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Old 04-21-2013, 02:11 AM   #1
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Freedom 458 Inverter Repair or Replace

The inverter in our 2001 Alpine 36 quit inverting and supplying power to 110v plugs in the kitchen, bathroom and storage compartments on our last outing. My RV Tech confirmed one of the boards has failed and our options are send it in for repair or upgrade to new unit.

I'm leaning towards upgrading to a new unit. What inverter would you recommend as new replacement?

Thanks,
Garrett
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:22 AM   #2
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I replaced mine with a Victron Phoenix Multiplus. Have them on my boat and they work!
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:03 AM   #3
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The 458 is still available so you could just replace with same. Don't forget you need the charging function as well as the inverter. Seems as if you manage OK with modified sine wave so you don't need to pay more for a pure sine wave inverter. Can't suggest any other specific model as my Freedom unit is still working after 15 years.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:34 AM   #4
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On our Alpine our inverter failed and I had it repaired. Certainly a lot cheaper. I think we paid about $300.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:09 AM   #5
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I just replaced my Freedom 458 with another Freedom 458. The reason I stayed with the same kind of unit was that if I replaced the 458 with something else, the remote panel would also have to be replaced as it is my understanding that it will not work with other brands and types of inverter/chargers. So, to make the replacement simple (for this DIY RV tech) I just stayed with the tried and true and trusted 458. I considered having the old one repaired, but even if it were repaired, it would still be "old" and not wanting to depend on "old" stuff, I chose to replace with a new one. I bought the new one on eBay for under $1,000 including shipping. It was a fairly easy job to do the swap but those units are HEAVY and in my Alpine, not in a very favorable place to work!
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:48 PM   #6
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I'm going to guess a Magnum 2812 will run about $1,600 delivered. That's the PSW alternative that most folks seem to be gravitating toward these days. Pure sine wave, so no issues not working w/stuff (or ruining it); adequate capacity for large battery banks; capacity to interface w/remote panel. The remote for the 458 won't work, so you'd have to buy the Magnum remote. Everybody I know has reported the Magnum remote can be wired using the RJ45 cable that Xantrex was using.

IIWMI'd take a step back & assess the whole setup. The 458's were generally inaccessible at worst, very difficult to get to at best. For my money the best location for the inverter is on ceiling of basement below the fridge or in first compartment ahead of that. Saw an installation on an 08 Alpine recently where Magnum hung below the fridge on carriage bolts (this rig has a drawer below the fridge so access was super simple; if your furnace is there you may need to make a bridge of angle iron to suspend the inverter). Owner back-pulled the inverter 4/0 wire then re-threaded it & it reached perfectly; YMMV, you may need to splice in which case visit a commercial electrical supply joint for proper splice connectors for the wire size and get instructions on their use.
This puts the inverter where you can get to it w/out a crazy struggle or hiring a midget. Dust & dirt should not be critical as these compartments should be sealed; if you re-pull wire you will need to reseal bulkhead(s) where you crunched up the sealing expando foam. On older rigs if you re-mount to the tank enclosure you will want to make the closure method of the door hatch easy to access; some have ordered a matching basement door latch, made the requisite cutout & installed the standard type locking latch for a seamless look.
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdownward View Post
I just replaced my Freedom 458 with another Freedom 458. The reason I stayed with the same kind of unit was that if I replaced the 458 with something else, the remote panel would also have to be replaced as it is my understanding that it will not work with other brands and types of inverter/chargers. So, to make the replacement simple (for this DIY RV tech) I just stayed with the tried and true and trusted 458. I considered having the old one repaired, but even if it were repaired, it would still be "old" and not wanting to depend on "old" stuff, I chose to replace with a new one. I bought the new one on eBay for under $1,000 including shipping. It was a fairly easy job to do the swap but those units are HEAVY and in my Alpine, not in a very favorable place to work!
Is your new Freedom 458 quieter than the one you replaced? Mine is working fine but it would be nice not to hear the constant humming.
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:52 PM   #8
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Is your new Freedom 458 quieter than the one you replaced? Mine is working fine but it would be nice not to hear the constant humming.
Good question. I would be interested in hearing the answer as well, for the same reason.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:02 PM   #9
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We just had to replace Xantrex and I choose the Magnum, it's a dream. The wiring panel everyone talks about is just a unplug and the plug in, it' uses the same wire. The battery Temp sensor will have to be re-installed though. I cannot speak toward the location of the present unit, so you have that decision as well. Had I know how easy it was to replace the inverter, I would have tried to get the Insurance Company to let me do it and get paid for the job. Other than being heavy, and somewhat cumbersome, it was a no brainer to do the job. My location works for both units.

