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Old 02-11-2018, 13:55   #1
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Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

Hello all, Iím trying to work out what I should do with my charger/inverter. At the moment I have 360Ah of fairly recent AGMs, plus a new starter battery. Thereís a BEP autoswitch to charge the start battery, and a BEP monitor. Medium sized alternator, all ok so far. But the inverter is a Heart Interface Freedom 10. Itís not really big enough and itís so far from sinusoidal that I canít run much apart from a coffee machine or the odd power tool from it. Iíd like to upgrade to a better quality inverter closer to 2kW, and am trying to work out what to get.

In the near future (but not now), I will be adding some small amount of solar, and a 4-5kW generator. So it would make sense to be ready for that.

Iím tending towards a Victron Quattro. These arenít cheap, but are they the best way to let me do what I need without having to replace things later? Should I just get a charger/inverter and then add to it later, or would that leave me with a less efficient system? Should I wait for and get one of these new SG200 battery monitors when theyíre available, or perhaps the Pico? Or will my current monitor do fine ó itís good enough for what I need right now.

Are there other quality charger/inverter systems I should be looking at? I like the way the Quattro lets me put some devices on a mains-only circuit, so that I donít trash the batteries with the water heater or aircon by mistake.

Your suggestions as to the best way forward would be appreciated.
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Old 02-11-2018, 14:33   #2
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

My 2Ę

Victron's combi units are the bee's knees, especially wrt PowerAssist feature.

But my LFP system design keeps the Loads buss and Charging buss separate, so that means keeping separate the inverter and AC-to-DC charger.

The SG200 sounds promising, but IMO too early to know how accurate it is IRL. Same with Pico.

Old-school SmartGauge for SoC, plus maybe a coulomb-counter for AH, e.g. Victron 702-BMV is my reco.
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Old 02-11-2018, 15:01   #3
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

First of all, this question is in the same category as "what anchor should I use" or "should I have guns onboard!!!"

Victron makes excellent products. I have been installing them for over 15 years and highly recommend them. Magnum also makes excellent products but they are not as feature rich as the Victron line.
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Old 02-11-2018, 15:14   #4
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

The question I guess is should I stump up for the Quattro for future-proofing, or go for a cheaper option?
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Old 02-11-2018, 18:56   #5
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

If yiu get a victron with 2 inputs it will save you money on ac switching and wiring later for the gen.

360ah is a really small bank for a 2000w inverter.
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Old 02-11-2018, 18:59   #6
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

I don't see how anyone could answer that for you.

Will spending the extra money cause you much inconvenience, beyond say eating meals at home a bit more for a while?

Or the other way, doing without its extra features, would that be a major inconvenience for you?
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Old 02-11-2018, 19:14   #7
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Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

Iíd say look at Magnum, never heard of a failure, and a good price too.
However you NEED the remote to access and control all of its functions, so include that in your pricing comparisons.
The power boost I can see would be nice, but not sure all that necessary. My AC has enormous surge amperage, but my 3.5 KW generator handles it.
With that small bank, you may find that to get the best use out of a larger inverter, youíll need or can use a decently large alternator so that is can absorb a large portion of the draw.
Of course thatís when your motoring.
Otherwise for larger loads, you crank the generator.
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Old 02-11-2018, 20:29   #8
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

I don’t mind spending the extra if it’s worth it in the future. I don’t want to buy one of the victron inverter/chargers for 60% of the Quattro price, then find I can’t easily set up the generator and solar later without spending as much as I would have simply getting the Quattro up front.

My ac has soft start, and takes only around 3kW to start, so a small generator would be fine for that. The inverter is mostly for things like running a microwave for a few minutes, don’t mind having the engine on, wouldn’t run down too much battery for the short time it’s on. In future I will be upgrading the battery capacity but they’re fairly new and I’m used to sailing in the old days when battery capacity was significantly lower, so 360Ah indicated to me is lots! My engine died 12 hours out of harbour and we only used about 35Ah in that time, so I’m not particularly profligate in my battery usage when sailing.

