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Old 06-18-2012, 11:19 AM   #1
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Xantrex

Looking back on all my years of cruising, a truth has emerged. I have never had to hold up a cruise for any products failing except Xantrex. Just recently we had to hold up in St. Augustine in May 2011 for a Xantrex inverter replacement. It did not last the year warranty. It was replaced, I installed it before leaving Fort Pierce on this cruise. You guessed it. It failed 2 days ago. We are now on shore power for refrigeration and ice making. We will be running the 12Kw generator for the trip back to Florida.

Earlier on this cruise the battery charger became erratic. It failed. Not new, but you have probably guessed that it was a Xantrex. We waited in Marsh Harbor for Defender to ship a new Charles 60 am 3 bank charger. It has a 5 year warranty. That tells me something.

Others' experiences with Xantrex may be good. Mine have been very frustrating. Now, anything I find on the boat that is evenly remotely related to Xantrex or anyone that has to do with the manufacturing of their products is going into the trash bin.

As they say, your mileage may vary. That is just my experience.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:26 AM   #2
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I have installed a few in boats and never heard of any issues.That being said,those boats were only used a few weekends a year and maybe during a week or two vacation.None were real cruisers.I have used their products in RVs and cabins without failure.That's the extent of my experience with Xantrex.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:53 AM   #3
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My Xantrex inverter has problems. I often have to turn it on and off several times before it will operate rather than go into an error mode. Once I get it running, I'm afraid to turn it off during a cruise so it stays on the entire time, consuming battery power.

Worse, they don't seem to be willing to repair these things and independent shops won't touch them.

I had an Xantrex charger and when it failed, I found an authorized service person (who worked out of his home) in my city. I took it to heim and he called back later saying he could not repair it because Xantrex would not provide him with schematics or specialized parts. He was the authorized service person listed on the Xantrex website and they wouldn't give him schematics!

I am not normally one to jump on the web and try to bad mouth a company, but I won't be buying any more of their products as long as there are others to choose from based on my experiences.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:48 PM   #4
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I installed a 1000W Xantex inverter 2-3 years ago only because it was $55 at Costco and I couldn't pass up on the deal. I keep waiting for it to fail. It's still running with occasional use from the microwave, coffee pot and a small fan.

In two weeks we'll give it the real test since I added an small 6 cu ft 110V fridge for use during our July 4th week-long cruise of the delta. If it fails, I'll have to invite Coot, Giggatoni, Dswizzler and Pineapple Girl onboard to drink up before the beer gets warm.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:16 PM   #5
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Just got an answer to my question back from Xantrex. I asked what message AL1 means on the display. The "technician" said he didn't know what it is because I was correct. It is no where to be found in the manual.

I just sent a message back that it doesn't matter much anymore as the thing has crapped out.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:26 PM   #6
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Thanks for the heads up. I'll scratch that brand off my list.

On a positive note, can you recommend a good brand of inverter?
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:38 PM   #7
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...... If it fails, I'll have to invite Coot, Giggatoni, Dswizzler and Pineapple Girl onboard to drink up before the beer gets warm.
We were planning on doing that in any case
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:41 PM   #8
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I've been running Xantrex inverter/chargers on my boats for a very long time. Probably 12 years now.

I've had the Freedom (old heart interface), the prosine, and now I have the Freedom SW units.

I do not know what series others have on their boats, but the ones I've run were always the top of the line models.

They have manufactured a value line of inverters for several years, but I've shied away from those, thinking that you get what you pay for.

Are the units that failed the higher priced models, or are they the value minded models? I'm very curious.
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:11 PM   #9
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thinking that you get what you pay for.

Are the units that failed the higher priced models, or are they the value minded models? I'm very curious.[/QUOTE]

The inverter is the XM Pro 1800. It never had a load on it of over 260 watts steady with some surge at start up. It was supposed to carry a surge load of 3600 watts.

The charger is a True Charge 40 amp 3 bank charger with switch settings for battery type, temperature, could do bulk, absorption, and float charging.

I don't know if you call these value products or not, but I will not be investing in any of their higher priced models to find out.

By the way, this is why forums are so worthwhile. You will never find a discussion like this in a magazine.

When folks in my business asked me to cut prices or build a cheaper products, I would tell them they should go somewhere else. My reputation rested on everything we built. So it is today.

They are a great company to have a customer service representative to say that he couldn't say what the message meant because it was not in his manual. I couldn't find it in my manual, so it is all going into the trash. Never more.

I am glad that you have had good experience with their products, and that they keep giving you good service. My experience is over.
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:17 PM   #10
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Just got an answer to my question back from Xantrex. I asked what message AL1 means on the display. The "technician" said he didn't know what it is because I was correct. It is no where to be found in the manual.

I just sent a message back that it doesn't matter much anymore as the thing has crapped out.
Yes, I once e-mailed their "tech support" with a question and got an answer that was not an answer.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:06 AM   #11
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I've sold several different brands of battery chargers. The only one I sell now is Newmar. We just had too high a return rate on all the others. Unfortunately Newmar are pricey compared to the others. They are made for the commercial market. Blue Sea Systems will be coming out with a line of chargers later this year. I have high hopes for them as the rest of Blue Sea's product line is very good. I would imagine that an inverter/charger won't be far behind.
I just replaced the Guest charger that cooked two big AGM batteries on my boat with a Newmar Phase Three 40 Amp charger.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:28 AM   #12
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.............By the way, this is why forums are so worthwhile. You will never find a discussion like this in a magazine..
It's true, you won't.

