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Old 14-10-2019, 00:00   #1
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Which Victron Inverter

Hi All,

I have been looking at the Victron Inverters for our 40 footer.

The am looking at the MultiPlus, we need to be able to accept shore power or power from a portable generator, but not both at the same time. (Our boat has no permanent generator). Being able to chage batteries when on shore power is also a feature I want.

The Multiplus 2KVA model seems to be appropriate, but I see there are a few other models like the Quattro etc.

Have I missed anything or will the Multiplus do all this (invert, charge, take short power (or genny)).

Cheers

Al
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Old 14-10-2019, 00:25   #2
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

The main thing the Quattro does that the multiplus doesn’t is take solar (alternative is just to stick in a victron mppt controller), and they also allow two AC outputs, one when shore power or generator is running, and one that’s inverter-only. This allows you to wire a/c and water heating such that you can never accidentally have them running from battery only.

I went for the multiplus and two solar controllers, and wired the a/c and heater into a manual switch that selects between shore power and generator. Achieves the same thing for way less cash. If you add bmv702 battery monitor, solar controllers, and ccgx monitor you can get everything in one place. Highly recommended.
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Old 14-10-2019, 00:29   #3
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

Thanks Tillsbury.

I have a Victron Smart MPPT, BMV712 so I am halfway there. The inverted will be the missing piece of the puzzle.

I think I will just go for the isolating switch too.

I have also hooked it up to the VRM portal with a RaspPi - very very nice, but I digress.
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Old 14-10-2019, 00:32   #4
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

Yes, isolation transformer is a good plan first thing, then the generator/shore selector, then a switch panel with breakers for any high-current devices, then straight to the multiplus. All the rest of the AC then comes out of the other port of the multiplus, as do the red and black to your batteries.

You can get automatic shore/generator switches, but I really can’t for the life of me work out why they’d be necessary. When you leave the marina, you obviously only have inverter power as usual. When you’re on a trip you select generator and then you have charging and aircon if the generator is on, and not when it’s off. When you’re back from the trip to a marina you turn the selector back. An automatic switch would save a microscopic amount of effort for an expensive and complex bit of kit.
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Old 14-10-2019, 01:47   #5
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
The main thing the Quattro does that the multiplus doesn’t is take solar (alternative is just to stick in a victron mppt controller), and they also allow two AC outputs, one when shore power or generator is running, and one that’s inverter-only. This allows you to wire a/c and water heating such that you can never accidentally have them running from battery only.

I went for the multiplus and two solar controllers, and wired the a/c and heater into a manual switch that selects between shore power and generator. Achieves the same thing for way less cash. If you add bmv702 battery monitor, solar controllers, and ccgx monitor you can get everything in one place. Highly recommended.

Note that newer (like, last 7 years) Multipluses also have the second AC output, not just the Quattro.





Best advice I can give the OP is to be careful with the ratings of the Victron inverters. I have the 3000/70/24 Multiplus, which sounds a lot like 3000 watts, doesn't it? Well, it's not. It's 3000 VA, and only when cold. The practical hot (and where I sail that's not very hot) continuous output is only about 2300 watts, or maybe even less.


You might want to go up a size (or better, buy two and gang them) if you plan any continuous loads of much over 1300 watts or so. Note that the Multipluses allow you to reduce the charger output, in case that gives you a charger bigger than you want.


Another piece of advice: These things do fail, and when they do, you lose your AC power, as all AC power is passed through the unit (otherwise Power Boost wouldn't work). If I were doing this over, I would buy two, and gang them, to provide redundancy. Or at least wire in a bypass with switch so that you can restore AC power easily in the event of a failure.


Power Boost is a fantastic feature which you will love using with your portable generator or dodgy shore power. Basically shaves peaks off AC demand using inverted power, making it possible to easily power short term loads which exceed your generator or shore power connection's capacity.
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Old 14-10-2019, 04:31   #6
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Note that newer (like, last 7 years) Multipluses also have the second AC output, not just the Quattro.





Best advice I can give the OP is to be careful with the ratings of the Victron inverters. I have the 3000/70/24 Multiplus, which sounds a lot like 3000 watts, doesn't it? Well, it's not. It's 3000 VA, and only when cold. The practical hot (and where I sail that's not very hot) continuous output is only about 2300 watts, or maybe even less.

And it's with limited non-linear loads. At 40C and without all the fine print, it's only rated at 2200W.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
You might want to go up a size (or better, buy two and gang them) if you plan any continuous loads of much over 1300 watts or so. Note that the Multipluses allow you to reduce the charger output, in case that gives you a charger bigger than you want.

Good approach with dual inverters, but keep in mind that it also doubles the background power draw. The Miultiplus consumes 20W just sitting there doing nothing, and two will of course be 40W. That adds up to a lot of power depending on how much time you operate your inverters.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Another piece of advice: These things do fail, and when they do, you lose your AC power, as all AC power is passed through the unit (otherwise Power Boost wouldn't work). If I were doing this over, I would buy two, and gang them, to provide redundancy. Or at least wire in a bypass with switch so that you can restore AC power easily in the event of a failure.

Recovering from a failed inverter when you have a pair of them is indeed easier than physically replacing and inverter. But it does require work and reconfiguration. First, you'll need to cut DC and AC power to the failed inverter. Do you have switches, or will you need to remove and secure wires?


