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Old 25-09-2011, 07:34   #1
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Victron Inverter Info Needed

I need a new inverter/charger and am considering the Victrons. I have a couple of questions about them that I could not determine from their website.

Can they be mounted lying down instead of upright on a bulkhead? In other words, the "bulkhead" is horizontal where I want to mount it.

It lists the battery charging voltage as 14.4V for bulk and absorption modes. Can this be changed to other values? In particular, Trojan recommends 14.8V bulk charging.

My electrical system is as follows:

The AC panel is split into two sides - side "A" for light loads like outlets, etc and side "B" for large loads like the A/C and water heater. There is a switch to parallel the sides. The generator comes to the AC panel into 30A breakers on both the "A" and "B" sides, so that both side can be fed by the generator.

The "A" side output goes to the inverter transfer switch. The outlets on that side only become active when the transfer switch closes, so only the lighter loads can be run off the inverter.

My question: How can I take advantage of the Victron power assist for starting A/C? Would I have to pass the high load "B" side through the transfer switch instead of the "A" side? Then I would not have inverted power on the outlets, etc, and run the risk of operating the A/C solely off the inverter if the generator cuts out (or someone plays with the switches).

Mark
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Old 25-09-2011, 09:09   #2
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Re: Victron Inverter Info Needed

From one of the Victron Inverter Manuals
http://www.victronenergy.com/upload/...%20DE%20ES.pdf

1 Ceiling mounting (inverted). Not recommended
2. Base mounting. OK
3 Vertical wall mounting, fan at bottom. OK (beware of small objects falling through the ventilation openings on top).
4 Vertical wall mounting, fan on top. Not recommended
5 Horizontal wall mounting. OK

Manuals for Phoenix Inverters
Manuals for a product - Victron Energy
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Old 25-09-2011, 11:41   #3
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Re: Victron Inverter Info Needed

Thanks Gord,

I should have been more specific - I am considering the Multiplus 3K 120V model. The manual you pointed me to is for an obsolete model. However, I did find the answer buried in the manual in a single sentence on page 12: "The device can be fitted either horizontally or vertically. For optimal cooling, vertical fitting is preferred."

I missed this during the first two readings of the manual.

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Old 25-09-2011, 11:48   #4
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Re: Victron Inverter Info Needed

So now that I have read the manual 3 times and finally some of it sinked into my limited brain, I would like to modify my original questions.

Never mind the mounting question.

Regarding my question of taking advantage of the power assist feature: I see that there are two AC outputs from the inverter, and that the inverter has a 50A transfer switch. So does this mean that I can lead the generator output directly to the transfer switch and feed the "A" side of my panel from one output and the "B" side from the other? This would allow the Victron to assist with startup loads of the A/C unit, like I want, but it would also cause the A/C's to run off the batteries if the generator failed (which I don't want).

I know there are a couple of people on this board very knowledgable of Victron products and hope one might chime in.

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Old 25-09-2011, 12:48   #5
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Re: Victron Inverter Info Needed

I have an older Multiplus that didn't have the dual AC output. Looking at the manual it appears that the 2nd output disconnects if AC input is lost. That would be perfect for Air Conditioning if it also provides the power assist function when there is AC. The manual doesn't say but I expect it does.

The idea of using the power assist to get air conditioners started works great. I use it this way on the old unit. My protection against dead batteries is that the inverter can be programmed to shut down the inverter when battery voltage falls to some level. I leave this set to the voltage of about 40% charge.

Be sure to get the computer connection dongle. I think it's called the MK2 and costs about $70. This let's you connect the victron to a laptop and use a nifty free downloaded piece of software to do setup and monitoring. You can set many more functions than with the switches on the unit. You can see the software on their web site - VEconfigure. Easy to use and works great.

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Old 25-09-2011, 16:46   #6
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Re: Victron Inverter Info Needed

Do you want to run the AC off the inverter, or just get help with the startup load? If the latter, why? Does your generator have trouble running the AC?

You describe two separate AC panels, and two separate 30A circuits coming out of the generator, but say there is a switch that parallels the two panels? Are you sure about that? Do you also have two 30A shore power cords, one for each panel? I ask because what you describe seems unusual to me. More typically the two separate 30A panels would always be isolated so they can be powered off opposite legs of a 240V circuit. And the two 30A circuits off the generator would be the two opposite legs of what's internally a 240V circuit.