But, on web forums you will often find the "sour grapes" poster who bought a product or service and wasn't happy with it so he or she will post on every web forum he can find, bad mouthing the product or service provider. This person will often exagerate the problem, maybe even lie about his experiences even though some or even all of the problem was his own fault due to improper instalation or use of the product.

Some businesses will do the same to bad mouth their competitors.

You better learn to take what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt (or two).
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:31 AM   #13
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Hmmm....Yup, whenever I read something on the internet I ALWAYS assault (asalt) it...
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:39 AM   #14
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It's true, you won't.

But, on web forums you will often find the "sour grapes" poster who bought a product or service and wasn't happy with it so he or she will post on every web forum he can find, bad mouthing the product or service provider. This person will often exagerate the problem, maybe even lie about his experiences even though some or even all of the problem was his own fault due to improper instalation or use of the product.

Some businesses will do the same to bad mouth their competitors.

You better learn to take what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt (or two).
You are exactly correct. Its amazing how a brand can get a "bad reputation" on the internet when statistically speaking their "problem rate" is the same or even lower than the competition. They just happen to be the dominant market force so they have higher installed numbers.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:25 AM   #15
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You are exactly correct. Its amazing how a brand can get a "bad reputation" on the internet when statistically speaking their "problem rate" is the same or even lower than the competition. They just happen to be the dominant market force so they have higher installed numbers.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Right on !!
I love my Xantrex!! Best thing I ever did was replace my old charger with a 40 amp Xantrex, on the advice of two of my dock mates. I went from 5 - 6 years on a set of 4-d / 8-d flooded cell batteries, to 11 years. Once a year I add 2 oz distilled water per cell. The Xantrex monitors and automatically maintains the batteries 24-7, bringing each bank to a full charge on a scheduled 21 day cycle.

IMHO, after more than 10 years would I try to have it repaired if it dies? Would you ask or expect HP or Dell to fix your 10 year old home computer when it fails?? No, if it should fail in the future I will replace it with another Xantrex model.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:37 PM   #16
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I'm one of those live and learn characters.So when it's time to install an inverter or charger,I'm going for the best deal.If that happens to be Xantrex,I will live and learn.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:38 PM   #17
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Don qualifies his experience with Xantrex by trying to contact the MFG with very little customer service resolution.
Nowhere does he "trash" Xantrex. His experience wasn't pleasant and he relayed what happened.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:11 PM   #18
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It's true, you won't.

But, on web forums you will often find the "sour grapes" poster who bought a product or service and wasn't happy with it so he or she will post on every web forum he can find, bad mouthing the product or service provider. This person will often exagerate the problem, maybe even lie about his experiences even though some or even all of the problem was his own fault due to improper instalation or use of the product.

Some businesses will do the same to bad mouth their competitors.

You better learn to take what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt (or two).
That is all quite true. I would copy and paste my correspondence with Xantrex, but they have a confidentiality message at the bottom of theirs. I do not want to get busted for breaching that.

I could not tell you the number of times that my company has repaired or replaced things because of operator error or misuse. In my business you do not want to be the talk at dinner or cocktail parties. It is fatal. Perception is reality, and the listener usually makes note and agrees. So, we suck it up, and take care of it. Some people are reasonable----some are not. We pick and choose customers as best we can, but sometimes miss on that.

If you are knowledgeable. you can sort out the crap. Having run all sorts of boats for 40 years, I think I know how to use a hardwired battery charger and inverter.

Some seem to have a good experience with Xantrex. I hope it continues for them. As I sit paying marina charges because of a failed inverter and marina charges last week because of a failed battery charger, I am not happy with Xantrex
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:58 PM   #19
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If it fails, I'll have to invite Coot, Giggatoni, Dswizzler and Pineapple Girl onboard to drink up before the beer gets warm.
Hmm I wonder how to sabotage??? JUST KIDDING! We'll let you put your extra beer in the cooler on our aft deck, if needed. can't guarantee its saftey once it is there, however.

We got an Xantrex inverter for free, long story. Sounds like when it craps out I need to replace it with a different brand. Sorry to hear about your issues Don! I hope it did not spoil your trip.
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:04 PM   #20
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Don qualifies his experience with Xantrex by trying to contact the MFG with very little customer service resolution.
Nowhere does he "trash" Xantrex. His experience wasn't pleasant and he relayed what happened.
You can usually identify the product or service trashing thread by the title "BEWARE POOR XYZ BRAND SERVICE" or something similar. Often the poster joined a forum just to start the thread. He or she has never posted before and will only continue to post on his or her thread.

I don't recall seeing these threads on this forum but they are common on some other boating forums and I'm sure they are common on other special interest forums.

One I recall was from a guy who bought a five year old brand XYZ boat and after buying it, he discovered that the swim platform drug in the water when getting up on plane. He noticed that newer models of this boat had a redesigned swim platform but he was upset with the manufacturer for not agreeing to retrofit his (remember, he bought it used) boat with the newer swim platform for free.
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