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Tasemu

Small inverter vs 12v sockets.

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Hi all, I have my new boat and its 68ft long. My boat has plenty of 240v sockets throughout the boat but only a single 12v cigarette lighter socket in the saloon. The 240v is powered a diesel genset but no inverter is installed on the boat. I was wondering if it is a good idea to buy a small inverter with a low power consumption, rather than taking the time and money to install a bunch of new runs/fuses for 12v sockets throughout the boat. I know inverters have a power loss, but am hoping that a small inverter (with some kind of load sensing) could be a viable alternative.

 

If an inverter is a good option, does anyone have recommendations for a model? Ideally with load sensing.

 

Thanks as always for any and all advice!

Edited by Tasemu

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What do you want/need to run?

 

All mains isn't a daft idea, especially if you already have plenty of sockets, but be wary of the "sleep mode" claims of some inverters, as they are usually useless if you run small loads (eg phone chargers.)

 

Once we have an idea of what you want to plug in, we can recommend appropriate inverters.

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1 minute ago, TheBiscuits said:

What do you want/need to run?

 

All mains isn't a daft idea, especially if you already have plenty of sockets, but be wary of the "sleep mode" claims of some inverters, as they are usually useless if you run small loads (eg phone chargers.)

 

Once we have an idea of what you want to plug in, we can recommend appropriate inverters.

Sorry, should have stated that, phones, macbook pro (x2). That's it I think. Anything heavier will be powered by the genset instead. :)

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Just now, Tasemu said:

Sorry, should have stated that, phones, macbook pro (x2). That's it I think. Anything heavier will be powered by the genset instead. :)

 

I hope you're not running it after 8pm! ;)

 

The inverter can be used overnight for other loads, and as long as you don't go silly bigger is possibly better.

 

For what it's worth my 3kW inverter is left on 24/7 so I always have mains power available, and it's "wastage" is simply factored into to my electrical usage.   

 

As a cheap-but-not-nasty inverter, I recommend the ones from Sunshine Solar.  Don't bother with anything that isn't pure sine wave, especially if you want to run electronics from it.

 

https://www.sunshinesolar.co.uk/Category/PureSineWave12V

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

As a cheap-but-not-nasty inverter, I recommend the ones from Sunshine Solar.  Don't bother with anything that isn't pure sine wave, especially if you want to run electronics from it.

 

https://www.sunshinesolar.co.uk/Category/PureSineWave12V

 

 

Sunshine Solar often seem to have certain models with significant price reductions, meaning you can pay quite a lot less for a larger inverter.

At the moment you can pay £199 for a 500W inverter, or half that for 600W.

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i have a 1.5kw inverter already from sunshine solar but I feel like it pulls a lot of passive power and has no load sensing. Was considering a smaller victron phoenix... 0.9w in passive mode.

 

edit: not installed btw

Edited by Tasemu

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Just now, Tony Brooks said:

Phones may not draw enough power to wake the inverter up so check.

Just read this, on second thought I'll be able to charge the phones off the 12v socket anyway. Got a dual usb adapter running from there, so it'l just be the 2 laptops and maybe some misc stuff. I already have an inverter from sunshine, i just got a new new boat and want the best tool for the job! Not sure if that's pointless or not, but that's what i'm here to find out. :)

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1 minute ago, Tasemu said:

i have a 1.5kw inverter already from sunshine solar but I feel like it pulls a lot of passive power and has no load sensing. 

 

edit: not installed btw

 

Install it and add some solar if you haven't already.  It's rated at < 0.8A with no load so about 10W if nothing else is switched on.  If you think it's eating too much power in standby switch it off overnight!

 

If you're that worried about the small standby load on the inverter, you will probably panic when you plug the macbooks in ...

 

 

 

 

  • Greenie 1

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Just now, TheBiscuits said:

 

Install it and add some solar if you haven't already.  It's rated at < 0.8A with no load so about 10W if nothing else is switched on.  If you think it's eating too much power in standby switch it off overnight!

 

If you're that worried about the small standby load on the inverter, you will probably panic when you plug the macbooks in ...

 

 

 

 

Ah, that's not bad. They never specified the spec on the website so I thought it was more. I think I may be min-maxing a bit. The victron is 0.9 watts.. somehow that feels pretty sweet to me. I reckon i'll take your advice and plug in my 1.5kw. Worst case i can just swap it over. Do the big ones chew more power when converting?

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2 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

Phones may not draw enough power to wake the inverter up so check.

 

Yes, that was my warning earlier.  The minimum setting on the new Victron range is 15W, any less than this and the phone charger won't be on.

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3 minutes ago, Tasemu said:

Ah, that's not bad. They never specified the spec on the website so I thought it was more. I think I may be min-maxing a bit. The victron is 0.9 watts.. somehow that feels pretty sweet to me. I reckon i'll take your advice and plug in my 1.5kw. Worst case i can just swap it over. Do the big ones chew more power when converting?

 

Not really.

 

Here are the spec sheets:

 

https://www.sunshinesolar.co.uk/media/ecom/prodpdf/VP1500.pdf

 

https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Datasheet-Phoenix-Inverter-VE.Direct-250VA-1200VA-EN.pdf

 

Victron claim 89% efficiency for the VE. Direct 12/375 I think you are probably looking at.

 

Sunshine claim 95% for the VP1500 at 1/3rd load, 90% at full load.

 

It will only use power you are demanding from it - you aren't "wasting" 10% of 1500W if you are only using it to power a 90W laptop for example.

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2 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

Not really.

 

Here are the spec sheets:

 

https://www.sunshinesolar.co.uk/media/ecom/prodpdf/VP1500.pdf

 

https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Datasheet-Phoenix-Inverter-VE.Direct-250VA-1200VA-EN.pdf

 

Victron claim 89% efficiency for the VE. Direct 12/375 I think you are probably looking at.

