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Old 06-26-2012, 08:12 PM   #81
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If you cannot do this sort of work yourself in a workmanlike manner, paying retail plus $100 per hour for the install may be your best bet. A yard may or may not stand behind a product it purchased and installed for you. I would expect them to remove it, ship it and install the repaired or replaced part, but few yards will grab a new one off the shelf and install it that same day.

The person who can select and install equipment him/herself can save 40% or more on the equipment and will be intimately familiar with the installation when finished. Of course, there are many folks who think they are capable of such work when in truth, they are not.

As for carrying spares, it's going to take a pretty large boat to carry spares of everything on board. Belts and filters I understand and agree with. Same for fuses and lightbulbs, but inverters and chargers? How about pumps? Spare VHF and chartplotter? Spare windlass? Spare batteries?

A better plan might be to be prepared to pay retail at a local store so as not to delay a cruise. Of course this assumes that you have the knowledge and tools and materials to install the replacements.

I had my starting battery fail during my recent cruise. It took perhaps 30 minutes to remove the failed battery, unhook one of my four house batteries, put it in place of the failed battery, and connect it. Sitting out a storm a couple weeks later, I was able to use the marina's loaner car to go to Sears and buy a replacement and put everythung back how it was originally. I had the tools and extra hardware (the old battery had a different stud size than the replacement) on board.

Nice try...but I was the guy who TAUGHT a major marine electronics firm here in NJ the basics and the correct install proceedures for modern inverters when I became a FACTORY TRAINED marine electronics installer back around 2000 when I retired from the USCG.

I know your dying to show me up...never gonna happen in boat stuff...I know you know electical stuff..but with blinders on. Your typical post is look at the manual or hire a pro...

Well I'm both a pro and a backyard mechanic...I can deal with the best of them because I also have a brain and look things up when I'm not sure.

Anyone can beleive a big name inverter will last forever with a good install..but plenty here and others on other forums and my own personal experience (and as an installer) proves otherwise.

There are 2 schools of thought and after doing the expensive, factory installs on my last boat...I think the other way (cheap with backups) has more merit...to each their own but to point a finger at my way is just as laughable as thinking any other way is better.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:14 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Moonstruck
Here is my amateur installation. Have at it.

IMG_0112800x600.jpg picture by moonstruck3 - Photobucket
Nice job Don, but I'd rather get my picture taken in that recliner
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:20 PM   #83
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Sunchaser raises a good point. Some older vintage boats like my 1977 are designed to operate on 12V DC and propane. Later models like Moon's are designed for more 110V operation with modern AC-powered ice makers, TVs, refers, heating and air conditioning. Therefore, they become more inverter and genset dependent. An inverter failure on my antique means I revert to propane stove for coffee, propane oven for cooking, 12V dc fans and main 12V fridge. Even my HDTV is 12V. No loss of functionality, just a slight inconvenience. Not so on today's vessels like Moonman's fancy, schmancy Sabre.

If the success of my cruise was highly dependent on certain components, I'd plan to carry spares where practical. Until reading Don's blog, I never would have thought to carry a spare inverter. I bet he didn't either. That's the great thing about this site. We can all learn from each other's experiences. But we won't all agree because there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problems.

I have learned a lot about marine systems in general and my boat's systems in particular by studying the proper way to approach repairs/mods, learning from my and other's mistakes and the advice of those I trust. I am not the world's most gifted mechanic, but I have a pretty good understanding of aircraft and boat systems and can muddle through many jobs not requiring highly specialized tools or skills. I've made my share of mistakes along the way and learned from them, but I also have learned a whole lot about my beloved boat in the process.

A vocal few on this forum feel they need to vehemently argue and publicly dismiss anything that differs from their experience or biases, be it anchors, inverters, boat hooks, docking techniques or varnish choices. Their way is the only way! What they fail to understand is that it is up to each of us to decide which opinions and experiences we'll consider in our own boating life and which we'll ignore.

When I think it might help or entertain others, I'll pass along my experiences. Take it or leave it, but it is what it is....just my opinion or experience. YMMV.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:27 PM   #84
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Here is my amateur installation. Have at it.

IMG_0112800x600.jpg picture by moonstruck3 - Photobucket
Don, I can't believe you posted that picture here. I can clearly see fingerprints on that charger!!

(privately, I wish my boat looked as nice.)
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:28 PM   #85
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Nice job Don, but I'd rather get my picture taken in that recliner
Thanks, but I really hate it when I have to leave the recliner to change out failed equipment. Especially when it is something that affects the making of ice for my drinks. Bummer11
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:53 PM   #86
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What kind of draw do you have on the batteries?



