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Better DC to AC inverter: Tripplite or Xantrex?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Jun 9, 2005.

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  1. Guest

    My situation:

    I'm driving across the country and want to get a power inverter for my
    laptop and cell phone so I can use them with my car (I'll be camping,
    not staying in hotels, so need someway to keep them charged). I don't
    want get DC adaptors for each because:
    -it would be more expensive
    -the power inverter could be useful in the future for other
    -the efficiency loss of DC to AC to DC doesn't bother me - I can just
    turn the car on and recharge the battery

    I don't think I need a pure sine wave inverter because the AC adaptors
    should regulate the PWM = modified sine wave = modified square wave (or
    whatever you want to call it) output well enough. They are also way
    more expensive.

    So I've done some research and narrowed my choices down to power
    inverters by tripplite and xantrex. Specifically, the

    xantrex prowatt 150

    and tripplite 175

    So I'm trying to figure out if there is any difference between the
    different manufacturers for these. Does one have a reputation for
    using better components? Anything in the technical specifications I
    should look for? They seem like they are basically the same. Any
    experience with either of these?

    Thanks for any help!

  2. I have been real happy with my Vector 175. Since you need at least two
    outlets you might opt for the Vector 400.

    Brohms was a good company to deal with too.

  3. TheAlligator

    TheAlligator Guest

  4. Ron Tock

    Ron Tock Guest

    I agree with Alli. I use the TrippLite 300 and I like.
    The only time I had a problem was at at party once when I tried to power a
    stereo DC amp with it.
    It didn't work and I think it was the output wave configuration of the
    inverter vs. the DC amp.
    Works great with everything else.
    Just my .02 FWTW.
  5. Ben Hogland

    Ben Hogland Guest

    Running a typical laptop or cell phone adapter should work well with
    nearly all modified sinewave inverters. Running a TV is a different
    story due to picking up noise on the broadcast channels. You might
    consider one of the smaller inverters that has the DC plug built right
    into the body of the inverter. They have those and many other type
    inverters on eBay for next to nothing. I bought one of them for 10 bucks
    including shipping and it works great. Look here for example:

  6. b b

    b b Guest

    We've had a Tripplite 300 watt unit for over 4 years. It works fine for
    everything we use it for (19" TV, computer, cellphone, charging AA
    batteries, charging family radios, running electric drill, jig saw and
    soldering gun). It did require a short direct connection to the house
    batteries to run the TV, and then requires several attempts to start the
    TV before it holds and runs it for many hours. The weak point on this
    unit is the cooling fan, similar to an old computer CPU cooling fan but
    smaller in size. It has needed lubrication twice to prevent noisy
    operation and failure to start...accomplished by removing the cover
    screws, sliding the fan out (and vacuuming the dust out of the unit at
    the same time). The fan has a circular label on the center of the rotor
    that covers a bushing. Slicing the label center with an X, pulling it
    back exposes the bushing allowing a drop of oil to be inserted. Cover
    the slice with a circle of plastic electrical tape. It lasts a year.

    We'd buy another Tripplite product.
    Barrie B
  7. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Husky brand. 500w, 650 surge. Sam's Club/Cosco $28. Comes with
    battery clips for higher amp needs. Use mine for exact same purpose.
    Beat to hell & back, still ticking.
  8. Personally, I would get a 300 to 500 watt unit, you should be able to
    get one for under $50, and not worry too much about the brand. You
    can't draw more than about 300 watts (absolute tops) from the cigarette
    lighter (even 300 watts may blow the fuse), anything more will require
    direct connection to the car battery with heavy wires. But I like the
    idea of having the extra capacity. The membership stores (Sams, BJ's,
    Price Club, Costco) have these at very good prices.

    One other option, for $30 or less you can get an APC 350VA UPS. Take
    out the battery, make up a cable from the UPS battery connectors to a
    cigarette lighter plug, and you have your 110vac source. Later you can
    revert it back to a UPS. Before you leave, however, be sure to connect
    the UPS to a computer that has the APC management software installed,
    and configure the UPS to be silent, otherwise it will "beep" every few
    seconds and drive you nuts. Also be sure that it's one of the later APC
    models that will start with no AC line power present. Some of their
    early models could not be used as emergency power sources unless they
    were plugged into a live wall outlet first. Fortunately they fixed that
    a couple of years ago, and all of the current models can do a cold startup.
  9. J. Clarke

    J. Clarke Guest

    Tripp-Lite has been around for a very long time as a manufacturer of power
    equipment and their stuff is generally pretty good. That said, the only
    piece of computer-room equipment that I have ever personally seen catch
    fire was from Tripp-Lite, but there's so much of it around that I'd be
    surprised if it was any other brand.
  10. Guest

    do the xantrex have replaceable fuses or are they soldered in?
  11. Guest

    So it turns out both the xantrex and the vector inverters don't have
    replaceable fuses. (well they ar replaceable but you have to take the
    cover off and all that soldering nonsense..). I ended up getting a
    cheap vector 400 from tweeter. I tried it out in my car the other day,
    and my multimeter was giving me readings of 90V in one car and 105V in
    another car. I am wondering if this is bad ( I was expecting 120V..)
    and whether this is the fault of the cars (both of them?) or the
    inverter? Should I not try and run devices on such low power? Should
    I return this cheap thing and get a better one?
  12. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    First, try to find a "true RMS" meter. Your inverter probably has a square
    or modified square wave output, and your meter is possibly reading
    "average" instead of RMS; AFAIK the "average" to "RMS" ratio is different
    for a square wave than a sine wave.

    For a quick test, plug in an ordinary lamp. If the output is really that
    low, the lamp will be way dim.

    Good Luck!
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