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Thread: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

  1. #1
    technomadia Guest

    Default RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    Greetings -

    I am looking to have the 12V converter / charger in my new 17' Oliver replaced with a combination inverter / charger.

    This is a small RV, so I don't have much space to work with. The area where the current converter is located is roughly 26” x 15” x 9”.

    My AC requirements are pretty minimal - two laptops and a second LCD monitor are the key loads. Being able to handle higher occasional loads for a blender or microwave would be nice too.

    I do value the convenience of an automatic transfer switch, and I want the charger to be able to top off the battery bank as quickly as possible if I ever have to resort to generator.

    The battery bank will be either 220 AH of Lifeline AGM's, or 300 AH of Trojan flooded lead acid.

    Here are the inverter / chargers I have been researching. I would love to hear opinions and experiences with these:

    + Xantrex Freedom HF 1800 -- 1800W Inverter, 40 amp smart battery charger. Comes with a remote control for checking battery status and turning the inverter off. 30Amp transfer switch for passing through AC shore power. Size: 4.2" x 9.5" x 18.0" x 12.8lbs. This is perhaps the cheapest and smallest option.

    + Xantrex Prosine 2.0 -- 2000 watts of true sine wave AC, 100 amp smart battery charger. 30A transfer switch. Remote control and battery temp sensor included. 17.7" x 11.2" x 5.7" x 24lbs. The 100A charger on this would be very useful for quick recharging via generator.

    + Xantrex Freedom 458 -- Comes in various combinations of inverter sizes from 1000W to 3000W, with 50A to 140A charger built in.

    + Xantrex MS2000 -- Potentially too big to physically fit.

    + Magnum ME2012 -- 2000W Inverter, 100Amp charger. They have a range of other models / sizes / shapes too. All are "PFC Corrected" for more efficient generator charging.

    + Magnum MM1212 -- 1200W Inverter, 70A charger. 16.6" x 8.4" x 4.7" x 20lbs

    + Tripplite RV1250ULHW -- 1250W Inverter, 55A charger. They also have larger and smaller sized models. 7" x 8.75" x 9" x 23lbs.


    Are there any other models or brands I should be checking out? Any recommendations of products to avoid?

    Thanks for the collective wisdom!

    - Chris // www.technomadia.com

  2. #2

    Default Re: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    The battery bank will be either 220 AH of Lifeline AGM's, or 300 AH of Trojan flooded lead acid.
    The 100A charger on this would be very useful for quick recharging via generator.
    The 100 A charger may well be overkill -- in both charge current and in cost -- for your proposed battery bank size.

    AGM batteries like the (Concorde) Lifeline can handle very high charge current. However, charge current of ~30% of bank capacity may be the practical upper limit for AGM batteries. Trojan recommends a charge current of between 10% and 13% of battery bank capacity.

    Assuming 85% efficiency, a 100 A charger would require a generator rated at (100 A x 14.4 V) / 85% = 1,700 W continuous at sea level. A higher rated generator would be required at higher elevations.

    Another issue is that the charger will only deliver full charge current during the bulk charge stage. Once the charger reaches the absorption stage, it will begin to limit charge current in order to maintain battery target voltage.

    Therefore, a charger rated for between 30 A and 66 A may be a good choice for your proposed battery bank.

    An option is to consider a separate charger and inverter. For example, the Xantrex Truecharge 40 is a very good 40 A charger, and Exeltech makes fine true sine wave inverters (“XP” Series).

    See: http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/69/p/1/pt/7/product.asp
    And: http://store.solar-electric.com/xaprbach.html
    And: http://www.exeltech.com/ (go to “Products”, then to “XP Series”)
    And: http://store.solar-electric.com/exsiwain.html

    Yet another option might be two inverters: one small one to regular small loads and the periodic medium load (i.e., a 600 W model), and a larger inverter (or just the genny) for the occasional big load.

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
    120618: System off-line for a while...

  3. #3
    technomadia Guest

    Default Re: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by crewzer View Post
    The 100 A charger may well be overkill -- in both charge current and in cost -- for your proposed battery bank size.

    AGM batteries like the (Concorde) Lifeline can handle very high charge current. However, charge current of ~30% of bank capacity may be the practical upper limit for AGM batteries.
    Checking Lifeline's online FAQ, they claim "no input current limitations" - which seems to imply that a 100A charging current would be fine. I haven't found any documentation suggesting otherwise. Hmmmm....

