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Old 02-05-2020, 12:55 PM   #1
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Charger/Inverter Combo - Seperate

I am trying to decide which setup to put together to run a few AC items, primarily fridge, and keep the batteries charged off of shore power, or generator. What are the advantages - disadvantages of running a combo unit vs. two separate units. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about;

Combo:
https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-Techn...8QKB2X8JR6FDY4

Separate units:
https://www.amazon.com/Powermax-Supp...8QKB2X8JR6FDY4

https://www.amazon.com/Kinverch-Cont...8QKB2X8JR6FDY4

I haven't decided how big I need to go yet with the output, these are just examples.

The advantage I see to having two separate units is in the event of a failure I only need to replace one piece, not the entire setup. Cost is also a huge factor, especially if/when replacement becomes necessary.
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:58 PM   #2
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Also, if you want to be able to control the load circuit separately from the charging circuit, need separate units.

Plus the size charger you want, compared to the size inverter can be well matched to your specific use case.

But OTOH Magnum and Victron's combi units are the bee's knees, especially wrt the PowerAssist feature.
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Old 04-26-2020, 02:01 AM   #3
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Possible advantages of Inverter/Charger Combo:
- Cost efficiency
- Space efficiency
- Transfer switch built in
- Simplifies design/install sometimes


Possible advantages of separate inverter and charger
- Can customize each to your liking
- Can control each separately (for instance switch off inverter when batteries get low, or charger when batteries get high--only one inverter/charger that I know of is capable of this).
- Can be more power efficient in some use-cases
- Possibly cheaper
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Old 04-26-2020, 07:10 AM   #4
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And not all in one needing replacing when it fails.
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Old 04-27-2020, 05:45 PM   #5
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One more pro for the combo


Less chance that you will screw something up on install or misconfigure something.


If you trust yourself more than the manufacturer not a big concern, if you are like me and realize that you are the biggest design flaw in any system, its worth considering ;)


That said, I'm probably going the separate inverter and charger route for other reasons
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:47 PM   #6
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I do not view combi units as easier to install.

If anything many come with complex features that may be very valuable in some contexts, but certainly get even professionals scratching their heads.
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
I do not view combi units as easier to install.

If anything many come with complex features that may be very valuable in some contexts, but certainly get even professionals scratching their heads.

Yeah, I suppose this depends on your needs. If you just need an inverter, that'll be easiest. Or inverter and simple battery charger maybe.



If you plan to have an inverter + generator + shore power, A single combo device can simplify wiring, grounding, and install. And having just one manual, and one tech support department is a big plus on its own.
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
Yeah, I suppose this depends on your needs. If you just need an inverter, that'll be easiest. Or inverter and simple battery charger maybe.



If you plan to have an inverter + generator + shore power, A single combo device can simplify wiring, grounding, and install. And having just one manual, and one tech support department is a big plus on its own.

You are right on. Our current needs fit your description to a Tee ... and so does a combination unit, which is what we implemented. I did consider components, but for the price, space, and complexity the combination worked well and still does afer two plus years..
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Old 04-29-2020, 12:43 AM   #9
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JackE it looks like that Xantrex inverter/charger you linked to is modified sine wave, I would not buy a MSW inverter, especially not for that price.


Take a look at the Samlex Evo, (also Victron Multiplus or Magnum MS series) if you want a high quality inverter/charger from a reputable company (Xantrex is quite reputable too I just don't know the correct model to reccomend).
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Old 04-29-2020, 01:29 AM   #10
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GoPower makes great units as well.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:21 AM   #11
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Thanks for your insight, I do appreciate it.

The more I think about this the more confused I make myself, so I'm going to dumb down my question to the point I understand what I'm asking. I understand enough about both 12V and 120V separately, but mixing them has my head spinning.

I want a box I can mount to the wall that has one input for a 50 amp shore service, one input for my 6500 watt generator which has two separate circuits on it, one 12V input/charging output for the battery bank, and one 120V output for a few constant use house accessories. And a brain in it that knows exactly what I want it to do without me telling it based on where power is coming from.

Is there such an animal? Or am I better off creating my own system with multiple units and shut-off switches for each device?
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:39 AM   #12
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I just read my last post and confused myself even more. Please bare with me. Let me try again.

I plan on running shore power or generator power 90% of the time.
I want to run my 120V fridge off of an inverter so it always has power.
I want the house batteries to charge whether I am running shore or generator power.
I would like that combination to switch between generator or shore power without me telling it which one it's getting, and without interrupting the power running the fridge.
Ideally, if there is a combination unit like this, it would know when there is AC power being provided and wouldn't use the inverter at all, but would still charge the house batteries.

To me, that sounds like a doable unit, but far beyond my electrical capability. If you guys know of such a beast, please point me in the right direction. If not, I can create a bank of individual units with a pile of switches and relays to make it work like I want it to. I'll just have to draw a diagram for the wife so there aren't too many things working at the same time against each other.
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Old 04-29-2020, 12:18 PM   #13
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I don't know if there is a unit like you describe but my solution, when I get around to adding a generator, is going to be to simply run an extension cord from my generator's output to my shore-power receptacle input. The inside of the bus will never know the difference between shore-power from an RV park or shore-power from the generator and it makes for a simple, understandable, system with no transfer switches needed. There's no real ground on the generator I plan on purchasing so my system will be ungrounded when on generator power.

Shore power goes from the input receptacle to my shore-power-only outlets and to an IOTA 55 amp charger connected to the battery connected to the inverter, like this:

Code:
                |--> shore-only outlets and loads
Shore power --> |
                |--> IOTA 55 amp charger --> battery --> inverter --> inverter outlets and loads.
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Old 04-29-2020, 03:09 PM   #14
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I thought about that for a minute. I plan on using the generator while running down the road to power the mini split units. My teenager would probably think it quite the adventure to hang out the window to plug the power into the generator while driving down the road, his mom, not so much! The generator has onboard start and stop, so I would like to be able to just start and run with it when needed.
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Old 04-29-2020, 04:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackE View Post
I thought about that for a minute. I plan on using the generator while running down the road to power the mini split units. My teenager would probably think it quite the adventure to hang out the window to plug the power into the generator while driving down the road, his mom, not so much! The generator has onboard start and stop, so I would like to be able to just start and run with it when needed.
Perhaps this will fit the bill. This is our AC & DC electrical diagram. You can ignore the second alternator ... that was added so that we could run the air conditioner off the second alternator and not have to run a generator (which we still do not have).

20200429_162507 AC-DC Electrical Diagram.jpg

This is a full 50A service. The shore or generator power comes into the automatic transfer switch (with the generator having priority and the shore as the default) then into the EMS which makes sure the power from either source is clean. Then into the GoPower inverter/converter which also has a transfer switch so if there is power coming into it through the AC side, the power is transferred out without the use of the inverter. It will charge the batteries while on transfer, but not while on inverter.


Note the breakers ... one before the GoPower so no power is brought into the unit unless the EMS shows it as clean ... and one before the AC distribution center , i.e. the AC mains breaker.
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Old 05-01-2020, 05:30 PM   #16
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Jack the situation you describe is where inverter/charger combo's really shine.


The Samlex Evo comes to mind.


Separate AC Inputs for shorepower and generator, output to AC (inverter) or DC (battery bank)


Automatic transfer switch automatically switches between sources intelligently based on whats available and even has the capability to supplement generator or shorepower with the battery bank


Generator auto start option


Super configurable


A solar charge controller can be connected to it as well if you plan to add solar.




Big 'ole thread on it over here
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