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Author Topic: Sterling Vs Victron  (Read 15614 times)
Amy
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« on: May 07, 2010, 05:54:31 PM »

For those of you who are in the know, can anyone give me an idiots guide to whats what.

Ive read all the guff but to be honest, its techy sales talk and it went through and out again without stopping in the middle

Outline. - engine driven 12v alternator, charging @ 1200 ah worth of batteries.
Shore power also available to charge batteries and / or supply a pair of ring mains which in turn can also be supplied from the batteries via 2 inverters.
1 inverter of @500w to run smaller loads
1 inverter of @2500w to run occasional larger loads

To be assisted if possible and when available by shorepower. Many marinas only provide a low ampage 240v, sometimes as low as 6a and up to 16a., so the potential for batteries to help out for larger loads on a short term basis would be good.

Galvanic boat protection in the form of an isolation charger is essential too.

I would also like the ability to add in a wind turbine in future.

I get the feeling that the Victron systems are all singing and dancing, all units interface together to give more options, but of course, come at a high cost as they are rolls royce.

On the other hand, Sterling might have similar abilities at reduced costs.

I cant see the woods for the trees and would welcome some sound advice to help design a suitable system around my needs and budget.
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Billy
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2010, 06:11:39 PM »

Hi Ames,

Victron do the "power assist" - meaning if the shore power is 6amp the inverter with float the rest up to say 16amp thus saving the batteries when you put a Big load on.  There is no doubt that Victron are good but, as you say, for a  price.  I think you would be looking for at least 10 years without problems and probably more with a bit of luck.

I have also fitted quite a lot of Stirling stuff from regulators to their battery to battery chargers.  I and the customers have found them to be brilliant and have experienced little of zero problems.

Difficult aint it  facepalm

Billy.

 Grin Grin Grin
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Amy
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2010, 06:22:52 PM »

Sure is a difficult choice for me Billy. Firstly I dont understand it and secondly, Im on a budget.

So, if Sterling is good, do I realy need to spend double on Victron?
As for being good for 10 years, what goes wrong to cause problems with non moving parts inside inverters and chargers?
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Justme
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2010, 11:09:20 PM »

Victrons are solid & reliable.

The customer service of the other company is variable to say the least & Mr Sterling can be down right rude on the phone. The staff try to keep him off the phone lines.

If I was going to go down the sterling route I would cut out them & buy direct from the makers via ebay.
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billi
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2010, 04:38:03 AM »

....the Victron helpline is quite good and helped me fine , once upon a time i was a greenhorn  Grin
Nice to use skype as well  whistlie and not seeing the $$$$  roll in the sea when ringing (especially when one had to ask three times to understand the technical answer   norfolk )

The AC input Voltage of the victron seems wider ( can be an advantage , if a AC diesel Generator is used ) the Amps for charging are higher too and i cannot find info , if the sterling unit  power assists ( ad power to the AC source )

But in General,  i say there is no  versus
A system /setup  should be seen /calculated over a longer span
I dumped some money in investing into the wrong Diesel generators ( we lived 1.5 years only with diesel and inverter /battery )
Family live gets quite stressful , when only half a days power available and the generator is broken   help
And i think i dumped ca 1 kWp worth of PV in buying cheap generators just to keep us going   vomit2

How much is a unit , if you use electricity from the harbour ?
Does it make sense to have a small alternator attached to the huge boat engine to supply my electricity when not moving ? (I think it makes sense , to have it just in case )
Would a small AC or DC Generator  make more  sense ? (for electricity and heating)
How much are the running costs over a period of say 10 years , and what else i could have bought ? 

Just thinking .... 

Each day now a Diesel generator has not to work on our site is pure enjoyment
I know Amy space is limited , but on the long run PV and wind  whistlie 

I know that wasn't the question

Anyhow CU

Billi





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Amy
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2010, 07:31:01 AM »

I agree and know your talking sense, but I realy cant afford the whole victron setup. I prefer to rob their ideas and try to then apply that to the sterling gear and get the system i want at the right price

Your right Billi about the long term. Ive decided to get a Rutland 913, which seems to be the most popular windy for this type of application and the 500 ish price tag is good too. My only concerns are about mounting it on a steel hull and getting vibration etc. Also 250w sounds good when multiplied by many hours, but what when its only 50w output?

The Sterling direct sales prices dont seem to be any cheaper than if bought through a stockist
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stephendv
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2010, 08:04:56 AM »

The Sterling combi's do _not_ offer power assist: "If you require power assist, parallel connection, three phase output functions or any other enhanced combi features then this range is not for you"

Not sure which prices you're checking, but if I compare the sterling online store and es-store.co.uk, the Sterling model 24V 3500W inverter is more expensive than the same Victron multi!  The 12V Victron units seem to be about 8% more expensive.  For the extra features they're offering, I'd say Victron is the clear choice.

[EDIT] Are you checking the Pure sine wave combi's from Sterling and not the MSWs?
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 08:09:21 AM by stephendv » Logged

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Amy
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2010, 08:57:20 AM »

This is getting like pure maths for me, i glaze over and cant think past the next cup of tea.

