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Old 12-13-2017, 05:33 PM   #1
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Magnum Inverter vs ?

All,

What Inverters have the same great reputation as the Magnum?

I'm ready to buy, but can't get Magnum on the phone for questions, they just don't answer, or the hold is forever. Hard to deal with.

Thx
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:41 PM   #2
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Iíve had a Xantrex SW series in service for 6 years now.

The unit is a beast at around 75 pounds or more.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:48 PM   #3
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Xantrex makes good gear but the corp CS attitude truly sux.

Victron is better than MasterVolt IMO.

ProMariner, Sterling

Outback, Vanner

Samlex and Tripplite are solid middle ground

Magnum is the best
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:59 PM   #4
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Had Xantrex, now have a Magnum 3.1 inverter/charger, which I like a lot. Magnum HQ is in Everett Wa, and their customer service has been responsive in both email and by phone when I've dealt with them.
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:24 PM   #5
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I've always had good luck with Victron.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:13 PM   #6
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Iíve got a Magnum 2812 Inverter charger and itís been excellent and technical support has been superb and immediate.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:20 PM   #7
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Agree on the excellent responsiveness. Email them and they respond within 24 with solution and tech phone number if needed
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:34 PM   #8
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I've had a Xantrex Feedom 2012'SW for 4 plus years with no issues. Xantrex is now owned by Schneider Electric. The one time I needed programming help they answered the phone immediately and patiently walked me through the programming.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:56 PM   #9
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I've had a Xantrex Feedom 2012'SW for 4 plus years with no issues. Xantrex is now owned by Schneider Electric. The one time I needed programming help they answered the phone immediately and patiently walked me through the programming.
Yeah but the old Freedoms were designed and originally manufactured by Heart Interface and were reliable beasts. One exception, never ever switch off one of their inverters that is used to charge batteries.

Some years ago I had a Heart (Freedom) set up as an inverter/charger charging a battery bank. I switched battery banks using a so called make before break switch....it didn't... and the inverter exploded into a flaming, smoking mess. I could have lost my boat with the fire.
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:07 PM   #10
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Have a magnum 2812 pure sine wave. Absolutely bullet proof. At this time, wouldn't consider anything else.

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Old 12-13-2017, 08:13 PM   #11
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Have a magnum 2812 pure sine wave. Absolutely bullet proof. At this time, wouldn't consider anything else.

Ted
Ditto. When combined with the battery monitor kit, shunt and remote, it’s an amazingly comprehensive system. And Magnum tech support has always been readily available and first rate.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:20 AM   #12
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Ditto. When combined with the battery monitor kit, shunt and remote, itís an amazingly comprehensive system. And Magnum tech support has always been readily available and first rate.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:36 AM   #13
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I believe the ProMariner stuff is pretty good to.

At some point, gear changes and only time tells who won the title for "best" for that particular time period.

Without opening stuff up and looking at total design and parts specs, really tough to call out the top guys except for reputation, and even sometimes I believe that is skewed.

Just because gear works on some larger more exoensive boats, doesn't mean it is much better than smaller, less expensive stuff that often is used on smaller vessels and leads a harsher life.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:37 AM   #14
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Yup, PSN is correct.

After 5 years my Magnum 2812 sporadically began shutting down showing the red fault light and registering "high voltage". Easy to reset and restarts just fine. But I'm not on the vessel 24/7 so a problematic situation exists

This issue has been nearly impossible for Magnum and local very smart tech to trouble shoot but does seem isolated to a power board. A new board is being installed - we shall see. Through a Seattle marine specific electronics firm who also looked at problem but couldn't replicate, this issue is not common but does occur. Bench testing time and new parts can quickly get to total replacement unit price of $1800.

Bottom line, most are good until they aren't. BTW, wasn't Magnum sold and relocated?
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:45 AM   #15
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We’ve had an OutBack 2800 watt, Vented Model VFX2812M. True sign wave, 5 year warranty and made in the US. It’s field repairable by swapping out circuit boards. Our has been in service for 10 plus years and is still manufactured & supported.

Outback Power Inc. - Mobile Inverter/Chargers Vented VFX3232M

OutBack also makes a highly regarded MPPT charge controller for solar for easier integration.

