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Old 02-23-2013, 11:56 AM   #141
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Meanwhile, I've got a cheap wallmart charger keeping the bats topped off, but I'm also plugged into the shore power.

Depending on how the dock, your boat and the garage auto charger are built (how its grounded) you could be dumping 120V in the water.
Me too, although mine is from Kragen. I bought one this time instead of borrowing one since this has become a regular need with Xantrex.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:25 PM   #142
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Here's a good article on the subject, marine chargers need to have proper isolation between the AC and DC sides. If you just want to keep the batteries topped off while the boat is idle, you can get a little ProMariner or Guest unit for under 100 bucks.

http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/i...attery_charger
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:47 PM   #143
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They have a new parent company who are out to save money. Xantrex return policy and repair are not very good. I will never buy or recommend them again.
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:09 PM   #144
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I've had ProMarine smart chargers on 2 boats. I installed 1260c3 on our present boat 3 years ago. The 2 - 8Ds & 1 grp. 27 went from needing water added every 6 weeks to less than a quart a year. It runs 24-7 while in the slip & 4 to 8 hours a day when out. Have never had a problem which I appreciate from equipment that is used this much.
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:30 PM   #145
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Is there a test I can perform to tell if my charger is 'unsafe'?
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:30 PM   #146
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I don't know if they even have a repair facility. They don't seam too interested in returns, but just ask for proof of purchase and model number. One of the units that they didn't request back when opened later had a bad cooling fam. A cheap $8 computer fan fixed it. They didn't even want to break it down on the bench. It must be cheaper just to replace. It is an interesting concept. I have run it on both AC and battery. It is now a back up to my Prosine on the boat. I have also repaired a 40 amp charger for a backup. The charger was not a warranty item. This stuff has crapped out at the most inconvenient places.
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:43 PM   #147
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:53 PM   #148
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Yep, they referred me to the service center in Bradenton, FL. He said not repairable. His answer was to ship me overnite a new unit at my expense. The old unit was out of warranty. We were held up in St. Augustine on the way to South Carolina.

I had called a couple of the other centers, but they said the same thing. The also did not have a replacement in stock. The only reason for replacing with the same unit was that I did not want to take the time to change the wiring set up. This just slid right in and connected up. A different unit would have required different wiring a fusing.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:10 PM   #149
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Next time try these guys. I've found them knowledgeable and responsive.
  • TENNESSEE Inverter Sales and Service
    102 SCT Drive
    White House, TN 37188
    Ph. 615-285-0611
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:38 PM   #150
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Next time try these guys. I've found them knowledgeable and responsive.
  • TENNESSEE Inverter Sales and Service
    102 SCT Drive
    White House, TN 37188
    Ph. 615-285-0611
That's good info. I go up to Nashville for business and government meetings fairly frequently. I think I will take a couple of these units I couldn't get going up there. I just may have a couple of inverters for sale cheap.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:16 PM   #151
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Is it the chargers, inverters or inverter/chargers that are failing? As I've mentioned before my Xantrex charger has been working without any problems for a few years now. So I'm just curious if maybe I got lucky or if stand-alone chargers aren't plagued with the same problems as the inverters or inverter/chargers.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:26 PM   #152
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Is it the chargers, inverters or inverter/chargers that are failing? As I've mentioned before my Xantrex charger has been working without any problems for a few years now. So I'm just curious if maybe I got lucky or if stand-alone chargers aren't plagued with the same problems as the inverters or inverter/chargers.
Mine is/was a stand alone 60amp charger. Vague memories of a discussion here or another forum which concluded that the older stuff was bullet proof but that quality had fallen off a cliff.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:39 PM   #153
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Is it the chargers, inverters or inverter/chargers that are failing? As I've mentioned before my Xantrex charger has been working without any problems for a few years now. So I'm just curious if maybe I got lucky or if stand-alone chargers aren't plagued with the same problems as the inverters or inverter/chargers.