I wish it was all water driven, I understand water. norfolk
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Justme
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2010, 09:50:55 AM »


The Sterling direct sales prices dont seem to be any cheaper than if bought through a stockist

No not direct from sterling, cut them out. They dont make it, they import it & stick a label in it.
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Navitron solar thermal system
30 x 58mm panel 259L TS
1200watts solar 120vdc
FX80 Solar controller
Victron 12v 3000w 120a
6kva genny
6 x 2v cells 1550amp/h 5C
24 x 2v cells 700amp/h 5C
Total bank 4350 amp/h 5C
Billy
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2010, 09:57:15 AM »

I think the Rutland is a good choice.  It is possible to use isolation mounts on the pole to reduce the noise.  Because of the relatively small size the noise transmission is tolerable unless the bearings need replacing.  Any bigger and you will not like the noise.  If the battery bank is big enough you don't really need the regulator either as long as you don't leave it up in a gale with the batteries full for a fortnight.  From my experience - some hope!

Modified sine wave - some equipment does not like running on this, someone will tell you what.  Cheaper and ok for some stuff.

Pure sine wave - smooth like mains.  No problem.

Wiki them an see the curve difference, like the difference between a round bike wheel and a 50p shaped one.

Galvanic isolator is good for corrosion.

Isolation transformer is better because it is like running all your electrics from a shaver socket, no direct hook up to shore on any wire.



Faults with Victon/Sterling personally or via boatyard.  
Sterling non.
Victron - non.

Elsewhere -
Sterling non heard about.
Victron - DBA members have had to send the units back for software update and a board failure.

As you know - it is quite easy to blow 25% and more of you budget on fancy 'tronics.  Would it be better/cheaper to find a berth with mains hookup and use that whilst the build goes ahead and sort the fancy bit out when/if you move or can afford them.?.  

My budget was limited so I made a priority list. I.E.  Somewhere comfortable to sleep - Cooking/eating - Warmth - Washing - WMachine (loathe the laundrette) blah blah.  First on the list is the damp problem - the hull must be A1 and be that way for a long time 'cos this is your home.  Rather than "blacking" the hull I went for glass flake epoxy with a 15 year expected life span.  It is used on sluice gates and underwater structures.  I don't want the expense of slipping and painting every couple of years.  You can buy lots of goodies with that saving.   Grin

I think you are already beginning to get a grip on what and how compared say to a month or two ago so keep it up.  The more you do now the less you will have to change later when it's not right. facepalm

Billy

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Justme
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2010, 11:07:55 AM »


Faults with Victon/Sterling personally or via boatyard.  
Sterling non.
Victron - non.

Elsewhere -
Sterling non heard about.
Victron - DBA members have had to send the units back for software update and a board failure.


Check out the canal boat forum & you will see that Sterling have quite a few fails but do seem to replace under warranty even when its slightly out or offer a large chunk of a replacement.
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Navitron solar thermal system
30 x 58mm panel 259L TS
1200watts solar 120vdc
FX80 Solar controller
Victron 12v 3000w 120a
6kva genny
6 x 2v cells 1550amp/h 5C
24 x 2v cells 700amp/h 5C
Total bank 4350 amp/h 5C
Iain
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2010, 12:03:40 PM »

Hi
I have heard of a couple of problems with sterling regulators. Well not the regs themselves but the alternators they control. Some of them work by increasing the output of the alternator so that the output can then be controlled to step charge the batteries. A local chap has had a couple of alternators fail running with these regs. Apparently the alternators run quite warm. I have used the sterling inverters  and a few other bits with no problems. Their technical help seems good.
Iain
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peter999
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2010, 01:34:43 PM »


 Amy the inverter is a key part of your system so I would buy the BEST inverter YOUR budget can AFFORD it will pay dividends later!!

regards Peter

The inverter for the lights small loads could be a modified sine wave as opposed to pure sinewave this quaters the price!
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Justme
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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2010, 02:39:53 PM »

Dont mains CFL, Tubes & LED's not like square wave (lets call it what it is).

We used to use one (a good Victron one with "smart" square wave. Its now our back up one just in case the main unit needs to go for repair). Most stuff worked but you could tell it dint like it. The TV had a buzz to it, motors ran hotter.
So all in all any saving would be minimal over the life of the inverter if you need to keep replacing stuff thats failed early.

Check out Outback inverters too. They are also at the top of the price tree.
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Navitron solar thermal system
30 x 58mm panel 259L TS
1200watts solar 120vdc
FX80 Solar controller
Victron 12v 3000w 120a
6kva genny
6 x 2v cells 1550amp/h 5C
24 x 2v cells 700amp/h 5C
Total bank 4350 amp/h 5C
Billy
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2010, 03:07:22 PM »

CFTs, Leds, water/transfer/black/bilge pumps and such can all be run straight off the batteries.  In fact for a price so can tvs, dvds etc.  The main power consumers with a large load are Dysons, Dishwashers, Washing machines (internal heating ones), 3kW immersion/fan heaters and big mains chargers.  Some you can do without, some are convenient and some can be plugged in when you have access to 16amp shore power.  Most of the time the Victron 3000 is on standby or switched off, makes me wonder sometimes.

The solar pump/controller runs of a small dedicated inverter along with the router and various chargers, just to make use of it without turning on the beast.  I think it saves watts even with the extra losses.

Billy

 Grin Grin Grin
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