt are solid Dutch brands.

cheers,
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Old 21-03-2011, 07:12   #7
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

s/v Jedi,

Thanks for the feedback about the Victron unit. How is the noise level on yours.

Also, I called Mastervolt and you have to jump up to the Mass GI 7.0 unit to get 32A. They also said their unit is a 1-1 transformer. So it won't convert 240V to 120V.
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Old 21-03-2011, 07:32   #8
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsodf View Post
s/v Jedi,

Thanks for the feedback about the Victron unit. How is the noise level on yours.
From a meter away, mine is silent regardless of load. When a load comes on-line you hear that happening. It isn't anything near the sound of a Charles which you hear from a long distance away.

Quote:
Also, I called Mastervolt and you have to jump up to the Mass GI 7.0 unit to get 32A. They also said their unit is a 1-1 transformer. So it won't convert 240V to 120V.
Shame... I'll try to find some info but meanwhile, the Victron is top kit.

Edit: checked it and I find their product pretty clueless and 230V oriented. Victron is still the IT to beat.

ciao!
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Old 21-03-2011, 11:37   #9
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

BTW, Legrand do a range of 230VAC isolating transformers, they need to be put in a case, but they are a lot cheaper then the "marine" ones

Dave
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Old 22-03-2011, 13:50   #10
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

S/v Jedi,

Saw your edit. Looks like there is not much on Mastervolt on their web page. Thanks again for the feedback on the Victron unit. It looks like we will go with it.

Goboatingnow,

Thanks for your info on Legrand.
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Old 23-03-2011, 18:44   #11
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

One more question. Why does the Mastervolt and Victron both have internal breakers and the Charles units don't? Does this have something to do with European standards?
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Old 25-03-2011, 11:45   #12
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsodf View Post
One more question. Why does the Mastervolt and Victron both have internal breakers and the Charles units don't? Does this have something to do with European standards?
The Charles will be cheaper? I don't think the codes differ on the requirements for breakers to protect wire/windings from overload so they must be added to the Charles externally.

cheers,
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Old 21-04-2011, 19:25   #13
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

s/v Jedi,

Getting ready to order the Victron tomorrow. Do you have the 3600VA or the 7000VA. You said yours is great and i wondered which Victron you have. I am concerned about the experience that Dockhead has had. On a 120VAC set-up with a 30 amp breaker that never trips today, do you think we will be OK with the 3600VA model?
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Old 21-04-2011, 19:28   #14
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsodf View Post
s/v Jedi,

Getting ready to order the Victron tomorrow. Do you have the 3600VA or the 7000VA. You said yours is great and i wondered which Victron you have. I am concerned about the experience that Dockhead has had. On a 120VAC set-up with a 30 amp breaker that never trips today, do you think we will be OK with the 3600VA model?
I have the 3600VA. It has 2x 16A breakers IIRC meaning you have 32A at 120V range and 16A at 240V range. I have used 15A @ 240V without any trouble.

Go for it

ciao!
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Old 21-04-2011, 19:54   #15
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Re: Isolation Transformer Victron vs Mastervolt vs Charles

3600 it is. Thanks for the quick response!!

Don
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