Power Inverter & Solar Blog

Farm Inverter

Electric Pump on the Farm Makes Watering the Animals a Breeze!

“Hauling water from one of our three ponds to the cages of our animals was a serious pain. If our kids had gotten in trouble recently, it was easy to give them that daily chore, but when it’s on my shoulders, I’d much rather use an electric pump.”

-Ken W., Claremore, Oklahoma.

We live on a 20-acre farm about 15 miles north of Tulsa, Oklahoma. When we built our home 22 years ago, we had the builders dig out 3 ponds on our property. With the amount of rain we get annually, the ponds stay full (or even overflowing) most years. It’s nice to have natural water to give to our farm animals rather than having to pull from our well. As our farm started growing, I quickly knew that hauling buckets of water to the various animal cages was going to become more and more tedious. The cows and horses have one of the ponds within their five-acre fence. But the pigs, pheasants, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, guineas and llamas all need to be watered every other day, at least, during the summer.

I started using a beat-up, gas-powered pump from a neighbor as I was putting together a rudimentary watering system with hoses running to each of the cages. However, it was a pain to start and sputtered out about halfway through the job usually. Not enjoying my experience with the gas-powered setup, I moved to an electric pump. All of the cages are pretty far from our house so we aren’t disturbed by the sounds (and smells) of all the animals. Running a series of extension cords isn’t an option for getting power to the pump.

I bought a power inverter last summer from Inverters R Us and rigged up a system that works easily for me. We have a couple of four-wheelers in the barn (one for the kids to play with and one for farm work). I have a box on the back that stores the power inverter and battery; this box keeps the setup dry in the rain. Then I have a small rack next to the box for when I need to strap on the water pump and go to the next pond. I keep plastic hosing going to each cage and it’s as simple as hooking the pump to the pond hose and then attaching the correct hose leading to each animal cage. The only thing I have to watch for is the animals knocking the hose from the fitting over their water troughs; the pigs are notorious for this, so I keep moving it higher and higher on the fence.

I’ve been using this setup for about 8 months now with no issues. Plus, now that I have invested in the power inverter and battery, I think I’ll work next at rigging something that lets me thaw the trough water for the animals during the frigid winter months, like now. For this, I’m still resorting to a pickaxe and hammer to break the top layer of ice each day. This method gets pretty miserable, but as long as one of our teenage boys continues to get in trouble periodically, I can punish them with this labor-intensive chore; it’s good for their character.

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Inverter for Ghost Hunting

Power Inverter Runs Ghost Hunting Equipment

You can’t find the ghosts without the right equipment. And once you find them, you can’t document them if all of your recording equipment is out of power. I’m not willing to take any chances, so I always carry a power inverter on my outings.”

-Ron H., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

From a series of digital video and audio recorders to motion sensors and electromagnetic field detectors, my team uses a lot of gear on our ghost hunts. Unlike the TV shows that make their money by providing drama and convincing advertisers to buy spots, we ghost-hunt only as a hobby for ourselves. Therefore, what counts to us is catching something on record; that’s what lights us up.

The destinations we travel to include abandoned mine shafts, ghost towns, old railroad yards, decommissioned hospitals and prisons, ancient churches and other desolate locations. Most of the places we hunt for ghosts are far away from functioning power outlets. Since we have so much electronic equipment with short battery life, we need to be close to reliable power. Dragging a bulky gas-powered generator is not appropriate for what we do, as you can imagine. So, we’ve fashioned a mobile cart that has a high capacity pure sine wave power inverter and three deep-cycle batteries connected to one another, otherwise called a “parallel.” This compact cart comes in handy when we are traveling down a narrow mine shaft or trying to navigate the attic of an old building without having it collapse.

Having this reliable source of power allows us to focus on our mission instead of worrying when the next time we’ll be able to recharge the batteries in our equipment. There’s a lot to juggle while out on a hunt, so the fewer things we have to worry about, the better.

With our power inverter, all we have to remember before we head out is to fully charge the three deep-cycle batteries. Other than that, there’s no maintenance, no gasoline to purchase and nothing to forget.

We love what we do and we love being able to focus on what excites us rather than whether or not our equipment will work. This is the hobby we chose and we’re always looking for ways to make it more enjoyable. One major way was purchasing the power inverter and letting go of the worry of not having power. From now on, we’ll always have power … as long as we don’t forget to recharge the batteries before our trip. If so, we might find ourselves in a compromising situation when our electric lights go out.