Also, once programmed to operate as a pair, neither inverter will operate without the other. So if one fails, they both stop. Aside from the re-wiring just described, the surviving inverter needs to be re-programmed to operate stand along. Do you have the proper cable? And the USB adapter device? And the latest Victron config software? And do you know how to set the device up with correct programming? It's all not as easy as you might imagine. I'd suggest configuring you power system each possible way (one multi, the other, and both) and saving the config files so they can be later recalled and loaded into the Multis to get the config you want working.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Power Boost is a fantastic feature which you will love using with your portable generator or dodgy shore power. Basically shaves peaks off AC demand using inverted power, making it possible to easily power short term loads which exceed your generator or shore power connection's capacity.

Agreed, and thankfully other vendors have this feature too.


Oh, and what was the statement someone made earlier about a Multi having a solar input? I think they must be thinking about a different model.
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Old 14-10-2019, 05:26   #7
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
The main thing the Quattro does that the multiplus doesn’t is take solar (alternative is just to stick in a victron mppt controller), and they also allow two AC outputs, one when shore power or generator is running, and one that’s inverter-only. This allows you to wire a/c and water heating such that you can never accidentally have them running from battery only.

I went for the multiplus and two solar controllers, and wired the a/c and heater into a manual switch that selects between shore power and generator. Achieves the same thing for way less cash. If you add bmv702 battery monitor, solar controllers, and ccgx monitor you can get everything in one place. Highly recommended.
The Quattro has nothing to do with solar. It has a AC Transfer switch for 2 sources and 2 loads, that the multiplus does not have (1 source and 2 loads).

The quattro allows different power assist and power control settings per AC input and is more versatile in fixed installations with shore power and generator set ups, all other features are the same for the same unit type number (e.g 5000 Multiplus vs. 5000 Quattro).

Only one AC source is transferred / passed trough at a time, the priority is hard wired ( You cannot use shore power AND generator power combined for higher output, but you can power assist either shore power OR generator power by the inverter and the battery).
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Old 14-10-2019, 12:26   #8
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

I am early in the decision process for our build but I had a chance to go to Nigel Calders 2 Day electrical course at the boat show">Annapolis Boat Show last week and he recommends the Victron Synchronizing Inverter
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Old 16-10-2019, 21:17   #9
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

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Originally Posted by Dawntreader2 View Post
I am early in the decision process for our build but I had a chance to go to Nigel Calders 2 Day electrical course at the Annapolis Boat Show last week and he recommends the Victron Synchronizing Inverter
Why would you need a synchronizing function on a boat ?
That is only needed when you feed back to the grid.

additionally as general comments

When you have solar you can program the multi/quattro to also give priority to the solar and only use shore at a preset SOC

With the Venus as control unit you can also hook up burger alerts, smoke alert and bilge pumps as input and get alerted if any of them are active.

Just for that it is worth the cost of the Venus, especially when you look to all these monitoring systems who "abuse" you for a monthly fee, when Victron give the VRM portal away for free
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Old 17-10-2019, 01:51   #10
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

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Why would you need a synchronizing function on a boat ?
That is only needed when you feed back to the grid.

additionally as general comments

When you have solar you can program the multi/quattro to also give priority to the solar and only use shore at a preset SOC

With the Venus as control unit you can also hook up burger alerts, smoke alert and bilge pumps as input and get alerted if any of them are active.

Just for that it is worth the cost of the Venus, especially when you look to all these monitoring systems who "abuse" you for a monthly fee, when Victron give the VRM portal away for free
The synchronizing ability is very handy, besides grid feed back it is a prerequisite for
- power assist on weak shore connections
- power assist with a generator
- power assist on inverters of different size and brand
- parallel more same inverters for higher output
- team up with more inverters for building 2 phase and 3 phase systems.

Solar is not natively supported by the phoenix, multiplus and quattro, but there are solar grid inverters like the easysolar available too.

I would recommend the multiplus and quattro, they give you not just an inverter, but a very powerful charger, power limiter (power control), power assist and a transfer switch too.
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Old 17-10-2019, 02:40   #11
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

Thanks guys. I will probably go with the 2Kw, which I think will let me get away with a small microwave and Nespresso - about the biggest loads I will ever need.

If Nigel C is recommending them, they must be ok.
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Old 17-10-2019, 09:30   #12
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

We are happy with our Multiplus 3kw/12V. The upside of the 2kw is smaller/fewer battery cables.

Cheers, RickG
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Old 17-10-2019, 17:12   #13
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

CatNewBee,
Thank you for the thorough bullet points on the advantages. We are installing a AC unit and will run it a couple of hours a night in hot climates to cool off the boat - and we intend to run off of the Batteries. Nigel said the synchronizing will help with that too.
This is our first Cruising Boat and our First Cat - looking forward to setting off..
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Old 18-10-2019, 04:11   #14
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

Keep in mind, the continous W capacity is usually 80% of the nominal VA value of the unit.
That means the

2000VA delivers 1600W
3000VA delivers 2400W
5000VA delivers 4000W
10000VA delivers 8000W

so choose wisely.
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Old 18-10-2019, 04:41   #15
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Re: Which Victron Inverter

I don't know if this was mentioned already, but size the inverter for the intended loads. Inverters are very inefficient at low loads. Look at the efficiency graph of the inverter you want to buy.

For example, on my boat, the factory installs a low watt inverter for the TVs and a couple of wall plugs. The higher wattage items are on a bigger inverter. This way the inverters are used at their peak efficiency.
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