When I check the 115 volt output of a Xantrex inverter with a three light polarity tester, all three lights come on. There is no fault description for the tester covering this. My ground fault outlets do not trip. Is there a problem?
No. What you are seeing is normal if you are testing the output of a Modified Sine Wave (MSW) inverter. The device you’re using is for use with household utility power; the internal wiring of the inverter causes this symptom.
No. A fuse (or circuit breaker, depending on the location and nature of the application) is an integral part of the safe installation of many Xantrex Technology Inc. products. If your installation does not meet the recommendations and specifications in the user guide, it is possible that an unsafe condition may be created, which could result in a fire. Your insurance company may not be obliged to cover damages in this case.
Follow the installation guidelines in the manual for optimal performance and safety of your Xantrex Technology Inc. power conversion product.
The remote on/off switch for Prowatt and Portawattz products is part number 808-9000. It includes 20 feet (6 meters) of cable and works with the following products:
Portawattz inverters (1000, 1750, 3000).
All Prowatt inverters over 800 watts, whether 12 or 24VDC and whether domestic or international.
The remote switch can be purchased through Xantrex E-store www.xantrex.com/estore (under Accessories) if your local Xantrex dealer doesn’t carry it.
The Prowatt and Portawattz models mentioned above can be controlled remotely by an external dry-contact switch. You can find more information on the electrical requirements of the switch at our support FAQ under Prowatt products entitled Prowatt 1000/1750/3000 Remote Control.
NOTE: This switch does not work with XPower Plus inverters. For the XPower 1200 Plus and XPower 1750 Plus inverters, the correct remote switch part number is 808-9500. It is also available through Xantrex E-store. Do not use the electrical information at the above-noted FAQ for XPower Plus inverters.
I've installed the modified sine wave inverter and it's working okay. However, the output voltage doesn't seem right. There is 124 vac between the hot and neutral pins but the safety ground is not at 0 volts with respect to the neutral pin. Instead, the safety ground appears to float about halfway between the neutral and hot pin voltage. Please explain what's going on!
This FAQ applies to Xpower, PROwatt, Portawattz, Jazz and Xantrex inverters, including the inverters integral to Powerpacks.
Your inverter is designed to have loads plugged directly into it and not be permanently connected to an AC distribution system. The fact that the inverter is not a permanent installation means the US NEC (United States National Electrical Code) doesn't apply, and the NEC is the main place where the requirement resides for single-phase 120Vac or 240Vac systems to have neutral bonded to earth. The US standard for inverters of this sort, UL458, does not have a requirement for a bonded neutral on the output of inverters.
Regarding the voltage that the you are measuring, the ground does not float halfway, rather the neutral is not at 0 volts. The grounding is correct, in that loads plugged in will have their chassis held at the same ground potential as the chassis of the inverter, but the neutral has approximately 60V on it instead of the usual 0V. The impact of that is minimal, since wiring and equipment connected to the neutral side of the circuit are required by safety standards to be treated as if they were at 120Vac. This is because there are many receptacles that are wired backwards or 2-prong plugs that are not polarized. As a result the 60V neutral is not accessible to the user, and any shock hazard presented is mitigated by lack of access.
The main safety agencies, CSA, UL, and ETL, have all approved inverters with this half-voltage on the neutral scheme, and the manuals contain warnings not to AC hardwire any of these inverters.
A battery is a device that stores energy while it is being charged and releases energy while it is being discharged. There are a lot of different battery technologies, but lead acid batteries, which consist of plates of lead dioxide and spongy lead, immersed in a sulphuric acid solution contained in a durable housing, are most appropriate for use with inverters and mobile power solutions.
Lead acid battery technology has come a long way since 1859, the year it was invented. You no longer have to check the state of charge with a hygrometer, or top the batteries up with distilled water. Batteries are now safer, more reliable and in some cases, virtually maintenance free. Lead acid batteries are recommended for use with inverters because:
Lead acid batteries are suitable for applications requiring a big, sudden discharge of current (what you need to start the engine on a boat, or in a car or RV) or a slow, steady discharge of current (to run your scooter, or watch a TV). These two classes of application generally require different battery technology, but they share some chararacteristics. Lead acid batteries of similar amp hour capacity will require about the same length of time to recharge, and all lead acid batteries are damaged by heat, and by storage in a discharged state.
