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Old 29-08-2013, 21:28   #1
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Recommendations For Inverter/Chargers.

Hello everyone,
My old charger only system seems to have given up the ghost. I am looking at adding an inverter anyway and would like recomendations for a live aboard 40ft. My house batteries are currently 2 group 31s with a standard starter battery who's size currently eludes me.
I am a bit of a do it yourself'er so I am looking at a inverter/charger that is fairly agreeable to install.

Thanks!
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Old 29-08-2013, 22:04   #2
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

What AC loads do you plan to run off the inverter?
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Old 29-08-2013, 22:10   #3
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22" flat panel tv laptop and such....not sure yet what people usually run off them. My hotwater tank is ac but I suspect I'd run the engine for hot water...
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Old 29-08-2013, 22:19   #4
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

If your not going to run big loads like coffee maker, microwave, hair dryer, etc. you can reduce the inverter cost by a lot. The smaller inverters don't normally come with a charger but since your batteries consists of (2) group 31, you don't need but a fraction of what they can charge at. A lead acid battery should not be charged higher than a C 0.1 rate, so 200 a-hr bank should be charged at 20 amps or less.
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Old 29-08-2013, 22:21   #5
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hrmm the thought of at least a microwave does have me thinking....If I were to throw a microwave into the mix?
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Old 29-08-2013, 22:39   #6
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

If you want the flexibility to run a microwave or other high wattage consumers, then you be getting the same size inverter as most cruisers have, 2000 watt. The charger on these are programmable, so set it at 1/10 your battery bank a-hr rating. Here is a link to a retailer of inverters, solar, etc. Solar Power Inverters – DC to AC Solar Inverters
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Old 29-08-2013, 22:43   #7
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any recomendations on brands etc? Ive heard good things about mastervolt?
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Old 29-08-2013, 23:13   #8
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

That you will have to ask others. I have a Trace 2012 that I purchased over 30 years ago and it still works, so don't have any experience other than the Trace.
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Old 29-08-2013, 23:21   #9
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

I,ve had good luck with the magnums get a real sine wave

2x group 31's is pretty small bank to be running a 2000w inverter off of though.

as a do it yourselfer. a full size inverter is starting to get out of reach. you need tools to crimp 2/0 or 4/0 size wire. and you nee to understand the ac panel so you can split it up into non inverter and inverter buses, separate the neutrals,

just running a laptop and small tv (small inverter) vs the microwave adds a lot of cost and parts.
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Old 30-08-2013, 00:49   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deckofficer
If you want the flexibility to run a microwave or other high wattage consumers, then you be getting the same size inverter as most cruisers have, 2000 watt. The charger on these are programmable, so set it at 1/10 your battery bank a-hr rating. Here is a link to a retailer of inverters, solar, etc. Solar Power Inverters – DC to AC Solar Inverters
3000 watt nominal inverters barely run high power appliances like kettles and microwaves. I think that's a more typical size.

Charger/inverters are good to have in any case since they allow you to control the amount of power you take from shore power and generator. Lot of good stuff on here if you do a search of the archives.

Nowadays it's hard to live without constant AC power on board anyway because of the incredible proliferation of small devices requiring charging - phones, ipads, laptops, tablets, cameras, etc, etc - usually 3 or 4 or more devices for every single person on board. I can charge almost all my own from DC, but with 3 or 4 or 5 people on board, it's hopeless. I end up running my inverter 24/7.
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Old 30-08-2013, 03:15   #11
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

As for brands of charger/inverters --

1. Avoid brands starting with X. Notoriously unreliable.

2. I have a Victron. Superb functionality, but I have chronic failures with all my Victron gear. Can't really recommend it.

3. Mastervolt. Supposed to be pretty good.

4. Newmar. I don't know anyone who's used their charger/inverters, but their chargers are first class. They are very expensive. See: Newmar Inverter-Chargers - Chargers & Inverters - Electrical - Downwind Marine

5. Sterling. Good reputation; bargain price. I don't know if their charger/inverters have the function of supplementing insufficient shore power with inverted battery power, or limiting draw from shore power, which are important functions for such a device.
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Old 30-08-2013, 06:27   #12
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

Having owned Xantrex, Outback and Victrons, my preference for a simple inverter/charger would be (in order):
1. Magnum
2. Outback
3. Victron
.
.
.
1000000000000000000000 Xantrex

If you wanted more esoteric capabilities in a complex system, then the order would be:
1. Victron
2. Outback
3. Magnum
(Xantrex could never even be considered here)

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Old 30-08-2013, 06:42   #13
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

I would rate Mastervolt over Victron , with Sterling as third. But Victron are clear leaders in technical innovation

I would tend to seperate invertors and chargers and often consider industrial brands of inverter. Currently Im a great beleiver in "N+1" invertor techniology.

( im currently experimenting with N+1. invertors and charger modules)

power assist is useful but only marginally so, but you need to evaluate whether these functions are important to you as they tend to determine the range of suppliers

IN invertors and chargers , if you can take the weight, then full scale low frequency switching and large torodial transformers produce very reliable units, cause keeping the damm MOSFETS from blowing up is always a problem in switcher designs.

Only buy pure sine, unless really cash strapped. To much stuff acts funny on quasi sine wave inverters.

Be careful about ambient temperatures and ventilation. Manufacturers make certain assumptions , but disappoint them!.

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Old 30-08-2013, 06:51   #14
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

I suggest having separate charger and inverter. I've had an X and it seems fine. I don't use much AC power though.
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Old 31-08-2013, 09:17   #15
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Re: Recomendations for inverter/chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by deckofficer View Post
If you want the flexibility to run a microwave or other high wattage consumers, then you be getting the same size inverter as most cruisers have, 2000 watt. The charger on these are programmable, so set it at 1/10 your battery bank a-hr rating. Here is a link to a retailer of inverters, solar, etc. Solar Power Inverters – DC to AC Solar Inverters


This becomes a trade off concern. Charge at a higher rate and get the batteries recharged. Or charge at a slower rate and have dead batteries with the added risk of sulfation. My opinion is to charge at as high a rate as one can while monitoring the battery temperatures.

OH, forgot to also recommend separate chargers & inverters.
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