Oh, a couple of points, if you change out the microwave or the front entertainment stuff for new, those devices will require a pure sine wave inverter to operate correctly. FWIW-New electronics, TV's, Stereo's, sound bars, Direct TV/Dish boxes, etc., all have transformers which kick down the 120V-AC voltage to 24-48VDC, the modified sine wave of the Freedom will play havoc with those transformers and in a relatively short time, will cook them. If you are spending the money, at least replace the inverter with new, as then it's "NEW", no older components working alongside new stuff which then is stressed because new parts are running better alongside the old ones. It' like a rebuilt waterpump versus a new one, opt for the new inverter. Note the caution about the modified sine wave above.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:16 AM   #10
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The new 458 does hum some when you first plug into shore power as it begins charging the batteries, but the hum is less than half as loud as it was on the old one and doesn't last long. It is quiet as a mouse in invert mode. Since my old one never did work in invert mode while I have owned the coach, I don't know if it is quieter or not. So far, I'm happy with my new unit but if the post from Old Rv'er is correct regarding the modified sine wave unit not being compatible with newer electronics like the pure sine wave units are, I may not be so happy when I convert to newer electronics. We'll see!
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:54 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Old Rv'er View Post
We just had to replace Xantrex and I choose the Magnum, it's a dream. The wiring panel everyone talks about is just a unplug and the plug in, it' uses the same wire. The battery Temp sensor will have to be re-installed though. I cannot speak toward the location of the present unit, so you have that decision as well. Had I know how easy it was to replace the inverter, I would have tried to get the Insurance Company to let me do it and get paid for the job. Other than being heavy, and somewhat cumbersome, it was a no brainer to do the job. My location works for both units.

Oh, a couple of points, if you change out the microwave or the front entertainment stuff for new, those devices will require a pure sine wave inverter to operate correctly. FWIW-New electronics, TV's, Stereo's, sound bars, Direct TV/Dish boxes, etc., all have transformers which kick down the 120V-AC voltage to 24-48VDC, the modified sine wave of the Freedom will play havoc with those transformers and in a relatively short time, will cook them. If you are spending the money, at least replace the inverter with new, as then it's "NEW", no older components working alongside new stuff which then is stressed because new parts are running better alongside the old ones. It' like a rebuilt waterpump versus a new one, opt for the new inverter. Note the caution about the modified sine wave above.
Did you have to up size your wire to 4/0 AWG. When It comes time for me to change out the 458 Xantrex to a pure sine wave unit,will I need to go from my 2/0 AWG wire to 4/0?
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:03 PM   #12
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Later rigs (Monty's, mine, not sure what prior year's specs were) have 3/0 welding cable for batt-to-batt & 4/0 for batt-to-inverter. Haven't checked on starter cable.

I've checked the specs on the 3/0 welding cable & its good for any amount my Xantrex 2000 or Monty's 2812 Magnum can draw (or charge). Not sure why they went to 4/0 as its pretty spendy. Heck, the welding lead is spendy. But it sure snakes easier than regular battery cable.
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:22 PM   #13
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Later rigs (Monty's, mine, not sure what prior year's specs were) have 3/0 welding cable for batt-to-batt & 4/0 for batt-to-inverter. Haven't checked on starter cable.

I've checked the specs on the 3/0 welding cable & its good for any amount my Xantrex 2000 or Monty's 2812 Magnum can draw (or charge). Not sure why they went to 4/0 as its pretty spendy. Heck, the welding lead is spendy. But it sure snakes easier than regular battery cable.
What about 2/0 welding cable batt-to-batt 6-6v house batteries & 2/0 to inverter? Would this be a big NO-NO when replacing the 458 Xantrex with a 2812 Magnum?
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Old 04-22-2013, 03:07 PM   #14
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Standard Wire & Cable Co. makes Flexoprene brand welding lead used in my rig, ampacities:
2/0- 375A
3/0- 450A
4/0- 550A per their tables.

But ampacity is affected by length, and its the responsibility of the installer to get this right, so these numbers are for short cables of a couple feet or less. For measurable lengths you have to consider voltage drop & heat gain. The Xantrex 458 owner's manual suggests welding cable sizing by length in "examples" on p.39 by model:
Model - Fuse - Typ.DC Amps - 1-3ft - 3-6ft - 6-10ft
F-10.....200A......100A..............2.......2...... .1/0
F-15.....200A......150A............1/0.....1/0.....2/0
F-20.....300A......200A............2/0.....2/0.....3/0
F-25.....300A......250A............2/0.....3/0.....3/0
F-30.....350A......300A............3/0.....3/0.....4/0
They specify on p.23 the above be UL listed welding cable, but they do not say whose or what ampacity the req'mt is based on, which will vary by insulation recipe at least. They are obviously allowing for some spiking looking at fuse size vs machine rated ampacity, but remember the charge ampacity will likely be well below outrush potential (fire up the entertainment center, some minor loads, then put the microwave on to cook dinner & you'll see 170A easily, but the real level is based on what you forget you have plugged in). An extra 1200 watt device will add maybe 125 amps @ 12Vdc, for 295 DC amps draw. Run the micro, a toaster and let the wife fire up a blow dryer... Oops. And the last thing anybody wants is for the insulation on battery home run wiring to start degrading.

IIWMI'd be comfortable w/the 458 table for an F20 with 2/0 in the battery box, 3/0 out to the inverter up to 6ea 6V 2200 or 2400 batteries. WRV was allowing for up to 8ea 2200's starting w/the Apex line, and they made the battery box the same for all rigs thereafter. So that allowed for larger battery bank and potentially larger instantaneous draw, so I'm guessing that's where the 3/0-4/0 came from. When I add the other two 300ah AGMs I've got in the garage for a total of 900 amp-hours, I'll be glad the inverter home runs are 4/0. And that I carry a spare Inverter Fuse on board.
Stuff happens.
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