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Old 02-19-2016, 06:33 PM   #1
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Inverter

I am looking to install an inverter to run the refrigerator while under way. I have a generator on board, but do not like it running while motoring.
The boat is a 45' Aquarius with twin Cat 3208T.

Any ideas as to size?

Thanks
Henry
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Old 02-19-2016, 06:46 PM   #2
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What size fridge? Do you know the startup current draw? They take more to start up than to run once started.

I run an older dorm size fridge on a small 1000W inverter. I can also power my small microwave simultaneously.



If you add an inverter, inevitably you'll find more uses for it. Microwave, heater, fans, lights, chargers...Don't undersize the inverter, the fuse or the cabling.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:13 PM   #3
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Defintely get an inverter/charger combo. I like the Magnum Energy units, excellent support.
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:30 PM   #4
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Ditto on Magnum.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:31 PM   #5
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Magnum Energy!

If you're going to use it for other items, decide if you need a true sine wave or a modified square wave will work. Considering changing mine as some of my appliances don't like the modified square wave.

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Old 02-19-2016, 10:49 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone, but what size would you go for on an inverter charger?
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:50 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone, but what size would you go for on an inverter charger?

I think it depends on the draw on your fridge. A 2800 watt Magnum inverter charger theoretically will run 23 amps at 120 volts, but more realistically the efficiency will be lower, 15-18 amps.

I would suggest, you don't just want a small inverter. 2000 watts would be a minimum in my opinion. You will need at least that if you want to run a coffee maker or microwave on inverter power. A fridge will draw 5-8 amps at 120 volts. The Magnum 2812 is an excellent unit, allowing you to charge at 125 amps on shore power. The other part of the system, when using an inverter while travelling is the size of your alternator. You will also have to recharge your house bank while travelling. Size matters.


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Old 02-20-2016, 03:14 AM   #8
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Also have good things to say about the Magnum units. Have the 2812 and its charger output when running the generator is substantial which reduces generator run time.

The 2000 watt unit would not start my Splendide washer/dryer but that may not be a consideration for you.
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Old 02-20-2016, 07:07 AM   #9
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Many truck units of about 1000W - 2000Ware about 1/5 the cost of a "marine" unit and work as well.

A 1500W unit is about $100 at Amazon.

These are mostly square wave units that power most fridges and kitchen goodies fine.

Sine wave is required for very heavy loads , air cond , scuba refill, water maker , but hardly a house fridge.

Charging is best left to a modern smart charger as its simpler to replace one item after failure , or your needs change.
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Old 02-20-2016, 08:30 AM   #10
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An inverter/charger is one area where I think it's worth the larger up-front investment to get a quality unit with good capacity, that includes a charger. Once you start using it for one appliance, you will quickly succumb to the convenience and utility of having household-style power available. You will want to make coffee, and your wife will want to use a hair dryer. You will charge your phone and iPad and laptop, and you will be able to use power tools on board. It's all just a matter of time.

So I would follow the advise of others and get something in the 2500-3500W range, get a sine wave inverter/charger, install it correctly, and enjoy it for years to come. If you buy something small, it's only a matter of time before you will be wanting to upgrade it. And if you get a modified sine wave inverter, it will be harder on your appliances, consume more power due to inefficiencies, and possibly damage appliances.

My first and last modified sine wave inverter was almost 20 years ago, and I woke up one morning to a smoldering and spitting Dewalt battery charger that I had left on over night. It was smoking and oozing chemicals, all because of the square wave power. Needless to say, that was the last square wave inverter I bought.
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:02 AM   #11
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Thank you everyone, as always your advise has be useful.

Henry
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:47 AM   #12
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I have 2 inverters, one is 3000 watt MSW, other is actually a modified UPS.
I mainly got the 3000 watt so I know it can start my fridge, run a microwave, run the boat PC and some lights.
I can also run my Princess oven, but not my Cruisair heat pump.

Never had issue with small chargers blowing up.
I run the inverter output into my entire boat system through a Hubbell GFCI. Leviton also is ok. Other GFCI may buzz.
I got a gen so the inverter is a silent backup.

The UPS backs up the bigger inverter, just in case so the navigation PC and some AC lights can run. My UPS mod was adding an interior fan, and exterior DC screw lugs to hook into the boat batteries.

Even created a remote on-off for it. Adding the fans it seems to have increased output by 50%. This was a free minuteman ups.



I had the metal panel from a salvaged broken inverter for free. I made the wooden control , it is a momentary switch and has an led. It still has a beep every few seconds when running on batteries but where it is located it is not too annoying. Both inverters are under the galley sink, the little one just piggybacks off the connection lug of the larger inverter.
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Old 02-21-2016, 07:07 AM   #13
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Operating underway with an engine on is very different from operating on batts for inverter selection.