Outback Power Inc. - Charge Controllers FLEXmax 60/80

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Old 12-14-2017, 08:51 AM   #16
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I am a Magnum evangelist, being something of a pioneer with the brand on a boat when I installed my MS4024 system (BMK, AGS, Remote) 10 years ago. Great service before during and after the sale/installation. Extremely heavy use in 6+years of living and cruising aboard, living on the hook or a mooring for months at a time. American owned (then at least, not sure what the new Dimensions ownership structure is), American customer service, American made, serviceable.

The only other brand I would consider today is Outback, also all-American. I know many Hatteras owners with them since they make a 32v unit, all are very happy with the brand. Their new Mate3 control system is worth looking at as it combines AGS and BMK functionality with fewer modules. Looks pretty slick. Between those two choices, Magnum and Outback, I see no reason to look at anything else if you are an installing a system for heavy duty prolonged use.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:00 AM   #17
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After 5 years my Magnum 2812 sporadically began shutting down showing the red fault light and registering "high voltage". Easy to reset and restarts just fine. But I'm not on the vessel 24/7 so a problematic situation exists

This issue has been nearly impossible for Magnum and local very smart tech to trouble shoot but does seem isolated to a power board. A new board is being installed - we shall see.
In this scenario, Xantrex CS just says buy a new one.

Authorized repair shops can't get parts from corporate, if you really push and get lucky with a nice tech, maybe they try and call around, see if they can find a for-parts unit to cannibalize.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:22 AM   #18
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For any customer support organization, find out what time they start routing calls to the queue. (Often after hours, many organizations route calls to a mailbox or a generic outgoing message). Call on the dot or minute minute after the system starts routing to the queue. You'll have much lower wait times. The later in the day you call, the longer the wait time. Many will stop routing calls to the queue when (Avg Wait Time >= Time to CoB'). Some simply abandon the queue at the end of Customer Service hours (horrible design).


I've had good luck with Xantrex. I've had problems with a ProMariner charger which put me off to the brand after spending a handful of nights on anchor in the dark. It is my understanding Charles are decent, but I've never had one.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:23 AM   #19
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As a professional who is on many, many, many boats and on the receiving end of even more emails regarding failures, glitches etc. here is my experience.

IMPORTANT: All large amperage inverter/chargers can be DANGEROUS for unattended charging. Why? Every unit I know of only offers a maximum of 1 battery temp sensor or NONE at all (see Sterling/ProMariner below). If a battery fails internally, and the single temp sensor is not on it, you now have 80A to 150A +/- charger feeding into this battery failure which can lead to thermal runaway and extremely dangerous situations. This is a failing of not only the industry but also the standards organizations. If you want unattended charging please be safe and use the smallest charger that can maintain the batteries and satisfy DC shore loads. Always use a charger with at least 1 battery temp sensor..

Don't let this be your boat, when you're not there: (and this was well after it had been isolated and cooled off a bit)




Magnum - One of if not the most reliable brands of marine suitable inverter/chargers I install or come across. Perfect? Hell no, but better than many. My biggest complaint is the utter stupidity of no voltage sensing circuit. No matter how big you size those wires there WILL be voltage drop between the batteries and charger and we can't ignore switches, over current and all the terminations on-top of the wire voltage drop. Aiming for a 2% or for a 3% voltage drop may sound fine until you realize that at 14.4V that means only 13.96V at the batteries when the charger is now in CV mode before the batteries get there and charging slows dramatically, well before it should.. For folks who only want to run the genset for a short period, and get the most energy back into the batteries, this engineering lapse = LAME

Victron - Again, very high quality, robustly built, weighs a ton and quite reliable. Victron support is also quite good but bugs and fixes can take some patience. The good remote is also very $$$$$. Victron gets charging, and the short duration high current charging we do on boats, and they offer a DEDICATED volt-sense circuit. Kudos to Victron for actually understanding battery charging needs.

Xantrex - Four years ago was the last Xantrex inverter or charger I installed. I tried hard to talk the customer out of it but "J-Boat installed it and they know what they are doing." Of course all this "J-Boat knows what they are doing." completely ignores the 2006 Xantrex 2000W inverter/charger that failed by 2012 and was more costly to repair than replace, and it was dead in six years.....