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Inverter for Air Compressor

Power Inverter Runs His Repair Van’s Large Air Compressors

I purchased the 5000 watt inverter along with the “bigger is better” battery for our mobile repair van. The primary use of the equipment, as can be seen in the attached picture, is for changing out tires on some commercial work trucks. (IRU Note: We lost the picture during the great server swap of 2016…sorry about that).

The main trick to make this “gasoline free” setup was to find a “continuous run” compressor that was capable of around 10cfm. Continuous run is important because the required amperage never really exceeds 19amps whereas your regular compressors stop compressing when a certain air pressure is achieved. The problem is that when you run the air pressure down on one of those regular compressors, the amperage to start compressing again can be huge, possibly exceeding the capacity of the inverter (it really depends upon the size of the compressor motor). We do need to be careful of one thing though, and that is that we must empty the air tanks after every use. Starting the compressor with air already in the tank is the same as the situation just mentioned for those regular compressors but its good practice to do this anyway to prevent moisture buildup in the tanks.

Soooo, for you techies out there that have been considering a setup like this and wondering if it would work, well I’m here to tell you that it does. And the battery really seems to hold its charge for quite a while. At this point, we just charge the battery in the shop when necessary but we are considering running it off the vehicles alternator with a switch.

If it wasn’t for this inverter and monster battery, none of this would have been possible.

Thanks Inverters R US!

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Remote Cabin Inveter

Cobra Power Inverter Runs Remote Cabin in Baja, Mexico

A customer of Inverters R Us recently wrote us and shared his power inverter setup. He uses the Cobra CPI-2590 inverter to power the entire cabin and a water pump. If you would like to share YOUR inverter setup with us, please use this form and we will send you a $10 Starbucks card for your efforts!  If you have any questions about the Cobra 2500 watt mentioned in the example below, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

 

The System is located in the high sierra of Baja, Mexico in a very remote location. Power inverter is a Cobra 2500 watt modified sine wave unit with a MorningStar 45 amp MPPT charge controller. The equipment is mounted in a weather proof cabinet outside on a wall under a large overhanging eve just above the battery bank. A remote on-off switch is located inside the house as is an extension USB cable. The inverter powers the cabin, submersible water pump and has provided energy to complete the construction of the interior of the dwelling. It has remarkably powered worm drive, heavy duty saws, rotary hammer drills, charged cordless power tools and all manner of finish carpentry power tools. I am very impressed with the durability and quality of the machine and highly recommend it. This is the 4th such installation in the past year. Cobra rocks!

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Pellet Inverter

Our Power Inverter Lets Us Demonstrate Our Pellet Grills at Farmers Markets & Fairs!

“We sell our electronic wood-pellet grills at shows all over the country and we don’t always know if we will have access to electricity, so we always bring our power inverter.” -Michael D.Z., Wichita, Kansas

We developed a BBQ that grills meat and vegetables and produces flavors people have likely never experienced before: slow-cooked spare ribs that melt off the bone, whole juicy chickens that produce enticing aromas and cedar-plank salmon that makes non-seafood lovers fall for fish. Our small wood-pellet grills use electricity to feed the wood pellets into the fire, regulate heat and present LED displays. Our audience of potential buyers can be found at fairs, home-and-garden shows, boat shows, cookout events and farmers markets. We travel a lot to be a part of these shows and markets, and we see a lot of different types. If it’s a show we’ve never done before, we don’t always know how accessible power will be. Or, even worse, sometimes the coordinators charge extra for power. So, we always bring our own power inverters.

When people approach our booth, they expect two things: 1. To see how our grill works. 2. Free food.

If we don’t have power, we can’t show off our grills. We wouldn’t be able to fill the area with delicious smells and captivate the hungry stomachs of those who pass by. No one is going to buy a grill if they can’t see how it works or taste some flavorful food grilled on it. It’s one thing to talk about how great something is; it’s quite another to let them smell, see and taste it.

With our power inverters, we can hook up normal deep-cycle batteries and have mobile power wherever we go. The power from our pure sine power inverters provide us with electricity that’s nearly identical to the electricity that comes out of electrical outlets. It’s easy as can be. We simply make sure our batteries have a full charge before we head out, then we set up our booth so we can plug right into the power inverters, which are converting power from the batteries. Because we like to have multiple grills spread out (so we can cook different dishes simultaneously for our audience), we elected to go with multiple power inverters; we bought two. Each of them pulls from it’s own battery bank. We could have ran a  larger bank of batteries with one power inverter with a higher capacity, but we decided against it in case we needed to do two separate shows on the same day. If that’s the case, we can both take one inverter.