[RIGHT[/RIGHT]
Don, I estimate my daily electrical draw at 300 amps per day, almost all of it due to my antiquated Norcold refrig. We don't have an inverter and the 30 amp battery charger as I mentioned, is pretty much useless when attempting to replace 300 amps a day. We have 440 amps in the house bank and that gets us through the night without a problem. Right now running the engines twice a day for an hour each time to charge the batteries works pretty well.

We may in the future get an inverter/charger, but right now we don't miss one. We have a butane burner that makes great coffee with a Coleman drip coffee maker and the burner works well when we need it for cooking. We do use our propane grill a lot.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:13 PM   #87
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Here is my amateur installation. Have at it.

IMG_0112800x600.jpg picture by moonstruck3 - Photobucket


If a "pro" would do have that good of a job at installs,they might would last longer or at least be easier to trouble shoot.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:50 PM   #88
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[QUOTE=FlyWright;91904]Don, I can't believe you posted that picture here. I can clearly see fingerprints on that charger!!



Automated reply: Sorry, Don is out of the office hiding for an unspecified period of time.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:20 PM   #89
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Nice try...but I was the guy who TAUGHT a major marine electronics firm here in NJ the basics and the correct install proceedures for modern inverters when I became a FACTORY TRAINED marine electronics installer back around 2000 when I retired from the USCG.

I know your dying to show me up...never gonna happen in boat stuff...I know you know electical stuff..but with blinders on. Your typical post is look at the manual or hire a pro...

Well I'm both a pro and a backyard mechanic...I can deal with the best of them because I also have a brain and look things up when I'm not sure.

Anyone can beleive a big name inverter will last forever with a good install..but plenty here and others on other forums and my own personal experience (and as an installer) proves otherwise.

There are 2 schools of thought and after doing the expensive, factory installs on my last boat...I think the other way (cheap with backups) has more merit...to each their own but to point a finger at my way is just as laughable as thinking any other way is better.
Well, you sure are a very special person, but we can all be who and what we want to be on the Internet.

I am not "dying to show you up", but just because you (or I) post something on the Internet doesn't make it the only way or even the right way.

When I suggest hiring a pro it's because the poster has demonstrated that he or she knows little about the subject. My work allowed me to see first hand the results of the work of those who did not know what they were doing. I was the one who undid their attempts and then did it the right way. If it was still possible.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:11 PM   #90
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Well, you sure are a very special person, but we can all be who and what we want to be on the Internet.

I am not "dying to show you up", but just because you (or I) post something on the Internet doesn't make it the only way or even the right way.

When I suggest hiring a pro it's because the poster has demonstrated that he or she knows little about the subject. My work allowed me to see first hand the results of the work of those who did not know what they were doing. I was the one who undid their attempts and then did it the right way. If it was still possible.
And I learned in the marine field an amatuer with a manual is often as good as it gets...MANY marina techs are way behind current and even manufacturer suggestions because "that's the way we have always done it" pollutes their views. And I NEVER say do it my way...I just give a suggestion that they may or may not choose to use...unlike some who say "farm it out cause you don't know what you are doing"...

And I will be happy to provide my credentials to anyone interested in my ideas or suggestions if they have any doubts....easy enough to do...I don't have to pretend who I am...and while I certainly don't know everything...I usually don't have a bunch of posts following mine with fairly authoritative evidence that I'm wrong though.

We all start someplace and don't have the funds to hire a pro in many situations and that's why I think many people come to these forums...for a reasonable alternative....the pros ain't always the best approach for some...and sometimes the pros are right here giving advice...all you have to do is ask for references if you want to proceed with "a posters" advice....

Sure I can be anyone...but I'm not and can prove it to those that want to know....at least I don't state the obvious most of the time..."read the manual or hire a pro".... I try and give them what they asked for
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:04 PM   #91
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Psneeld - assuming reading the manual and hiring a (real) pro are not in some's game plan, towing insurance seems popular for those stray not too far from home. Towing insurance though is kind of like the hammer which is always looking for a nail.

But for those who indeed travel far from home (and tow assist vessels) and into perilous waters - books, manuals, above average electronics and a back up plan for those unforeseen events are essential for safety and enjoyment. I agree with you on redundancy and spare parts, but these are no substitute for insuring a sound vessel and pre-voyage repairs, checks and basics are covered.

For those of us who reside in the PNW and are curious as to today's best inverter/charger, whose brand does your experience lean towards in the 3000 watt range?
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:47 PM   #92
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sunchaser, I highly recommend the Victron, especially with its power sharing feature or the Magnum as the two best options IMO. Chuck
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:24 PM   #93
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Psneeld - assuming reading the manual and hiring a (real) pro are not in some's game plan, towing insurance seems popular for those stray not too far from home. Towing insurance though is kind of like the hammer which is always looking for a nail.

