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Old 09-11-2012, 08:24 PM   #46
GoNOW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtrulz View Post
I have been looking for something for the rv for dispersed camping and the little 200 dollar 60 watt units would work fine for that. If I had a cabin I would source a used 3 way fridge from an rv and run as much as possible from 12 volt. Should be able to run everything but your electronics from 12 volt. You would only need a small invertor for your tv which would save a good chunk of money, big inverters are not cheap.
Don't get the little 200 buck kit. it's 200 bucks wasted. 60 watts is very little power and the panels they sell you are very inefficient in power for size. My 180 watt panel is half the size of the 200 watt kit. I just stopped by one of my "poor" friends that bought one of the cheap kits. One solar panel is cracked in half by itself. No rocks, no trees with low hanging branches, it just broke. I have had solar panels in the sun for 17 years now and not one crack.

For the same 200 buck you can get a 120 watt panel with a 20 year guarantee and a good name brand charge controller.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:27 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by GoNOW View Post
Don't get the little 200 buck kit. it's 200 bucks wasted. 60 watts is very little power and the panels they sell you are very inefficient in power for size. My 180 watt panel is half the size of the 200 watt kit. I just stopped by one of my "poor" friends that bought one of the cheap kits. One solar panel is cracked in half by itself. No rocks, no trees with low hanging branches, it just broke. I have had solar panels in the sun for 17 years now and not one crack.

For the same 200 buck you can get a 120 watt panel with a 20 year guarantee and a good name brand charge controller.

I was looking at the site linked to earlier and think that is the way to go. One small panel and a controller for around 100 sounds pretty good. Do most controllers have overcharge protection, dont want to cook my batteries?
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:45 PM   #48
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To prevent overcharging is the primary purpose of a charge controller. And that's all that the cheap ones do.
The better ones do a 3 stage charging along with monthly equalization. It makes the batteries last a lot longer.
Some will also do a low voltage disconnect, so it will cut the load off if the battery gets too low and protect the battery.

The features go up from there. In addition to MPPT, Morning Star ones will connect to your computer network where you can get all kinds of wonderful stats from your laptop. The Outback ones interconnect with the inverters and they all talk to each other. A small display in the house shows all kinds of good information including a gas gauge style battery charge level that anyone can read and understand.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:58 PM   #49
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OK, I'm getting it! Probably should have gone with larger panels etc. but I still think the 60 watt system will get the job done for me. There will be lots of down time to recharge in between small usage.

Now I need to find a suitable inverter! I'm thinking 2000 watt is the minimum I should get.

Now a question, do they all have cooling fans and are they noisy? I have used the small portable ones you plug into your cigarette lighter outlet and they are extremely loud. with that noise I should have gone with a generator set out back in an insualted shed.

Any sugestions on inverters, I know I want a pure sine system other than that I'm listening
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:04 PM   #50
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Some inverters have fans that run all the time and some only run when they get hot. Check the specs and ask the seller. Be sure to keep the cables from battery to inverter as short as possible. The 110V wires length is less critical.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:09 PM   #51
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I'd use LED lights and a propane or kersene fridge. I can run for a week in my camper on a single battery and 20 lbs of propane. Use a genset for any heavy use.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:15 PM   #52
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why do you need a pure sine wave inverter?
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:28 PM   #53
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I feel it will run more appliances, use less energy, some modern electric devices won't run to good on other. Itried running a dvd player on my generator with no luck, thought it was broken, took it home plugged it in, worked fine.

Just will be better all around with not as much energy usage.

But!!!! I could be wrong. Please tell me if I am!

I've got my LED light ready to go! use 15w equal to 75w!
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:36 PM   #54
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What is this?

http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/ele/3276320444.html
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:39 PM   #55
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It just a device by device choice, I havent found too many things that will not run off of a modified sine wave inverter
most notably and surprisingly to me, a box fan, the cheap $20 20" box fan from wal mart, runs slower on inverter, and uses lots of energy.

other wise, things I have ran without issues.

laptops ( with the transformer power supplies)

iphone chargers, wet/dry vacs, black and decker saws, and drills, small air compressors, battery chargers, old style and newer smart types, incandescent bulbs, CF bulbs

and with a cheap chinese generator ive ran, TVs, dvd players, cable boxes, my home central ( gas fired) furnace, refridgerators, every desktop computer in the house, along with DSL modem, and dsl wireless router., fireplace blower...

ive looked at the waveform of the generator too, its FUGLY.

