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Old 04-03-2017, 03:57 PM   #1
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1 or 2 inverters?

A good friend of mine and I, over a few beers were discussing whats better, 1 3000 watt inverter or 2 1500 watt inverters. And why. So what's y'all opinions? Thanks in advance
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:08 PM   #2
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At first thought I like the redundancy if you could run both inverters in parallel.

Same thing with the charger functionality. If the inverters could communicate, and coordinate charging capability in parallel then you would gain redundancy.

If the chargers could Not be coordinated for parallel operation then I think the advantage wold be for a single inverter installation to utilize the larger charger capability built into the larger inverter/chrgers
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:29 PM   #3
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Not all inverters are also battery chargers.


It would be simpler to have one inverter capable of handling all anticipated loads. Otherwise, you have to split up the wiring and transfer switches so that some loads operate from one inverter and others operate from the other.


For me, simplicity is best.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Not all inverters are also battery chargers.


It would be simpler to have one inverter capable of handling all anticipated loads. Otherwise, you have to split up the wiring and transfer switches so that some loads operate from one inverter and others operate from the other.


For me, simplicity is best.
True, but in practicality almost all quality, permanently installed inverters used in a recreational marine enviroment are inverter/chargers.

Also, some inverters are stackable, in that they can have there outputs combined to increase capacity.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:45 PM   #5
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True, but in practicality almost all quality, permanently installed inverters used in a recreational marine enviroment are inverter/chargers.

Also, some inverters are stackable, in that they can have there outputs combined to increase capacity.
I don't think that is the case. Catalogs are full of inverters that are not also chargers. Sometimes, your boat already has a perfectly good charger and all you need is an inverter.

As far as stackable, perhaps high end inverters are. Lower priced ones are not.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:46 PM   #6
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It takes a very special inverter to be able to sync its output frequency with another one and not blow up when hooked up in parallel.

The bigger inverter will be able to run bigger than 1,800 watt loads, duh!!! But it will also be more efficient when it runs any smaller load. Inverters loose efficiency the higher their load percentage goes- bigger windings and components.

Other than some degree of redundancy with two that comes with complexity and expense, I would go with the bigger inverter. But if my biggest load was 1,800 watts, then I would only have one 1,800 watt inverter and bank the extra money for use if it craps out.

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Old 04-03-2017, 04:57 PM   #7
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One inverter /charger. Buy a good one (Magnum Energy) and you won't need a backup. I use mine a lot when cruising including running a microwave and other appliances. I would rather have one big one generally running on half or less capacity, than trying to cook for 30 minutes or more at near 100% capacity.

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Old 04-03-2017, 06:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
One inverter /charger. Buy a good one (Magnum Energy) and you won't need a backup. I use mine a lot when cruising including running a microwave and other appliances. I would rather have one big one generally running on half or less capacity, than trying to cook for 30 minutes or more at near 100% capacity.

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I don't see where they have inverters only. I don't need a charger
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Old 04-03-2017, 06:23 PM   #9
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I just installed a Kisae 2000 watt inverter from West Marine in my boat and am pretty happy with it so far. I do need to upgrade my house battery bank to make full use of it but so far so good. We ran fans and the new Magic Chef refrigerator over night on the hook successfully last weekend.

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Old 04-03-2017, 06:31 PM   #10
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For 3000 watts or less I'd go with one properly sized inverter or inverter/charger. Over 3000 watts I'd parallel two or more quality inverters. Victron Energy makes several inverter/chargers designed to parallel.
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Old 04-03-2017, 06:35 PM   #11
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I would try and determine the typical usage, and the inverter(s) loss at that load. A lot of times a big one has more loss at 1/2 power than 2 smaller ones at full power.
Appreciable? Maybe, maybe not but losses cost battery time.


Another thought is the issue of neutral grounding in the dual setup. Will you be able to touch loads powered from each inverter at the same time? GFCI' outlets only test a single AC branch, they cant test 2 branches at once. Could be a possible shock hazard.
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Old 04-03-2017, 06:45 PM   #12
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I don't see where they have inverters only. I don't need a charger
They are sold as Sensata Dimensions, and available up to 3,600 watts from a 12vdc battery supply. Not much of a savings over their pure sine wave 2,800 watt inverter charger.

