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Old 07-05-2020, 08:30   #1
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Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

The charger on my inverter/charger has malfunctioned, but the inverter still works. Question. Should I replace the inverter/charger completely. Or should I just buy a battery charger to replace the failed charger in the inverter/charger unit. Any suggestions on charging unit. My boat is a Hylas 44.
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Old 07-05-2020, 08:42   #2
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

That’s the best argument against combination inverter/chargers - when one fails, .....

Separate units will obviate that problem in the future
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Old 07-05-2020, 08:50   #3
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Who makes it? My Magnum has separate cards and they aren’t all that expensive. So contact the manufacturer.
I have both a separate charger 60 amp and an inverter / charger 125 amp. Standalone chargers seem to top out at about 60 amps and if you want larger you need to haven multiples.
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Old 07-05-2020, 09:00   #4
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Xantrex Freedom 15. According to Xantrex if I just disconnect the input side so it doesn't get any shore power it will function as an inverter then, and not an inverter/charger. I was thinking then of just putting a charger on the boat. Don't need a lot of charging capacity, so I'm thinking the smaller amp charger only might work. Why would I need 125 amps of charger over say 60 amp? Which magnum inverter/charger are you talking about. I'm looking for recommendation as a replacement.
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Old 07-05-2020, 09:07   #5
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Ah, the old integration vs separate argument.

If the inverter/charger are combined, when one function fails, the other is more likely to fail also. That means you have to replace "both functions" even if one still works. That leads to over-simplistic idea that "separate is better."

But that leaves out the simple fact that the combined inverter/chargers have a lot of advantages:
1. Separate units will have twice as many parts as the combination, hence a higher likelihood of some failure.
2. They will likely take up at least twice the mounting space.
3. They will require more wiring, more fuses and more switches which further reduce the overall reliability.
4. They will cost twice as much as the single combination unit.

Personally, if I needed both functions and they were equally critical to safe operation of the boat, Id install two inverter/charger combination units that can be operated in parallel: Two 1000 watt inverters with 50 amp charging capacity, rather than a single 2000 watt inverter AND a separate 100 amp charger.
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Old 07-05-2020, 09:47   #6
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

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Originally Posted by TrailerCruiser View Post
Xantrex Freedom 15. According to Xantrex if I just disconnect the input side so it doesn't get any shore power it will function as an inverter then, and not an inverter/charger. I was thinking then of just putting a charger on the boat. Don't need a lot of charging capacity, so I'm thinking the smaller amp charger only might work. Why would I need 125 amps of charger over say 60 amp? Which magnum inverter/charger are you talking about. I'm looking for recommendation as a replacement.
I have an MS2812, others will recommend other pieces of equipment of course, reason I went with a Magnum is other then they are common, they are also easily repaired in the field by the owner usually, but mostly because I have never heard of a failure, and I post that often so I suspect that if there had been many, I would have heard of it.
The Xantrex on the other hand, does not have a good reputation from what have read, I’ve heard of many failures and have friends who have had multiple failures.

I want a BIG charger for a couple reasons, first hard charging is supposedly good for an AGM and I have those, but also to shorten generator run time, my 3.5KW generator can run both my 60 amp and my 125 amp together, barely. But say for example, I had a 20 amp house load, then my 60 amp charger is only charging at 40 amps.
Now for sitting at a Marina like I am now, a 60 amp is more than enough, I only “need” maybe a 20 amp charger.
Lastly it’s my opinion that often electronic equipment and equipment in general if it’s mostly used at a fraction of its max capacity seems to run cooler and last longer.
I thought I had killed my Magnum once, I found a way to plug my 30 amp shorepower plug into a 50 amp outlet, I know it’s not possible but at 3 am when your real tired, I found a way.
So it got power on two of the three wires when of course only one was supposed have power, I swear I smelled smoke and no power went through the inverter / charger of course, so I wired around it, and called Magnum in the morning, resetting it brought it back to life and that was over two years ago, so I guess it survived.
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:12   #7
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Personally, if I needed both functions and they were equally critical to safe operation of the boat, Id install two inverter/charger combination units that can be operated in parallel: Two 1000 watt inverters with 50 amp charging capacity, rather than a single 2000 watt inverter AND a separate 100 amp charger.[/QUOTE]

I like that idea
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:15   #8
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

