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Alternative to Victron Quattro ?


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With our narrowboat shell build now underway with an expected completion in approx three weeks, thoughts are turning to the onboard systems.

The boat will have electric propulsion and no gas. Cooking will be via electric.

The roof will have as much solar as I can practically fit which will be at least 2,200watts - I have a shortlist of solar panels and depending on exact roof measurements I might be able to fit a slightly larger solar array. A Victron MPPT charger will handle this.

There will be a backup diesel generator fitted.

The batteries will be lithium (LiFePo4) - having finally convinced ourselves that this is the best way to go. 

A Victron Quattro 48/10000/140 inverter/charger is presently the front runner as it provides:

 

- Approx 8KW of pure sine wave continuous power at 240volts.

- Up to140amps (depending on input) to charge the 48 volt lithium battery bank.

 

But I can't help wondering if having the inverter/charger all-in-one box is not the best way of doing things, from a redundancy point of view, and as we'll only typically switch from generator to shore power once per year the auto-changeover that the Quattro provides is of limited benefit. A manual changeover switch would be perfectly OK (which we have on our lumpy water boat).

 

So my question is, given the requirement for approx 8KW of pure sine wave continuous 240volt power and a battery charger output of approx 140amps @ 48volts, would you fit a Victron Quattro or something else, and why?

 

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I would look at fitting 3x3kw Victron, more expensive but they can run in parallel or 3phase if you need it. 

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1 hour ago, Jackofalltrades said:

With our narrowboat shell build now underway with an expected completion in approx three weeks, thoughts are turning to the onboard systems.

The boat will have electric propulsion and no gas. Cooking will be via electric.

The roof will have as much solar as I can practically fit which will be at least 2,200watts - I have a shortlist of solar panels and depending on exact roof measurements I might be able to fit a slightly larger solar array. A Victron MPPT charger will handle this.

There will be a backup diesel generator fitted.

The batteries will be lithium (LiFePo4) - having finally convinced ourselves that this is the best way to go. 

A Victron Quattro 48/10000/140 inverter/charger is presently the front runner as it provides:

 

- Approx 8KW of pure sine wave continuous power at 240volts.

- Up to140amps (depending on input) to charge the 48 volt lithium battery bank.

 

But I can't help wondering if having the inverter/charger all-in-one box is not the best way of doing things, from a redundancy point of view, and as we'll only typically switch from generator to shore power once per year the auto-changeover that the Quattro provides is of limited benefit. A manual changeover switch would be perfectly OK (which we have on our lumpy water boat).

 

So my question is, given the requirement for approx 8KW of pure sine wave continuous 240volt power and a battery charger output of approx 140amps @ 48volts, would you fit a Victron Quattro or something else, and why?

 

You could go for two paralleled Multiplus II 48/5000 instead of a single Quattro 48/10000. Lower no-load consumption and gives you some redundancy, if one dies you can disconnect it and still use the other one.

 

Just be aware that all-electric cooking can use a *huge* amount of power if everything is on at once, especially if you install a "four-ring" size induction hob which can draw up to 7kw or so. I'm having a boat built similar to yours, and won't be going completely gas-free for this reason, and also because we stir-fry a lot, so plan to use 2 separate 30cm domino hobs (induction and 6kW gas wok burner) and an electric oven.

Edited by IanD
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Posted (edited)

I'm just wondering if there is anything comparable out there - in terms of spec and quality - other than Victron?

 

Also, I wonder if it would be better to go for completely separate charger(s) and inverter(s) ?

 

With regard to cooking - we've done a power audit for things like microwaves (1,000w) & kettles (3,000w) with one of those plug-in power usage monitors and although they use a lot of power it's for relatively short times, so the number of Ah used is relatively small. We have electric cooking at home but can't use the plug-in power monitor for this as it's hard wired. However, what we have done is found the power consumption of the fan oven from the spec (3,500w) and calculated full power until up to temperature and from that point on noted how often and for how long the thermostat calls for power to maintain temperature (assuming full power). Again, the total Ah (calculated @ 48v) to heat up an oven and then cook something for say 30 minutes is relatively small.

 

We typically wouldn't use more than two rings on a hob at a time. There's a youtube video of a guy using an induction hob to cook a meal in his campervan (actually there's videos of two different people doing this). He measured the electric consumed with a power monitor and it worked in a similar way to our fan oven test calculation - full power for a relatively short time to get up to temperature but very little to maintain temperature.

 

Taking everything that we know into account we know that our typical power usage per day will be significantly less than that required for cruising per day, and as we're likely to cruise for half a day maybe at a time (and then probably eat out at the end of a cruising day) we feel comfortable that based on our particular typical usage scenarios, it should all work out OK.  And when there's an abnormally high electrical usage day and it's been raining non stop for a couple of days then the generator will have to earn its keep. I hereby swear not to run it before 10am or after 6.00pm. Unless we want your mooring 😁 😂

 

 

Edited by Jackofalltrades
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How much does the battery pack cost and how long do you think it will last before replacement is required. Don’t forget they don’t remain 100% all their life they start to degrade over time so how long before replacement needed. Bet a Diesel engine will last longer! 