The technology for starter batteries is simple. Many thin plates of lead in the electrolyte give lots of surface area, thus lots of potential current. This is the kick you need to get your car to start on a frosty morning.
Thick plates make batteries better suited to deep cycling – the type of battery that works best with an inverter. Thick plates aren’t the best for short high current use. If you have a quality deep cycle battery, you can discharge and recharge it more than 1500 times. A starting battery can be discharged perhaps 30 times before it will no longer accept a charge.
Because of the differences in the way the lead plates inside the battery are placed, the battery charging requirements are slightly different for the two styles of battery. Batteries that are not charged in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions can over gas (referred to as “boiling”) if overcharged, or sulfate if undercharged. Improper charging reduces the battery capacity and life cycle; that’s why it’s important to use the right charging technology to protect your investment in your batteries.
Unless they are properly charged, you won’t get the rated capacity back out of the batteries. There’s no free lunch: You can’t take energy out that you haven’t put in. Further, you’ll shorten the life cycle of any battery if it’s not properly charged. This is because the sulfur crystals which are deposited on the active material of the plate during discharge (while you are running your inverter or DC load) will not be forced back into solution during the charge cycle. Over time, these crystals become harder and thicker, reducing the access of the electrolyte to the plate and ultimately reducing the battery’s capacity.
Check the FAQ http://www.xantrex.com/support/howlong.asp for the Xantrex Technology Inc. battery calculating tool. You will need to know the wattage of the product or products you wish to run in order to use this tool.
Batteries last longest if you only discharge to 50% of capacity and then recharge as soon as possible after the discharge. If you want to run a 1 amp light for 50 hours between charging, you would need a battery which will deliver about 100 amp-hours. Although you can discharge a battery much further than this, you will begin to decrease the battery’s cycle life. A good deep cycle battery might deliver 1,500 (or more) discharges to the 50% level. By increasing the discharge to 95% you can reduce cycles to a hundred or so. So don’t undersize your battery bank, or you will be buying batteries much more often than necessary.
Which type of battery you buy depends on your application, your charging system, your budget, your willingness to trade convenience for cost, and weight considerations. Some advice applies to all types of batteries. The following advice is not meant to supersede specific product instructions or cautions supplied by the battery manufacturer.
Liquid Cell - also called Flooded Lead Acid
Multistage charging ensures batteries receive optimum charging, but with minimal wear and tear, regulating the voltage and current delivered to the batteries in three automatic stages:
In residential settings, refrigeration, gas- or oil-fueled heating systems, and lighting are most common. Electronic appliances such as computers, home entertainment components, and security systems don't consume much electricity and can easily be added to a home's backup subpanel. If you use pumps to supply water, keep a basement dry or pet fish alive, include these items in your backup power plans. Many gas appliances require only a small amount of electricity and should be included on the sub-panel. Comfort and convenience appliances such as fans, coffee makers, microwave ovens and garage door openers are other items your may want to use during an outage.
In an office setting, computers, printers, modems, fax machines and telephone systems are the most common equipment to run along with lighting. It makes sense to include whatever you need to keep your business functioning efficiently. Just remember that the more things you power, the bigger your system will need to be.
Xantrex Powerpack backup electric systems use special high-quality electric storage batteries.
For inverter/chargers, sealed deep-cycle batteries are often specified, because of their ease of installation and maintenance-free design. Non-sealed batteries may also be used, but require special installation and regular maintenance. Xantrex inverter/chargers do not come with batteries.
For protection from long outages, include a generator or solar panels in your Xantrex system. Shorter outages can be handled by a battery-only system. Solar panels are significantly more expensive than a generator, but can provide year-round electric bill savings and require no fuel or maintenance.
Xantrex top-of-the-line systems, using sine-wave SW Series inverters, come in three power output levels and integrate easily with a generator for automatic starting and system recharging. Several lower-cost Xantrex systems are intended primarily as battery-only systems. Your Xantrex dealer can help you select the system that best meets your needs and answer any additional questions.