Skip to comments.I'm looking for a top notch DC Power Inverter
Posted on 08/01/2013 6:42:18 PM PDT by onona
Hi fellow freepers. I want to buy a DC power inverter for camping and for potential power outages.
Any success stories to share ?
Any success stories to share ?
We need to know the battery volts, how many battery watt-hours you will have, and how long you want the batteries to last.
12 volt marine deep cycle battery. Need to run it intermittently for a week. probably 12 hours max over a weeks time.
Buy a sine wave inverter to be able to run motors (like a refrigerator or furnace fan motor).
We need to know the input power requirements of the device under power. Aggregate if using multiple devices.
How much stuff do you need to run & for how long?
I have used Trace equipment, but I'm not so happy with the new stuff.
The only high quality power inverter I have is built into this Honda lightweight 2000W generator. I would recommend it.
I’d really like to invert the power structure in DC, so let me know if you find something that works.
This would require more citizens to take more responsibility for their personal lives and their local communities.
I believe you can find information on these theoretical "power inverters" listed alongside the stats for cold fusion power generators and perpetual motion machines.
I’ve got a spare President that’s AC-DC who is now in DC. Does that work?
Dude had an inverter sitting there, it looked kind of beat up. Asked him how much, he says five bucks.
Got it home, some disassembly, high pressure air, elbow grease, got it back together for testing.
Cobra CPI 1550, 1500 watts continuous, 3000 watts peak. On/Off lamps, stair-step power draw meter, works like a champ!
Just beware with the larger output inverters, etc to pay attention to making sure you have heavy enough gauge wires on your extension cords, etc.
1500 watts is almost enough to run my whole house, but I don’t have enough batteries, etc. to get the DC to it it would need.
You must have a really small house.
With a deep-cycle marine battery, and you want 12 hours of use, your power demand is limited to a very small appliance - like a tablet computer, cellphone or maybe a laptop.
Look at the watt-hour rating of the battery, and realize that only about 1/2 of it is really available for your use. It’s a complicated affair. Yes, you can buy an inverter and a battery, plug it in and go - but not for as long as you may need.
Back to your initial question - I bought a Xantrex true sinewave inverter and found it quite well-built. Also, the it is critically important to have very large cables and high-quality (low resistance) connections between the battery and inverter. This can represent a large part of your cost of getting set up.
Almost 2000 sq feet.
But my summertime power usages comes in around 25 KWH per day, which is a little more than a KW an hour...
that’s averaged out, though, not peak.
Black and Decker Model P1750AB Type One. Hooks to a car on the battery and will power a refridge.
Check your freep mail
You could probably get by on that in an emergency, but your definitely going to have to be careful how much stuff you try to run at once. If the refrigerator comes on while you're using the microwave, it's probably going to blow the breaker.
A lot of motorized equipment will not work properly on a square-wave unit and/or will be damaged/overheat. A modified sine wave unit is really a stepped wave that comes close(r) to a sine wave and depending on how many steps it has, it might be acceptable. Oddly enough, modern electronics with switching power supplies might even be more efficient with a square or modified sine wave converter. It is difficult (= expensive and potentially less reliable) for electronics to produce a good sine wave.
Generators, by their very mechanical design, produce pretty decent sine waves, and can be EXTREMELY reliable. You have to be careful with voltage regulation on some equipment. A lot of equipment designed to operate on 120V might have MOV’s on the input that will short out permanently at 150V. Some newer equipment designed for worldwide sale might be comfortable at anything between 110 and 250 volts. Recently, it has become cheaper to make and approve one “universal” power supply design that does not require the end-user to flip a switch for 120-240 than it is to build, test, approve and stock a 120V and 240V model.
I have a couple Tripp Light inverters that are literally decades old. One is a little 400 watt and one is I believe 1800 watts; they are both going strong. They are both in very well ventilated cases. You can use them for days with no supervision.
I also have a couple of 1200 watt inverters from Harbor Freight. They were dirt cheap, but so far have worked out OK for me. They have fans to ventilate and weigh a fraction of my big Tripp Light. I do not trust them as much, but for the price around $80... they were quite a bargain. I only use them where I can keep close tabs on them.
One time Sam's Club was having a closeout on some Uninteruptable Power Supplies. The one I bought came with a good sized Gel Cell that was worth more than what I paid for the entire USB. The inverter that was built in the unit seems to be of very good quality... It puts out a very pretty wave form and seems very stable even as the battery is drained under load. It uses a fan for cooling so I don't trust it as much as the Tripp Lights. So you might get a very good deal looking at USBs and then just substitute in a couple of golf cart batteries if you need some more capacity.
We live in an area that has very poor power reliability in the winter. All of our neighbors haave generators. It is nice to have inverters and charged batteries when we don't expect the power to be out for very long. We also like to use inverters instead of generators when possible when using a trailer or RV because they are quiet and you can charge the batteries while driving down the road and supplement with a good sized set of solar cells. If we need to we also charge the batteries with a small and relatively quiet 1000w generator. This smooths out the demand on the generator.