It's something to double check since connecting two 120V circuits that are opposing legs of a 240V circuit will cause very unhappy things to happen.

On the Victron, check carefully what they say about the two AC outputs. I suspect the previous poster is correct that one output is just a pass-through of the AC input, and hence shuts off when AC is lost, and is not powered by the inverter in any way. The other output is the inverter output with pass-through, power boosting, etc.

By the way, if your two 30A cuircuits are indeed separate at all times, you might consider a 240V split phase inverter with one leg powering each of the 30A panels. That would give inverter power for everything, though you'd need to be careful not to use it for silly things like hot water. Maybe those circuits could still bypass the inverter. Just a though.
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Old 25-09-2011, 17:26   #7
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Re: Victron Inverter Info Needed

On the Multis, The second AC output does not benefit from power assist, even though the invertor does take into account the amount of current flowing through it and AC-1 when deciding to activate power assit

You could program the relay to operate an alarm to tell when the generator failed. Hence you leave both 110vac buses paralleled and they will both benefit from Powerassist . Yet you have an alarm programmed to sound whenever the power on the invertor goes over a certain limit. This warns you that some thing is drawing too much power, in fact with a bit of relay logic, you could get a contactor to break the connection betwen the busses, if the power draw is too high.

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Old 26-09-2011, 10:06   #8
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Re: Victron Inverter Info Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Do you want to run the AC off the inverter, or just get help with the startup load? If the latter, why? Does your generator have trouble running the AC?

You describe two separate AC panels, and two separate 30A circuits coming out of the generator, but say there is a switch that parallels the two panels? Are you sure about that? Do you also have two 30A shore power cords, one for each panel? I ask because what you describe seems unusual to me. More typically the two separate 30A panels would always be isolated so they can be powered off opposite legs of a 240V circuit. And the two 30A circuits off the generator would be the two opposite legs of what's internally a 240V circuit.

It's something to double check since connecting two 120V circuits that are opposing legs of a 240V circuit will cause very unhappy things to happen.

On the Victron, check carefully what they say about the two AC outputs. I suspect the previous poster is correct that one output is just a pass-through of the AC input, and hence shuts off when AC is lost, and is not powered by the inverter in any way. The other output is the inverter output with pass-through, power boosting, etc.

By the way, if your two 30A cuircuits are indeed separate at all times, you might consider a 240V split phase inverter with one leg powering each of the 30A panels. That would give inverter power for everything, though you'd need to be careful not to use it for silly things like hot water. Maybe those circuits could still bypass the inverter. Just a though.
I want the power assist just to help with the startup load. We have 2 A/C's and when they are cycling and the battery charger is on, the startup load pushes the generator to the limit.

I wasn't clear on the generator/panel setup. The generator is wired for a single leg of 120V and not for split legs of 120V each. It feeds the panel through a 50A breaker on the "A" side. When a "parallel" breaker on the "B" side is closed, power is allowed on the "B" side through the 50A breaker.

I have two 30A shore power connections - one for each side of the panel.

The generator, shore power and parallel switches are all lockout devices that only allow one to be operated at a time. In other words, when the shore power is active, the generator and parallel breakers cannot be used.

I have an email into Victron to understand how the two outputs are wired.

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Old 26-09-2011, 10:13   #9
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Re: Victron Inverter Info Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
On the Multis, The second AC output does not benefit from power assist, even though the invertor does take into account the amount of current flowing through it and AC-1 when deciding to activate power assit

You could program the relay to operate an alarm to tell when the generator failed. Hence you leave both 110vac buses paralleled and they will both benefit from Powerassist . Yet you have an alarm programmed to sound whenever the power on the invertor goes over a certain limit. This warns you that some thing is drawing too much power, in fact with a bit of relay logic, you could get a contactor to break the connection betwen the busses, if the power draw is too high.

Dave
Thanks. Then I should be able to wire the "low load" side of the panel through the 2nd output and the "high load" side through AC1 and get power assist to the A/C units, while still powering the low loads?

The only problem is that if power was lost, the A/C will run off the inverter. I could probably rig a relay to trigger the inverter remote shutoff when power is lost and put this relay on a bypass switch that is turned on only when I am running the A/C. It is slightly more complicated, but then we rarely run the A/C, so it wouldn't be an everyday hassle.

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