If the show provides power, we simply leave the power inverters in the trailer. After all, if free power is available from the show, we’re going to us it!

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Inverter for Ice FIshing

Upgrade Your Ice Fishing Cabin, Use Quiet & Clean Power!

Power for Our Ice Fishing Cabin Without the Fumes and Noise

 “Winters in Minnesota may be frigid cold, but that doesn’t stop the fish from biting. Our ice-fishing cabin has been in our family for 35 years. Getting out there lets you get away from it all, which is incredible … as long as the cabin stays warm and the Minnesota Wild games play on the TV.”

-Matt S., Mahnomen, Minnesota

 

Our ice-fishing cabin is located on the west side of the Lake of the Woods, between Long Point—in the United States—and Buffalo Point—in Canada. During the summer the lake melts and we drag the cabin on “skis” back to dry land until the next deep freeze hits. My father and grandfather built the cabin 35 years ago and it remains in great shape. The insulation is top notch and the small upgrades we’ve made over the years continue to make it a more enjoyable getaway. We have a wood-block table for setting up a small stove to heat coffee, a few chairs that stack up out of the way if no one is using them and there’s even a small cot that folds down from one of the walls if you need to lie down.

 

For years everyone was content with listening to a battery-powered radio, talking, playing cards and having a couple drinks while we fished. However, the nonstop shivering made the experience less tolerable, especially if you wanted to stay more than a couple hours. My dad used a kerosene heater, which worked fine for a while, but it acted up quite a bit and the odor of kerosene keeps fish away (if you get it on your hands and then tie your bait on). When that heater finally blew its last flame, we looked into other options, namely electric heaters. Knowing we didn’t want a rattling, fume-y, gasoline-powered generator, we looked into battery power. It made complete sense to pull power from a deep-cycle battery that could perform in cold temperatures, and to do so all we needed was a power inverter, to convert the DC battery power into AC power for using various electronics, like space heaters and lights. We bought our power inverter from Inverters R Us, they had a ton of different options.

 

Since our inverter had plenty of power, I started bringing other electronic devices and more batteries with me when I’d visit the cabin. During hockey season, I now bring a small TV with a satellite dish and receiver so I can watch the Minnesota Wild games. These days, when I go out to the cabin with my son, we are warm, we have hockey, we can cook lunch on a hot plate and drink coffee and hot chocolate while we fish. So, as long as the fish are biting, we’re staying put. Plus, mom doesn’t really want us home unless we’re bringing a catch of walleye or sauger for frying.

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Boat Dock Inverter

Power Inverter Runs Boat Dock Lift, Fans & Lights!

After three years of building and going way over budget, our dream house on the marsh was finally finished. We had a wide open view of the inter-coastal waterway and constructed a shared walkway with our neighbor to our dock house with boat lift. Our walkway is 1400 feet in length.

Running water there was not difficult but electricity was another matter. The electrician said it would be over eight thousand dollars just run the electric to the dock. Connecting the lift motors and outlets was additional. We looked for another alternative. That’s when I came across Inverters R Us

We had two 12A 120 Volt motors to run a 10,000 lb lift in addition to any power tools ( we had to finish the screen porch) and lights.

I decided to purchase the Aims 5000 watt inverter, two lifeline GPL-8DL batteries and a air X marine wind generator. This was the only inverter I could find that could theoretically supply the over 30 Amp initial motor startup current by only using one plug tied to the motor control box. I was told that the four outlets could support up to 40 Amps either together or individually.

Well after a couple days of receiving my goodies in the mail we had it hooked up to try. To my surprise the lift motors started and ran just fine. I was able to raise and lower the lift about ten times before I received that irritating chirping telling me the voltage was too low in the batteries. As it turned out the limiting factor in my whole setup laid in the generating of power.

While there is always a breeze across the marsh, most of the time the amperage generated was between 2 to 4 . I finally added a 120W solar panel which significantly helped to recharge the batteries. We can now run lights and ceiling fan whenever we want at the dock area. It sure would be nice to run a tv or computer out there. To be safe we would need to use a true sine wave inverter for this equipment. Well maybe some day.

Rick McEwan

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Prius Power Inverter

Prius Owner Runs Power Inverter For Days After Storm!

Written by: Inverters R Us Customer, G.V.

