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Old 09-01-2010, 13:16   #1
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Xantrex Freedom 20 vs Freedom HF-1800

I've been playing with the search feature trying to answer my own question, and while I didn't find any exact info, I've learned a ton, and may now be slightly less obtuse in asking.

I'm looking to add an inverter/charger to our coastal cruiser, as part of an overall house bank upgrade. I'll have 440Ah of capacity when finished (4x 6v golf cart batteries). I've narrowed my choices down to the Xantrex Freedom 20 (recently discontinued but still available new) or it's replacement, the Xantrex Freedom HF-1800.

The Freedom 20 has:
equalization mode
100 amp charger

The HF-1800 has:
no equalization mode
40 amp charger

My boat is mostly used for short trips, max of about a week. I'd like to eventually start taking longer trips (up to two to three weeks), but I still don't venture beyond two days from a marina. She's my learning boat, and also my "introduce the admiral to the world of boating" boat (so far, so good). As such she spends most of her life plugged in to shore power.

So the question is whether or not the charger on the 1800 is undersized for my bank (which it seems to me to be much less than the 25% guideline), and whether the equalization mode is important. The 1800 is half the price, which would allow me to get a couple of solar panels and a controller with the price difference. Given my usage, planned usage, and battery bank, will I regret getting the smaller charger and the solar panels? Is the lack of equalization mode a deal breaker?

Thanks in advance for your time,

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Old 09-01-2010, 19:01   #2
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Both choices are "modified sine wave" devices. The waveform on the out put of a Xantrex MSW inverter is neither modified or a sine wave...discuss.

Xantrex technical support is legendary, but not in a particularly good way.

I would recommend a similarly sized Magnum MSW or, better yet, a true sine wave. Take a look at their website: Magnum Energy Inc.

Regarding equalization: if you exercise your batteries hard on a daily basis, then equalization may never be required. If, on the other hand, you are not full time cruising and hammering the batteries between 90% SOC to 50% SOC on a daily basis, then you will need the equalizing capability.
Charlie Johnson
ABYC Master Technician
JTB Marine Corporation
"The Devil is in the details and so is salvation."
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Old 09-01-2010, 22:58   #3
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I second Charlie J from the previous submission. One proviso regarding the need for equalization: The higher the absorption voltage used in repititive charge/discharge cycles, the less often equalization is or will EVER be needed. Obviously the absorption time for optimum transit-to-float will decrease as the absorption voltage increases. The closer to 15V at absorption regulation set-point, the likelyhood of needing to use equalization is minimal.

No charger currently on the market is set to give a proper equalization cycle, keep that in mind. Equalisation is performed using a current source, no marine charger has that capability for equalization. In addition, the current is set to a low value (near 3% of rated capacity in Amps) which terminated when the battery voltage reaches 16.3 to slightly above 17V! So, what you get in a charger is an "equalization" charge which is usually preset to as little as 14.5 Volts up to only about 15, maybe 15.5V as a constant voltage charger. Such an operation starts to "look" just what I described earlier: use of an absorption voltage regulation as close to 15V as possible.
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