Xantrex Freedom SW3000 InverterAccessories, Headlines — By Kevin McKenzie on March 10, 2011 at 10:14 am
The Freedom SW3000 from Xantrex is the latest in their premium line of pure sine-wave inverter/chargers. The SW3000 supplies a maximum of 3000 watts with 90% efficiency and is surge rated up to 6000 watts. It includes a temperature compensated 150 amp charger so there is no need to keep your old converter/charger. Options that work with the SW3000 include the System Control Panel (SCP) and the Automatic Generator Start module (AGS).
The SCP is necessary to configure and monitor the inverter so it really shouldn’t be considered an option. It is also needed to program the AGS. It provides real time data on your batteries charging status like what stage it’s in, number of amps being delivered to the batteries, and the temperature of the batteries. While inverting it will show how many amps are being delivered to the loads and the current voltage of the batteries.
The AGS can be configured to automatically start and stop your generator when your batteries reach a set level. It can be programmed to not start at certain hours such as during the night. It can also be connected to your thermostat to monitor indoor temperature in case the air conditioner needs to be turned on. Lastly, it can be configured to run the generator at a pre-programmed exercise period while in storage for instance.
Unless you are pretty handy electronically I would advise you to seek professional help to install this inverter. With that said, I knew very little about circuit breakers, sub panels, electrical wiring and such but I like to learn new skills and I hate to spend money even more, so I did it anyway. When you do it yourself you are also much
better prepared to diagnose a problem should one arise. I also had an electrician buddy that I called on for advice and I had to seek support from Xantrex more than once.
If you still insist on installing yourself I suggest you read as much as you can find on what others have done. I would also suggest diagramming your entire system before and then how it will look after. You can use paper and pencil or try an online tool like the one I used by Gliffy.com
Following are some highlights of my install. Consult the installation manual provided and refer to the diagrams as well.
- Decide where you are going to place the inverter. It should be as close as possible to your battery bank but no further then 10 feet away. Do not install in the same compartment as your batteries or near a fuel source. Also plan where you will route the 4/0 DC cables.
- Decide whether you will order custom length DC cables or crimp the lugs yourself. Keep in mind that crimping yourself will require a heavy duty crimper and cutters capable to cut 4/0 welding wire.
- Make one long run with the black 4/0 cable from the inverter to the negative post of your battery bank.
- Mount the class T fuse holder near the battery against the firewall, remove the fuse until later.
- Route the long red 4/0 cable from the inverter to the class T fuse holder.
- Route a short run red 4/0 cable from the fuse holder to the positive post of your battery.
- Install the class T fuse After all the AC cabling is complete.
- Find a suitable location to mount the sub panel that will house the circuit breakers that will power the inverted loads.
- Decide which circuits you will power with the inverter. I decided to power the 20amp microwave circuit, the 15amp GFI plugs circuit, and the 15amp non-GFI plugs circuit.
- After disconnecting your trailer from shore power, remove these circuit breakers from your main distribution panel and install them in the new sub panel.
- Reroute the romex wire connected to those circuits to the new sub panel using 14 ga romex and wire nuts.
- Using 12 ga romex, connect the AC inverter outputs to the new sub panel. L1 will power the 20 amp microwave and L2 will power the dual 15 amp circuit breaker.
- Install 2 new 30 amp breakers in the main distribution panel. You can remove the circuit breaker that fed your old converter/charger if you need to make room. Make sure your distribution panel is load balanced with an equal amount of amp breakers on either side.
- Run your 8 ga 4 wire cable from the new 30 amp breakers to the inverter AC inputs. Attach the red wire to the first breaker and designate this for the microwave and L1. Attach the black wire to the second for L2 and the other 15 amp circuits. Attach white to the common bus bar and the bare copper wire to the ground bus bar.
You can now disconnect and remove your old converter. But depending on how your system is wired you may need to reroute the positive cable to your 12 volt distribution panel. My system was wired with a 4 ga hot wire from the batteries to the converter and another from the converter to the distribution panel. You can jumper these two together with a heavy duty lug that can handle 4 ga wire or, if it will reach, take the hot wire from the battery and reroute it direct to the distribution panel.
First thing I tested was the charger. Once you connect to shore power you will hear a slight hum coming from the unit and the SCP will show that the charger is in Bulk mode and delivering 150 amps to the batteries. The bulk stage will restore about 75% of your batteries charge. At the batteries you can really
hear those gasses bubbling from the 150 amps being pushed into them.
After the batteries are about 75% charged the charger enters the 2nd stage; the absorption mode. Absorption mode delivers about 12 amps and gradually tapers off until the batteries are fully charged.
In the 3rd phase, the float mode, the charger switches into a routine whereby the voltage is reduced so that the batteries are maintained without losing electrolyte through gassing.
The SW3000 can also be programmed through the SCP to give a super high equalization charge of 15.5 volts. Equalization returns each cell to an optimum condition by reducing sulfation and stratification in the battery
While in invert mode, and while AC power is disconnected, clean power is delivered to the loads as needed. In my case all of the 110 plugs are wired to the inverter, this includes the microwave. My first test was to boil a cup of water and it performed like a champ.
The SW3000 also has a built in transfer switch. When AC supply is removed, the inverter automatically turns on and no interruption is noticed. Likewise, when AC power is restored the inverter seamlessly shuts off.
Overall I am very impressed with the quality of the SW3000 and how well it works in conjunction with the SCP and AGS. I feel it is charging the batteries much quicker and more safely than the stock 100 amp charger. I am also impressed with the quality of power it delivers to the loads. Operation of my 40″ Samsung LCD was perfect and the microwave, a 1000 watt appliance, showed no signs of wavering while boiling the water. The operation of the AGS was also impressive and takes the worry out of draining my batteries too low.
The total cost of this upgrade approached $2,000 but I justify it by the added peace of mind of getting the quality pure sine wave power needed to run my sensitive electronics instead of from a cheaper modified sine wave inverter. I estimate the fuel savings of running the generator at least 50% less will amount to about $50 for a typical weekend trip and I expect this amount to increase when I add a solar charging system. I also expect about 1/2 of the total investment will be returned upon a possible future resale of the trailer. For those with smaller power requirements Xantrex also offers the SW2000 for about $400 less
If you are looking for a high end pure sine-wave inverter and high capacity charger, I highly recommend you give the Xantrex Freedom SW3000 a serious look. http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/inverter-chargers/freedom-sw-3000.aspx