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Have you estimated the lower potential solar power in the winter months, a rule of thumb is 1/10th of installed potential in December and January. 2.2 Kilowatts on a narrow boat roof suggests zero space for walking along to/from a lock ladder which sometimes is compulsory because you cannot get on the boat any other way and you cannot fit between the boat and the lock wall. I would also suggest two centreline mounting point one on each side by the handrail so the rope doesn't cross any of the solar panels and cause them to lose 60%+ of their power due to shading by the centreline.

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On 04/04/2021 at 10:42, Jackofalltrades said:

So no alternatives to Victron?

 

Victron dominate the market for high-power inverter/chargers like you need, and also have all the other stuff needed to build a complete system including solar and generator. There are other suppliers targeted at the high-power off-grid market but they're not common in the UK and are not as well supported, and often don't have the other stuff you need for a boat.

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4 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

For some reason I had stored this away on my computer and forgot about it, today I accidently found it. It seams the author thinks Reading is in London 
 https://www.energy-solutions.co.uk/news/article/london-liveaboard-narrowboat

Actually I think it says that he works in London and moors at Reading.

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Posted (edited)

I'd read the Energy Solutions narrowboat page a while ago. Doesn't help to re-read though. But basically... Victron. As for the solar install on that boat, I can't help but think it's leaning towards being fugly. I know function over form has to be a priority (for me at least) but that solar install takes it to a level I couldn't live with. But each to their own...

 

I've looked at the Mastervolt website and their product range doesn't seem as comprehensive as Victron's. Also, googling for prices of various Mastervolt items in the UK didn't show many results, unlike Victron.

 

Never heard of Studer before. Similar issues as with Mastervolt, but more so.

 

On balance it seems that Victron is the de facto producer of quality 48volt inverters, chargers, and inverter/chargers. I think the idea of having two Quattro 48/5000/70s offers a good enough level of redundancy. But if we're now down to two boxes then that brings the Multiplus 48/5000/70 into play. Cheaper than the Quattro but otherwise the only difference as far as I can tell is the Quattro auto-changes from generator to shorepower whereas the Multiplus would need a manual changeover switch, but is this really an inconvenience twice a year? I think not.

 

Apart from dual AC inputs on the Quattro is there anything else I've missed that would be a showstopper in terms of going down the Multiplus route?

 

The other question with the Quattro & Multiplus is how loud they are under part & full load? Does anyone have any real world experience of them?

 

Heating - diesel. But that's for another thread.

 

Edited by Jackofalltrades
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40 minutes ago, Jackofalltrades said:

The other question with the Quattro & Multiplus is how loud they are under part & full load? Does anyone have any real world experience of them?

My multiplus us about four feet away from my head just the other side of a wall when I am in bed. The only time I can hear it is when it's charging low batteries and the fan is running which rarely happens.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Loddon said:

My multiplus us about four feet away from my head just the other side of a wall when I am in bed. The only time I can hear it is when it's charging low batteries and the fan is running which rarely happens.

 

 

 

Excellent. Thanks.

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1 hour ago, Jackofalltrades said:

I'd read the Energy Solutions narrowboat page a while ago. Doesn't help to re-read though. But basically... Victron. As for the solar install on that boat, I can't help but think it's leaning towards being fugly. I know function over form has to be a priority (for me at least) but that solar install takes it to a level I couldn't live with. But each to their own...

 

I've looked at the Mastervolt website and their product range doesn't seem as comprehensive as Victron's. Also, googling for prices of various Mastervolt items in the UK didn't show many results, unlike Victron.

 

Never heard of Studer before. Similar issues as with Mastervolt, but more so.

 

On balance it seems that Victron is the de facto producer of quality 48volt inverters, chargers, and inverter/chargers. I think the idea of having two Quattro 48/5000/70s offers a good enough level of redundancy. But if we're now down to two boxes then that brings the Multiplus 48/5000/70 into play. Cheaper than the Quattro but otherwise the only difference as far as I can tell is the Quattro auto-changes from generator to shorepower whereas the Multiplus would need a manual changeover switch, but is this really an inconvenience twice a year? I think not.

 

Apart from dual AC inputs on the Quattro is there anything else I've missed that would be a showstopper in terms of going down the Multiplus route?

 

The other question with the Quattro & Multiplus is how loud they are under part & full load? Does anyone have any real world experience of them?

 

Heating - diesel. But that's for another thread.

 

Multiplus II 48/5000/70 is smaller, lighter, cheaper, has lower standby power than the Multiplus/Quattro, and probably runs a bit cooler and quieter being a newer design (components have improved over the years) -- may also be supported better in future.

 

You do have the hassle of properly connecting and configuring two in parallel to share loads equally, but this is a known job for Victron. You can't just turn one off if there's a problem (or to save power), you have to physically disconnect it (switch) and reconfigure the remaining one to be the master (if it's already the slave), but at least you do have the option to do this if one fails.

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