Why do you think you don't need a programmable 4 stage 125 amp battery charger for almost no additional money?

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Old 04-03-2017, 07:22 PM   #13
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Our boat has two legs of 120v breakers, so I have two inverters Magnum 2812. I like the dual chargers putting amps back in batteries. It does give me some redundancy should an inverter retire early.
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Old 04-03-2017, 09:07 PM   #14
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I can heartily 2nd the Magnum recommendation. We cruise full-time, our 2812 was some of the best money we spent on boat gear. It is fitted with the battery monitor, it's great for keeping on top of what's happening with the system. Wholesale Solar was the vendor, very happy with them.

As OC pointed out, the inverter/charger is less complicated, particularly with the functions you gain with the Magnum remote & monitor. A standalone charger can't be interfaced with the Magnum remote. If you install the battery monitor, it will monitor a standalone charger but only the voltage of the bank and amps in/out. Not nearly as versatile.

Keep in mind that every inverter has standby loss just being turned on. The 2812 is about 6A @ 12VDC. Two inverters will double that. That's around 140 AH per day! (less time powered by genset/engine charging).

Whether you end up with one or two, you should probably engage a good MARINE electrician to do the install or at a minimum, design it and finalize/inspect it. With the evolution of ELCI shore power protection, inverters can create a nuisance trip if there's any sort of co-mingling of neutrals/grounds.
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Semi-Retired View Post
I don't see where they have inverters only. I don't need a charger

We had a decent working charger...

But as I've added (and am still adding) battery capacity over time, when it came time to add an inverter... it became useful to make that an inverter charger.

I have two main battery banks, so the original charger now services only one of those banks, and the new inverter/charger services the other bank.

Even so, I still don't have enough charging capacity to exactly match the battery manufacturer's optimum recommendations abut charging capacity, on either bank. I'll be closer on the bank with the new inverter/charger, once I replace those batteries this year. I'll be closer on the other bank when I eventually replace that charger... assuming it craps out sometime... but in the meantime, we'll be close enough.

Just some thoughts...

-Chris
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:06 AM   #16
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I am a two inverter/charger proponent (for my situation). I use the two chargers daily to cut generator run time (200 amps output when combined).

Since we cruise where the local power is 240 European, I use one charger/inverter for charging as it accepts European power and the 50 hertz frequency, and the second supplies North American 110 and 60 hertz throughout the boat.

My third use (not needed so far) is as a backup if the normally used inverter fails.
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:23 AM   #17
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I am a two inverter/charger proponent (for my situation). I use the two chargers daily to cut generator run time (200 amps output when combined).

That's an unplanned benefit to our having two chargers now. That should mean we can take better advantage of the higher AGM charge acceptance rate... so our normal 2 hours of genset charging in morning and late afternoon can have a much greater effect.

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Old 04-04-2017, 05:02 PM   #18
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IMHO not about redundancy but efficiency. Some inverters have a idle draw that is proportional to the the capacity. All inverters operate most efficiently at near peak.

400W - 600W guy to run more constant loads (for me really just the laptop and wifi booster) then however many kW unit to run peak, with an easy to get to on-off switch.

PS: getting chargers to coordinate together outside the bulk phase that aren't designed to do so is non trivial.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:14 PM   #19
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Some inverters have a idle draw ..............

They all do but some have an available remote switch so you can turn them off when they are not needed.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:49 PM   #20
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I have 3000 watt MSW inverter, it runs everything except the heat pump.
I have a second small inverter wired into the outlet circuit from the electrical panel with an DPDT on-off-on 20 amp switch. So I can if everything sort of dies, have some AC for lights, etc..., completely isolated from all other AC power sources and wiring if need be, like who knows some weird catastrophe.

What this does is switch over to the small inverter all AC power to outlets or in center 'off' position, all outlets are off, or back to other side of 'on' whatever power is incoming going to all outlets, as from shore, gen or 3000 watt inverter.

I have all outlets on one 20 amp panel breaker. Except microwave and the fridge which are each on their own circuit breakers.
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