I hear this response over and over again when these discussions come up. Someone ALWAYS jumps in and states how their unit has been working for years without failure and they are absolutely correct. But it has little to do with the general discussion at hand and for one very good reason. The units turned out by Xantrex today have no similarity to the units they used to make. the parts, manufacturing plants, quality control and engineers the company now uses to produce their products are not the same so you are comparing apples to oranges. Xantex is crap, IMO and that of most others that have bought and installed their units lately but if you love them, go out and buy a new one. If you want a problem free inverter, charger or inverter/charger, spend the money and get a Victron, Magnum or Outback. There are still great products made by well known marine manufacturers like Newmar. Xantrex is not one of them. Chuck
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:58 PM   #154
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Be interesting to know how the Xantrex Freedom 25 differs from the original Heart Freedom 25.
I could be wrong but I don't think there is such a thing as a Xantrex designed Freedom 25. My understanding is they just rebranded the Heart inverters when they bought Heart but that product is the Heart design not a Xantrex design. We have two Freedom 25s, both Heart branded. I've seen their guts next to current production Xantrex products and I wouldn't trade for any amount of money. I don't know what I'll do if something catastrophic happens to my Hearts but I do have an old geek in Calgary who likes working on them. I had him go through the one on the bus and replace the relays in it a couple of years ago. I don't think the one on Gray Hawk has seen nearly as much use as the one on the bus had at that time but I suppose a little PM on it wouldn't hurt either.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:51 PM   #155
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I might be able to help decipher their historic product line a bit, but some of it is far enough back that my memory isn't so clear....

Xantrex went on a buying spree back around 2000 or so. They bought two good companies with good products:

- Heart Interface, makers of the Freedom 10, 25, and maybe others. There was an RV version and a marine version. These were solid products, but I'm pretty sure all were modified sine wave.

- Trace, makers of the SW4025 along with a number of different variations, and also a DS or DT (or some other designation) line. The SWs were all pure sine wave and the DT were modified sine wave. I never used the DT line but I think they were good - just crude. The SW were excellent. I ran a house off one for 10 years, and still have it sitting in my garage as a backup.

They kept selling both products for a long time, relabeled as Xantrex, but destroyed the companies. The Trace guys left and started Outback.

Xantrex also bought pretty much every other little inverter vendor out there. I can't remember all the names, but there were a lot of them. Does anyone remember the names? ProSine was one, and is now the source of the total train wreck that they are today.

Somewhere along the way they did a refresh of the Trace SW product and botched it all up. It was pretty clear they had very little engineering skill internally. They also appeared to set out to consolidate and "value engineer" the product line. I think this is where they wrecked whatever products they had, though some of them may have been marginal to begin with.

Then somehow they created the XW line of commercial inverter/charger targeted at the off-grid market. I'm not sure where the engineering talent came from, but they are actually quite good products. An XW6048 has been running my house now for the past 5 years without skipping a beat. But what do you do with a good product line if you are Xantrex? Get rid of it fast - it might improve your reputation ;-) That's the product line that they sold to Schneider Electric, and it's still going strong.

What Xantrex has retained is the ProSine and ProWatt line which is utter crap, and they are useless when it comes to standing behind it. The horror stories are never ending.

Can anyone else fill in some of the blanks or add? I think the bottom line is that if you have a product that is from the Trace or Heart lineage, it's pretty good. Otherwise I'd get it off the boat fast. I also wouldn't touch the new "Freedom" products. As others have said, there are numerous good alternative like Outback, Magnum, Victron, and Mastervolt.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:36 PM   #156
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My history with Xantrex pretty much follows what you described of their product line.

I had Freedom units on a couple boats and loved them.

I even had good luck with a prosine unit, but I admit that doesn't mean much, I might have just gotten lucky.

What I noticed is that where the freedom was a very heavy unit, the prosine was much lighter.

