Mar 28

PowerSource 1800: XPower vs Duracell, and How About that Solar Panel?

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 under Uncategorized | Comments are off

This post has been written in direct response to a couple of reader questions, so I’ll use a Q&A format here. As always, I welcome your questions or comments relating to solar backup systems!

Is there a difference between the Duracell and Xantrex PowerSource?
An obvious question, in view of the price difference (as of the date of this posting). I can only assume that larger orders and production runs account for the lower Duracell prices. The differences between the Duracell and Xantrex XPower PowerSource 1800 units are primarily cosmetic. The enclosures are vary slightly, and there is a minor difference in the units’ weights (58.2 lb. for Duracell versus 55 lb. for Xantrex). I assume the extra weight in the Duracell unit is due to a difference in batteries: while the Xantrex units are listed as having a 51 Ah sealed lead-acid battery, Duracell units are always listed as having three 17 Ah batteries. (I also have read that Solutions from Science units can be purchased with an optional battery capacities of up to 66 Ah.) I should tell you here that I have never looked inside either unit, but to investigate further, check out the links to manufacturer data sheets for each unit, below:

Xantrex XPower 852-1802:
(includes typical run-times for various home, office and emergency applications)
Xantrex XPower 852-1802 Manufacturer’s Data Sheet

Duracell 852-1807:
Duracell 852-1807 Manufacturer’s Data Sheet

Regarding Solar Equipped units: As I’ve mentioned previously, Solutions from Science units are retrofitted with a Morningstar Sunsaver 6, a 6 amp, 12 volt charge controller, and a receptacle for the cord from the 90 watt solar panel. The Ecotricity units (from Earthtech Products) feature an 80 watt solar panel.

Does the single solar panel really provide enough recharging power?
Well, that really depends on many factors, not the least of which is your particular application, and “peak” sun hours for your location. The average peak sun hours for the U.S. is 5 hours per day. Solutions from Science claims that it takes the 90 watt mono-crystal solar panels 5 to 7 hours to recharge the batteries on a sunny day in northern Illinois. This compares favorably to times required to recharge the batteries using the 5 amp internal AC charger, built into the PowerSource unit, from a 100% discharge level: that recharge time is 15 hours. But note that it is best never to discharge the batteries below the 50% level, to extend the life of your batteries. From 50% discharge, charging from the internal AC charger is a more reasonable 7 hours. To understand if there will be enough stored power for your particular application, it is best to study run-time charts. You’ll find run-time charts in the Xantrex XPower data sheet.

Thank you again for the questions! As always, I look forward to further discussion of solar backup systems at My Solar Backup Depot. To comment on a particular post, simply click on that post’s title, and scroll to the bottom of the page where it says, “Leave a Reply.”

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