Power Inverter's

BrandedX

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I'm considering buying an inverter when tax return time comes, but I'm admitting upfront a shortage of knowledge of the subject.

Ideally, I'd want something that could run a couple of 75watt bulbs, a mini-fridge, a 1500-2500 watt coil heater and a few outlet for charging phones/radio/low draw appliances. I'd like to link it to a paralleled car battery bank or (eventually) solar/wind outputs for a sustainable, long-term usage rate.

Anyone have any recommendations?

The idea is to buy some undeveloped land and build a miniaturized prairie cabin and generate our own power 'on-demand' as we develop, farm and eventually build a permanent home on the acreage on weekends and holidays. At least until the girls are out of HS and off to college and out of the way. ;) Then we could probably get by with just the cabin and just keep adding outbuildings as we need them.
 

sunsaver

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Hello, BX, and :welcome. I think you will enjoy using solar power for your lighting and entertainment in your cabin, but you might want to reconsider the electric heater. Electric heating is probably the most wasteful use of electricity. Only the electricity that can not overcome the resistance of the wire gets converted into heat energy. The rest of the electricity just goes into the ground. A 1200 watt space heater uses 10 amps. A 100 amphour battery will drop from 12 to 10 volts in about an hour and a half. This will trigger the low voltage protection on your inverter and it will shut down to protect your battery from getting burned up. Also, the more current you drain from your battery bank on a daily basis, the quicker you will kill them. I'm not saying that you cant do it, only that it will require a very large battery bank. You might want to consider geothermal, direct solar heating with a thermal mass, or a small Vogelzang, cast-iron box stove to heat your cabin. I use wood heat in my off-grid solar home, and i love it. Wood is cheap (usually free if you want to work for it), it's very effective, and it creates a romantic atmosphere. There is something primal and relaxing about staring at some burning logs. Another option is to use a 2,500 watt or larger generator to run the electric heat. Not exactly very environmentally friendly, though.
As far as the inverter goes, Exeltech is the best, made in Dallas TX, and has the best tech support and repair department. Xantrex is another major brand, specializing in larger inverters and grid-tie systems. But for a small, off-grid cabin, RV, mobil home, etc. any of the more affordable models will do. Just make sure it is mounted on fire-rated drywall or concrete (i had a cheap inverter catch fire right before my eyes). Try windsun.com. I was very pleased with the service from them, and they have some of the best prices on good brand solar panels like Kyocera. Also try InvertersRus.com. Excellent selection on inverters with great prices. I am currently using a "Powerdrive" brand inverter to power my lights, TV, fan, etc in my house. I think it was manufactured by Aimes? So far, it has held up well for over a year in our humid, Louisiana environment. I think it cost me about $200 from a nearby truckstop. Just make sure that the max peak wattage rating of your inverter is 20% greater than the max peak watts of any motor start up or other inductive load. Good luck, and let me know if i you need any design help. :cool:
 

BrandedX

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Thanks for the helpful info sunsaver! I definitely appreciate your insight.

As far as the heater goes, it would just be for brief usage periods, enough to take off the morning chill as the coffee brews until I can get a nice wood stove. I might run it off a small generator though and use the battery bank for lighting and such.

I'm off to browse those dealers right now! Thanks again!
 

sunsaver

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Your welcome, BX. I'm also very fond of propane space heaters. A 20lb. bottle will last several hours of contuinuous use. I also use a propane stove and propane, on demand water heater as back-ups for solar and wood. :)
 
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