    Quote Originally Posted by crewzer View Post
    Assuming 85% efficiency, a 100 A charger would require a generator rated at (100 A x 14.4 V) / 85% = 1,700 W continuous at sea level. A higher rated generator would be required at higher elevations.
    The generator we are leaning towards is the 2000W Honda or 2400W Yamaha. These are the smallest generators that would be able to run an air conditioner. It would be nice to take maximal advantage of them for shortened charging times too. A 100A charger seems like a good fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by crewzer View Post
    An option is to consider a separate charger and inverter. For example, the Xantrex Truecharge 40 is a very good 40 A charger, and Exeltech makes fine true sine wave inverters (“XP” Series).
    We have fairly limited space, so two boxes is not ideal. I also want an inverter with a built in AC transfer switch so that it can be permanently wired into the RV's electrical system. I don't want to deal with having some outlets only functional on shore power, and other outlets functional via the inverter.

    Quote Originally Posted by crewzer View Post
    Yet another option might be two inverters: one small one to regular small loads and the periodic medium load (i.e., a 600 W model), and a larger inverter (or just the genny) for the occasional big load.
    This is an intriguing idea. The 300W MorningStar pure sine wave inverter might be more effificient for our small and sensitive loads. And then I could use something like the Magnum MM1212 for larger AC loads, DC power, and charging.

    Thanks for the advice,

    - Chris // www.technomadia.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    as to concorde agms i was told by concorde that the charge rate max is an amp for every ah of battery capacity for 20hr rates. this is indeed high and not normal for most batteries to the point i never heard of any other battery with this ability, but nice to know concorde believes the batteries to be that good to allow such a charge rate. for solar and most other charge sources it would be rare to feed the batteries at such a high rate of charge. for example, how many could feed 104a into say a pvx 1040 from solar and few would do so with an ac charger either, but they told me it will take it. although it would take it at a high rate, i believe that some charge efficiency would be sacrificed like many other secondary batteries on a fast charge suffer from and i agree with crewzer that up to about a 30% rate may be better and more realisticly encountered. going higher than 30% won't void any warrantees with concorde.
    NIEL

  5. #5

    Default Re: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crewzer
    The 100 A charger may well be overkill -- in both charge current and in cost -- for your proposed battery bank size.

    AGM batteries like the (Concorde) Lifeline can handle very high charge current. However, charge current of ~30% of bank capacity may be the practical upper limit for AGM batteries.


    Checking Lifeline's online FAQ, they claim "no input current limitations" - which seems to imply that a 100A charging current would be fine. I haven't found any documentation suggesting otherwise. Hmmmm....
    I agree that there are several Concorde / Lifeline statements that suggest their AGM batteries have virtually no charge current limitations:

    http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/marinefaq.php#d

    Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries include lead plates packed between silica-glass mats, which hold electrolytes in suspension. They have no input current limitations…
    http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/marinefeatures.php

    Faster recharge; no current limitations with voltage regulated recharging.
    http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/marinesizing.php

    AGM Batteries are not harmed by high amperage charge and discharge so long as the input voltage is carefully regulated.
    But, there’s more to the story than just pushing Amps. The first notion to dispense with is that battery charging is a linear operation. Specifically, you can’t take 100 Ah out of a 220 Ah battery, hook up a 100 A charger, and recharge the battery in one hour (assuming 100% recharge efficiency).

    Concorde / lifeline also says to “Charge 1 with voltage-regulated (constant potential) charger.” See: http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/manual2.php

    This type of charge delivers full current in “bulk” charge mode until the battery voltage reaches the target absorption voltage, at which point the battery is ~80% to 90% fully recharged, depending on charge current. Ironically, while a high current charger will achieve the absorption target voltage rather quickly, the battery is less full (i.e., closer to 80% full than to 90% full) due to the high surface charge.

    The charger then switches to absorb mode, which hold the battery voltage constant by slowly reducing charge current. The absorption stage for AGM batteries can last anywhere from 2-1/2 to 4 hours or more.

    Here’s a somewhat simplified comparison of using a 100 A charger vs. a 40 A charger:

    Starting at 220 Ah – 100 Ah = 120 Ah remaining, a 100 A charger would take about an hour to recharge the 220 Ah battery bank to 80% SOC (176 Ah). Assuming another 2-1/2 hours for the absorption stage, the 100 A charger would take ~3-1/2 hours to put 100 Ah back into the battery bank.

    Starting at 220 Ah – 100 Ah = 120 Ah remaining, a 40 A charger would take about two hours to recharge the 220 Ah battery bank to 90% SOC (198 Ah). Assuming another 2-1/2 hours for the absorption stage, the 40 A charger would take ~4-1/2 hours to put 100 Ah back into the battery bank.

    So, is the extra 60 A charge current -- and its attendant size and cost (don't forget BIG cables and a BIG DC breaker) -- worth it?

