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Old 03-25-2013, 09:47 PM   #1
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Do you really need an inverter?

Good evening soon to be fellow trawler enthusiast! I have come to a decision on the electrical set up. I've been tormenting over the size of the battery bank and inverter/charger and all the alternators and monitors needed to run a good size house bank. I've determined that I was going to use the following:
--24v system using (4) 8d's which would have given me about 510 ah at a cost of ($3,000.00)
--Magnum Inverter/Charger 4000 watts with peak 7200 peak wattage ($2,100.00)
--Alternator 150amp times 2 belmar about ($3,000.00)
There was a lot of other items I would need to make it work but just the base items would cost about ($8,100.00).
I think the time spent on the hook would be about 5 times per year hopefully a week at a time. Cost of diesel will be about $4.00 per gallon, lets say the 12.5kw genset burn 1gal/hour. Diesel for the year will be about 600 gallons or about $2400.00. I think I would use the genset about 1/2 of the time so realistically I would burn about $1,200.00 worth of fuel.
I like the inverter but I'm going to pass this time around.
To the subject, do you really need a large house bank with inverter and so on......
Thanks Paul
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:58 PM   #2
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I have a 600 watt inverter that charges 2 computers and runs the tv/entertainment center - $80

I have a 3000W 1500W continuus that runs the Microwave/blender for smoothies/fans to clear the winshield, etc..etc - $120

Had a $1200 hardwired 2000W/120 amp charger inverter on my last boat....it almost burned the boat down if it hadn't sunk first from dead batteries because the auto switch from invert to charge relay welded itself shut. It was not even 2 seasons old. Too many horror stories for me to get back into those tye systems...and a waste of money in my book.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:00 PM   #3
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You only need an inverter if you're going to be running stuff on AC from the batteries. So microwave, coffeemaker, vacuum cleaner, power tools, computer/iPod/iPad/iPhone/drill battery chargers, etc. Obviously if you have a generator you can run all that stuff off of it.

We have a generator and a 2500w inverter/smart charger. When we're out we typically run the generator for an hour or so on the days we aren't going anywhere on the main engines. The generator heats enough water to last the rest of the day and throws a charge back into the main batteries. If we have cameras, computers, phones and other things that need recharging we'll do it while the generator is running.

We rarely use the inverter itself. Perhaps to run the microwave while we're underway but that's pretty rare.

And if all you want to do with AC is charge some batteries, power your Bose Sound Dock, run your laptop, and so on, you can buy a small inverter from Car Toys or whoever and plug it into a 12vdc power point on the boat (like a cigarette lighter-type plug). We do this to power our Bose in the evenings.

So of all the devices in our boat's electrical setup, the inverter part of our Heart Freedom 25 inverter/charger is the least used. If we didn't have it, it probably wouldn't make a lot of difference to us.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:12 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, that make me think I'm making the right decision. Not knowing sometimes you worry about all the wrong things.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:26 PM   #5
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We don't need an inverter. We have one and never have used it. We get to port often enough to plug in to shore power. We don't have washers, TVs, and lots of other stuff that probably is common on most boats here on the forum. We have more than enough to maintain as it is.

Some of this is due to the fact that we have a smaller boat but most is just due to style and personal preference.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:29 PM   #6
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an inverter providing 110-AC is convenient for powering tools, charging phones, radios, running heaters, operating a compressor, heating the water, etcetera, leastwise on my boat.

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Old 03-25-2013, 10:36 PM   #7
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My 1500 watt inverter runs my fridge and makes my coffee. Also plays The VCR. No genset, no cry.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:40 PM   #8
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Eric and I are in the same camp, we boat for the purpose of leaving certain conveniences behind. I researched installing more batteries and an inverter and concluded we had no real need or desire for one.

Different strokes. Your original post outlined our thought process for going without one. We may someday install a generator if we feel compelled.

