ProWatt SW 2000

KnowledgeSpongeKnowledgeSponge Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭✭
Hello,

Just diving into Solar Power. Wife thinks I'm nuts. That's debatable.

About to push the GO button on a Xantrex ProWatt SW 2000

I currently have (a-hem), one 100 Watt Q-cell panel. Will slowly add more to get to 1000W

Purpose: General Housold use during extended (or short) power outages.
Refrigerator Numero Uno importance. Then Computers, hammy radio, common stuff.

Is that a good Inverter?

Any advice for a Newbie?

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,216 admin
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    1. Wife is always right.
    2. If you think you are right, goto #3
    3. Refer back to #1

    Tell us all about your system... Battery bank type, voltage, AH, etc... Charge controllers (solar, AC backup, backup genset, etc.).

    For running a refrigerator--1,000 watt of panels should be OK for 9 months of the year (if you have good sun)--But knowing your rough location (for actual sun numbers), battery bank capacity, backup power capacity, etc. will help us ensure you have a "balanced" system design.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    Generally, solar panels will not help you during outages. You would need a battery system to be able to use stored energy when an outage strikes.

    Once you have batteries, the question is whether you want to build such a big system that lets you survive really long outages.

    If not, it is probably easier to charge batteries from the grid. This will let you survive relatively short outages, but will not help with big ones.

    A much cheaper alternative is a backup generator, which will help even in case of really long outages.
  • KnowledgeSpongeKnowledgeSponge Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    Some really good points. Thx.

    So if I primarily use Solar to power my 900Watt continuous / 2000Watt surge Refrigerator, will I be using battery power
    100% of the time? Is there a way for direct solar power to be used when available then switch to battery whenever
    it's not (clouds passing, nightfall etc) ?

    Or are solar panels all about charging battery banks?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    If you have a 'frige that draws that much, get rid of it.

    Battery banks get sized for 24 hour operation, but at the "20 hour" rate. Solar array is sized to recharge that. This means that once the batteries do get charged the panels will keep them charged for a time, in essence powering the refrigerator directly. There is no need for any "switch", nor would such work as the inverter can not be powered without the batteries.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    Some really good points. Thx.

    So if I primarily use Solar to power my 900Watt continuous / 2000Watt surge Refrigerator, will I be using battery power
    100% of the time? Is there a way for direct solar power to be used when available then switch to battery whenever
    it's not (clouds passing, nightfall etc) ?

    Solar controller outputs DC power. Part of this power is taken by the loads. If there's any power left after loads, the power charges the batteries (if not full already). If it's not enough power for loads, they take power from batteries and the batteries discharge.

    If you have good weather, solar controller powers your loads during the day and charges batteries at the same time. Batteries power your loads during the night.

    If weather is bad, however, nearly all the power neede by loads goes from discharging batteries, which, at some point, get discharged. Once batteries are discharged, there's no other source of power. If you still want your loads to be powered, you need to charge the batteries from the grid (or generator if you wish) so that the batteries could power your loads until sun shines.

    So, if you want to run your loads continuously, you will have to charge batteries from the grid when weather is bad. You will have to have a charger that charges from the grid.

    Once you have a charger to charge batteries from the grid, you can disconnect solar completely, and everything will still work. The only difference is that with solar your electric bill will be smaller than without solar.
  • WxboyWxboy Solar Expert Posts: 70 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    I have had an Prowatt SW2000 for almost 2 years and it works very well. It is quiet, has a low idle power draw, and handles the start-up surge of my fridge fine. I use mine every day to run whatever I can based on how much power the panels bring in that day.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,697 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    If weather is bad, however, nearly all the power neede by loads goes from discharging batteries, which, at some point, get discharged. Once batteries are discharged, there's no other source of power. If you still want your loads to be powered, you need to charge the batteries from the grid (or generator if you wish) so that the batteries could power your loads until sun shines.

    So, if you want to run your loads continuously, you will have to charge batteries from the grid when weather is bad. You will have to have a charger that charges from the grid.

    Once you have a charger to charge batteries from the grid, you can disconnect solar completely, and everything will still work. The only difference is that with solar your electric bill will be smaller than without solar.

    Well "Northguy" I read your post and thought he's going all this way to suggest that an inverter with a charger might be a better investment than the reviewed ProWatt SW2000...

