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Old 08-16-2018, 11:52 AM   #1
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Inverter/charger versus Inverter & charge controller

I'm am hoping someone more familiar with solar electrical systems can hit me with some info. I'm currently working on my solar plan and I've noticed that some inverters come equipped with a charger, and some do not. Example: Xantrex Freedom XC versus Freedom X. From what I'm reading a solar charge controller is still required if I run solar, so my question is;

Is there anything to be gained from using an inverter with the integrated charger? Does it add any functionality?

Xantrex Freedom XC: Inverter Charger | Freedom XC Inverter/Charger | Xantrex
Xantrex Freedom X: Power Inverter | Freedom X Inverter | Xantrex

Thank you,
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:00 PM   #2
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Many inverter/chargers have a built in transfer switchs.

When you plug into shore power the inverter automatically switches off and moves to shore power.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:12 PM   #3
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Many inverter/chargers have a built in transfer switchs.

When you plug into shore power the inverter automatically switches off and moves to shore power.
Yeah, I saw that both the X and XC, have integrated transfer relays.

Both the X and the XC have the following: "Built-in 30A AC Transfer Relay: Senses when outside AC Power is present and transfers the load from the inverter to the source of incoming power (shore or generator). The unit also automatically switches from invert mode to charge mode "

I guess, what I'm confused by is what is the integrated charger on the XC for? is it just there because it offers multi-stage charging? Doesn't the solar charge controller do the same thing? If I need the solar charge controller regardless, it doesn't seem that getting the XC would gain me anything, unless the solar charge controller only works with solar, and doesn't do anything when on shore power. Maybe I'm missing something.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:20 PM   #4
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If I understand correctly........

You will want a charger that runs on shore/generator power to supplement your solar system. It appears that the XC has a charger.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:48 PM   #5
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I guess, what I'm confused by is what is the integrated charger on the XC for? is it just there because it offers multi-stage charging? Doesn't the solar charge controller do the same thing? If I need the solar charge controller regardless, it doesn't seem that getting the XC would gain me anything, unless the solar charge controller only works with solar, and doesn't do anything when on shore power. Maybe I'm missing something.
I'm pretty illiterate when it comes to electrical (but I'm trying to learn!).....but I think the XC will charge your battery bank when you're on shore power or there's a generator plugged into your rig (basically, shore power). The solar charge controller will charge batteries separately. Many people will run the generator, if necessary, for bulk charging in the morning then let the solar take up the rest of the duties during the day. We've got an AIMS inverter/charger with the integrated transfer switch....probably similar to the XC you're looking at. If for whatever reason we can't use our solar system, we can still charge the battery bank from shore power or inverter.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:35 AM   #6
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So it sounds like if I want the capability to charge of shore power I either need to buy an inverter with a built in charger or I need an inverter AND a charger. And no matter what if I want solar I need a solar charge controller.

Thanks guys,
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:49 AM   #7
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So it sounds like if I want the capability to charge of shore power I either need to buy an inverter with a built in charger or I need an inverter AND a charger.
Correct.

One possible (and debatable) advantage to separate inverter/charger is you can fix/replace/upgrade only the necessary 'component' (if it breaks or something better becomes available).
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:54 AM   #8
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So it sounds like if I want the capability to charge of shore power I either need to buy an inverter with a built in charger or I need an inverter AND a charger. And no matter what if I want solar I need a solar charge controller.

Thanks guys,
Yup, that's what I reckon. Make sure your inverter has a transfer switch too (sounds like the Xantrex already does). I've read that it might be better to have separate charger and inverter in case one fails, then you've only got one thing to replace. I chose a combined inverter/charger for the sake of simplicity.
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