But for those who indeed travel far from home (and tow assist vessels) and into perilous waters - books, manuals, above average electronics and a back up plan for those unforeseen events are essential for safety and enjoyment. I agree with you on redundancy and spare parts, but these are no substitute for insuring a sound vessel and pre-voyage repairs, checks and basics are covered.

For those of us who reside in the PNW and are curious as to today's best inverter/charger, whose brand does your experience lean towards in the 3000 watt range?
Some of that I agree with and some I don't...a seaworthy vessel may have only a handheld GPS and good paper charts...sophisticated or expensive electronics are a luxury...not a necessity. And don't pull the PNW stuff like some...I've flown and boated from the Carribean to Alaska...so I know what the different areas entail.

As I've posted several times...I don't like/trust any of them. My next 3000 watt one might be a pair of $150 dollar ones from Harbor Freight. They all fail way too soon...not to say many people have great service but WAY too many people have crappy service from every brand. So why pay over $1000 dollars for one when $300 bucks will get me one and a spare?

When I finally here enough good reports of one brand...and no or few bad reports...I'll be jumping for joy...till then...I'm happy with my genset and NO inverter...but may add a cheapo and spare when I head south this winter.
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:58 AM   #94
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For those of us who reside in the PNW and are curious as to today's best inverter/charger, whose brand does your experience lean towards in the 3000 watt range?
We installed an OutBack Inverter/Charger model #: VFX2812M in 2007 when we were in the PNW. We cruise full time and have never had any issues. Rumor has it that a couple of the original engineers left Freedom/Heart in and went "Outback" to start their own company.

If needed, field servicing is easy with only 3 circuit boards. The required AC input neutral/ground switching is taken care of with an internal 30 amp AC transfer switch for shore or generator hook-up. They also have a great users forum.

No interest in the company just one happy cruiser.


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Old 06-29-2012, 09:31 AM   #95
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We installed an OutBack Inverter/Charger model #: VFX2812M in 2007 when we were in the PNW. We cruise full time and have never had any issues. Rumor has it that a couple of the original engineers left Freedom/Heart in and went "Outback" to start their own company.

If needed, field servicing is easy with only 3 circuit boards. The required AC input neutral/ground switching is taken care of with an internal 30 amp AC transfer switch for shore or generator hook-up. They also have a great users forum.

No interest in the company just one happy cruiser.


OutBack Power / Products / Sinewave Inverter / Mobile
Heard the same about the engineers who left and started their own with the concept of easier repair....then again...maybe I remember an older post from you!!
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:35 PM   #96
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Thanks guys, question answered. Larry and Chuck recommend good, long lasting and well respected (today anyway) Victron, Magnum and Outback while psneeld recommends cheap throw away stuff anticipating the next (pre-ordained maybe) failure.
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Old 06-30-2012, 03:14 PM   #97
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Thanks guys, question answered. Larry and Chuck recommend good, long lasting and well respected (today anyway) Victron, Magnum and Outback while psneeld recommends cheap throw away stuff anticipating the next (pre-ordained maybe) failure.
I would be recommending a brand too... IF... I heard or believed there was such a thing as a good, long lasting and well respected inverter (today anyway) like Victron, Magnum and Outback.

I've just heard too many negatives.

I usually like the 20 year rule...whatever I do on my boat I like to last 20 years wityhout doing much more than admiring the install...unfortnately it's often the manufacturers that are letting us down...not the maintenance or installs of cruisers.
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:44 AM   #98
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"I estimate my daily electrical draw at 300 amps per day, almost all of it due to my antiquated Norcold refrig."

Perhaps its time for a new fridge that will cut the daily amps required by 2/3 or 5/6 ?

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Old 07-07-2012, 11:41 AM   #99
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Still in conversation with Xantrex about the inverter. They asked today if I am still getting error messages A 0 and A 01. I said no it quit working last before the end of June. It is off the boat and in the box it came in.

I have told them that I do not want to install a replacement unit for two that failed. I would have no faith in it. I would like them to work with me on another type unit. If it is more expensive, I will consider paying some difference.

We will see what happens next. At least they are still talking about it. I would like to get to the bottom of the situation. They know exactly how it was installed, and seem to have no problem with that. I don't have pictures to put up, but it looks very similar to the way the charger was installed.

One worked perfectly for 11 months. The other 2 weeks.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:55 AM   #100
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They know exactly how it was installed, and seem to have no problem with that. I don't have pictures to put up, but it looks very similar to the way the charger was installed.

One worked perfectly for 11 months. The other 2 weeks.
Don, does it look like this?



I made the mistake of inviting the PG's aboard yesterday afternoon before I finished installing a new subwoofer on the FB and speaker control panel at the lower helm. They saw the 35 year old spider web of wires hiding behind my lower helm engine gages panel. I think I heard a thinly disguised gasp from Jennifer when she saw it. I'm so embarrassed!!
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