inverter wars

loteklotek Posts: 65Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
Still trying to deside what inverter to get. Every time I make a choice and research, I find out something new. Considered the Xantrex xw6048. Seems to be the most bang for my bucks,then find out its not true sinewave but is stepwave. Now I wonder if it will work my LCD tv and computer. Next it was Magnum MS-4448 or 2 4024s true sinewave. I cant find any info saying I can grid tie it ( I might get power run in someday) Last, Outback seems to be a good choice. grid capable, stackable. Did read some stuff about firmware problems. So whats the advice of you sage solar experts?
I would like the option expanding a PV array, grid tie,and autostart generator

Comments

  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Posts: 717Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    go with the xantrex it is as close to true sine wave as you will get. if you want to grid tie then it is about the best option. the outback stuff only has one input and it wont except most standard generators.

    The XW has 2 inputs one for grid and one for generator. If you go with the XW look into www.midnitesolar.com they have a breaker box made for the XW that will save you a bundle.

    The Magnum stuff is good to but it doesn't grid tie.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,054Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: inverter wars

    The inverter industry defines "true sine" as anything with 5% or less harmonic distortion which the Xantrex (and other "True Sine Wave") inverters all do. It is the limitation of the inverter electronics that they have to "simulate" sine wave AC power.

    You should not have any problems with TSW inverters. The MSW (Modified Square Wave) Inverters are the ones that can be very hard on motors and electronic devices and is known to damage/fry some (wall warts and some motor operated appliances are particularly subject to damage).

    One other thing to note--Xantrex actually has FCC Class B emissions certification. That is not easy to do and not many inverters have that certification. Generally, it means that the inverters will create less interference for your radio and TV receivers. Also, FCC Class A/B usually means that the inverters are better protected against static discharge and other electrical interference too.

    That fact that you have pre-wired boxes available from Xantrex and Midnitesolar as well (Outback also has prewired boxes available too--and Midnitesolar also makes E-Panels for Outback) is no small convenience too--especially if you are a first time installer of solar hardware.

    If you will be getting Grid Power someday--the ability to wire to the grid and sell back power (via Grid Tie / Utility Interactive) to the utility company (assuming the utility allows GT and has good rate plans) is supported by the XW system too. GT Net Metering is, usually, the best bang for the buck with Solar PV (GT without batteries is the most cost effective--but there is no AC backup power possible with just a straight GT inverter--unlike the XW system which can do both nicely).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    The XW6048 is the truest sine wave on the market .. not sure where you got your info but possible your confusing the old SW series information. the SW was a stepped wave form.
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    simply the tsw inverters all use steps to create the waveform, but with so many of them it smooths to close to what you'd want in the waveform. the same thd % is held to your utility and some of these inverters would deliver better power than some of those utilities do.
    to create a real analog sine wave electronically with low thd would be very inefficient, as like in many class a amplifier stages from a very stable oscillator circuit. that would waste more than half of the power presented to it and would still have some thd percentage as the pure waveform is nearly impossible to have. they do it with a high degree of efficiency with these inverters today and still keep a low thd percentage.
  • loteklotek Posts: 65Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    My info was gleaned from solarray.com here's the page
    http://www.solarray.com/TechGuides/Inverters_T.php
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,054Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: inverter wars

    The integrated solutions like the Xantrex XW family--are about as close as you will come to a Magic Box that will address almost all of your power needs with one unit/system... On Grid, Grid Tied, fail-over to Off Grid, AC input from Generator, internal battery charger (from Grid or Generator Power), etc...

    If you have a recording studio--then perhaps an Exceltech to run your critical electronics may be needed (although, I am not sure how much <5% AC Harmonic Distortion for most of the TSW inverters vs <2% for the Exceltech will make--that is not a large difference in terms of audio/visual terms--that is about a -4db reduction--typically, 3db differences are very difficult to hear/see without doing an A/B comparison).

    The fact that Exceltech does not (appear) to have FCC Class A/B ratings for any of its inverters would possibly indicate that you may have emissions issues with local radio/tv receivers. And even FCC Class A/B devices can interfere with AM band reception.