    FWIW - You can build a large enough backup system to make the 2nd statement "So, if you want to run your loads continuously, you will have to charge batteries from the grid when weather is bad. You will have to have a charger that charges from the grid(edit...or other power source)." of course at that point you might as well go completely off the grid...lol

    Don't want the grid, don't want a genny, haven't needed either, don't want one or the other...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    I have used a Prowatt 2000 for close to 2 years as well, and it worked out well for light loads. I used to have issues with the Prowatt kicking out from start up surges and when battery voltage was less than full charge. The defrost cycle on my fridge (1000w) was often the culprit. Also had a large CRT TV, which had a high surge requirement to start up. After upgrading to an Outback inverter which can handle all my loads and surges(except the dryer which is 240v), I am much happier now.

    Best to treat the whole process as a hobby, a rather expensive one at that. If you are really serious about eventually going off grid, best to save up and then buy the entire system all at once, rather than doing a progressive upgrade. Otherwise it will cost more, both in $ and in grief!
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Solar Expert Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    The Prowatt SW2000 in a great inverter for the price. You can certainly buy better ones, but they cost significantly more. The waveform is a perfect sine wave. Better than grid power at my house. It's rated for 1800W continuous, or 2000W for a period of minutes.

    It's important to use FAT cables to feed the inverter. I'm using 4/0 cables. You will also need a substantial battery bank to keep up with the 200A draw if operating it full capacity. I've done some full load testing with mine, and put a short video online: [video=youtube_share;cwx5fWtHcs8]

    Mine is primarily used for emergency power during outages. As a test, I connected both refrigerators, lights, TV (46" LCD HD), cable box, computer, yada yada, and ran the inverter for a couple of days. Both fridges went through defrost cycles, made ice, and were used as normal. The inverter worked fine and had no errors.

    Soon my Prowatt SW2000 will be left on continuously to run 1 fridge (off grid), house lighting, etc. The other fridge, and some critical items, will be connected to a transfer switch. When the grid goes down, those other items will also be powered from the inverter.

    Solar panels can keep up with my use when the weather cooperates. Otherwise I'll use the 75A Iota charger, and the generator to replenish the battery bank.

    I'd love to have an Outback inverter, but I can't justify the expense since we are doing renovations at our house.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    Photowhit wrote: »
    of course at that point you might as well go completely off the grid...lol

    You bet. If you have a powerful backup system .... just imagine you've got an outage lasting few years, and turn off the grid! :p
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    You bet. If you have a powerful backup system .... just imagine you've got an outage lasting few years, and turn off the grid! :p

    that is fine if you have the renewable power available as shutting off the grid is great, but foolhardy to eliminate it as you won't find a cheaper backup system to your renewable power.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    niel wrote: »
    you won't find a cheaper backup system to your renewable power.

    That's absolutely true. However, when there's a power outage, you'll have to wait to get back the power that you have stored in the system. Sort of like Cyprus' banks ;)
  • KnowledgeSpongeKnowledgeSponge Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    2manytoyz wrote: »
    The Prowatt SW2000 in a great inverter for the price. You can certainly buy better ones, but they cost significantly more. The waveform is a perfect sine wave. Better than grid power at my house. It's rated for 1800W continuous, or 2000W for a period of minutes.

    It's important to use FAT cables to feed the inverter. I'm using 4/0 cables. You will also need a substantial battery bank to keep up with the 200A draw if operating it full capacity. I've done some full load testing with mine, and put a short video online:

    Mine is primarily used for emergency power during outages. As a test, I connected both refrigerators, lights, TV (46" LCD HD), cable box, computer, yada yada, and ran the inverter for a couple of days. Both fridges went through defrost cycles, made ice, and were used as normal. The inverter worked fine and had no errors.

    Soon my Prowatt SW2000 will be left on continuously to run 1 fridge (off grid), house lighting, etc. The other fridge, and some critical items, will be connected to a transfer switch. When the grid goes down, those other items will also be powered from the inverter.

    Solar panels can keep up with my use when the weather cooperates. Otherwise I'll use the 75A Iota charger, and the generator to replenish the battery bank.

    I'd love to have an Outback inverter, but I can't justify the expense since we are doing renovations at our house.

    Robert,
    You've been helpful to me on (and OFF) this forum...so thx.
    I watched your videos, visited your site and read most of your solar adventures. :cool:

    I just received my ProWatt SW 2000 a few days ago and just yesterday, bought my first "serious" cabling for some tests.
    I only bought 1/0 cable (2 - 4ft sections) but now realize I need 4/0 so I'll get that going forward.

    My solar hobby is for backup during outages such as Hurricanes. We lost power for 3 WEEKS during Wilma.
    (And of course, should the "shtf" event ever occur in our lifetime)

    The PRIMARY items I intend to use my inverter for is ONE refrigerator and ONE computer.
    I don't see calling on the ProWatt for more than that since I also have a large dirty power generator and a Honda eu2000i (as long as the gas lasts).
    I also have a MSW 1000/2000 inverter for dirty power.

