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Old 11-18-2014, 03:12 PM   #1
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Battery Charger and Inverter Upgrade Options

Our boat has a separate charger and inverter. I suspect they are original equipment and about 30 years old. As far as I can tell they both work but I would like to update them to gain some of the functions modern chargers and inverters have.

Are there any advantages to replacing both pieces of equipment individually vice replacing both with an integrated charger/inverter?
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Old 11-18-2014, 03:44 PM   #2
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Might need more info. You charger might be charging multiple banks?

Most integrated inverter/chargers I've seen only charge the bank that feeds the inverter function (but I haven't researched exhaustively).

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Old 11-18-2014, 04:40 PM   #3
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Only have 2 house batteries and one start battery at the moment.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:40 PM   #4
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Most stand alone inverters do not have in internal automatic transfer switch. Having one is a big advantage because it lets the inverter automatically take over all (or most) of the AC loads when shore power is not connected.

OTOH, independent units limit the consequences of failure. So you pays your money and you takes your chances.

The original Freedom series of (now Xantrex) inverter/chargers had an independent Echo Charging circuit for the starting battery. Not sure what the current version does. I am pretty sure that the Victron inverter/charger has a similar separate charging output.

So, for me I would install a combination inverter/charger.

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Old 11-19-2014, 07:20 AM   #5
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The newest tech has little to recommend it , unless you need a specific feature .

If it worked for 30 years find a better place to toss your boat bucks.

Two units allow one to fail and only loose 1/2 the usefulness.
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Old 11-19-2014, 01:12 PM   #6
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This seems to be one of the many 'religious wars' on the Forum. Some, like FF, see little benefit in new technology and are also against combination inverter/chargers....but these have really taken the market by storm and so far as I can tell locally, most folks upgrading do see significant benefits. There are plenty of the 'combo' units that are capable of charging more than one battery bank. Victron is my personal favourite Combo, though MasterVolt are also very good.
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Old 11-19-2014, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donsan View Post
Only have 2 house batteries and one start battery at the moment.

So, sounds like two banks.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquabelle View Post
There are plenty of the 'combo' units that are capable of charging more than one battery bank. Victron is my personal favourite Combo, though MasterVolt are also very good.
Good to know, hadn't seen any before. Probably used to low a price cut-off

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Old 11-19-2014, 01:17 PM   #8
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Get Nigel Calder's book on electrical systems and diesel engines. It's a GREAT resource. There are at least 3 chapters on battery banks and how to care for them and test them out. It will explain how everything works, from chargers to inverters to battery isolators. It may be at the library, but you need to have this book on board anyway. It's about $50.00 and a good investment.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:14 PM   #9
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FF has a good point. If they lasted 30 years and still work, why bother to replace them? There definitely are a lot of other things to spend the boat money on. At some point in time, the charger and/or inverter will fail and the decision will have to be faced at a later date. When the day comes, I will opt for the integrated charger/inverter but for now will take the approach of the government and kick the can down the road.
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Old 11-20-2014, 08:51 AM   #10
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FF has a good point. If they lasted 30 years and still work, why bother to replace them? There definitely are a lot of other things to spend the boat money on. At some point in time, the charger and/or inverter will fail and the decision will have to be faced at a later date. When the day comes, I will opt for the integrated charger/inverter but for now will take the approach of the government and kick the can down the road.
Yes, good advice.
Are you thinking of increasing your house bank?
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Old 11-20-2014, 10:03 AM   #11
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Are you thinking of increasing your house bank?
Most likely but it begs the question that if the POs over 30 years got by with two house batteries, why do we need more? If we decide to do the loop, I would definitely add 2 more and probably solar panels. Great Lakes boating is not that demanding. A/C is rarely needed as the air is dry and humidity low. The stern thruster is hydraulic. We didn't get to use the new to us boat that much due to purchase late in the season and other traveling so this year, we will get a better feel for what our needs are. We did put on about 50 hours of day cruising when we got to Michigan in mid August.

A lot of equipment on the boat is original and surprisingly most of it works.
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Old 11-21-2014, 06:39 AM   #12
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A lot of equipment on the boat is original and surprisingly most of it works.

That usually means the outfitters gear selection was not done on a cheapest basis.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:02 AM   #13
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A lot of equipment on the boat is original and surprisingly most of it works.

That usually means the outfitters gear selection was not done on a cheapest basis.
Exactly.

If it was me, if I added to the house bank, I'd probably add a smart Victron charger inverter and solar panels.
But keep what you have as a backup.

Now also, if you add batteries, you can't have new and old on same bank, so that added to your cost.

Now that I think about it, because I'd the battery issue, why not JUST add the solar panels and see how they goes.
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Old 11-22-2014, 07:33 AM   #14
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>Now also, if you add batteries, you can't have new and old on same bank, so that added to your cost.<

The old rotary switch with 2 banks of batts may be outdated , but for the cost it would solve the new/old battery problem.

The entire house set ,new & old can be BOTH charged together , then split up while discharging.
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Old 11-22-2014, 07:38 AM   #15
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>Now also, if you add batteries, you can't have new and old on same bank, so that added to your cost.<

The old rotary switch with 2 banks of batts may be outdated , but for the cost it would solve the new/old battery problem.

The entire house set ,new & old can be BOTH charged together , then split up while discharging.
This is the way I have it set up. I usually leave on all 4 but the 1/2/both/off allows me to shut down everything if a problem....

.... but even more important, if I have to replace a battery or two, as a liveaboard I can leave something hooked up to provide 12V while the other set of 2 is replaced or moved to get underneath, whatever.
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