 

Sunshine claim 95% for the VP1500 at 1/3rd load, 90% at full load.

 

It will only use power you are demanding from it - you aren't "wasting" 10% of 1500W if you are only using it to power a 90W laptop for example.

I think I have found my answer then. I'll see how the 10w standby current goes for me. Thanks for all the help. :)

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1 minute ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

You're welcome ... now go and dig that mudbox out again! :D

 

You know what! I got down by the exhaust and had a big whif of it, its definitely water vapour! No idea if that's bad or not, but i've clean LITERALLY everything else and i have no idea. Got a guy coming tomorrow to take a look at it, and another to look at my rayburn. Bring Out Another Thousand is starting to make sense to me now.

 

EDIT: Or it could just be the fumes

Edited by Tasemu

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2 minutes ago, Tasemu said:

I got down by the exhaust and had a big whif of it, its definitely water vapour! No idea if that's bad or not, but i've clean LITERALLY everything else and i have no idea. Got a guy coming tomorrow to take a look at it, and another to look at my rayburn. Bring Out Another Thousand is starting to make sense to me now.

 

EDIT: Or it could just be the fumes

 

Is the impeller OK?  It probably should be constantly dribbling out actual water, not just water vapour, and that's a sign that not enough water is passing through the cooling system.  Have you checked the whole system from the mudbox, through the filter, through the pump, through the heat exchanger and through the exhaust injection?

 

Hopefully your chap will be able to diagnose it for you.

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6 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

Is the impeller OK?  It probably should be constantly dribbling out actual water, not just water vapour, and that's a sign that not enough water is passing through the cooling system.  Have you checked the whole system from the mudbox, through the filter, through the pump, through the heat exchanger and through the exhaust injection?

 

Hopefully your chap will be able to diagnose it for you.

Its definitely spitting water out the exhaust, but water vapour too. Not very much of it tbh, just a little. I've checked everything except the impeller, gonna leave that to the guy. Everything looks good, except that the water level in the water strainer/filter seems a little low. If I put my finger over the anti-siphon valve for a second, it fills back up though lol... What am I like haha. Save me from myself..

 

 

 

Edited by Tasemu

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1 hour ago, Tasemu said:

Ah, that's not bad. They never specified the spec on the website so I thought it was more.

Yes they do. It's on the pdf downloadable data sheet.

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I'm confused.

If you have 240V via a genset, how do you get 240V between 8pm and 8am?

If you have loads of 240V sockets then why not just charge the phones etc via a USB socket on the 240V ones when the genset is running. 

Seems daft not to have a decent inverter though for use during the 'quiet' hours. I'd put a 3KW Victron in. You have no problem with power usage with the gen set so why worry what the inverter is taking. Surely with a new boat this should have been worked out?

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49 minutes ago, Dr Bob said:

I'm confused.

If you have 240V via a genset, how do you get 240V between 8pm and 8am?

If you have loads of 240V sockets then why not just charge the phones etc via a USB socket on the 240V ones when the genset is running. 

Seems daft not to have a decent inverter though for use during the 'quiet' hours. I'd put a 3KW Victron in. You have no problem with power usage with the gen set so why worry what the inverter is taking. Surely with a new boat this should have been worked out?

Currently I don't use 240v between 8pm and 8am. Just looking to see if i should be putting in 12v sockets or if an inverter will do the job fine and not lose me too much power in conversion. Everyone always says use 12v wherever possible, so that's stuck with me. :)

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2 minutes ago, Tasemu said:

Everyone always says use 12v wherever possible, so that's stuck with me. :)

Everyone doesn't have a built-in genset! 

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14 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

Everyone doesn't have a built-in genset! 

Haha fair point

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33 minutes ago, Tasemu said:

 Everyone always says use 12v wherever possible, so that's stuck with me. :)

Well that's not true is it.

I have a big inverter/combi thingy which is on 24/7. @mrsmelly is an avid 240V fan (although he hasnt got a fan). Surely a decent boat with a gen set would have a decent battery bank with a decent size inverter. Keeping to all 12V is an expensive and limiting way to do things. You are limited on fridges, TV etc. Far more choice with 240V. There is absolutely nowt wrong with 240V and a big combi box when you have a way of putting the power back in (which you do). We use 150Ahrs each 24 hours and a lot of that is running the combi box but we are not camping and run a decent cooker which has a 240V feed (including electric fan) with sat TV and charging of all the ipads, macbooks, phones on demand. I am not bothered at all about the current my combi box takes as I can put it back in within a few hours of alternator running - even easier for you with a gen set.

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47 minutes ago, Dr Bob said:

Well that's not true is it.

I have a big inverter/combi thingy which is on 24/7. @mrsmelly is an avid 240V fan (although he hasnt got a fan). Surely a decent boat with a gen set would have a decent battery bank with a decent size inverter. Keeping to all 12V is an expensive and limiting way to do things. You are limited on fridges, TV etc. Far more choice with 240V. There is absolutely nowt wrong with 240V and a big combi box when you have a way of putting the power back in (which you do). We use 150Ahrs each 24 hours and a lot of that is running the combi box but we are not camping and run a decent cooker which has a 240V feed (including electric fan) with sat TV and charging of all the ipads, macbooks, phones on demand. I am not bothered at all about the current my combi box takes as I can put it back in within a few hours of alternator running - even easier for you with a gen set.

Completely agree. If I told people to change their house to 12 volt they would think it madness. When I moved aboard 30 plus years ago 12 volt only made perfect sense ( no inverters etc etc) 

Completely different today with much reduced consumption of modern mains kit and equipment available for boats 👍

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