Victron MultiPlus Review | Become A Cruiser
Victron MultiPlus Review

Victron MultiPlus Review

Victron MultiPlus Review

My almost completely unbiased review on the Victron MultiPlus Inverter Charger. This Victron MultiPlus review is NOT sponsored by Victron Energy in any form.

I have worked with the Victron Energy MultiPlus and Quattro range of inverter chargers for about ten years, starting before sailing. I had an alternative energy business that focussed on small remote power systems in the oil and gas industry.

All installations included a battery bank, an inverter of some sort, and a solar array. These tiny systems would power-sensitive pipeline monitoring equipment that was mission-critical and required a clean source of AC power. The larger more complicated installations consisted of one or more solar arrays, a generator, a battery bank, and an inverter charger which needed to be able to start and stop the generator automatically as needed.

These systems were truly remote systems installed hundreds of miles away from the nearest support base. In the case of the generator-powered installations, other than having a contractor pass by once a month to top up the generator diesel tanks, the systems were expected to run for years in the harshest conditions without servicing.

Installed Best Inverter We Could Get

It’s true that cost wasn’t too much of an issue for our customers, electrically clean power and reliability was key. The cost of any downtime far exceeded the cost of the inverter charger. As a result, we installed the best inverter charger we could get our hands-on.

If one takes a look at the main producers of quality true sine wave inverters Mastervolt, Magnum, Victron Energy and Xantrex you’ll notice their prices are all within a few dollars of each other. We found the Victron MultiPlus offers the best combination of performance, reliability, features, and ease of integration with other electrical components.

Victron Energy Multiplus Inverter Charger
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12v 3000 Watt Victron Energy Multiplus Inverter with 120A Charger

Inverter Charger Specifications

The table below shows specifications for the most popular inverter chargers in the marine and RV markets. I’ve taken the 3000w inverter charger for comparison purposes as it is the most popular sized inverter charger fitted to cruising boats.

Why a 3000w Inverter Charger?

3000w is a nice all-around size giving the user capability to run high-powered items such as high capacity AC-powered watermakers, induction cooktops, washer dryers, etc. whilst taking care of smaller house needs such as laptop and phone charging. 2000 even 2500w units just don’t have the headroom to power this equipment, a 3000w inverter is needed.

For the price difference from 2000w to 3000w systems, it makes sense to upgrade to the larger size if your boat has the space to fit the larger inverter/ charger.

Victron EnergyMastervoltXantrexMagnum

Multiplus 3000-120-50
(120/ 230v Units)

CombiMaster
12/3000-160 (120V)
12/3000-100
(230v)

SW3012 (120v)

MSH3012M
(120v)
MS2712E
(230v)
Output Voltage
(available models)
120/ 230v230v120v
(230v only 2000w
unit or 24v/ 3400w)
120v/ 230v
3000w/ 2700w
Output Frequency50/ 60Hz
(selectable)
50/ 60Hz
(selectable)
60hz
(fixed)
50/60Hz
(fixed)
Rated Power3000w2600w3000w3000w/ 2700w
Peak Power6000w6000w6000w3900w/ 3100w
Battery Charger120A160A – 120v Unit
100A – 230v Unit
150A125A/ 125A
Zero Load Power Usage20w30w+/- 38w30w/ 34w
Zero Load Power – Search Mode8w10wnot available8w/ 9w
Efficiency93%93%90%90%
Transfer Switch 50 Amps (AC)30A – 120v Unit
25A – 230v Unit
2x 30A60A/ 30A
Parallel Capability
(maximum number of units in parallel)
6Not Available2Not Available
Split Phase CapabilityYesNoYesNo
3 – Phase CapabilityYesNoNoNo
Weight19kg/ 40lbs9.3kg/ 20.5lbs33.5kg/ 77lbs28kg/ 55lbs
Dimensions362 x 258 x 218mm
14.3 x 10.2 x 8.6″
448 x 284 x 155mm
17.6 x 11.2 x 6.1″
300 x 435 x 387mm
11.8 x 17.1 x 15.25″
449 x 321 x
203mm
13.75 x 12.65
x 8″
Warranty5 Years2 Years2 Years3 Years
Websitevictronenergy.commastervolt.comxantrex.commagnum-dimensions.com

A Closer Look at Inverter Charger Features and Capabilities

Transfer Switch/ Auxilary Power Input

A transfer switch on an inverter system is an important feature as it allows for shore power (or generator output) to be connected to the system, without the need for complicated switching between shore power/generator and inverter power for the AC system.

