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Old 06-07-2013, 19:02   #16
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

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If and when you ever start to cruise you will learn that waiting for spare parts in a particular place is part of the norm.
We have been full time cruising for the past 5 years. I prefer to buy more robust equipment that doesn't keep me waiting for replacements 3-4 times each year.

But I understand your point that waiting at times is part of the game. Luckily, our equipment choices have meant that those times are few and years apart.

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Old 06-07-2013, 19:18   #17
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
We have been full time cruising for the past 5 years. I prefer to buy more robust equipment that doesn't keep me waiting for replacements 3-4 times each year.

But I understand your point that waiting at times is part of the game. Luckily, our equipment choices have meant that those times are few and years apart.

Mark
The point i was trying to make was that we did'n have to wait that long. As for buying more robust equipment what would you suggest .
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Old 06-07-2013, 19:36   #18
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
While I agree with the thrust of your point, I'd have to say that it's an illusion to believe that generalities concerning Xantrex are "not smart".

There are hundreds of posts on this and other boards delineating the problems with Xantrex products, including prominently their battery chargers and, especially, their lack of responsiveness and product support.

Hopefully, this may be changing. Still, there are lots of professionals around who wouldn't touch these products with a 10ft boat pole!

Bill
I think we have all seen and read posts complaining about virtually every piece of equipment over the years. Far fewer people bother to write positive comments which is all I tried to do in response to a request.
Sorry you disagree but my experience is real rather than Internet "expert" driven.

As to the question of usage, I have used it predominantly off shore power but have also used it extensively when run off my Honda genset.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:36   #19
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

the original xantranx truecharges were good and I still see lots of old ones around.

you are probably talking about the current model. which is the truecharge 2. I've seen lots die.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:20   #20
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Our boat came with a zantrex truecharge 40+, likely installed in 2002. Works fine. I talked to a friend and former tech at zantrex who is no fan of the company at all. But he commented to me that the 40+ was one of their best products and that I should keep it.
I bought a second truecharge 40+ in 2008, and installed it to work in tandem with the first one.
I have been using one or the other or both off shore power and off my honda 2k genset full time.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:05   #21
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

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As for buying more robust equipment what would you suggest .
I already mentioned the Ioata DLS-45 at half the price and 5 more amps.

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Old 07-07-2013, 08:07   #22
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Sorry you disagree but my experience is real rather than Internet "expert" driven.
You were making sense until the internet expert snark. There are 3 of us here with direct experience of these units failing. We are reporting real experience, and not "internet expert driven" experience.

You seem pissy that that experience is opposite yours.

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Old 07-07-2013, 08:37   #23
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

I had two of these units ,the first one fried a 600 dollar battery , the second one was a replacement ,it did not work correctly right out of the box ... Not the first xantrex product I have had that has failed but it surely will be the last ... talking to the customer service and tech support is like the who is on first routine from 60 years ago
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Old 07-07-2013, 16:41   #24
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I already mentioned the Ioata DLS-45 at half the price and 5 more amps.

Mark
Thanks colemj, I have heard good reports re the Ioata but i see that it is a 108 to 132 vac charger and our honda generator is 240. At present we are in Grenada and our choices are limited to what Budget carry which is not alot. Do you think that a car battery charger would be o.k to use for the short term? There is an 18 amp charger for sale at the local hardware store for $150.
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Old 07-07-2013, 19:16   #25
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

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Originally Posted by TOM View Post
Thanks colemj, I have heard good reports re the Ioata but i see that it is a 108 to 132 vac charger and our honda generator is 240. At present we are in Grenada and our choices are limited to what Budget carry which is not alot. Do you think that a car battery charger would be o.k to use for the short term? There is an 18 amp charger for sale at the local hardware store for $150.
Yes, 240V changes things, but Iota make 240V products also. In both 12V and 24V outputs, if you also have a 24V system.

In general, car battery chargers can be very bad for batteries. Many of them are ferro-resonant and have no multiple staging charging - they simply charge continuously at a set voltage.

Some are OK. I have an inexpensive 12A one that is 3-stage charging. Also, 18A is pretty small, so it is likely you will never get out of bulk mode using it and it may fail early from constant full charge use. The other issue will be if the charging voltage is high enough for your bank.

Now I'm a bit confused. Earlier you said Xantrex was replacing the unit in a rapid timeframe. Go with that for now.

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Old 07-07-2013, 23:47   #26
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Ours failed. It was only a backup and never really used. It failed on the 3rd yearly test to see if it still worked. I suspect that if it was the primary charger it still would have failed on the 3rd time it was used.

If one is pretty much stationary with their boat, then I guess replacing it 3 or 4 times each year is doable if you do not mind the bother. Frankly, I think that is nuts - do you have any other examples in your life where you accepted a product that failed 3-4 times in a single year?

However, if one is cruising, sending back or exchanging a unit is pretty much impossible and a major imposition. You do not see many Xantrex chargers out cruising. You definitely do not see boats with failed units going back to Xantrex again, regardless of the return and exchange policy.

