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Home Forums Technical Discussion Inverter & battery setup for small cabin

This topic contains 6 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  suited72 2 years, 8 months ago.

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    I have a very small cabin in Colorado that is off the grid and currently I have nothing there to provide any kind of power.  I’m needing advice on a good inverter to buy that would primarily provide power for nite time lighting and possibly a small electric cooler or refrigerator.  Where do I start?




    Just my 2 cents… Stay with DC.

    A simple battery bank, Solar Panels, LED lights, a DC fridge.

    No worries !




    im with hkalan on this one
    im slowly converting my whole place to 12 vdc



    having lived on a boat for many years, and having been completely devoted to 12V living, I have to say that you should consider going with all 110V rather than 12V. The market for 12V devices is somewhat smaller than the market for 110V so your equipment costs for 110V devices will be lower – fans, lights, and especially equipment like refrigerators, pumps, and other more sophisticated devices. Try finding a 12V blender – they exist but $$. It is hard to know what your needs might be, but if you get a somewhat oversized inverter, you will have it all covered.

    Since you are starting small, you can invest more in solar panels and not buy the expensive MPPT controller. Buy an inverter that is oversized and hook it to your batteries. The battery bank should be sized for using only about 30% of rated amp-hour capacity because 1. you do not want to draw it down below 50% and 2. your basic solar panel connection will not often get the batteries over 80% charged if you are using it regularly. If you find yourself using more power than planned, an MPPT controller upgrade later and more battery-bank is a potential upgrade. You can always use some 12V devices directly from battery power, but you will notice that you need much bigger wire for the 12V circuits than you would need for 110V so that is another mark in favor of 110V.



    I think making use of solar energy is your best choice. Consult with an electrical expert or if you are confident enough, you can buy solar panels, batteries and charge controller and try to make it your own. Use solar panels for charging the batteries and connect them to the inverter. Try to find necessary utilizes less power as possible, which will better for an off-grid cabin. A few years back, I owned a small cabin which was off the grid too. I used solar panels, batteries and stativolt inverters made by staticon and never had any issues with power for my limited needs.



    Make a decision from the start on which way to go. I’ve been total 12 volt for over 15 yrs. and everything has been designed around it. It would be an expensive change for me at this point..

    I knew from the beginning  that I was going to be a 12 volt system and I built everything practically by myself. (Light Fixtures, Audio/Video, Security, ect..) I use propane fridges but I could convert to d.c. units. It’s one of my goals in the future but at the time that I was building, propane was easier. I was limited by money and I already had the fridges. I don’t need to invest yet because everything is working just fine..

    I like my D.C. system because it’s simple. (Charge Controller, Battery, Panels) Less to fail. If you become reliant on an inverter and it dies, it can upset your whole world. With a D.C. system, you’ll know if there are any issues long before a total loss of power happens. You have no need for an immediate back-up because you can still function as long as the battery holds out. If you have a back-up charging system for the battery, (Generator/Charger) you have more time to fix things with everything operating normally. If your battery goes down, well, you should have known that long before it actually happens..

    I do use one inverter. It’s a 400 watt unit and I use it on a few things that I didn’t design for or can’t run directly from the battery. (Soldering Iron, Hot Glue Gun, Charger for my Hand Power Tools) Beyond those few things, everything else is direct to the battery..

    I have the blessing of a technical background and my situation became a living experiment. I wanted to see what I could accomplish with a 12 v.d.c. system. I have everything I need, including a 74″ projection video system with surround sound. Had an issue with a ground loop problem between the DVD player (HDMI) and the projector operating from the same battery. I had to build a separate solar power system to operate the DVD/Sound System! It’s been a fun adventure..



    I can vouch for these (sorry this is a UK link)

    I use the 48v 4000W version and 8 x  6V Trojan 225ah batteries with 6 x 250W panels. the inverter was a gamble but turned out to be well made.


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