Custom Marine Products now sells and supports inverters and inverter.chargers made by Victron and EP Solar. The following explains the difference between inverters and inverter/chargers. For more information on this topic check out our web page on inverters under our Products section.
Inverters - The purpose of an inverter is to supply power to AC appliances (such as a coffee maker or microwave) by inverting DC battery power to AC power. An inverter draws power from the battery bank and supplies it to AC appliances. Inverters are available in various sizes measured in watts of output. The most common inverter capacities range from 1,500 watts to 3,000 watts. Most inverters are about 80-90% efficient which means 80-90% of the power drawn from the battery bank is converted to AC power.
Inverter/Chargers - The purpose of an inverter/charger is to both supply power to AC appliances from the battery bank and to charge the battery bank from grid power or a generator. In summary, invert DC to AC current for powering appliances and invert AC to DC current for charging the battery bank. Most inverter/chargers are equipped with an automatic transfer switch (ATS). When grid or generator power is applied to the inverter/charger, the ATS bypasses the inverter and passes the AC current through to the AC appliances and also connects to the built in battery charger to charge the battery bank. When grid or generator power is turned off or removed from the inverter/charger, the ATS automatically disconnects the battery charger and connects the inverter so the AC appliances are powered by the battery bank.
Thomas Trimmer has been cruising with his Ericson 38 sailboat on the Great Lakes for over 20 years. He has pioneered the use of solar energy for wilderness cruising. He is continually designing and building equipment to simplify and enhance the cruising experience.