Mark
Hi Mark,

I removed my original Heart Freedom 10 after 23 years in service in 2010. It was overheating. It turns out it needed a new fan, which was $4 at Radio Shack. It's now alive and well and installed aboard Happy Times, who just sailed from the Rio back to FL.

I replaced it with a 2005 Xantrex Freedom 20, that I bought used for peanuts because it had a bad logic card. Talking to Sven in Cartagena, he says that is a frequent problem with these; their choice of using a phone jack to connect the remote control means that the PC board upon which the plug rests is very near the exterior of the unit, and a trace under the plug can corrode away in our marine environment. Over soldering this trace usually fixes it. I fixed mine and it is still in service, although now its cooling fan is getting intermittent so I will replace the fan this fall.

Xantrex does have poor customer service policies in that they won't sell parts to cruisers, but the units themselves are not too bad. Your comment about the frequency that you find them is inaccurate; according to the SSCA equipment survey, the Freedom series are the single most installed charger in cruising boats.

I talked to their head of customer service in person at the Annapolis boat show last fall and complained about their policies and commented on their bad reputation. He is trying to turn that around and gave me his card. When I figure out what I did with it I'll post the contact info. That should be fun!

Charlie
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:03   #27
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

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Originally Posted by Kamaloha View Post
Hi Mark,

I removed my original Heart Freedom 10 after 23 years in service in 2010. It was overheating. It turns out it needed a new fan, which was $4 at Radio Shack. It's now alive and well and installed aboard Happy Times, who just sailed from the Rio back to FL.

I replaced it with a 2005 Xantrex Freedom 20, that I bought used for peanuts because it had a bad logic card. Talking to Sven in Cartagena, he says that is a frequent problem with these; their choice of using a phone jack to connect the remote control means that the PC board upon which the plug rests is very near the exterior of the unit, and a trace under the plug can corrode away in our marine environment. Over soldering this trace usually fixes it. I fixed mine and it is still in service, although now its cooling fan is getting intermittent so I will replace the fan this fall.

Xantrex does have poor customer service policies in that they won't sell parts to cruisers, but the units themselves are not too bad. Your comment about the frequency that you find them is inaccurate; according to the SSCA equipment survey, the Freedom series are the single most installed charger in cruising boats.

I talked to their head of customer service in person at the Annapolis boat show last fall and complained about their policies and commented on their bad reputation. He is trying to turn that around and gave me his card. When I figure out what I did with it I'll post the contact info. That should be fun!

Charlie
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Hi Charlie,

I am a bit confused to your response to my post. I didn't mention anything about the Freedom line of inverter/chargers. My failure, along with everyone else posting on this thread is with the Xantrex TruCharge 20/40 dedicated battery charger (no inverter). The TruCharge isn't related to the Freedom products in any way, shape, or form other than having the same parent umbrella company.

And I made no comment as to the frequency that I find them failing - just that mine failed, and others on this board have told of theirs failing 3-4 times in a single year. The whole thread started with the OP stating this (I was not the OP).

Xantrex bought Heart Interface, which was the original designer of the Freedom line. Heart was an excellent company with excellent products, and the design has not changed (although the component sourcing and manufacturing may have). I have no doubt that there are many of these older units powering happily away on boats, and their reputation is deserved.

What does the SSCA equipment survey say about the Xantrex TruCharge chargers?

If you want an example of excellent design (I mean unbelievable design), customer support (an actual engineer instantly answers the phone) and field repairability (everything on it can be replaced easily with a screwdriver and single wrench) with easy factory access to parts (anything you ask for will be overnight shipped to you - including an entire replacement unit for testing a whole swap-out!), then look at Outback. They were formed from the old Trace engineers after Xantrex bought Trace. If Xantrex is serious about turning around their support operations, they will take a hard look at that company also.

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Old 09-07-2013, 08:19   #28
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

Mark,

I was responding to your sentence "you do not see many boats with Xantrex chargers out cruising". That sounded like it included Freedoms as well. My point was that the majority of boats out cruising have Xantrex chargers, at least according to SSCA. I'll go check if they break it down by model. The way they format the results is quite hard to dig though.

I have a 2008 vintage True Charge 40 as well. It was my primary charger during the year I was fiddling with the Freedoms, and I left it installed as a secondary unit when I got the Freedom 20 working. I selected it over the IOTA originally for three reasons: I did not like the idea of the galvanized steel case that the IOTA had, it has the highest power factor (efficiency) of any charger in that power range and thus would run from my Honda 1000, and it is capable of running from both 110/60 and 240/50, so it will save us from having to get a conversion transformer when we go to Europe.

My experience with the unit is that it is somewhat under designed for cooling. I mounted it in a locker that communicates, but not particularly well from an airflow standpoint, with the engine compartment. This did not give the unit enough airflow circulation. I did not want to redo large wires, so I added some standoffs to improve the airflow, and I have to open the locker door when in use. The unit still gets quite hot, and the plastic shroud part of the outer case which is near the cooling exhaust vent has warped as a result. I cut it away since it is aesthetic only, and that improved the cooling air flow considerably. I have toyed with the idea of installing a ventilation fan in the locker, but opening the door is easy and seems to do the trick.

