Xantrex has been busy. I just received one of their newest inverter chargers and Freedom Sequence units to check out and I'm totally impressed. This is a cool system. The inverter charger is shown here:
OK, so I know some of you that are regulars here are sitting back saying Ed's losing it.....what's so exciting about an inverter charger? Listen up, I'm not losing it. This thing is really part of a nicely designed system that has some functionality we just don't see all that often. Not that what this system does hasn't been done before, it has. But, I think the level of sophistication Xantrex has brought to this sort of system is really pretty special. To begin to get a feel for what I'm talking about here, check out the possible system design shown in the diagram below:
Not shown is the optional generator auto-start controller. Also, the Freedon Sequence is something you would probably not understand without a little explanation. Basically it is an automatic AC input source controller and programmable load shedding device.
As today's boats get increasingly more complex, in large part due to customers "appetite for amps" as I always describe it, systems like the one shown above are actually becoming commonplace. A typical RV is going to be set up much like what you see in the diagram. Swap out the land based generator shown with a marine unit and you're in. But why is source switching and load shedding important you may be asking? Several reasons come to mind. First on the source switching. Some of the equipment we are attempting to power up is voltage sensitive. As overal power grids get over-loaded, system voltages drop. Having the ability to sense this and switch to an alternate source is a good idea. As for load shedding, things like cycling loads common to air conditioning and refrigeration systems come to mind. A modern cruising boat, either power or sail will easily have multiple refrigeration and or air-conditioning systems. Block ice and open hatches are getting to be quaint memories of times gone by. But, we don't want to be tripping circuit breakers day in and day out. So, with a system like this the owner can select and prioritize circuit loads and the system will automatically shut things down if the system starts to get over-loaded for any reason.
So, advanced power systems such as the diagram shows are rapidly becoming the norm. The programmability of this new system enables the boat owner / installer to absolutely maximize the system to achieve top efficiency and component space management; all really important considerations on today's boats.
The other hidden secret with this new system is that it can be paralleled. What this means to the boater is that if their needs go beyond what is shown in the diagram above, they can expand the system easily by adding a second paralleled inverter, effectively turning their 3 kw system iinto a 6 kw system. The goodness doesn't stop there either, big inverters need big battery banks to feed them, and these battery banks need to get recharged often too. Xantrex made sure those needs were going to be met with this set-up. The battery charger side of the inverters can also be paralleled. What that means is that with the SW 3012 as an example, by adding a second inverter charger unit in parallel the system charge capability would become 300 amps or C/5 (1/5 th the battery bank capacity in amp hours) whichever is less. That's huge! That sort of output helps to answer the fact that some of the newest battery technologies have huge re-charge acceptance rates in amps. This system output potential can help feed that need.
So, if you are looking to upgrade or working on a new build and are considering your inverter charger options, I encourage you to get a look at this system, I'm impressed, I think you will be too.