I guess my point is, you might find it surprising how much stuff will run on "dirty" wave form AC just fine.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:34 PM   #56
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That's an industrial inverter that requires a 105-150 volt DC input. Won't work in your application.

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Old 09-16-2012, 05:40 PM   #57
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My whole house with all the usual electrical devices has run off a "modified sine wave" inverter for over 20 years with no problems. TV, computers, DVR, washing machine, refrigerator, lights, fans, swamp cooler, drill press, wire welder, the whole works. The only things I've found that don't work well on the MSW inverters is microwaves which take about twice as long to cook. Also electric blanket controllers that use an SCR fry immediately.

For the last 10 years I've been running the house on a Xantrex 1000 watt MSW inverter that I bought at Costco for $69.00. Very reliable. One thing to keep in mind with inverters is not many of them can be attached to a standard mains box without smoking. So if you're planning on doing it that way you'll need to get one that will work that way. The Xantrex works that way as does the Aims 3000 watt inverter that runs my shop. It's UL listed also which is rare. $260.00.


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I feel it will run more appliances, use less energy, some modern electric devices won't run to good on other. Itried running a dvd player on my generator with no luck, thought it was broken, took it home plugged it in, worked fine.

Just will be better all around with not as much energy usage.

But!!!! I could be wrong. Please tell me if I am!

I've got my LED light ready to go! use 15w equal to 75w!

hugemoth screwed with this post 09-16-2012 at 05:48 PM
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:16 PM   #58
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There is many different type of modified sine waves and some work better then others. I had one of the Xantrex 3000W Prowatt inverters. It worked fine for power tools and most everything else, but my Dell laptop didn't like the very crude modified sine wave. The Ethernet/network port would keep disconnecting and reconnecting. A D-link wireless router also didn't work right.

A friend has the same network port problem on an Acer laptop with a cheap inverter.

I setup an entire sign printing company to run all the computer on an Trace DR1500 inverter (as a big UPS) and had no problems with it's modified sign wave. It's been running continuously for 10 years now with no problems.

The older Trace (now Xantrex) modified sine wave inverters are not true sign wave, but very close. Instead of 5 steps in the wave like cheaper inverters, they to 16 to 32 steps. Not perfect as ceiling fans make a little more noise, but not bad. I had no computer problems with them.

Ya, the cheap harbor fright generators produce ugly power. I am not sure how they make it so dirty. It's not that hard to make a generator, they have been doing it for 100+ years.

If you are looking for an inverter in the 2,000 watt range, don't go 12V unless you have to. A full load, the batteries are going to be seeing a 166 amp load. That's not counting a peak load. A few simple golf cart batteries can't handle that kind of load.

I used my Xantrex 3000 watt 12V battery for power tools during construction. It had more then enough wattage for the power tools, but the two T-105 batteries could not handle the power draw and the voltage dropped too low trying to run my big skill saw. My 2500 watt Honda generator could start the run the saw, without much trouble.

Look at running a 24 or 48 volt battery system if you want to handle that kind of wattages.

Also, good inverters are also battery chargers and very good ones. If you want to use a generator to also charge your batteries, go with an inverter with a built in battery charger.

For a remote cabin, an Xantrex TR1524 would work really nice.









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Old 09-16-2012, 09:28 PM   #59
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I've been running a Trace DR1524 for about 15 years straight. Modified sine wave, it does not like digital clocks and the microwave takes longer. All other electronics work fine.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:38 AM   #60
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Alright, so is there any harm in going larger on the inverter? Say 2000 watt instead of 1,000? Will a larger inverter draw more, or just when more is used? I don't pan on running a skill saw, i'll pull out the generator if i need to for that, but if i just want to make a cut or two why not be able to use the power at hand!
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