    For example, my Xantrex GT --Class B residential-- will affect my car radio if it is within about 5-10 feet of the GT inverter/house wiring). But I have found the same thing true for computers, GPS's and virtually any other Digital Electronic Device--Short range AM interference kind of goes with the territory (usually the interference is on the order of 1-10 feet).

    Of course, you can have similar problems with FCC Class A/B devices too.

    Sometimes, actual use of the the two products side by side is the only way to ascertain how they will perform in your or a similar application.

    I don't have that experience--hopefully someone else here can address the details between the two (or more) vendor options.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    lotek,
    it doesn't matter of the steps as most tsw inverters are well within being acceptable for a sine wave simulation without too much thd. if you like the xw then buy it as it is a very good inverter. those inverters meant to interact with the grid, like an xw would, are the ones that must adhere to the 5% thd rule. some off grid tsws may have higher levels so be aware if you buy one to look at the thd%. part 15 acceptance is also good and i believe required when connected to the grid too, but don't quote me on the requirement. it is possible to have one certified part 15 and low thd and still interdere with an am radio station that you may like just as bill indicated. there are steps that can be taken to lessen or eliminate interference if you wish to stay with a particular inverter and they would be similar steps i had discussed on sg's forum on the mx60, but cross that bridge only if need be as in most cases it won't be necessary.
    http://www.solar-guppy.com/forum/outback-mx60-vhf-interference-t568.html
    btw, i wouldn't call it an inverter war as i don't believe it to be that heated in the competition.
  • loteklotek Posts: 65Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    Of course your right Niel, its not a war, but It seemed urgent to me, as time to buy is nearing. It was a ploy to attract attention. Now that I have it, may I ask, Is it worth the extra money to have a prewired inverter/junction box/with what ever else comes in those packages. It seems like that might be the EZ part of the wiring. Are there diagrams out there, more understandable than the PDF files I DLed from Xantrex. Also what else might I need besides the inverter, distribution panel, solor controller, system control panel, or do I need all these products.

    BTW this is by far the best source I have found on the web, so expect to see me with future questions about my vertical wind turbine project, wiring etc
  • islandskiesislandskies Posts: 11Registered Users
    Re: inverter wars

    The XW6048 is sweet .. it runs all my computers, monitors, freezer, refridge, TV etc. no problem. its one smooooth inverter.

    I didnt get the distro panel.. but I should have, it would have made my job alot easier. The Midnite solar one looks just about right (and a good price too..). The PDF files on Xantrex website are straight off the manuals.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,054Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: inverter wars

    Unfortunately (cost and complexity wise), you probably need all of those pieces, plus perhaps the automatic generator controller (IIRC) too.

    One thing that has not been mentioned is the sizing of your power system vs the amount of power you need to run your home/off-grid site.

    Do you have a good handle on your peak kW/average daily kWhr use? Have you looked at your loads and addressed everything possible regarding conservation? In the end, it is almost always cheaper to conserve power vs generating it (an off grid system will, very roughly, cost you a $1.00+ per kWhr vs $0.10 to $0.30 per kWhr for typical utility power if you assume 20-25 year equipment life, battery replacement, etc.). Also, many state rebates and various tax credits apply to Grid Tied connected systems vs Off-Grid systems which, many times, do not qualify for rebates. So looking into attaching to the utility mains may make more sense once rebates/tax credits are taken into account.

    You make mention about the ability to expand the size and functionality of your system (GT, panels, etc.). It is not always easy to expand a system for various reasons (adding new batteries to an old battery bank, finding new solar panels to match your existing string Vmp/Imp, needed to rewire strings as you add fractional numbers of solar panels, etc.).

    I understand the issues with cost (solar RE is not cheap)--but you need to have a good plan right from the start and try to avoid the problems that come from trying to install a system before you have everything planned out.