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Old 03-25-2013, 11:14 PM   #9
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Do you have an icemaker? Yeah, we value our ice on the Gulfcoast. And if you have an icemaker, it will need AC power to cut the cubes...
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
Do you have an icemaker? Yeah, we value our ice on the Gulfcoast. And if you have an icemaker, it will need AC power to cut the cubes...
I'm going a little bigger for the ice maker. Another thread but about 400# maker and cold plates.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:53 PM   #11
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Do you have an icemaker? Yeah, we value our ice on the Gulfcoast. And if you have an icemaker, it will need AC power to cut the cubes...
I'm in this camp as well. I have no generator. Just 3-8D batts and a 3000 watt inverter. My AC requirements when running or anchoring are the icemaker, refrigerator, TV (DVDs) 2- 110V lamps, coffee maker, microwave, electric shaver, curling iron, electric skillet, etc. With management (don't run them all at once!) No problem! I'm planning on acquiring a Honda EU 2000 for a back up.(But have not needed it yet,) (I'm being tutored by a TF member up in the delta on this subject.)
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:13 AM   #12
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Do you have an icemaker? Yeah, we value our ice on the Gulfcoast. And if you have an icemaker, it will need AC power to cut the cubes...
Seriously this is why we have an inverter. Joys of power boating.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:23 AM   #13
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Seriously this is why we have an inverter. Joys of power boating.
I'm not a fan of consuming ice made from water from a/my boat's tanks. I buy ice at the store or bring it from home. Still, I'm a fan of an inverter despite having no genset.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:24 AM   #14
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Seriously this is why we have an inverter. Joys of power boating.
Come on, PG! You just put them in your ice tea!
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:07 AM   #15
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No gen, no ice, no inver-tars,
Not a single luxury,
Like Robinson Crusoe,
As primitive as can be...
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:14 AM   #16
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When I purchased my vessel, the inverter side of the inverter/charger didn't work. I managed for a year, underway for half that time. When the charger side went out, I replaced the unit because I NEEDED the charger, and if you want a charger with over 100 amps output, you are better off price-wise to get a charger/inverter unit. BTW, now I find myself turning on the inverter to run the microwave or the vacuum cleaner, instead of cranking the gen. Just a thought.

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Old 03-26-2013, 06:31 AM   #17
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A 1500V cheapo inverter is very inexpensive (under $200) and will handle the microwave or other junk loads easily.

Not for refrigeration (with out 1000lbs of batts.

Remember 8D is a size like size 7 shoes ,
NOT a guide to weather the batt is built as a start or deep cycle.

Starts for starting , deep cycle for the house .

The "combo" batteries are poor at everything , tho do work fine for a 23 ft IO cruiser with no fridge for O'nite.

Not your service.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:51 AM   #18
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First of all, I am wondering how you are managing spending 3000 for 4 8D batteries, even Rolls AGM. 2000 is more like it. You can get wet cell 4 US Battery L16 6v at 410ah for about $1200, which I managed to suck almost 100,000 amp hours out of before they went dead.

I do agree with your approach to try life without one at first, and seeing how that works for you. For us, it is the quiet and not having to run the generator at very low loads. But also we were spending and still do a lot of time on moorings and at anchor, several months worth every year, maybe three or four months total tied to a dock. Even last year being more of stay at home cruisers, we were on the hook 42 nights.

When I got my boat I had all sorts of things I wanted to do to it, but we were eager to go cruising. Almost 6 years later many are still on The List and many were deleted from The List.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:00 AM   #19
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Never had a big inverter and never needed one. I only have a couple of little ones. The main use is to run the navigation computer, but on a couple of occasions I have used one for the TV at anchor.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:55 AM   #20
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Have inverter to keep Ice Maker, Wine Cooler, TV Wireless Card and our Coffee ready--would not leave dock without it--my port engine keeps the batteries charged and if we anchor a smart relay will not let the batteries draw off engine batteries--seems smart phones, I Pads and wireless cards do not charge as well on 12 volt.

My Two Cents

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