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Old 13-05-2017, 13:31   #1
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Inverter and AIS worth the money?

I was looking to install a AIS into my Raymarine and add an inverter to my Leopard Cat when I got some serious sticker shock! I am planning on spending the summer sailing the Bahamas with my husband and two boys. In your opinion, is the cost (5K-7K) worth it or will my family be just as safe as without it?
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Old 13-05-2017, 13:44   #2
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

AIS is one of the best bang for your buck safety items. It significantly reduces stress when dealing with large ships because you know what they are doing. It allows others to see you on their AIS and safely avoid you even when you don't see them. An AIS unit including transmit and receive is less than us$1,000.
An inverter depends on how much AC equipment, think 110volts, you want to run. A small inverter for charging devices like a laptop is less than $500.
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Old 13-05-2017, 13:54   #3
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

I agree with Paul L..

I have no idea what AIS devices you are looking at, but a Vesper XB-6000 is only $600.. We opted for a cheap pure sine wave inverter on Amazon (3000W). We installed a single dedicated plug for the inverter and chose not to tie it into the boats 120V main wireing.

Between our inverter and AIS (with transmit) it was about $1000.. Not sure where you got the $5-7000 quote. That is crazy..

As to your original question. I wouldn't be without either. Initially I was surprised by the inverter, I didn't think we would use it much. Turns out we use it all the time.

AIS is a no brainer.. It has many advantages.
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Old 13-05-2017, 15:32   #4
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

An inverter isn't going to do much for your safety. It's really a convenience item.

AIS is another matter. Doesn't have to cost much, and is very useful.

If money's really tight you can buy NASA stand alone AIS receivers quite cheaply.
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Old 13-05-2017, 15:52   #5
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

5-7k for a boat with the AIS and inverter? An inverter starts at $20. AIS starts at $10 for an SDR and $30 for an antenna. You don't need either to go to the Bahamas. I'd get life jacket mounted man overboard DSC beacons before you get either of those.

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Old 13-05-2017, 17:10   #6
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

AIS transponders start from USD 300.

I do not know what you want to spend the rest of that money on, but in any case, keep it secret from the husband ... ;-)

I like AIS. We have one. We are upgrading to a transponder for our next trip.

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Old 13-05-2017, 17:15   #7
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Its a personal thing, for me ,yes both a with there money, I wouldn't sail without ais and a inverter is nessacary for most laptops.
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Old 13-05-2017, 17:43   #8
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Don't laptops run on 12volts? What's that boxy thing between the plug and the CPU? We have an inverter because we needed to be able to run a hair dryer or sell the boat. It is convenient to be able to vacuum the cabin and run the occasional plug-in tool too. Even more convenient is being able to "see" who's in the neighborhood and where they're headed with AIS. Getting AIS is costs less than a good inverter.
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Old 13-05-2017, 18:02   #9
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
Don't laptops run on 12volts? What's that boxy thing between the plug and the CPU?
Most of them run on a 19V power supply. (take a look at the small print on that boxy thing)
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Old 13-05-2017, 22:48   #10
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

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Most of them run on a 19V power supply. (take a look at the small print on that boxy thing)
That's DC. You need a step up regulator but they are only a few bucks on ebay/amazon and you save 40% on power usage running on DC instead of converting DC to AC then back to DC. Almost everyone who owns a car has one for their phone.
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Old 13-05-2017, 23:58   #11
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

We will be contrary to most -- Inverter? absolutely and add solar panels for battery charging -

As for AIS - if you are only doing the Bahamas I would say no - we have not been to the Bahamas in a while but island hoping you not see anything on ais except a few cruising boats that may have one - people rely to much on AIS and think it will keep them informed. Only big ship are really required to have them and that would be your 90nm crossing to the Bahamas and you will probably not see anything out there to worry about - and of course going into Nassau but that would be about it
But those with a bit more up to date Bahamas experience may disagree -

You did not say if you have radar or not - Now radar is much more important as most boats will not have ais but you can see them on radar

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Old 14-05-2017, 03:44   #12
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by freetogether View Post
I was looking to install a AIS into my Raymarine and add an inverter to my Leopard Cat when I got some serious sticker shock! I am planning on spending the summer sailing the Bahamas with my husband and two boys. In your opinion, is the cost (5K-7K) worth it or will my family be just as safe as without it?

What is "sticker shock," to you? $1000? Or $5000? Or...?

AIS is very useful. OTOH, for every ship you see with an AIS transmitter, you could see 200 (or more) recreational boats without. Big ships will see your transmitter, and that's useful... and they could call you easier if necessary... but since we put in our transciever 8 years ago, no one has ever called us because of it. OTOH, we make a habit of staying out of the way when ships are nearby. IOW, AIS won't solve everything all by itself.

Radar would be much more useful, if you don't have that already.

Inverters can be very useful, too. We only went for about 22 years without one. Finally installed one late last season... and we've actually used it two or three times now...

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Old 14-05-2017, 03:54   #13
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

You can buy a 400 watt inverter with USB for charging your laptop and phone for under $40.00

https://www.amazon.com/Cobra-CPI490-...power+inverter
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Old 14-05-2017, 04:01   #14
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

The leopard cats I've been on look like great boats for families. But they also scream $$$. The tradesmen you asked for the quote probably quoted you top shelf stuff because you have a top shelf boat and they assume you have $$$.

I don't think an inverter is going to make you any safer. If staying 100% DC is possible you will save yourself a lot of complication and expense. We have two low power T100 laptops that charge on USB and a Rugged Laptop that charges on a $100 inverter. Our TV is 12V and we also have 12V adaptors for a DVD player and our son's Nintendo 3DS. We stay almost 100% DC with 550W solar with a Honda eu20i generator for backup charging and power tools.

The most useful safety feature of AIS when combined with your chart plotter is the collision alarm. It alerts you to other AIS vessels you may collide with.

On the Atlantic coast of the North America we found our AIS alarm handy. Coming near
busy ports like New York, Savannah and Colon it went off a lot. But here in Australia traffic is so light AIS is a much lower safety priority.
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Old 14-05-2017, 06:38   #15
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Most PCs and such offer 12volt adapter bricks for under $50. Get a portable AC inverter for much less. I have a nice big one for running power tools (drills, sander, shop vac, heat gun, solder iron etc) that clamps onto the top of one of my batteries and then I just run an extension cord. Only use it on rare occasions.

Of course you may be interested in running your Air off of batteries, that would be an entirely different issue as then you need storage capacity,etc, so ya, sticker shock.
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