Big units are less efficient at minor (REFRIGERATOR ) loads than ones that are smaller.

Just as 300HP diesels stink at making 25HP.

Inverter size makes little difference with a big alt , but not when on house batt power.

Weather the inverter is for use underway or anchored should be considered in your choice.
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:19 AM   #14
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My Slendide will not run on my ME2012 mod sign wave inverters. Also, have never burnt up a small cordless tool charger but have talked to plenty of folks that have. Sine wave or not doesnt make any difference on load carrying ability, most mod wave units have higher start capacity than tru sine units. My experience has been that bigger loads are easier to run that very small. I would approach the inverter issue as a complete unified installation, not as an add on. And no, a stand alone charger cant even get close to a 2000 watt inverter/charger in power, efficiency or cost.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:08 AM   #15
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An inverter/charger is one area where I think it's worth the larger up-front investment to get a quality unit with good capacity, that includes a charger. Once you start using it for one appliance, you will quickly succumb to the convenience and utility of having household-style power available. You will want to make coffee, and your wife will want to use a hair dryer. You will charge your phone and iPad and laptop, and you will be able to use power tools on board. .
Twistedtree likely knows more about inverters and associated electrical gear than the rest of us combined. Question Peter, how has living off the grid gone during this interesting NE winter?
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:42 AM   #16
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Twistedtree likely knows more about inverters and associated electrical gear than the rest of us combined. Question Peter, how has living off the grid gone during this interesting NE winter?
I can let you know tomorrow. We have been in Seattle (more or less) at the boat for the past 2 months. My son has used the off-grid house a number of times recently and reported no troubles.

One of the funniest things happened about a year ago. There was a nasty tornado that came through and knocked down long swaths of trees and took out power most everywhere. A few days later the local power company truck came out to our house to let us know they were working on getting the power restored and it wouldn't be much longer.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:45 AM   #17
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My Slendide will not run on my ME2012 mod sign wave inverters. Also, have never burnt up a small cordless tool charger but have talked to plenty of folks that have. Sine wave or not doesnt make any difference on load carrying ability, most mod wave units have higher start capacity than tru sine units. My experience has been that bigger loads are easier to run that very small. I would approach the inverter issue as a complete unified installation, not as an add on. And no, a stand alone charger cant even get close to a 2000 watt inverter/charger in power, efficiency or cost.
My Splendide wouldn't run properly if my MasterVolt inverter/charger was even turned on. I could be on generator or shore power, and as long as the inverter/charger was turned on, the Splendide wouldn't run correctly. Of course both companies pointed the finger at the other. I think it's pretty ironic that the Splendide, which is targeted at RV and Marine applications here in the US, doesn't work in many situations with Inverters.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:58 AM   #18
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Twistedtree likely knows more about inverters and associated electrical gear than the rest of us combined.
You are very kind, but what's most important is that the buyer get something that best meets his needs. Hopefully everyone's collective experience here can assist him in making a decision that continues to look good a year after he makes the purchase, rather than one that seems good at purchase time but later proves problematic.

Some people are real minimalists on their boats, and if that works for them long term, then a smaller inverter will indeed be less expensive and likely waste less power in overhead. We like our boat to be like home without compromising what we can do. We pay a lot of attention to making things as efficiency as we can, but I want my microwave, dishwasher, TV, etc., and I don't want to have to load manage any more than absolutely necessary. So we have 7kw of inverter power. It's really overkill, but redundancy was a another key objective, so dual 3.5kw outbacks. What's nice is that one carries the load by itself up to a certain level while the other remains asleep with minimal power draw. The second one kicks in only when extra power is required.

It's currently a pure 120V system, but I am exploring rearranging it to be 120/240V split phase so I can run my washer and dryer (both are 240V) while underway without having to run the generator. But we'll see if that happens. It's a good bit more complicated when you really look at the details of what needs to be done.
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:37 PM   #19
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The Eagle had a charger inverter which I took out and replaced with separate charger and inverter. If you have a charger then only a inverter is needed. I bought a 3000 watt st Friday harbor for a couple hundred buck 15 years ago. Electric formula is amps X volts= watts. 3000 watts ų 120 volts = 25 amps max.
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Old 02-21-2016, 01:22 PM   #20
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Inverter

Quote:
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It's currently a pure 120V system, but I am exploring rearranging it to be 120/240V split phase so I can run my washer and dryer (both are 240V) while underway without having to run the generator. But we'll see if that happens. It's a good bit more complicated when you really look at the details of what needs to be done.

Peter. WRT this comment. Do you follow James Hamilton's blog? He's put a fair it of effort into running his loads while travelling. I think with the air conditioners running whilst travelling in the tropics, his loads are quite substantial, I believe he runs everything from his large alternators.

This link summarizes what he did...

http://mvdirona.com/2014/08/a-more-f...em-for-dirona/


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