When I needed a inverter for my new boat in 2011 I opted for the 3KW Freedom SW. This unit appears to be an attempt to go back to the heavy weight robust construction of the old freedom series.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:04 AM   #157
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I might be able to help decipher their historic product line a bit, but some of it is far enough back that my memory isn't so clear....

Xantrex went on a buying spree back around 2000 or so. They bought two good companies with good products:

- Heart Interface, makers of the Freedom 10, 25, and maybe others. There was an RV version and a marine version. These were solid products, but I'm pretty sure all were modified sine wave.

- Trace, makers of the SW4025 along with a number of different variations, and also a DS or DT (or some other designation) line. The SWs were all pure sine wave and the DT were modified sine wave. I never used the DT line but I think they were good - just crude. The SW were excellent. I ran a house off one for 10 years, and still have it sitting in my garage as a backup.

They kept selling both products for a long time, relabeled as Xantrex, but destroyed the companies. The Trace guys left and started Outback.

Xantrex also bought pretty much every other little inverter vendor out there. I can't remember all the names, but there were a lot of them. Does anyone remember the names? ProSine was one, and is now the source of the total train wreck that they are today.

Somewhere along the way they did a refresh of the Trace SW product and botched it all up. It was pretty clear they had very little engineering skill internally. They also appeared to set out to consolidate and "value engineer" the product line. I think this is where they wrecked whatever products they had, though some of them may have been marginal to begin with.

Then somehow they created the XW line of commercial inverter/charger targeted at the off-grid market. I'm not sure where the engineering talent came from, but they are actually quite good products. An XW6048 has been running my house now for the past 5 years without skipping a beat. But what do you do with a good product line if you are Xantrex? Get rid of it fast - it might improve your reputation ;-) That's the product line that they sold to Schneider Electric, and it's still going strong.

What Xantrex has retained is the ProSine and ProWatt line which is utter crap, and they are useless when it comes to standing behind it. The horror stories are never ending.

Can anyone else fill in some of the blanks or add? I think the bottom line is that if you have a product that is from the Trace or Heart lineage, it's pretty good. Otherwise I'd get it off the boat fast. I also wouldn't touch the new "Freedom" products. As others have said, there are numerous good alternative like Outback, Magnum, Victron, and Mastervolt.
The basic problem with their products is that it is easier to buy an inverter maker than to integrate the engineering teams that come with the acquisition. Xantrex lost most of the real talent in these companies and didn't have the managerial talent to keep the good engineers, or direct those that stayed. The result was a hodge podge of failed efficiencies, off shoring of manufacturing without appropriate supervision and lousy products. They had market share because they bought it, but once they owned it, they couldn't keep it with good products. Or so said one of their former top executives I know who left the company during their ill advised acquisition spree.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:44 AM   #158
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Assuming you spent thousands of dollars on your boat, why would you use a "cheap wallmart charger" to keep your batteries charged? There's a good chance you will ruin the batteries and there's a chance you will start a fire on your boat.

Decent "smart" marine battery chargers can be had for a couple hundred dollars and up. Why risk it?
I've got my two 8D house batteries with a 6amp/2amp charger that I use to top them off every other day till I get my Xantrex back. Cables are off.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:41 AM   #159
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"Is there a test I can perform to tell if my charger is 'unsafe'?"

YES , but I prefer you find it online rather than attempt to remember it.

It concerns weather/how/ the unit is grounded internally and can pass any AC current in the neutral line into the battery , then into the water.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:45 AM   #160
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Anyone actually purchasing a new big buck charger should look for a shut down feature.

Seems a constant charge (even just a tiny maint charge) will shorten the batt life.

The new concept is to charge to 100% and shut down.

The unit will of course come on to take dockside DC loads (at float style voltages) , but if there are no loads there will be no charge,

Untill a set voltage is reached from internal discharg , when the unit will again fully charge the batteries.

High end chargers only , so far , but in 6 months or a year should be on even Norther Tool chargers.
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