    The 30% charge current “rule” for AGM batteries is used by several manufacturers. MK (East Penn) says to “Maintain Current <= 30 A per 100 Ah C20”. See: http://www.mkbattery.com/images/AGMBatteryCharging.pdf

    Exide suggests something in the 30% range for their Marathon AGM batteries (i.e., 37 A recommended max for their ~105 Ah battery). See: http://industrialenergy.exide.com/ex...%202005-09.pdf

    But, going the other way, Concorde, Lifeline’s corporate owner, recommends a “conditioning charge constant current charge rate” of 11 A for their Sun-Xtended 220 Ah AGM battery. 11 A is just 5% of capacity. See: http://www.sunxtender.com/xtenderservice.php

    I hope this additional information is useful to you.

    Regards,
    Jim / crewzer
    Last edited by crewzer; May 29th, 2008 at 10:53 PDT. Reason: typos
    120618: System off-line for a while...

  6. #6

    Default Re: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    if you go with the prosine be prepared to shell out $$$$ on battery cables. they go ape shite on inductive loads if you don't have really big cable {think 4/0)

    I really regret buying mine. I ended up spending as much on copper as I would have spent upgrading to a sw series. my neighbor runs 4 gauge cables on his sw2412, (no longer avail) and it hums along fine

  7. #7

    Default Re: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by wild01 View Post
    if you go with the prosine be prepared to shell out $$$$ on battery cables. they go ape shite on inductive loads if you don't have really big cable {think 4/0)

    I really regret buying mine. I ended up spending as much on copper as I would have spent upgrading to a sw series. my neighbor runs 4 gauge cables on his sw2412, (no longer avail) and it hums along fine
    If he ran #4 wire to a 2400 watt inverter, he is way undersized on cable.

  8. #8

    Default Re: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    yup he is. however he's fused for it (150 amp slo-blow) and he doesn't max his inverter. my point is, the sw series will run that way. my prosine wouldn't start loads that my 750 watt msw walmart thing started. (until i put 4/0 welding cables on it) I have thought about installing a high amp capacitor @ the battery b-c it's the initial draw that seems to upset the prosine. as long as I had a big enough resistive load already on the prosine started inductive loads just fine. but my house is actually energy efficient and when I turn everything off everything turns off.

  9. Default Re: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    Forget the Freedom 458, they are modified sine. Not good for you laptops and LCD monitors. Prosine's are ok to do the job considering your space requirement. Magnum ME2012 seems a good choice too, but too over loaded with features and need for extra remote and cabling.

    Check out the Xantrex Freedom SW 2000. Retails between $850-1000, comes with transfer switch, simple to configure and needs no extra remote to be bought.
    http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/302/p/1/pt/7/product.asp

    Dont confuse it with Prowatt SW 2000.

  10. #10

    Default Re: RV Inverter / Charger Opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Windsun View Post
    If he ran #4 wire to a 2400 watt inverter, he is way undersized on cable.
    I have a ProSine 2.0 and am very pleased with its performance. It is overkill for my application. But the appeal of TSW, charger and Xfer switch in one box was just to great to ignore. I have none of the problems sited by wild01. But I run no "highly" inductive loads. Just a 1KW microwave. But the price is a big hit.

    I'm very happy that I followed this post because I have learned that my cabling/fuse combination is wrong.

    The ProSine manual directive for cable size was only given in MCM, not AWG. Erroneously, I decided that 250 MCM (recommended by Xantrex as the cable size for runs of less than six feet) was equivalent to #4 AWG. Turns out that 250 MCM is more like #0000, or 5.7/0..

    So I am way undersized on cabling. That being said. the system has worked very well.

    For that cable size, Xantrex recommended a 300A fuse. I now plan to replace the 300A fuse with a 125A one. Might need a new holder. I really can't see/justify replacing all the cabling. I have used Ancor #4 cables of relatively short lengths in small spaces and the flexibility is essential.. 0000+ is not reasonable in this tight space.

    For the OP... The ProSine 2.0 is highly configurable. I have to be in prone position to work on/or see mine (link to My Camper in my sig) so I don't use it often. I have set the PS2.0 max charge to 40A and when AC is delivered to it by my Honda 1000eui it takes about 4 to 6 hr to recharge (no insolatiion.) But if the sun is out... it works without said genny!
    Tiny mobile camper currently in use! Off grid 30 weekends/yr. 3 Kyc 85s* in series=255W , Morningstar SS-MPPT15*, four 6V East Penn 8AGC2 AGMs @ 12V=374AH, Trimetric 2020*, Prosine 2.0, Honda EU1000i. My camper.
    *Purchased at NAWS! Along with much more not listed.

    Everything has everything to do with everything else. I learn more by accident than by design.
    Kamala

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