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Personally, if I needed both functions and they were equally critical to safe operation of the boat, I’d install two inverter/charger combination units that can be operated in parallel: Two 1000 watt inverters with 50 amp charging capacity, rather than a single 2000 watt inverter AND a separate 100 amp charger.
I like that idea[/QUOTE]

That would work except that an inverter / charger sits in the middle of the power line all power goes through it, not sure how you would do that with two different units, and or what paralleling two inverters would do, perhaps they would sync up Hz wise?
For many 1000W isn’t enough as some cook electrically, we use a toaster and a vacuum cleaner, and either pushes a 1000W pretty hard.
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:21   #9
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Big fan of integrated inverter/charger and have been using one for the 26+ years we've been cruising. On MOJO we use a Xantrex 2000 watt inverter with 105 amp charger. Because we're so dependent on ac power and rarely spend time at the dock, we also have a backup Heart inverter/charger. If the Xantrex fails, it's a simple matter to move a few wires to the Heart and we're back in business albeit it with modified sine wave rather than pure sine wave until we can get the Xantrex repaired. The only problem I can remember with the Xantrex was a failure with the remote. Xantrex replaced it in a timely manner with a new remote at no charge.
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:31   #10
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Having an inverter/charger is not critical on a sailboat. If all power goes out I can always us the wind to move the boat like the old mariners. Nice to have but not critical. I have 350 watts of solar, an engine alternator, and a portable battery charger if I needed to charge my batteries. Also have a 2k Honda generator if I need some to run a small AC appliance.
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:43   #11
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Why don't you see if Xantrex still supports this and if it can be repaired? If so, send it in if not, I would replace with a combination unit per the arguments above.
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Old 07-05-2020, 11:02   #12
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Having had a Magnum combination Inverter/charger, that had persistent, difficult to diagnose gremlins, I am firmly in the camp of keep them separate. Additionally, one of the first things I added was a rotary switch that allowed me to bi-pass the inverter and still have functioning 120v while on shore power while the stupid thing acted up.

Only speaking of that Magnum, it was a heavy beast, and easily twice the weight and close to twice the size of the separate units I have used. My electrician cursed every time he had to R&R it on the boat.

To clarify though, I believe Magnum has a better reputation than my experience would lead me to believe. But, since my inverter needs are minimal to none (I can get by without microwave and electric coffee maker at anchor) I would prefer to focus on a quality, appropriately sized charger, and (maybe) install an inverter only running a couple of outlets.
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Old 07-05-2020, 11:49   #13
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailerCruiser View Post
Xantrex Freedom 15. According to Xantrex if I just disconnect the input side so it doesn't get any shore power it will function as an inverter then, and not an inverter/charger. I was thinking then of just putting a charger on the boat. Don't need a lot of charging capacity, so I'm thinking the smaller amp charger only might work. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

I have one, too. I suggest you be very careful about this statement: "...if I just disconnect the input side so it doesn't get any shore power it will function as an inverter then..."


Why?


Because there is an automatic transfer switch in the unit that precludes using BOTH shorepower and the inverter at the same time.


Does your statement mean you will NEVER connect to shorepower for power (regardless of whether you mean to charge your batteries or can't)?
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Old 07-05-2020, 12:56   #14
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

Regarding the comment that an inverter/charger will be twice as much circuitry as one or the other - not so. The advantage is that a number of components, *especially* the big heavy power transformer, are used in both modes, a considerable saving over duplicating the hardware.
That said, switching-style power supply circuitry as used in chargers can be smaller and lighter weight, as they operate at much higher frequencies than the 60Hz line.


Personally, I replaced a Freedom 2500 with a Magnum when the former became flakey (maybe it was just the remote) and wanted to go true-sinewave, as the Freedom's output waveform offended a few electrical devices I wanted to use.
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Old 07-05-2020, 17:24   #15
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Re: Inverter/Charger, or Inverter and Charger

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Thats the best argument against combination inverter/chargers - when one fails, .....

Separate units will obviate that problem in the future
I have not had any failures. I installed separate units so failure of one would not affect the other.

Similar boat except your Hylas 44 is much newer than my Kelley-Peterson 45. I installed a 60 amp shore-power charger and a 3,000 watt inverter. The inverter easily runs power tools. (We seldom used the microwave so now it sits ashore.) I have a much smaller portable inverter for computer and cell phones.
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