    Now one thing that baffles me big time is that during Wilma, I "successfully" powered the same full size refrigerator
    for several days on ONE, 125Ah battery and the MSW 1000watt/2000peak inverter....this with only two strands of 10ga wire for each, the positive side and negative side.
    (In other words, I cut 4 lengths of 10ga wire, each 24" and twisted them together then put the ends into terminal lugs.
    I have no idea now how it even worked. But it did. It appears the MSW inverter uses TONS less power to do it's job?

    Northerner - At this point, I agree...expensive "hobby" ;)
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    You are correct: MSW inverter use less power "for themselves" and have less conversion loss because they're not doing as good a job at creating a proper waveform. The loss in whatever uses it, however, increases (as in draws more current).

    125 Amp hours @ 12 Volts could supply 1200 Watt hours before the battery is toast. How much power the 'frige would use in any time period depends on how much it has to cycle. With careful use and the right ambient temps it may run only 1/4 the time.

    Your doubled-up 10 AWG is about 7 AWG equivalent, and could handle 60 Amps continuous. It is also a bad idea without a fuse on each because if one line had failed the other line would get all the current and could burn up. Glad to hear you've got some big wire for the Prosine! Very important on 12 Volt systems.
  • KnowledgeSpongeKnowledgeSponge Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    You are correct: MSW inverter use less power "for themselves" and have less conversion loss because they're not doing as good a job at creating a proper waveform. The loss in whatever uses it, however, increases (as in draws more current).

    125 Amp hours @ 12 Volts could supply 1200 Watt hours before the battery is toast. How much power the 'frige would use in any time period depends on how much it has to cycle. With careful use and the right ambient temps it may run only 1/4 the time.

    Your doubled-up 10 AWG is about 7 AWG equivalent, and could handle 60 Amps continuous. It is also a bad idea without a fuse on each because if one line had failed the other line would get all the current and could burn up. Glad to hear you've got some big wire for the Prosine! Very important on 12 Volt systems.

    I need to brush up on all the "Power Math". I think that's important for anyone venturing into this hobby.
    Very good advice.
    Thanks :cool:

    FWIW...I bought a 2nd 125 Ah battery yesterday so I think I have about 250Ah available now.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    That's absolutely true. However, when there's a power outage, you'll have to wait to get back the power that you have stored in the system. Sort of like Cyprus' banks ;)

    to be clear i was not saying the solar setup to be pure gt, but rather a hybrid system acting in the capacity primarily as an off grid system even though still selling to the grid some. the grid itself can back up the off grid system (actually hybrid) should you have need of extra power or if something goes wrong just as a generator would do. the grid would be the monthly fees plus the rough cost of 5-20 cents per kwh. the generator is the cost of the genny plus the cost of the gas and the cost to transport that gas should the solar setup need extra power.

    to summerize everybody looks at solar as a backup to the grid and i'm saying the grid can be a backup to the solar.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    niel wrote: »
    to summerize everybody looks at solar as a backup to the grid and i'm saying the grid can be a backup to the solar.

    It sure can! I've helped design quite a few systems that work in that way. :D
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    niel wrote: »
    to summerize everybody looks at solar as a backup to the grid and i'm saying the grid can be a backup to the solar.

    There are two separate goals. One goal is to produce independent energy, and the other goal is to have uninterruted power supply.

    Solar is very good to meet the first goal, either used as a grid tie or in a hybrid configuration with grid as a backup.

    However, solar is not ideal for the second goal because there could be bad wheather and power outage at the same time and the power stops as soon as batteries are discharged. You're certainly right that the generator can break or run out of gas too, nothing is perfect.

    You do not have to use a single system to meet both goals. To produce your own energy, you may have a grid tie (or hybrid) solar system. While for backup purposes you may have a generator. These two may function totally independent of each other.
  • KnowledgeSpongeKnowledgeSponge Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    If you have a 'frige that draws that much, get rid of it.

    Seriously???

    We bought it in Late 2004 and at that time (We still have the energy star tag, it was rated the VERY best of ALL residential refrigerators. 26cu ft. side by side
    618Kwh (115v @ 8.5 A)

    I just lookup up the 2013 model and it uses 583Kwh..not a huge difference imo

    Maybe I'm getting confused with Kwh and running Watts. Maybe it doesn't draw 900 watts.
    I'll put the Kill-A-Watt on it tonight and see.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    Seriously???

    We bought it in Late 2004 and at that time (We still have the energy star tag, it was rated the VERY best of ALL residential refrigerators. 26cu ft. side by side
    618Kwh (115v @ 8.5 A)

    I just lookup up the 2013 model and it uses 583Kwh..not a huge difference imo

    Maybe I'm getting confused with Kwh and running Watts. Maybe it doesn't draw 900 watts.
    I'll put the Kill-A-Watt on it tonight and see.

