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Old 07-02-2013, 04:36 AM   #1
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Inverter/Chargers downside?

I need some advice.

My existing Xantrex inverter has given up the ghost and I am thinking of buying a Victron Multi inverter/charger unit(2000watts/80 amp). I have being offered a second hand unit through a Victron service centre.I hear good things about the product from forum members(thanks Ben & others) so would like to go with the unit.

One question though, as I understand part of this units design is it automatically cuts in if the shore power fails. If this is true I am a little concerned that if the shore power trips ( as it does on my boat sometimes) and I am not onboard the Victron may automatically discharge the batteries.

Is this a valid concern?
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:06 AM   #2
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Most inverter/chargers have a low voltage cutoff to prevent deep discharge. Or you can turn off the automatic fail-over option.

I have a 2000W inverter on this boat, and I'm really starting to like the setup. It powers all the outlets (which includes the microwave and anything else I leave plugged in) as well as the apartment-sized home refrigerator. Some timed trials and my math suggest that I can run for 24 to 48 hours on battery before reaching 50% discharge.

I have it set to fail over. It's nice to not have to reset the time on the microwave every time I unplug the shore power. I'm still getting used to having all the conveniences, like cold drinks and power tools, even at anchor.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:55 AM   #3
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Andy,
The Victron units have on their control panel a switch so that when you leave the boat you can switch it to charger only.
If the power fails it does not bring in the inverter and drain the batteries.
If not set the discharge cut off to 50% and all is good.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy G View Post
I need some advice.

My existing Xantrex inverter has given up the ghost and I am thinking of buying a Victron Multi inverter/charger unit(2000watts/80 amp). I have being offered a second hand unit through a Victron service centre.I hear good things about the product from forum members(thanks Ben & others) so would like to go with the unit.

One question though, as I understand part of this units design is it automatically cuts in if the shore power fails. If this is true I am a little concerned that if the shore power trips ( as it does on my boat sometimes) and I am not onboard the Victron may automatically discharge the batteries.

Is this a valid concern?

Installed an on/off selector switch between the inverter and batteries. I also want with separate charger and inverter. No automatic stuff for me, if I want them on I will turn them on.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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Andy, I prefer a stand alone inverter and charger. Just for the reason that you can lose one without losing the other. I have lost both at different times. However, many people have a combined unit with good service.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:58 AM   #6
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I agree with the concept of minimizing single points of failure. But in the case of the inverter/charger, I actually have FIVE chargers on board; two alternators on the mains, the alternator on the genset, the built-in inverter/charger, and a portable charger. So I'm pretty much covered there.

On the AC side, I have the inverter and the generator. I have a couple of the small pocket inverters for charging a cell phone from a 12V socket, too. If I lost all AC, I'd move the refrigerated food to the ice box, along with whatever ice I had in the freezer. The ice cream would have to be consumed immediately Other than that, life would go on.

I don't really feel that I'm risking too much by having the inverter and charger together. Probably more significant would be the loss of the genset, and I have a portable Honda that I bring on any long trips.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:44 AM   #7
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I agree with the concept of minimizing single points of failure. But in the case of the inverter/charger, I actually have FIVE chargers on board; two alternators on the mains, the alternator on the genset, the built-in inverter/charger, and a portable charger. So I'm pretty much covered there.

On the AC side, I have the inverter and the generator. I have a couple of the small pocket inverters for charging a cell phone from a 12V socket, too. If I lost all AC, I'd move the refrigerated food to the ice box, along with whatever ice I had in the freezer. The ice cream would have to be consumed immediately Other than that, life would go on.

I don't really feel that I'm risking too much by having the inverter and charger together. Probably more significant would be the loss of the genset, and I have a portable Honda that I bring on any long trips.
I'm set up the same way, but without Honda.

Starting batteries for gen and engine are all separate from house and each other.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:30 AM   #8
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I decided to go with the Victron, leaving the existing battery charger in place to charge the separate genset battery, as I believe the Victron can only charge one battery bank.

The following is an email from the shop selling me the unit, any thoughts on the best way to go on this would be appreciated.

"Oh I thought that you do not have one because you did not mention it.(generator)
I asked about the generator for the following reasons.
If you would have had a much smaller generator I would have to do some additional programming in your unit.
But with the big boy that you have there should not be any problem , no need for extra programming.

But your unit is equipped with a special so called "generator assist mode".
What this mode is doing is the following,
When you are on a marina supply or a house supply of 10Amp and you would need for a while a higher amperage, say when an air conditioner or a pump starts up .
then the high current can trip the incoming supply. If the current increases above 10Amp , then the generator assist mode sets very fast the Victron unit in inverter mode
helping the incoming supply with additional power to prevent tripping of the shore supply.

But now comes a bit of a problem, if I set this current level of 10 amp in the computer then it works fine when you are connected to the shore supply.
But when you would run on your generator which can deliver about 30 Amp , then also the generator assist will come in when you increase the amperage above 10Amp ,
and you would empty the batteries all the time that you use more then 10Amp and drain the batteries when they actual should be charged by the generator.

There are only two ways to solve it, I disable this function but then you can easier trip the shore supply, or you can buy a remote control.
The remote control has a knob which enables you to set the current on which the generator assist comes in.
Then when you are at sea you set it to 30Amp (generator use) and when you are in a marina to 10Amp (shore supply use).

These remote controls are not very expensive around $ 175 .00 and they also allow you to remotely control the Victron unit and monitor it."