Some inverter brands/models will allow for multiple AC Power Sources to be connected through the inverter. High draw systems such as hot-water heaters and air-conditioning will only be energized when connected to shore power or a generator.

Victron MultiPlus Offers Seamless Power Transfer Capabilities

In the case of the Victron MultiPlus. If the shore power were to drop off unexpectedly, the Multiplus would seamlessly transfer power to the inverter. This transfer takes place in less than 20ms, and even the most sensitive electronics will not sense the power interruption. The high draw items would then immediately be shed to save the battery. The system doesn’t have to be wired this way, but it does make sense to protect the battery from these non-essential loads.

Victron Energy Color Control Gx - Control a Victron Multiplus Inverter Charger Remotly
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Victron Energy Color Control Gx system control and monitoring panel allows you to control many of your boats electrical functions and settings right from on convenient central panel

Power Assist Feature

An inverter capable of providing power assist allows for a smaller generator to be fitted. This is useful in marinas where there is only a 16 amp service.

How the ‘Power Assist’ feature works is once a high draw item such as an air conditioner is started, the inverter will immediately supply any power surge from the batteries that the generator or shore power is unable to provide, thereby preventing the generator or shore power from tripping. In the case of the Victron MultiPlus, this can be up to 10x the inverters rated power.

How To Have Both 120v and 240v on a Boat

As you move further away from your home port, you will find yourself in the predicament of wanting or needing to purchase various electrical appliances to use on the boat. Having the ability to produce 120v and 240v on the boat gives you a huge degree of flexibility when it comes to buying electrical appliances internationally. You aren’t forced to ship in new appliances at great expense whenever you are in an area of the world with the wrong voltage.

Split phase power in simple terms is where two line (live) source wires are combined to produce an end voltage twice that of the individual source voltage. In the case of inverters on board a boat. Taking two 120v inverters which have a paralleling function and combining the output lines, L1 and L2 (live wires from each inverter) giving the ability to produce 240v. It is still possible to tap 120v off of the system. This gives the ability to have a boat with both 120v and 240v systems.

Out of the Inverters we examined in the table above, only the Victron MultiPlus 3000 and the Xantrex SW3012 have paralleling ability. However, the Xantrex inverter charger does not have the ability to produce 50Hz Power.

Redundancy

The beauty of having two of the same 120v inverters in the case of the Victron MultiPlus not only gives the ability to produce 2x the electrical power but should one inverter fail, your system would be left with one fully functioning inverter.

The key, in this case, is to ensure that all critical systems have the ability to run on 120v. Items such as AC watermakers, induction cooktops, most small electronics chargers, even certain models of air conditioners are multi-voltage capable and will run at both 120v and 240v.

Where multi-voltage equipment is not available, it is important to ensure that this equipment is then purchased in 120v as when an inverter fails in a split-phase setup, the ability to produce 240v power will be lost.

Frequency

Only Victron Energy and Mastervolt allow the user to set the desired frequency of 50 or 60hz. At first gloss, this doesn’t seem like a big issue, as 120v is normally produced at 60hz and 230v at 50hz. 120v equipment is hence designed to run on 60Hz and 230v at 50Hz.

Today more and more equipment is designed to run off of both 50Hz and 60Hz. Normally electronic items such as computer chargers have no issue accepting both frequencies. Items such as electrical motors and fridge compressors don’t run correctly on the incorrect frequency. Although, we are starting to see more and more manufacturers offering dual-frequency systems. When outfitting a boat, given the choice, I would choose a system that is capable of dual frequencies.

