As a professional who is on many, many, many boats and on the receiving end of even more emails regarding failures, glitches etc. here is my experience.
All large amperage inverter/chargers can be DANGEROUS for unattended charging
. Why? Every unit I know of only offers a maximum of 1 battery temp sensor or NONE at all (see Sterling/ProMariner below).
If a battery fails internally, and the single temp sensor is not on it, you now have 80A to 150A +/- charger feeding into this battery failure which can lead to thermal runaway and extremely dangerous situations. This is a failing of not only the industry but also the standards organizations. If you want unattended charging
please be safe and use the smallest charger that can maintain the batteries and satisfy DC shore loads. Always use a charger with at least 1 battery temp sensor..
Don't let this be your boat, when you're not there:
(and this was well after it had been isolated and cooled off a bit)
One of if not the most reliable brands of marine suitable inverter/chargers I install or come across. Perfect? Hell no, but better than many. My biggest complaint is the utter stupidity of no voltage sensing circuit. No matter how big you size those wires there WILL be voltage drop between the batteries and charger and we can't ignore switches, over current and all the terminations on-top of the wire voltage drop. Aiming for a 2% or for a 3% voltage drop may sound fine until you realize that at 14.4V that means only 13.96V at the batteries when the charger is now in CV mode before the batteries get there and charging slows dramatically, well before it should.. For folks who only want to run the genset for a short period, and get the most energy back into the batteries, this engineering lapse = LAME
Again, very high quality, robustly built, weighs a ton and quite reliable. Victron support is also quite good but bugs and fixes can take some patience. The good remote is also very $$$$$. Victron gets charging, and the short duration high current charging we do on boats, and they offer a DEDICATED volt-sense circuit. Kudos to Victron for actually understanding battery charging needs.
Four years ago was the last Xantrex inverter or charger I installed. I tried hard to talk the customer out of it but "J-Boat installed it and they know what they are doing.
" Of course all this "J-Boat knows what they are doing
." completely ignores the 2006 Xantrex 2000W inverter/charger that failed by 2012 and was more costly to repair than replace, and it was dead in six years.....
Today, in 2017, I am still waiting
for the "fix" to the inverter, promises, promises, yada, yada, yada but as of yet no fix to this issue. Course when this fix eventually comes, if ever, I get to eat the labor to remove, repair and reinstall the unit for their design error
.. It has been 4 freaking years..
The issue is that Xantrex used a powder coated mild steel case
(on a marine inverter) that VIBRATES like a snare-drum under certain AC loads. It's so loud you can't even hear yourself think. If I were to upload the video you would be HORRIFIED. I have not uploaded the video due to some real colorful language and the Xantrex bashing I did during the video.. (heat of the moment stuff) At first they denied the issue could even occur, and I was the first
... This = LYING and they knew it. I was at the Annapolis show and speaking with others in the trade and discovered this is actually a well known issue and I was NOT the "first
". Intentionally lying to one of your installers = FAIL...
Xantrex has been promising a new "aluminum case" for this unit and they've had four years to fix it. ZILCH! Don't even get me going on the piles of Xantrex TruCharge battery chargers I have replaced or the lack of knowledgeable tech support folks who don't even comprehend Ohm's Law nor have likely ever heard of it.. Also, no volt sense circuit and one of the most horrendous remote control user interfaces I've encountered.
A dated product with very little control or programming other than for 6 different voltage programs (7 if you want to charge at 15.1V with no battery temp sensor)
and no custom programming option at all. Sterling actually tries to sell the simplicity
(lack of features) as a feature
but the truth is they've not kept up with the times. The units also have low charger output compared to inverter rated watts when compared to others. Even the 12V 2500W Sterling Pure Sine unit can only charge at 80A yet a Magnum 2000W can charge at 100A. These units do not even offer a battery temp sensor...
There is a lot I like about Mastervolt but past reliability has not been not one of them. They have gone to "high frequency" inverters (less costly to produce) and the reliability compared to old school heavy massive transformer based units had not been impressive, in my experience. They have made some changes and the reliability is reportedly getting better but time will be the real deciding factor. The MassCombi's can also do voltage sensing but it requires a Mastervolt Master shunt to do so. This increases the cost of installation over say a Victron that has two simple terminals for voltage sensing. When used as a stand alone unit custom programming them to an appropriate or correct voltage profile for your bank also requires software, a computer and two Mastervolt communication devices. If you are a DIY these added devices can also add up cost wise. Like most of the others they only offer one battery temp sensor, but heck this is better than none...
While not as popular
as the above units they will do nearly everything but wash your dishes. They are robustly built, have excellent tech support but no standard dedicated voltage sensing circuit. For accurate voltage sensing they require a Flexnet DC, at an additional expense.. Their remotes are also quite good and the user interface is pretty straight forward. My only real complaint is the complexity for a DIY install due to the amazingly in-depth manual and vast amounts of programming & use features/options.
I won't comment on other small players in the marine market other than to say the reliability I see has been pretty poor, especially high frequency models. Many of them are not designed nor suitable for a marine application and can actually be dangerous.
Please be sure you purchase an inverter charger designed specifically for marine use so neutral/grounding bonding issues are correct for a marine application. Also be sure it is built to meet UL458 standards, especially if not buying from Magnum, Mastervolt, Outback, Victron etc., & it should preferably be tested to the marine supplement of UL-458 or UL-458-SA.