Understanding your Victron 24/3000/70
Several years ago the breaker button on the face of the Victron Inverter/Charger started to trip, eliminating AC power directly through the unit and putting demand on the inverter. We would only notice this when we happened to look at the VE.NET battery monitor and notice we were running on the inverter and depleting the batteries.
I would go into the engine room and push the little red button and all was well. This starting happening with more frequency and I sent off an email to Victron. They suggested the breaker was weak and they would mail me one no charge.
Last week we bought a 220v plug in electric space heater and we would trip the breaker several times a day it seemed. Now I had to do something so I decided to install the new breaker.
It turned out to be more of a job than I anticipated so I invited an engineer friend over to have a look and make suggestions. Like any good engineer, he asked to see the schematics. While going over the wiring diagram with him I started to realize a few things. One was most of the high amp electrical equipment did not go through the inverter/charger. When we are on shore power or the gen-set, the two aircons, water heater, and watermaker run directly from those sources. The 220 outlets, 110 outlets, stove, microwave, washer/dryer, and trash compactor come through the inverter.
I had thought the breaker that was tripping was only to protect the charger. I should have known better. What we both began to realize was the breaker was probably tripping legitimately. We put an amp meter on the AC positive wire coming out of the inverter and started cutting on plug in appliances like the electric space heater, coffee maker, and then added the microwave and sure enough we were over the 16 amp breaker capacity and it tripped.
We were coming to the conclusion we would simply have to limit our electrical usage or rewire some of the circuits like the 220 outlets directly like the aircons and bypass the inverter. Then I remembered the limiting rotary knob on the Phoenix Multi Control. I explained to my friend Rick, what I had read about it. It is rated from 1 to 16 amps and I thought it was designed to convert to battery/inverter power when shore power was limited.
It was becoming evident that this button was designed for exactly the problem we were having as it could only control what went through the inverter/charger. I turned the knob from full on to about 14 amps. We started turning on appliances like we had done before and sure enough, the Inverter light on the Phoenix Multi Control started to blink while the Mains light remained on.
This meant we were on shore power and inverter power at the same time. The inverter was pulling some power from the batteries but the bulk was still coming from shore power. The Victron was doing exactly what it was designed to do. Since the microwave, coffee maker, trash compactor were only short time users, the batteries would not be pulled down and any current removed would be quickly put back in by the charger once the overdraw stopped, the Victron people have come up with a brilliant solution.
So the solution to tripping the breaker is to simply turn that knob to about 14 and life goes on as usual.
I'm trying to understand this.
1) The "Knob" controls the point where the Victron starts to "load share" using the batteries.
2 )The 16 amp setting exceeded the 15 amp internal dock power breaker which tripped as load sharing did not occur.
3) At the 14 amps setting load sharing did occur so the 15 amp dock power breaker did not trip.
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Your #1 statement is true but only for the circuits that are wired through the inverter. For the transfer switch to protect the shore power breaker, everything on the boat would have to go through the inverter which is not feasible.
When the limiting knob is turned full on, there seems to be no protection and the 16 amp breaker built into the inverter/charger will trip if it is overloaded.
We have never had a shore power breaker trip due to overloading. The inverter load sharing only occurs for the circuits going through the inverter.
Example: Aircon and water heater drawing current is 22 amps @ 220v. Theses circuits are direct from shore power. Add coffee maker, microwave in convection mode, and space heater which ARE wired through the inverter and the 16 amp breaker in the inverter trips. The result is the aircon and water heater continue to work and in most cases the other appliances continue to work as well but are now pulling solely from the batteries and the shore power AC is no longer going through the inverter.
When the limiter knob is turned to 14 amps and that limit is reached, the smart inverter continues to let that 14 amps through but adds inverter power from the batteries to make up the difference.
The system is installed correctly I believe but I just did not fully understand how to use it. Everyone should turn their knobs back to around 14 amps to protect the circuit breaker on the inverter.
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