    #1, don't think the 'tags' are right; 115 V * 8.5 A = 978 Watts. Not likely it draws this all the time; probably only for defrost.

    #2, it's easy to confuse Watts and Watt hours. That 618 kW hours per year = 1.7 kW hours per day, still on the high side. My 16 cu. ft. only uses 1.2 kW hours per day, and it's not the most efficient.

    #3, always use the Kill-A-Watt meter to get accurate consumption readings in real world conditions.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    having an energy star rating is relative only to the class of refrigerator it is. those extra large refrigerators draw far too much more than their little 5cuft extra area would normally deem. comparatively speaking they aren't that good. it was not the best of all residential refrigerators.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000
    niel wrote: »
    having an energy star rating is relative only to the class of refrigerator it is. those extra large refrigerators draw far too much more than their little 5cuft extra area would normally deem. comparatively speaking they aren't that good.

    The little extras like poorly insulated ice delivery compartments and door seal heaters add up pretty fast too.

    Consumer reports examined an LG family of models that had the ice maker located in the refrigerator door to make it easier to dispense the ice. Which caused a lot of extra heat load.
    The EPA rules allow the manufacturer to turn off the ice maker when testing. But for the LG that meant no ice storage either!.
    The EPA is likely to be changing their rules on that if they have not already.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • KnowledgeSpongeKnowledgeSponge Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    Since this thread is about the Xantrex ProWatt SW 2000.....

    I just bought one. Brand new.

    But, the date of Manufacture says December 25, 2009 :confused:

    It also has a different GCI outlet than others I see. Mine has a 20A outlet (with the T on the Neutral Side slot) and both buttons are White
    rather than one Red and one Black like all the others I see.

    Supposedly, these had been sitting in a Warehouse at Campers World for a very long time.
    According to Xantrex, there is no difference (electronically) between a unit manufactured in 2009 and one manufactured in 2013.
    Xantrex says there have been no changes to the design or upgrades to the hardware at all.

    Now, I do realize I "could" go out and purchase a GCI outlet with the red and black buttons and the 15A plug slots and change it out....but why?
    (and, it might void the warranty).

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?
    The Seller seems like a good guy. He's been very helpful and stays in touch with me through any concerns.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    They mean it's functionally the same.
    If it works, I wouldn't worry about it. Nor would I open it up and start changing things. Why 'fix' what isn't 'broken'?
  • KnowledgeSpongeKnowledgeSponge Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    Actually, Xantrex says internally there has been absolutely no changes to the design in 5 years.

    He was very clear on that.

    Their sourcing for components may change however.

    Somehow, I have more faith in the slightly older components for some reason.
  • vcallawayvcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    I have one in my motorhome. I used 2/0 cables to connect it. The cables are about 6' long. My refrigerator is a 10cu ft whirlpool. Average draw is 800w in 24 hrs.

    I bout a 50' 10ga extension cord and wired a 30A RV plug on the female end. My RV is plugged into that 99% of the time. My inverter has not been turned off for the last couple of years. When I have grid power I found it better to just plug the charger into grid and remain running of the inverter. Campground notoriously have bad power. By always running off the inverter I always have clean power.

    As for run time without solar. I have 4 x 6v Costco golf cart batteries. That runs us easily for 24hrs running the refrigerator, 2 LED tv's, 2 sat receivers, networking gear, a couple of laptops and my cpap through the night. If I wanted to conserve I could run longer but I don't need to.

    Biggest load I run on the inverter is my shop vac. It draws 5A max and runs fine on the inverter.
  • KnowledgeSpongeKnowledgeSponge Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    Yesterday I ran a 1500 Watt heat gun simultaneously with a 25 Cu Ft refrigerator drawing 145 Watts on two 121 Ah batteries, 1/0 cable and the ProWatt SW 2000.

    I stopped and restarted the Heat gun on 1500 Watts numerous times. Seemed equal to grid power.

    There was no dip in power, no visual or audible indication that the inverter was having any trouble whatsoever with the load
    and in fact, it was every bit as uneventful as having those same devices plugged into the grid.

    THAT is what I would say was a good result.
  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    you are running a 20 amp power source for a 30 amp plug?what is the rated maximum draw of your RV?
  • vcallawayvcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProWatt SW 2000

    The only thing in the RV that draws is the A/C which we don't use. I don't think I've ever had more than an 8 to 10a load. I imagine a microwave or toaster would be a big load but we don't use them.

    Only time we run the A/C is when we are going down the road. Then I fire up the generator.
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