At home our primary backup generator has an electric Start 11hp Honda Clone engine that came from Harbor Freight. I converted it to Natural Gas using an inexpensive tri-fuel kit from US Carburation. It can run 24 hours a day for weeks at a time... just checking the oil in the morning and at bedtime. We still have the previous generator that we used for 20 years and also the spare engine that originally came with the newer generator.
12 175 watt 24 volt Solar Panels $150 ea on Craigs list in long Beach
8 T105 6 volt Batteries $120-150 each
1 Xantrex C60 Charge Controller $ 100
1 Magnum MS4024PAE 240/120/volt 4000 watt Inverter $2000-2500
Runs 400 foot deep Well(220) pulls 85 amps DC,
GE 21 Cu Ft side by side refrigerator pulls 4 amps DC,
Desktop Computer and 25 inch Monitor pulls 8 amps,
30’ Fully Loaded Trailer, all we use is lights and water pump, negligible power use,
Microwave pulls 90 amps but it is only run for a couple minutes,
Coffee maker uses about 50 amps DC when the element turns on, it cycles on and off every few minutes.
numerous 4 ft Shop Lights with 2 each 40 watt florescent bulbs, Negligible, it takes 2 on to use 1 amp DC, fans,laptops,tablets,kindles,cell phone charging.... all negligible, they dont even register on the meter.
Going to hook up Washer and Dryer this weekend. The big power items are best run during mid day,it will use all 45-50 amps the panels put out and maintain batteries. I still need to add at least 8 more batteries, and 8 more panels, and 1 more charge controller, just haven’t had the time. The trick is to have enough reserve battery power to run all night and morning while still having a 75% charge,til panels start producing, and panels should produce enough to fully charge batteries by 12 noon.
This is not for Camping but it will run most everything in a modest house, and will do quite well when I add more batteries. I am using this right now and Have absolutely NO Problems with anything. This will NOT run an AC unit, you need a lot of batteries and panels for that, well actually it would but nothing else, so if you doubled this system you could have it all.
“It is difficult (= expensive and potentially less reliable) for electronics to produce a good sine wave.”
You’re not kidding there.
The inverters at work are the size of a large Car and must have cost a fortune.
You can just make out tiny steps on the sine wave with a scope.
This is an area where I think someone could start a pretty good business. I’ve been looking for months for a complete solar power system that would be large enough to power a few small DC lights and a 120 volt “dorm” size refrigerator at a site in southern Alabama (plenty of sun).
I want something I can thrown in the back of my pickup, take to my cabin, and have set up and running inside of a couple hours.
I’m pretty sure that I need about a 500 watt system with two or three 12 volt batteries. I’m also considering using 6-volt batteries instead.
There are really a lot fewer complete systems available out there than I would have expected. And it seems like all of the few companies that do sell “complete” systems have an unrealistic view of how familiar many people are with setting up something like this. A lot of these complete kits are missing pieces that really should be included.
I’ve found about four or five different systems that are close to what I think I need. But I really wish someone had a “brick and mortar” location somewhere around me where I could go and talk to someone who knows this stuff and can offer advice and expertise with the system I buy.
I would think these small, relatively portable systems, would be something that you could buy somewhere like a “Tractor Supply” type company. But I’ve only seen these systems online.
Get a Yahama
A top of the line 12v marine deep cycle battery has about 100 amp-hours of storage capacity. With the efficiency loss of an inverter, you can expect to be able to use only about 80% of that, giving you about 80 amp hours. For it to last 12 hours, you must consume only 7 amp hours each hour.
This gives you a maximum of 80 watts of available power for each of the 12 hours you run the inverter. You could run a single 80 watt light bulb, or any other things that total 80 watts of power. Most items will list the power they require in their specifications. You would like a little over capacity in your inverter, so a 200 watt inverter could easily handle this load. Keep in mind that using the full capacity of a battery each time you use it before any recharge will quickly ruin the battery. It's best to use only half the capacity, if you want it to last more than a few cycles. This would give you only about 40 watts for each of the 12 hours.
I suspect you would like to supply far more power than this, requiring a larger inverter, but then it would also require far more than one battery. If so, you will soon see why electric cars have such poor range. A 100 amp hour 12v deep cycle battery stores 1200 watt-hours of energy, about the same energy as in a third of a cup of gasoline.
I have some old car batteries that I hook up to my car with jumper cables for recharging and to each other and the inverter with heavy cables. This inverter runs either the refrigerator or furnace (I pull the breaker "fuses" from my old main electrical box and have a double male ender, short extension adapter to be able to plug into an outlet on the appropriate circuit).
I use cheaper "modified" sine wave inverters to run lights in the house.
This is only good for a day or two as it requires frequent supervision.
Pay attention to proper grounding/neutral connections.
I run a peritoneal dialysis machine for 8 hours a night using a Xantrex 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter. It is connected to a 12V 200Ah Trojan battery. The machine uses 420 watts each night. I have 5-20 watt solar panels that recharge the battery in the 6 hours they are in the sun.
Works fine for me.
What does PFL stand for?
PFL = “Ping for Later”
I pinged myself from work so I could find the post from home later for further review.
Thanks, I don’t do text message and I’m nott use to a lot of today’s jargon.
I have two:
2500W driven by 12VDC
4000W driven by 24 VDC (two batteries hooked up in series)
Very rugged and reliable!