Electrical motors designed to run at 50Hz will run 20% faster when run on 60Hz systems. A fridge compressor designed to run at 3,000 RPM will run at 3,600 RPM. The higher RPM may exceed the design capacity of the compressor.

In reverse, a typical 4-pole 60Hz motor run will rotate at 1,800 RPM when the same motor is run on 50Hz power it will spin at approximately 1,500 RPM. For example, CruiseRO builds their watermakers with a standard 1HP motor that is capable of being run on 50Hz and 60Hz. When run at 50Hz, the system will output approximately 10% less water per hour than if it was run at 60Hz, due to the lower rotational speed of the motor.

Do not fall into the trap of reading the inverter/charger specifications sheet and seeing that an inverter can produce both 50Hz and 60Hz. And that you are immune from having to be concerned about various input power systems as you travel around the world. Although the Inverter can produce either 50Hz or 60Hz, it will not be able to do so when connected to shore power. The input frequency of the shore power will dictate the output frequency of the inverter.

In other words, if you are connected to a 120v 60Hz dockside power source and have your inverter charger set to output 50Hz, the inverter will only be able to output 60Hz power. Once the shore power source is removed, the inverter will then be able to produce 50Hz power.

Networking Victron Energy Products

One of the best features of the Victron Energy MultiPlus inverter charger is the ability to network the MultiPlus with other Victron products, plus Victron Energy compatible products such as the Wakespeed external Alternator regulator or the REC lithium battery BMS, which all interface seamlessly with each other to work as an intelligent electrical system, rather than a bunch of independent products that are often fighting against each other in an ad-hoc system.

Add monitoring support via a Color Control Gx, Cerbo, or Venus Gx system, and the integrated Victron System becomes something even more powerful, with the ability to control the entire network via a control head, Bluetooth app on your phone, or via a chart plotter that supports the Victron App.

Integrating Victron system monitoring with Raymarine Chart Plotters

Victron MultiPlus Review Conclusion

It’s hard to go wrong with a Victron MultiPlus inverter/ charger. This is an easy-to-use inverter charger with worldwide dealer support which offers superior technical specs with proven reliability. In my experience, one can expect a service life of approximately 15 years which is excellent considering the affordable price point of Multiplus.

I would highly recommend that the Victron MultiPlus or its larger sibling the Victron Quattro, be included in a clean build integrated Victron System for any person considering a major rebuild of their boat’s electrical system, such as is often required when converting an existing boat system to support a well thought out integrated Lithium battery system.

Victron MultiPlus Review
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Nic

Hi, I’m Nic! Our Family of four have been out cruising since 2016. We have sailed about 15,000nm, almost halfway around the world. We sold everything, took the leap of faith, and bought a 10-year-old Lagoon 380 ex-charter catamaran. We’ve fixed every system on the boat, often more than once. Cruising has been such a wonderful, positive experience for our family that I want to share my tips to help you Become a Cruiser.


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4 thoughts on “Victron MultiPlus Review”

  1. Great writeup! Keep in mind that the Multiplus 3000 is 3000va which equals 2400 watts. Victron now offers the Multiplus II for easier 50 amp installs.

  2. Thanks Bozeman

    Curious on your thought about Carbon lead batteries vs Lithium. I’m about to take the electrical upgrade dive and Carbon is looking attractive.

    Nice article btw. Thanks

    1. I believe that lead-carbon foam batteries are an expensive interim technology. It is possible to build a good lithium pack out of prismatic LiFePo4 cells (NOT cheap 18650 cells found in so many “drop-in” lithium batteries) for the same money as carbon-lead. Carbon lead is also more sensitive than AGM to charge voltages specifically high float voltages plus at the end of the day, they are incredibly heavy. My choice would be lithium, we have had lithium on our boat for 5 years and are very happy with the performance vs cost. I did evaluate lead-carbon back at the time and just could not justify the cost for what is essentially still and old technology battery.

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