    Good luck--the first time is scary and confusing. Afterwords--you will be another expert on the board. ;)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    "Of course your right Niel, its not a war, but It seemed urgent to me, as time to buy is nearing. It was a ploy to attract attention. Now that I have it, may I ask, Is it worth the extra money to have a prewired inverter/junction box/with what ever else comes in those packages."

    i'm not so sure i like what you are insinuating here, that we would not have answered your questions without your waiving a false flag for the attention.
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Posts: 717Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    Definitely look into a Epanel from Midnite Solar it will make installation a breeze. Plus save you a bunch of money as well.
  • loteklotek Posts: 65Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    How much power will I use? . My wife and, spent a few years in the N. Ga. mountains without power at all. we finally got a power pole and used it to run a small frig, small tv, 2 lights and a shallow well pump, saving us daily trips to the spring. Our off grid house will have LP stove and LP on demand hot water heater, suplimented by wood stove, and soler water heating.
    I am over sizing the inverter, for the panels I will get, hoping the price will come down even more. For now 12 200W or 210W Sun or Evergreen blimished, from Sun Electronics (price is around $2.50 a watt for Sun now)Ill get the inverter there also + its close enough I can pic them up in Miami, saving a shipping charge.
    I figure my electric will be a 600 watt frig on a timer, 15 hrs a day. 360 watt LCD TV. 4 or 5 13 watt floresent lights and my computer, an energy hog @ 350 watts, that I will have to start booting up instead of leaving on. I also have a small LP generator I can run if Im over drawn. Im hoping that will keep me going till I can set up some PV's on trackers and some wind power. I am near hurricane zone so wind is a factor is with trackers .
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,054Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: inverter wars

    The Xantrex 6048 XW system may be way overkill for your off-grid application...

    However, price shock aside--It would be a very nice system for an off-grid home or one that may eventually go "grid tied/net metered".

    For the computer--if you can migrate much of your day to day work to a laptop type system--you could easily save 80-90% of its power use (if you can use a smaller system).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    Having the built in ability for charging from the LP generator and built in split-phase 120/240 is worth every penny ... its the right move getting the XW-6048, you will never regret that decision
  • crewzercrewzer Posts: 1,832Registered Users, Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars
    How much power will I use? . My wife and, spent a few years in the N. Ga. mountains without power at all. we finally got a power pole and used it to run a small frig, small tv, 2 lights and a shallow well pump, saving us daily trips to the spring. Our off grid house will have LP stove and LP on demand hot water heater, suplimented by wood stove, and soler water heating.
    I am over sizing the inverter, for the panels I will get, hoping the price will come down even more. For now 12 200W or 210W Sun or Evergreen blimished, from Sun Electronics (price is around $2.50 a watt for Sun now)Ill get the inverter there also + its close enough I can pic them up in Miami, saving a shipping charge.
    I figure my electric will be a 600 watt frig on a timer, 15 hrs a day. 360 watt LCD TV. 4 or 5 13 watt floresent lights and my computer, an energy hog @ 350 watts, that I will have to start booting up instead of leaving on. I also have a small LP generator I can run if Im over drawn. Im hoping that will keep me going till I can set up some PV's on trackers and some wind power. I am near hurricane zone so wind is a factor is with trackers .

    The 6,000 W XW is probably overkill for this application from many perspectives: features, size, weight, and price.

    See: http://store.solar-electric.com/nexaxwseinan.html

    OutBack's 24 V or 48 V off-grid inverter/chargers (models FX2524T throught VFX3648; 2,500 W through 3,600 W) will meet the OP's requirements just fine, including running off an LP generator. A single inverter is ~1/2 the weight, ~1/2 the size, and ~1/2 the cost of the XW.

    See: http://store.solar-electric.com/oupooffgrand.html

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,957Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars
    lotek wrote: »
    I am over sizing the inverter, for the panels I will get, hoping the price will come down even more. For now 12 200W or 210W Sun or Evergreen blimished,

    Be aware the XW6048 does NOT have solar PV inputs, you need a separate solar charge controller.
    Or if I missed that, and you knew it already, sorry.

    Mike
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Posts: 717Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: inverter wars

    Also going with the first post you mentioned grid tied so that would lean me towards the XW so you would have both inputs. the lack of true generator support on the outback grid tied inverter will be a shortcoming if you ever want to back up with a generator.

    If you will be fully offgrid then either unit will do a great job for you. i do think idle consumption may be higher on a pair of outbacks than the single XW.
Sign In or Register to comment.