I own a Toyota Prius. It has a 12-Volt battery, but it’s not under the hood; it’s in the passenger compartment, next to the spare tire. That makes it easy to permanently install an inverter next to the battery. It’s a bit tight, but you can fit a small inverter between the battery and the spare tire, and you can attach it to the body of the car with self-piercing metal screws after drilling small pilot holes in the body.

I did this for the first time several years ago with my first Prius. I replaced that car this past Summer with a new Prius and, soon after taking my new Prius home, I installed an inverter in it. The installation requires sawing away a piece of the styrofoam baskets that hold the tools. It felt a little strange taking a saw to my brand-new car, but it was for a good cause.

The Prius engine, as in most hybrid cars, does not idle in the conventional sense. The high-voltage traction battery powers the car under normal conditions without the engine running. The engine starts from time to time and runs for a few seconds, as needed to keep the traction battery charged. The engine in my Prius runs for only about thirty seconds every five minutes or so when it’s in “Park” with no accessories turned on.

The Prius has a 12-Volt electrical subsystem for compatibility with conventional cars. That way, it can use standard components such as light bulbs, windshield-wiper motor, etc. that are made for automotive use. However, unlike conventional cars, it does not have an alternator mechanically coupled to the engine for recharging the 12-Volt battery. Instead, there is a DC-DC converter that emulates the behavior of an alternator. Whenever the car system is “on” the DC-DC converter draws power from the traction battery to charge the 12-Volt battery; the voltage across the 12-Volt battery is kept at a constant 14.1 Volt when the car is “on”, as would be in a conventional car with the engine idling. In the Prius, this is so regardless of whether or not the engine is actually running.

I had to decide how big an inverter I could attach to the 12-Volt battery without overloading the 12-Volt system. In a conventional car, the 12-Volt battery has to be large enough to start the engine, and the alternator must be powerful enough to recharge that battery; but, in the Prius, the 12-Volt battery is much smaller because it does not have to start the engine. How much power can I safely draw without damaging the system? I approached the problem in two different ways. First, I located the circuit diagram for the Prius and I found that the 12-Volt system is protected by a 150A fuse. Certainly, I should not exceed (or even get close) to that limit. Second, I estimated how much current might be drawn, under normal conditions, by the car’s subsystems: headlights, audio system, rear-window heater, A/C fan, etc. If I don’t use any of those while I am using the inverter, that power is available for the inverter. I decided that I could probably draw nearly 1000W without trouble. This corresponds to a current of about 85A at 14V, assuming 85% for inverter efficiency.

I bought an 1100 watt inverter  for around $100, the price even included heavy-gauge wires!

As I mentioned, the inverter can be permanently installed in a Prius right next to the 12-Volt battery. This is good because the wires can be made very, very short: one wire is 6″ long and the other wire is 10″ long. With such short wires, the voltage that the inverter sees, even under heavy load, is virtually the same as the voltage across the battery; essentially, the inverter always gets a solid 14V when the car is turned on. This gives the inverter a good operating margin and makes it better able to handle surges with high efficiency. One thing to be careful about: one should remove the styrofoam baskets when operating the inverter to make sure that there is adequate air circulation for cooling.

I completed the installation this past Summer, shortly after buying my new Prius and… two weeks ago, on October 29, hurricane Sandy arrived (I live in NJ, near the coast). We were lucky not to suffer major damage, but we lost power, together with some six million of our neighbors.

When the lights went out, I had already set up my Prius in our detached garage, with a cable running from the inverter to our breaker box. All I had to do was to start the car, throw the transfer switch in the breaker box, turn on the inverter, and voila’ the lights were on. Well, to be honest, before getting to that point I had to turn off quite a few things in the house. After all, 1100W is not exactly a lot of power for an entire house; but in the following days we were able to have a relatively normal life with refrigerator, hot water, heat, lights, internet and television, all on 1100W!

We didn’t leave the house for over a week, but through our television we were able to see the incredible devastation that had swept our area. It was sobering and very sad to see how many people had lost so much. Our immediate neighborhood was lucky because no-one suffered major damage or injuries, but we were out of power for many days, and ours was the only house with lights on.

On the second day after the storm, we invited our neighbors over for dinner. People brought food that was spoiling in their refrigerator. Everybody was happy to meet their friends, enjoy some warmth, recharge cellphones, and watch TV. Most of our neighbors had not yet seen images of the storm’s damage. They were stunned.

