So, it’s been a bit since I updated you on our off grid solar project, and that’s because it’s really been running flawlessly, until last week, Yes, we did have some low production time with the long bouts of rain that have been covering most of the country. Yes, we did have some low production time on cloudy winter days, and yes there’s always less production during the winter due to the reduced amount of daytime hours. However, all that being said, the system has continued to function as desired; powering our chest freezer, PC, laptop, routers, as well as several lights throughout the house. Last week, that changed.
To set the stage a little, power inverters are design to shut down the party if the batteries fall below a certain voltage. Last week, our 1500 watt inverter shut down several times under very moderate loads. The solar controller indicated plenty of power in the batteries and the inverter would seem to run normally again after being reset, we feared it was dying and it did. Yes, the old VertaMax had just outlived its 1 year warranty by about 3 months. Time for a new one of those!
After a bit of research we settled on the Pooxtra 2000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter , interesting name I know. In case you’re not familiar with the subject, if you want to run appliances or electronics you should always purchase a ‘Pure Sine Wave’ inverter as the output is identical to what you get from the grid. The Pure Sine Wave inverters are a bit more expensive the ‘Modified Sine Wave’ models, but again the choice is dependent on what you hope to run on it.
The Pooextra is rated at 2000 running watts with a surge rating of 4000 watts. Most appliances have a ‘surge’ when they first start up, such as refrigerator compressor kicking on, then they settle to a ‘running’ wattage. One of the nice feature of this inverter in the display showing input voltage from the batteries, system voltage (12v, 24v or 48v) and load level. I do wish the load level indicator was a wattage read out instead of just a level indicator, but it is what it is.
The unit seems to be well constructed and even under heavier loads the cooling fans have yet to kick on. There are 2 4.2A USB ports and 4 AC outlets rated at 15 amps each, basically the same as a typical outlet in your home. There is a corded remote control that’s would be useful if you were using this in an RV I guess, but fairly useless for my setup. There were 4 battery cables included, but they were a bit small for my application, but would be sufficient for lighter applications. It’s far too early to speculate on the durability of the product, but so far so good and at just over $250 it was a pretty good deal.
I had planned on starting a 3rd small off grid system this month, but this little bump in the road has delayed that a month or so due to budget concerns. We will be building the new system piece by piece and will update you as we go!