Today, in 2017, I am still waiting for the "fix" to the inverter, promises, promises, yada, yada, yada but as of yet no fix to this issue. Course when this fix eventually comes, if ever, I get to eat the labor to remove, repair and reinstall the unit for their design error.. It has been 4 freaking years..

The issue is that Xantrex used a powder coated mild steel case (on a marine inverter) that VIBRATES like a snare-drum under certain AC loads. It's so loud you can't even hear yourself think. If I were to upload the video you would be HORRIFIED. I have not uploaded the video due to some real colorful language and the Xantrex bashing I did during the video.. (heat of the moment stuff) At first they denied the issue could even occur, and I was the first... This = LYING and they knew it. I was at the Annapolis show and speaking with others in the trade and discovered this is actually a well known issue and I was NOT the "first". Intentionally lying to one of your installers = FAIL...

Xantrex has been promising a new "aluminum case" for this unit and they've had four years to fix it. ZILCH! Don't even get me going on the piles of Xantrex TruCharge battery chargers I have replaced or the lack of knowledgeable tech support folks who don't even comprehend Ohm's Law nor have likely ever heard of it.. Also, no volt sense circuit and one of the most horrendous remote control user interfaces I've encountered.

Sterling/ProMariner - A dated product with very little control or programming other than for 6 different voltage programs (7 if you want to charge at 15.1V with no battery temp sensor) and no custom programming option at all. Sterling actually tries to sell the simplicity (lack of features) as a feature but the truth is they've not kept up with the times. The units also have low charger output compared to inverter rated watts when compared to others. Even the 12V 2500W Sterling Pure Sine unit can only charge at 80A yet a Magnum 2000W can charge at 100A. These units do not even offer a battery temp sensor...

Mastervolt - There is a lot I like about Mastervolt but past reliability has not been not one of them. They have gone to "high frequency" inverters (less costly to produce) and the reliability compared to old school heavy massive transformer based units had not been impressive, in my experience. They have made some changes and the reliability is reportedly getting better but time will be the real deciding factor. The MassCombi's can also do voltage sensing but it requires a Mastervolt Master shunt to do so. This increases the cost of installation over say a Victron that has two simple terminals for voltage sensing. When used as a stand alone unit custom programming them to an appropriate or correct voltage profile for your bank also requires software, a computer and two Mastervolt communication devices. If you are a DIY these added devices can also add up cost wise. Like most of the others they only offer one battery temp sensor, but heck this is better than none...

Outback -
While not as popular as the above units they will do nearly everything but wash your dishes. They are robustly built, have excellent tech support but no standard dedicated voltage sensing circuit. For accurate voltage sensing they require a Flexnet DC, at an additional expense.. Their remotes are also quite good and the user interface is pretty straight forward. My only real complaint is the complexity for a DIY install due to the amazingly in-depth manual and vast amounts of programming & use features/options.



I won't comment on other small players in the marine market other than to say the reliability I see has been pretty poor, especially high frequency models. Many of them are not designed nor suitable for a marine application and can actually be dangerous.

Please be sure you purchase an inverter charger designed specifically for marine use so neutral/grounding bonding issues are correct for a marine application. Also be sure it is built to meet UL458 standards, especially if not buying from Magnum, Mastervolt, Outback, Victron etc., & it should preferably be tested to the marine supplement of UL-458 or UL-458-SA.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:40 AM   #20
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One thing to note about Victron as compared to Outback and Magnum (the other brands I think that are good), is that Victron has a number of features the others don't have. If they matter to you, then it will tip the scales towards Victron. The key one that comes to mind is load assist. Different people call it by different names, but it's the same idea.

When on grid or gen power, all the above inverters will throttle their charging level if the combined draw from loads plus the charger exceeds the shore or gen capacity. That's great for handling transient and variable loads.

Victron takes one step further. If the loads themselves exceed the shore or gen capacity, the Victron will kick back into invert mode and assist the shore/gen to support the loads. Then once the loads drop back below the shore/gen capacity, it resumes charging. It's a nice way to do load leveling and operate loads that periodically exceed the shore/gen capacity without tripping breakers or overload shore/gen.
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