After a couple of days of outage, some of our neighbors got generators. And then the gas shortage came. That’s when I realized that the Prius-with-inverter set-up had a major advantage over a generator that I had not envisioned: I had filled the Prius tank the day before the storm, and, by the time power was restored several days later, I still had almost half a tank of gas left. And I had kept the inverter on without interruption, 24 hours a day, through the entire power outage. My neighbors with generators were going through a five-gallon can of gasoline in less than a day!

The one inconvenience with my inverter was that, whenever I overloaded it, it turned itself off to avoid damage, and I had to manually reset it. This is normal behavior for an inverter, but it happened frequently, especially at the beginning as I figured out what loads it could and could not handle. We have a detached garage, which is good because I could leave the car turned on without fear of fumes entering the house; but resetting the inverter involved going from the house to the garage every time it happened. I had to do it many times during the height of the storm, and I confess that being outdoors at that time was rather terrifying.

So, when things went back to normal, I went on the inverters-r-us web site and I found, to my delight, that they sell inverters with a remote switch!! I quickly ordered one. I made sure that the size is small enough to fit in the space available in the Prius. Now, when the next storm comes, I will have power and I can trip the inverter as many times as I want without having to go out in the storm to reset it!

Click here to see some PSW inverters that will work with a Prius!

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CPAP Power Inverter

CPAP User Sleeps Easy Using A Power Inverter!

I’m no different than the others; MY inverter is a life saver…. The main thing I use my AIMS inverter, is to power my CPAP machine at night, (cpap is for sleep apnea) it is invaluable, we were unable to rough camp prior to buying an inverter, as I must have 110v to run it, and the whole idea of rough camping is the quiet and solitude, (running a generator is neither quiet nor by any means solitude).

This has free’d up my life, allowing us to go anyplace, and enjoy the great outdoors. During the day, our inverter is used for radio, and or TV, we have the best of both worlds!

I wish to thank you for making this possible, you have provided a venue that allows everyone to enjoy the uses of an inverter, by offering pure sine wave power inverters at a reasonable price, and with great quality too!

Now with the price of gas gone shy high, this allows us to use battery power, instead of firing up the genset, again, saving money and helping everyone enjoy the great outdoors!
One additional feature that we recently experienced was a power outage, for over 12hrs!

I was able to use my inverter, connected to a battery, and get my much needed beauty sleep (I’m 56yrs old, and my wife says I’m crazy, that nothing will ever help!).

Thanks!

L. Wxxxxxxx

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Inverter Powered Mobile Landscaping

Running a Mobile Landscape Business on Battery Power

“I’ve operated my own landscaping business for five years. During the summer two years ago a client asked if I ever thought about moving my business toward solar power—something I’d never considered … but it piqued my interest.”

-Craig V., Albuquerque, New Mexico

The more I thought about running a solar-powered landscaping business, the more I wanted to really do it. I can’t say there aren’t some discouraging obstacles in the way, most notably cost, as battery-powered power tools for landscaping typically run significantly more expensive. The other drawback is the loss of power. Sometimes the horsepower needed to complete a job can only come from gas-powered equipment. But, the more I started considering all the types of jobs my business provided, the more I identified as being possible with tools ran by man power, like shovels, hand trimmers and shears. Sure, it might take a little more effort and a little more time, but if it’s something my clients value, that’s what I want to stand for.

This year, I’ve taken big steps toward this solar vision by purchasing a panel of batteries and a power inverter. I’ve also sold many of my gas-powered tools and moved toward battery-powered options. We also invested in the nicest “man-power” hand tools as well. I’ve shared this vision with my clients and some of them are very encouraging, while some of them don’t seem to care as long as the job gets done correctly. I have received more referrals this year than any year prior, and they all mention how they value a company that’s taking efforts to reduce its “carbon footprint.”

Sure, I haven’t installed both of our trailers with solar panels, voltage regulators and sufficient battery backups, but that will happen in phases. For now, both of our trailers have more battery-powered or electric tools than gas-powered tools, which is a great start. I have battery setups that provide power that is converted through a power inverter. We plug in our electric tools and use heavy-duty extension cords to get the job done. A few of our clients have even volunteered their own home’s electricity while we work on their landscaping, which I didn’t see coming. It’s amazing that a number of our clients will now pay a little more for our services AND let us pull power from their homes while we work. I never saw that as possible. Plus, our savings in gasoline purchases alone has really cut down our overhead.

Moving to solar is a big investment, but I am really excited in the direction my small landscaping business is headed.

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