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Here at Mike's Windmill Shop we offer simple systems for the do-it-yourself customer. The reason that we offer simple inverters instead of the more expensive charger/inverters is to keep everything simple. When you use the more expensive charger/inverters there are more things to go wrong and many settings to have to work with. If the charger portion of a charger/inverter goes bad then you cannot use a separate generator/battery charger to charge your batteries. We have heard from customers about repair bills for those types of inverters that run in the thousands. The reports that we get from our customers are that the combination charger/inverters tend to need repair quite often. So, to keep things simple we offer the inverters that do not have the charger combined with them. If you do want a charger/inverter we can special order one for you.
What our son uses is an inverter along with a generator and battery charger. He has also used our quick charge PMA. If he has days without enough wind or sun he simply starts up the generator and charges up the batteries. This is the method that Mike highly recommends. By using a separate generator you reduce the start up costs of your system. This also allows you to service the system yourself. Also, these inverters are low enough cost that you can keep an extra inverter on hand in case of emergency instead of having your entire power system down while waiting to send the charger/inverter in for expensive and time consuming repairs.
When you are choosing an inverter you need to consider how much power you will be using. What are you wanting to power? How much power will it draw? You will need to figure out how much power you will draw at one time and get an inverter that is rated for that much power.
For example: to power an an item that takes 1500 watts you will need an inverter rated at 1500 watts or higher. You also need to figure out the start up power needed.
To power several items such as refrigerator, TV, satellite, vacuum cleaner and lights you will need to add up the amount of power that each item takes and then get an inverter that will power that much.
We also recommend using two inverters if you will be running multiple items at the same time. This will prevent overdraw, which can shut down the inverter. For example, you can have your refrigerator set to run off of one inverter and the TV, satellite and small appliances set to run on another inverter.
Our personal favorite is the Xantrex XPower inverter. This has now been renamed the Xantrex Duracell inverter. There are many good inverters but from our personal experience out of those that we have tried here in the high mountains of Arizona they have done the best for us. When our son and his wife bought their off grid property and put their home on it we took down the wind generators and solar panels that we were using to supplement our power use at our grid powered home. We put those wind generators and solar panels up at our son's home. We gave them our Xantrex XPower 3000 inverter at that same time. The inverter performed very well for them. They only had a problem when water got in to their battery shed during a storm and the inverter got wet. They have now put in a Xantrex Duracell inverter to replace it because they were so happy with the performance of that inverter.
With all inverters be sure to keep water away from them and keep them dry.
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