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Old 07-04-2013, 06:34 AM   #9
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Andy,
Personally I would leave this function out. I have and don't miss it.
The Victron should charge 2 sets of batteries. Most of them have an aux charge outlet smaller than the main.
I charge both the house and start batteries from mine but this is via the main charger and a VSR (Voltage sensate relay).
Your lecky will explain the set up.
Cheers
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:34 AM   #10
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Hard to believe that ONLY the remote can switch between 10A & 30 A , that there is no physical way to do it.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:13 AM   #11
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Andy: Victron are great inverter/chargers and I can also recommend the control panel with rotary knob your supplier refers to: really very useful. The Power Assist & Power Support functions of the Victron are big features of their design...if you think it through a bit you will likely see them as highly worthwhile. Also true as other posters have said: you can switch to Charger Only mode when you leave the boat (if you don't have any fridges you want to leave on powered via the inverter) OR you can set a minimum voltage threshold so the inverter cuts out if the batteries are drawn down too much (this should be set up anyway). Just make sure you are not getting too small a model....bigger is better when it comes to these things. You might want to ensure the model being offered can be mated to a matching model and 'parallel'd': if you find you need more inverter power, you don't have to toss the unit you are about to buy, just buy another & it not only doubles your inverter capacity but also provides redundancy against one unit failing.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:35 AM   #12
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My only problem with using a remote is, the Victron will be bolted to the same plate in the engine room that the old inverter inhabited(saves having to move the wiring). The saloon floor will be between the Victron and the remote. I'm assuming that I would need some line of sight to make it work, or am I missing something.

The guy I am getting the unit from is an interesting character, Dutch I think, he mainly repairs Victron units, definitely a technician rather than a salesman. He said the 1,600 & 3,000 multi units were great, the 2,000(the one I'm getting) was really a bumped up 1600 unit and in a technical sense I'm not sure he thought them as good as the other two. Still I'm getting the unit for under half the retail price, so I will give it a go.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:13 AM   #13
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Andy: the remote connects to the unit via a data cable with RJ45 connectors each end...it is not wireless. BIGGER ISSUE: do NOT put your inverter/charger in the engine room, even if that is where the previous one went. Inverters are very temperature sensitive and the Victron automatically de-rates itself at an increasing rate over, I think, 25C. In other words, it is only good for 2000W up to 25C and its output falls off as temps rise over that, as they will do in most engine rooms. I suggest you go to the Victron site and download the user manual for that particular model and read up...you will be surprised at the rate of de-rating. BTW, I myself had a 2000W model and it proved a bit under-powered, on hot days (and it was out of my engineroom. I went to a single 3000W 12/240/50 and I now have a 2nd of these that I am about to install in //, to give me 6000W (more than I need...4000W would be fine) and redundancy (which I want: fast way to spoil a long family holiday is the inverter/charger failing).

(If the supplier you are dealing with is Henk, you can deal with him with confidence: I've bought from him several times, he's always given good strong technical advice.)

Just found the tech note on de-rating: here it is http://www.victronenergy.com/Technic...efficiency.pdf
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:25 AM   #14
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I prefer a stand alone inverter and charger.
& that's the way I'm wired. (Both mentally & electrically!)
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:48 PM   #15
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Thanks for that, more info to digest. It is indeed Henk, certainly seems to know his stuff. I don't think it would profit me going to a bigger inverter as I only have a 400ah house/starter combination and have no plans at present to add more batteries, I just don't have the room what with twin Lehman's, Genset, Eutectic compressor & long range fuel tank all vying for space in the ER.
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:47 PM   #16
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Andy: you are right, 400aH is not that big so no more than 2000W. The Victron will charge your Genset battery battery too. I note you also have a genset...depending on its size, leaving the old battery charger in place wiring correctly would allow you to de-rate the charger on the Victron (always a good idea...better than having them work as max output) and use the old charger simultaneously. (400ah if conventional flooded batts can take up to 80-100A of charge in bulk mode.) Henk can advise on this.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:31 PM   #17
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I recently installed a Outback system, I installed 2 - 3000 watt systems and they work very good. They also have a new remote that is like a small computer. There tach support is also very helpful and are located on The West coast.
Please feel free to advise if you would like more info.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:20 PM   #18
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Inverter Systems and Brands

Please excuse my poor electrical knowledge.

If one were

A) buying a used vessel of approx 40-45 feet that had no inverter system (nor sizable battery bank) on board, or

B) building a Pilgrim 40 type vessel I am playing with here
Redesigning the Pilgrim 40 Trawler / Canal Boat

....and wished to make either vessel a more stand-alone vessel (away from dockside power) for considerable times,
what SIZE (power) inverter might be recommended for a 2 person liveaboard situation to include:
1) power for galley with convection/microwave oven, induction cooktop, coffee maker, efficient and good size refrigerator
2) power for computer and TV
3) power for at least one small air con at times

I've seen a number of different references and complaints with different inverter brands, but have no specific knowledge to quote at this time. But it does appear as those these Victron units are a real premium brand??
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:43 PM   #19
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I also have a question, we have a 2040ah bank, would a 3000w be good, also that's in 12v.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by brian eiland View Post
Please excuse my poor electrical knowledge.

If one were

A) buying a used vessel of approx 40-45 feet that had no inverter system (nor sizable battery bank) on board, or

B) building a Pilgrim 40 type vessel...

....and wished to make either vessel a more stand-alone vessel (away from dockside power) for considerable times,
what SIZE (power) inverter might be recommended for a 2 person liveaboard situation to include:
1) power for galley with convection/microwave oven, induction cooktop, coffee maker, efficient and good size refrigerator
2) power for computer and TV
3) power for at least one small air con at times...
Brian: We installed an Outback model VFX2812M in 2007 and lived at anchor for 6 -11 months a year till this past July. We never had a failure nor do I know anyone who installed one that did. It is US made and supported. Some of the engineers use to work at Heart, Kent, WA before Zantrex bought out Heart and they went "out back" and started their own company.

Outback Power Inc. - Home
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