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How big is the battery?
It can vary in size depending upon your needs (within reason of course).  The suggestion is a deep cell marine type battery (or series of batteries).  And of course an appropriate inverter.
Ah, this is just a how to, not something you made. I've built a couple of solar projects
I bought a Duracell solar power battery set up a few years ago which got me interested in how they were made.  So I looked around prophet youtube and found some pretty interesting set ups.
I think people make solar out to be more complicated than it is. However, you really need to think about what you are using it for. Inverters are extremely in efficient in the grand scheme of things, so the more items you can run directly off 12v the better. (which isn't hard to do). I made a jumper box with USB ports, cig lighter socket and binding posts for my ham radio with Anderson Power pole to connect to this 80ah that I have.. I do have a small inverter for the items that I can't think of now (probably TV and tools)

I have a xantrex power pack (which is probably what you are describing also). and I think they are fantastic. Battery and inverter in one housing that can be charged with a small folding solar panel that I have.

If any lurkers out there are wondering about any of this stuff, let me know and I'll get into more details
This is what I purchased:

[Image: 511YzJSVT2L.jpg]

Figure it's enough for some lights or a fan or charging up other stuff.
yup. that's what I have. I really like it. The battery inside isn't huge, but it's come in handy several times for things
Other options are welcome  Smile
So I try to be realistic about things. I believe in having the right tool for the right job, even if that means going 'smaller'.

So in my opinion, the power pack above (Xantrex, or rebranded Duracell) are really great, as long as you keep in mind WHAT they will power and for how LONG. For example, I've used it to run a soldering iron for a field repair, battery charger for tools in a truck, and for SnP purposed, as a lantern.. How so? Well, a $6 clamp on flood light with a 15 watt CF bulb in it, clamped to the handle on the top will light up my entire apartment and run for hours on end. I've used the jump starter feature a handful of times also when my car died and I didn't want to wait on a friend to come over. I think if you are an apartment dweller (thus, low power needs) and you're just looking for small, basic power requirements you can't go wrong with one. Add a small solar panel and you've got a pretty cheap but useable package.

Now, for the good stuff.

Xantrex makes a larger version of that same unit. It's on wheels, and has a 55 amp battery instead of a 27. It has a larger power inverter inside of it and the marketing hype I read said that it is intended to be used to run refrigerators during blackouts for a few hours here and there to stop the food from thawing, instead of using a generator.

Ok, cool idea.

Here's the problem:

They are $600 or more

http://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-XPower-Por...V8QE3C5GED


So yeah, you might be able to get one or two cycled to keep your fridge cool, but then it's dead and your dead in the water.

This is the same problem I have with the goal zero products. If you look at them very closely, they actually have a very small amp hour capacity (gas tank) and a fairly small inverter output, and they are expensive for what they are. The Xantrex power pack 600 shown above (the orange one with the handle) is a fairly decent deal if you take into consideration the cost of the battery, charger, inverter and the housing.

What I'm getting at is, for $600 for the Xantrex 1500, you're getting very near the cost of a small generator that would run a whole lot more items for a whole lot longer period of time.

OR, what I would do, is make my own version... which would cost me a little more, but get me a lot more capacity

wheeled garden cart (looks like a red flyer kids wagon. or hell, use a red flyer wagon). $100
two 6v golf cart batteries from sams club. $150 They are 200 amp hours. Even if you couldn't find them, a centrex AGM battery around 100 amp hours is about the same price.
Battery charger (between $20 and $100, depending on speed. I'm using one from Harbor freight which was about $50)
Power inverter. Again, you can spend what you want to spend. A full sine wave is $300 ish

http://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-806-1210-P...1WM0TTJVGY

If you didn't need pure sign wave, (most people don't) then you can get a 1500 watt inverter for $150 ish.

some wires and straps and such.

So, for about the same cost, I've now created something that gives me 4 times the run time. It's not as portable due to weight, but so what?

Also, for the power connections, if you stop to really think about it, most of the things you're going to want to run are going to be 12v anyway (phones, radio equipment, lights, laptop). Do you really want to be running your 42" TV and blue ray player and attracting the neighbors?

Then, as an addition, (but as a last item), then I'd add a solar panel. The solar is for a real, true end of the world situation where you wont be expecting to get AC back to use your normal battery charger. If you have 200 amp hours of battery and you're careful with it, I bet you could go a week before they died. .

If this is of any interest to anyone, I can post pictures of my setup that's doing this. After doing a lot of digging and thinking about my actual usage, I bought a Cobra 400/800 watt inverter with USB for about $40.
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