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Transformer Recommendations?

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So, it seems to me that an IT may be less effort (nothing that needs monitoring / testing) than a GI. Is that approximately right? Assume an IT is similar amount of effort to fit and needs replacing no more frequently? Where do people recommend I get a boat-friendly one? Any particular features to look out for? 

Background: this boat will be pretty much continuously on shore power in a relatively secure location. When it isn't in the secure location it is unlikely to be on shore power. So, outside/plug in options for a GI would have appealed for ease of getting protection. The inverter I assume I'll pop the IT near is in the little space at the side of the cruiser stern so more or less 'inside' but obviously somewhat exposed to elements when hatch open. 

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You'll ideally need an anti-surge circuit if fitting a big transformer. Otherwise connecting the shore power at the wrong part of the phase will give rise to a whopping big input current and trip the MCB. Happens to us about one in five connects so not a big deal to go out and reset it. Some transformers designed for marine use have circuitry fitted. Add-ons are available.

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I've had a Victron isolation transformer installed for the last twelve years. It has the anti-surge gubbins that @Onewheeler ,mentions. Not cheap, but basically fit and forget. It is fitted in a similar position to where you are proposing, so some protection from the rain, but not total. Wind driven rain and the hatch open would get it wet. I keep the hatch closed and doors shut when cruising if it is raining for that reason. You've got a cruiser stern, so can do the same. Or build a vented cupboard around it to keep it dry.

 

Jen

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Airlink Transformers do a waterproof one rated at 3.6 kW.

 

N

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We have a Victron 7kW one on Consort. The 3kW one was a bit light for our needs. Has all the anti-surge gubbins.  Like Jen says, fit and forget.

 

Stephen

Edited by Stephen Jeavons

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2 hours ago, BEngo said:

Airlink Transformers do a waterproof one rated at 3.6 kW.

 

N

A vote for Airlink. Standard site transformer enclosure. Properly installed they are Fit & forget.

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21 hours ago, TheMenagerieAfloat said:

So, it seems to me that an IT may be less effort (nothing that needs monitoring / testing) than a GI. Is that approximately right?

Well, nothing about testing a GI is arduous, but there's no denying that an IT is a better solution where practicable. You've noted the relative cost though, right?

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Maybe 400pounds more? I wasn't sure where to look for an IT so knew they'd be more but not sure how much more (lots of GI recommendations on here). 

 

I was at work yesterday but did have a quick look for Airlink and Victron as mentioned above. Seems Airlink work out a fair bit cheaper than Victron but didn't have time to check for exactly similar specs. 

 

Honestly I'd pay 400pounds for the joy of not having to read all the GI monitoring option pros and cons and then look at something when I trying to post dogs/children safely and quickly on/off boat on way to school/work/etc. If was doing this at a more time rich moment wd enjoy learning and be less likely to forget monitoring. But yesterday I was contacted by someone I apparently met in 2019 and I couldn't remember the (potential) colleague, let alone to look at a dial/light/needle/...

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Based on my experience:

  •  A lot more expensive than a GI.
  • Fit and forget.
  • Less likely to fail unsafe from a hull corrosion point of view, so no monitoring needed. Monitoring of a GI often gets done less often than it should. CO and fire alarms should be tested once a week according to the makers. Most don't get this, mine included.
  • If you connect generators with weird earth arrangements the earth will be redefined properly on the boat.
  • They can be a bit buzzy sometimes when drawing a large load.
  • The soft start thing on my Victron includes a loud relay, so, if on board, I can hear if the shore power goes down.
  • Takes up more space than a GI.

My take. If you can afford one and your boat spends most of its time on a marina shore lead, then they are the gold plated solution. Otherwise, a GI and regular testing. For most people the extra cost isn't worth the marginal differences above.

 

Jen

 

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies
  • Greenie 1

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My airlink serial number 001 is still functioning as it should after 15years.......

I have replaced the soft start with something better.

 

 

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A decent sized IT is quite a big and heavy thing, so you’ll need to find space for it. Another vote for Airlink though, it just works.

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We bought an Airlink  October 2018 - cost us 550 GBP

 

BT3240 - 3600va 230v to 230v Isolating transformer Mains lead with

16amp plug Outlet:16amp Socket with MCB protection

 

Easy to plug in / use and gives us peace of mind.

Edited by CV32

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