First off, it's a Studer XTM-3500-24. An pure sine inverter/charger which I bought from Barden at the boat show. Following some negotiation, I got what I consider was a excellent price for both the inverter charger and it's accompanying remote control/display unit (RCC02). By the way, I'd say the remote control is pretty much essential.
Previously, I'd been planning on buying just a 3kva pure sine inverter. As it works out, it costs about the same for an inverter charger as it does for an inverter, with the advantage that the inverter charger does more.
Again, it was mainly on price that I opted for the Studer inverter charger. This worked out at close on half the price of the inverter I had been considering. Plus the XTM-3500-24 is capable of far more.
The main thing is that the inverter provides 3.5 kva, which is more than the 2.0 kva generator I normally use for most power tools and certainly more power than the 1.0 kva pure sine inverter I bought because of the central heating. More powerful than both of them put together in fact.
Having this power available to me directly from the battery bank means I can pretty much do everything, except welding, without using a generator. All kinds of things now become possible without any special thought to the power likely to be consumed including:
- Using the microwave
- Making toast
- Power tools of all descriptions
- Patch's hair dryer
For any of the above, I previously had to start up the generator specially.
What had become an issue for me with the previous setup was the automatic switch-over between inverter power and generator power had a small time delay. This was enough to cause a power failure in whatever was running at the time:
- The central heating system relies on power to cool it after it's been running. This would just shut down, and sometimes play up on a manual restart. I had to resort to waiting for the hot water/central heating system to stop completely before I could switch to/from generator power.
- The radio I use on deck would shut itself off during switch over. In doing so, annoyingly, it would reset back to it's default settings, so needed fiddling with to get back to the station I was on (I tried using rechargeable batteries, but that was not a big success).
- If the fridge motor happened to be running during switch-over it would, for some reason, consume a huge amount of power running at full speed when the power went on again.
This new inverter charger acts like an interruptible power supply (UPS), so there is no power failure on switch over. Even the radio carries on as if nothing happened. Now I can start and stop the generator pretty much at will with no problems at all.
With the new inverter/charger, my thinking on generator power is changing. It now more fulfils the role of a battery charger than it does that of a mains power provider. This is mostly because I'm no longer concerned about that switch over from battery to generator power. That automatic generator startup on a defined voltage level really comes into it's own now. I am developing more on this, so will post about it when I'm further down the line.
Sometimes, new visitors to Lady Jane don't grasp the significance of appliances and their power consumption, and just leave things running. I'd have the generator running then sometime after shutting it down would discover the inverter had tripped and that the fridge has been off. Obviously this should no longer happen.
This inverter seems to be vastly more efficient than the last inverter, as evidenced by the higher than usual voltage showing the following morning. I suspect that it's ability to hibernate when there is no power demand is a big part of that.
The remote control shows all kinds of cool stats, this helps me keep a close eye on things like the battery voltage and mains amps being consumed.
I now have two easy to program relays on the unit. One of these will be used for powering a socket, initially only when a generator is running. I could also use this to power my Christmas lights each day between 5.00pm and 11.00pm come December. The other, I have yet to decide what to do with.
The inverter/charger also saves me that valuable space the battery charger took up.