It is a little quirky in that it shuts down for thirty seconds or so every fifteen minutes, which makes the generator surge so I take notice. I spoke with Xantrex tech support about this and they said that is the normal operation, it is sensing the battery voltage to decide when to kick into absorb or float mode. I've never seen that approach from any other charger, so it is an unusual design. It also does not have enough guts to equalize all three pairs of T105's at once, so during my monthly equalization I had to disconnect two pairs and only equalize one pair at a time, which was a bit of a pain since I don't have switches installed to do that. Nevertheless, the unit has been reliable for us, delivering a solid 40A of charge current. I replaced the Honda 1000 with a Honda 2000 this season and so now the charger is no longer primary, but I still run it when my batteries are not way down since it is more efficient and allows the Honda to run at a lower RPM. The Freedom is much less efficient than the TC40.

I rather wonder if the frequent failures reported here are due to the need for more aggressive airflow allowance than they specify in their installation manual. We all know that heat is the death of electronics.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:06   #29
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

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Originally Posted by Kamaloha View Post
I was responding to your sentence "you do not see many boats with Xantrex chargers out cruising". That sounded like it included Freedoms as well. My point was that the majority of boats out cruising have Xantrex chargers, at least according to SSCA. I'll go check if they break it down by model. The way they format the results is quite hard to dig though.
I'm sorry I wasn't more careful and specific with my wording, but the title of the thread, as well as every single post until yours was about one specific brand and model of charger. Also, Xantrex is an umbrella company and I typically refer to their component models by their brand names - Xantrex, Prosine, Freedom, Trace, etc. In this case, Xantrex is the brand (and original) name of the charger.

And if you break down the survey results, I bet you will find that the majority of boats do NOT have Xantrex products - they have Trace and Heart products from BEFORE Xantrex owned them. Even after the acquisition, the designs of these products have not changed - designs that had nothing at all to do with Xantrex (unlike the Trucharge charger of this thread topic). Again, these were very well-built and designed products. The engineers from Trace and Heart all left after the Xantrex acquisition to form Outback, Magnum and Midnight Solar - probably the most respected names in this field, and producing product lines that simply dusts Xantrex's (Freedom, Trace or otherwise). Hardly worth mentioning that their tech support also dusts Xantrex's...


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It is a little quirky in that it shuts down for thirty seconds or so every fifteen minutes, which makes the generator surge so I take notice. I spoke with Xantrex tech support about this and they said that is the normal operation, it is sensing the battery voltage to decide when to kick into absorb or float mode. I've never seen that approach from any other charger, so it is an unusual design. It also does not have enough guts to equalize all three pairs of T105's at once, so during my monthly equalization I had to disconnect two pairs and only equalize one pair at a time, which was a bit of a pain since I don't have switches installed to do that.
Our main Victron shuts off to measure voltage parameters to determine whether to shift into a different charging mode. But it only does this once near the boundary between bulk and absorption charging and it only lasts 2-3 seconds. It may also do it on the float boundary, but we rarely ever get to float. I don't ever remember our Xantrex doing this at all.

Batteries should only be equalized after a full charge, so the equalization current at 15.5V on 3 pairs of charged T-105's should only be 5-8A (at least that is what it is for ours). This should be well within the Xantrex capabilities. Perhaps your unit isn't working to specs?

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I rather wonder if the frequent failures reported here are due to the need for more aggressive airflow allowance than they specify in their installation manual. We all know that heat is the death of electronics.
Anything is possible, but if you check the track record for this unit, you will see far too many failures to be blamed on everyone having poor cooling. I know cooling could not have been a problem for ours. And wouldn't Xantrex have understood this problem by now? They have been making this unit for decades and are very aware of its failure rates.

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Old 09-07-2013, 10:49   #30
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Re: Xantrax Truecharge 40 Batt Charger.

It is a little quirky in that it shuts down for thirty seconds or so every fifteen minutes, which makes the generator surge .

The first 3 Xantrax trucharge 40's i got all did the above ,but the last one they sent us {the one that has just failed after 8 months}did not shut down every 15 minutes. The last one also seemed to deliver better charge .All units got extremely hot even though they are in a ventilated cupboard with a fan.

I have just recieved an email from the retailer that sold me the xantrax saying they will now replace the forth charger free of charge. This will make a total of 5 chargers since we left Ausralia 3 years ago. I'm starting to find the whole thing quite odd. It is obvious the product has problems , and to keep replaceing them cannot be cost effective why don't they just fix the problem .

I hear many on the forum complaning about a lack of customer service.A point worth noting is that thruout this whole saga i have never delt directly with xantrax once .I have always delt with the person who sold me the product. I have found the service to be first class.
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