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Old 12-05-2012, 06:19 PM   #1
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charger-inverter combo

Thinking about replacing my present battery charger (30A) with something with at least 60A output, and possibly combined with an inverter. I have 6 x 6v golf carts for house, 2 x 4D's for main engine starting, and 1 x group 27 for genset start, all fed by the single 30A charger. Only experience I've had with charger-inverter combos is on a charter yacht I used to captain in the BVI. It was a Xantrax 2000W unit and I was so impressed by their customer service I vowed to never buy a Xantrax unit on any boat I owned. Question: Anybody got a unit they'd recommend? Was my disappointing experience with Xantrax support unique, or has anyone else had the pleasure?
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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Cap, two great choices are the Magnum and Victron units. The Victron has a power sharing feature that will pick up any power your shore power falls short on and will pull power from the batteries before the breaker trips on the dock. I have lots of positive experience with both. Chuck
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:01 PM   #3
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Thinking about replacing my present battery charger (30A) with something with at least 60A output, and possibly combined with an inverter. I have 6 x 6v golf carts for house, 2 x 4D's for main engine starting, and 1 x group 27 for genset start, all fed by the single 30A charger. Only experience I've had with charger-inverter combos is on a charter yacht I used to captain in the BVI. It was a Xantrax 2000W unit and I was so impressed by their customer service I vowed to never buy a Xantrax unit on any boat I owned. Question: Anybody got a unit they'd recommend? Was my disappointing experience with Xantrax support unique, or has anyone else had the pleasure?
That would be "Xantrex". I had one of their chargers and when it failed, I took it to their authorized repair person in my city who told me he could not repair it because the company would not furnish schematics and repair parts. I replaced it with a different brand.

Before that incident, I installed a Xantrex inverter and while it works OK once it is "ON", I have to turn it on and off several times before it comes online without an error code. I have not been able to find a repair facility for this product either.

So yes, I would recommend something else. I don't know what, but something else.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:15 PM   #4
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We have a Magnum 3100W/160A charger and love it. I talked with a liveaboard electrical engineer recently and he said Magum is the best in the business hands down. US made.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:57 PM   #5
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Run, don't walk away from any Xantrex product. Chuck
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:02 PM   #6
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I'm waiting for Moonstruck to find this thread...
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:24 PM   #7
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I was told by an expert that Xantrex is "Chinese crap", and to definitely steer clear. He recommended Outback and Magnum - both made here in the USA and superior in every regard. The Outbacks were more expensive, so we bought a Magnum 2000W/100A inverter charger w/remote control panel for around $1,500. It replaced twin Xantrex 40A models (80A total) and literally tops off the house bank (4x6V) more than twice as fast. It's also a pure sine wave inverter, so my computers/LCD monitors run better. Only had it since July, but we're very happy with it.

My friend has a 5000W Outback inverter that came on his DeFever 54. The thing's HUGE, and I don't even want to know how much it cost new...
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:33 PM   #8
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I'm a big fan of Newmar Power System products. I've never used their Inverter / Chargers but their chargers are very reliable. Their customer service is first class.
Disclaimer: I may be biased as I sell a lot of Newmar products. I like them because I don't get returns.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:53 PM   #9
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We had a Heart Freedom 25 (2500 w) inverter/smart charger installed on the boat a number of years ago and it's worked flawlessly. Unfortunately Heart was later purchased by Xantrex and that was the end of Heart.

The main complaint I see about Xantrex is their poor service and response to problems.

Since we've not so far had any problems with our Freedom 25 we have had no need to research today's inverter/charger market. But were we in need of one or if we had to replace ours for some reason, we would not consider Xantrex but would talk to our marine electrical shop (and perhaps a few others) to find out what is the most reliable unit with the best after-sales service.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:57 PM   #10
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I guess I'm the lone Xantrex fan here.

I've had their inverter/chargers on boats for a very long time and never had one fail.

The models have ranged from the freedom 1 kw, to the prosine 2 kw and I installed a 3 kw freedom sw on my current boat.

I also run their link system for battery monitoring.

I would not hesitate to buy another Xantrex inverter.

I have to admit though that I would not ever dream of shipping an inverter off for repair. Living in Alaska has taught me that shiping is very expensive, and an inverter is just too important to do without. If mine ever fails I'll next day air in a replacement and go about my happy life.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:02 PM   #11
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Our boat had a Outback when we got it and it's been turned on continually for the past five years. I can't address their customer service because nothing has ever gone wrong with it. If it failed tomorrow I would buy another.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:59 AM   #12
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When I was fitting out our boat in Ft Lauderdale spring '11 I went to the West Marine superstore to buy a Xantrax. When I told the electronics expert there to get me one, he said if he did he would be seeing me again. A bit surprised I asked him to explain. He said he has never sold a Xantrax in the last few years that did not come back. He also said he has never seen a Magnum come back. The Magnum was cheaper and this guy was working on a commission. Enough said for me. A year and a half later it has been running 24/7 without a hiccup.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:33 AM   #13
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Our boat had a Outback when we got it and it's been turned on continually for the past five years. I can't address their customer service because nothing has ever gone wrong with it. If it failed tomorrow I would buy another.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:38 AM   #14
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A look in Home Power will list at least a dozen different inverter or charger mfg.

I prefer seperiate units , so when one dies , at least the other keeps working.

Charles is another brand to consider , that seems to be mostly problem free.

The big question on inverters is $200 for 1700W or $2000 for about the same .

The big buck true sine wave unit is REQUIRED for Air cond or other heavy motor loads .

$200 or less will run the fridge, microwave ,TV and sat receiver and most power tools.

Same with chargers , smart costs more than dumb , but the difference is not in batt life , mostly in how often you need to water the batt set.

Adjustable top charge and float voltage is worth some bucks , esp if its easy to change.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:33 AM   #15
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I guess I'm the lone Xantrex fan here.

I don't have a Xantrex inverter, but the Xantrex 30A charger has been working just fine for at least the past 2 years.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:42 AM   #16
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I'm waiting for Moonstruck to find this thread...
Oh, moderators:

Flywright is trying to stir up trouble again.

I have nothing to add, as since installing the Prosine inverter that magically showed up on my door step there has been no chance to see how it performs. Stay tuned. However, you can open this thread to see what has transpired.

Xantrex
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:59 AM   #17
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When I was fitting out our boat in Ft Lauderdale spring '11 I went to the West Marine superstore to buy a Xantrax. When I told the electronics expert there to get me one, he said if he did he would be seeing me again. A bit surprised I asked him to explain. He said he has never sold a Xantrax in the last few years that did not come back. He also said he has never seen a Magnum come back. The Magnum was cheaper and this guy was working on a commission. ................
West Marine salespeople work on commision now?
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:16 AM   #18
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West Marine salespeople work on commision now?
I think not!
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:19 AM   #19
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We have 2 Freedom 25s. I have already had the relays replaced in the one on the bus & would not hesitate to have the one on the boat rebuilt if that became necessary. Having seen inside my old Hearts and newer models I'll take the old stuff any day.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:02 AM   #20
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........... The main complaint I see about Xantrex is their poor service and response to problems..
Wouldn't it be better if the product didn't need "service and response to problems" in the first place?

An inverter or inverter/charger has no moving parts other than one or more fans and relays, so in theory, if properly designed and installed, it should never wear out or fail except for the fans and relays.

Based on my personal experience, and the experiences of others on several boating forums, Xantrex products seem to have a much higher rate of failure than some of the other brands. Perhaps it's because they have a bigger market share or perhaps it's because they are not as well designed and constructed. I'm thinking the latter.
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