I will investigate magnum and see how they’re priced here in nz
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:46   #9
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

I have to say the Magnum and Victron products are both great. Paying the extra price for the Victron will get you a and inverter that switches quickly over when power is lost plus its boost function is exceptionally fast. If you are budget is tight go with the Magnum as you will not be disappointed. If you got the extra bucks I vote for the Victron. For what it is worth I am installing a Victron on my boat. Additionally Victron is very good with providing firmware updates on a semi regular basis which usually is for improved performance, communication or to fix minor bugs. I hope this helps.
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Old 03-11-2018, 17:05   #10
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Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

The Magnum inverter turn on is so fast that it can be used as a Uninterruptible power supply. I can shut down my generator and the inverter comes on line so fast that the TV doesnít even flicker.
However they are US made, so I donít know that the price in Nz will be.
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Old 03-11-2018, 18:36   #11
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

It certainly seems that many more suppliers have victron over here, and thus there is a tiny amount of discount sometimes available, and presumably servicing would be easier. There are so few boat services over here that that is a primary consideration.

I’m starting to think that the Quattro is a lot more money for not a great deal more as far as I can see. The only thing it really lets me do is connect the generator and AC simultaneously. A simple switch or fancier switchover system would do the same for me.

Meanwhile there’s also the EasySolar, which is substantially cheaper and yet includes the mppt controller for three panels. Although it’s only 1600w, that should be enough since I’d be keeping water heating and a/c away from the inverter. Their product range does seem oddly set up.
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Old 03-11-2018, 19:42   #12
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Iíd say look at Magnum, never heard of a failure, and a good price too.
However you NEED the remote to access and control all of its functions, so include that in your pricing comparisons.
The power boost I can see would be nice, but not sure all that necessary. My AC has enormous surge amperage, but my 3.5 KW generator handles it.
With that small bank, you may find that to get the best use out of a larger inverter, youíll need or can use a decently large alternator so that is can absorb a large portion of the draw.
Of course thatís when your motoring.
Otherwise for larger loads, you crank the generator.
Will be looking at The Magnum as I am in the same scenario, very interesting and timely. Only have a 210 Ahr AGM bank but just got 500 Ahr bank of AGM's at the Annapolis boat show and have no inverter but a 4.2 KW generator. Will be updating to a charger / inverter and also a new alternator and solar at another time.

What charge capacity does a 2000w inverter pair with? Need to put together a whole system.
Jeff
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Old 03-11-2018, 20:20   #13
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

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Meanwhile thereís also the EasySolar, which is substantially cheaper and yet includes the mppt controller for three panels. Although itís only 1600w, that should be enough since Iíd be keeping water heating and a/c away from the inverter. Their product range does seem oddly set up.
Does sound odd. I'm not a fan of other-function devices taking on solar controllers, best to get individual best of breed for each purpose IMO.

IOW if what you need is a good inverter, get that, and getting a good one is worth paying more. But paying **lots** more for fancy functionality you don't actually need is counterproductive.

Most people do not need things to be seamless ly automated, KISS
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:32   #14
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

I would leave the inverter as a relatively small one--they are fairly cheap--and get the generator NOW--you can run everything from that and you were going to buy one eventually anyway.

A cheap 6 kva air-cooled diesel gen-set will cost about three grand or so depending on what quality you need. A water-cooled one with heat exchanger and raw water pump or keel cooling (better) will cost more--but unless you intend to run an air conditioner and sleep aboard--an air cooled model properly shielded with noise absorption will do.
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Old 04-11-2018, 05:14   #15
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Re: Please help me with advice on charger/inverter

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The Magnum inverter turn on is so fast that it can be used as a Uninterruptible power supply. I can shut down my generator and the inverter comes on line so fast that the TV doesnít even flicker.
However they are US made, so I donít know that the price in Nz will be.

Our ProMariner inverter/charger works like that. Internal transfer switch, no perceptible lag time.

Sterling's version of the same would likely be what's available less expensively in NZ. (Just guessing.)

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