Inverters and Chargers

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  • May 29, 2013 7:08 AM
    Message # 1304365
    Deleted user
    I have to report a lousy experience with Xantrex electronic equipment that really has me steamed!!!   I put in a Xantrex XS400 Sine Wave Inverter and an XC500 Battery Charger when I wired up the panel and ER.  It took a further 30 months for me to get the boat recommissioned and after the sea trial the charger lasted three days before crapping out, and the inverter survived about six months.   

    Calls to Xantrex were useless: the warranty started the day they were purchased (should have thought of that ahead of time) and they claim both units cannot be repaired since they are "too small" to mess with.   It's the last time I deal with Xantrex!

    I would like to know if anyone else has had such poor performance from them and what units can you salty dogs recommend to replace them with.   I don't need a high output inverter but wanted pure sine wave for running a DVD, boom box or charging handheld VHF, laptop and cell phones.   As for the charger, I just wanted to be able to handle the house bank (4 Trojan T104s in paired banks) and the starter battery.

    Tom Koehl/Second Wind
  • May 29, 2013 7:41 AM
    Reply # 1304386 on 1304365
    Deleted user

    I've read lots of customer service and quality complaints about Xantrex on the various cruising discussion boards.  Personally, I charge my 4 T-105s and my starting battery with a Xantrex XC3012 charger and have had no problems with it (so far) after about 5 years of use (knock on wood).

    For my inverter chores, I went simple.   I use a small 800 watt Whistler.  Cost maybe $100 tops.  I doubt very much that it's a pure sine wave unit.  However, we've been cruising full time for the past 2-1/2 years and we use it to charge our computers and cell phone, run the vacuum occasionally, charge the toothbrush, and run the occasional power tool.  No problems so far.  I'm no electronics expert but I believe that anything that you plug into an AC outlet that has some kind of box or "brick" between the outlet and the appliance is converting the AC to DC anyway so I'm not sure that the pure sine wave is an issue.  I could so easily be wrong but, like I say, so far so good and we use this stuff a lot.

    Hope you have better luck with your next charger/inverter.  And I hear ya about the warranties.  I'll bet almost everything I bought for our boat was out f warranty long before it was ever installed, much less turned on.

  • May 29, 2013 9:05 AM
    Reply # 1304464 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    Tom: Although I suspect many would disagree, I've been thru the expensive units and  agree with Steve. We're now into our seventh year of full time live-aboard cruising, and have found that sooner or later most things electrical fail, regardless of cost. I've had terrible Xantrex support issues similar to your own and just don't use them at all anymore. For inverters and chargers, and I separate them out, I use cheap truck units. The inverters are not expensive pure wave sine units, but as Steve has pointed out, they run most of the things we want/need to use anyway. And, when they fail, which they will, it doesn't break my heart or pocketbook to replace them. Try to locate units out of the weather as much as possible, and you might consider conformal coating when you purchase. If not available, you can spray the boards and electrical connections with a good non-corrosive contact coating. Cheers! Michael  sv Infini W-43
  • May 29, 2013 11:02 AM
    Reply # 1304569 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    Hi there Commander, man I always wanted to say that . Sorry just kidding . All the stuff you mentioned that you would like to run, I run on my Whistler Pro 200w inverter . It cost me about $25. from Amazon . As far as batt. charge I use a Guest Charge Pro 10 amp. I'm charging 2 deep cycles .  Cost for the charger is now about $ 135 . I have had mine for about 7 years . I installed it with the new Trojans and they are still good.  As I'm sure you know these new  3 stage chargers are the only way to go.
    Last modified: May 29, 2013 6:56 PM | Deleted user
  • May 29, 2013 3:15 PM
    Reply # 1304862 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    Yeah...I think Mark is spot on about the Guest charger.
    I have one myself also.

    I was just reading a blog about solar systems on a rv and the writer mentioned that Xantrex moved their production to China, this article was dated 2010. The writer isn't a fan of Xantrex prodcts. Morningstar is a better respected brand.
    Last modified: May 29, 2013 3:17 PM | Deleted user
  • May 29, 2013 5:22 PM
    Reply # 1304924 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    Our Xantrex charger ran fine for eighteen years, then we plugged it into a 110V in Bodega Bay that was actually wired to 220V last year.

    We also use small pocket inverters for our needs. We run the computer, flat screen, DVD etc. with no ill effects that we've seen.  If we loose one we still have a backups.  Also large 1000/1500 watt inverters are real inefficient when at idle or running small devices.

    It is true that chargers that are not true sine wave are harder on lithium and rechargeable batteries, but we still use them.  Our hot knife really hums when on the inverter.  

    Last modified: May 29, 2013 5:27 PM | Deleted user
  • May 30, 2013 6:11 AM
    Reply # 1305289 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    Fellows, I really appreciate all the feedback and suggestions.   Xantrex is trying to tell me that it was probably a lightning strike, but that's rubbish.  Nothing of the sort at the times the units failed (months apart) , and nothing else on the boat was affected.   I'll definitely look into the units you all recommended.  -Tom
  • May 31, 2013 7:39 AM
    Reply # 1306243 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    Mark, I've looked over the literature and owners manuals for the Whistler inverter and like the looks of the 800 watt model but have a question regarding installation wiring.   My original Xantrex had an isolation transformer built-in, whereas it does not appear that the Whistler unit has such a feature.   To alternate between shore power and inverter power I would expect to use a small BlueSeas battery-type switch.   What do you use?  -Tom
  • May 31, 2013 10:33 AM
    Reply # 1306342 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    Hi Tom , my installation is very simple, I just plug it into a cig. port that I mounted in my switch panel . Then plug in whatever I'm going to use . The Whistler 200w is small , It could be mounted behind the panel , but it is so easy to just plug it in . I think that I don't really understand your question  that it would have anything to do with shore power. A friend of mine has a large inverter that when he disconnects from shore he then turns on the inverter and all his 110v plugs are working. If that is what you are talking about .  My set up has nothing to do with shore power or my 110v circuit . Also I respectfully ask the question why would you want to get the 800w unit ? Obviously you want extra power . But if all you need to run is the stuff you mentioned earlier , the 200w does a good job . As for the switches and transformer you are talking about I don't know. The only switch the 200w has is a on off switch . That probably didn't help much but It's all I got .        
    Last modified: May 31, 2013 10:36 AM | Deleted user
  • May 31, 2013 3:47 PM
    Reply # 1306553 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    My 800W Whistler has connections on one end for 12VDC and two 120VAC outlets at the other end.  When using the inverter, anything I have to run gets plugged in to one or the other of these plug-ins, by extension cord if need be.  The rest of my AC outlets are only "live" when I'm plugged in to shore power.  Not sure if that answers your question or not, but...

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