|Xantrex XP-SOLAR 400-Watt Powerpack Solar Power Inverter|
Zantrex Solar power pack12/25/2007
This product seems to be well designed and of quality materials. The probably with my location (Midwest...) is the speed with which it recharges, relative to the sun. It's been in full sun for 3 days and it still shows 70% recharged. I'm sure that this will be faster turnaround in the summer. The panel comes off to facilitate a faster charge. The outlets and switches are very easy to use. Overall, I do however feel that this is a good buy.
Useful, But Does Not Perform Up To Specifications10/2/2007
If the Xantrex Xpower Powerpack Solar lived up to its specifications, I would rate it 5 stars and consider it well worth the money. That's why I bought it in the first place. Unfortunately, its performance falls short of the manufacturer's claims. <br/><br/> The overall design of the product is very nice. I had considered building something similar based on a how-to article in Popular Science, but the Powerpack is so nicely packaged for only a couple dollars more, I chose to buy it. <br/><br/> The Powerpack disappoints in the amount of energy stored in its battery that is available to power other electronic devices. The battery is specified as 12 volts and 10 amp-hours. As such, I was expecting to get as much as 120 watt-hours from it, but I barely get half that. <br/><br/> As a test, I fully charged the battery using the included AC adapter. By "fully", I mean the unit claimed to be charged. I then ran the built-in LED lights. The manual claims they should run for 48 hours. They ran 27.5 hours for me. <br/><br/> I assumed this performance reflected a bad unit and exchanged it. The new unit performs similarly. Either the battery in the unit performs poorly, or the electronics to monitor and control the battery state-of-charge are weak. <br/><br/> As another example of the poor performance, I charged the unit completely (again based on its built-in indicator that charging is done). It indicated 100 percent charge when I turned on the AC or DC output, but as soon as I plugged in any load, it almost immediately dropped to 70 or even 60 percent. Soon after the unit's indicator dropped to 40 percent, the unit shut itself down. <br/><br/> So, on the one hand, this is a nice unit to carry around, and it does slowly-but-surely charge the internal battery using the included 5 watt solar panel. It does a fine job charging cell phones and iPods, and a barely acceptable job charging a notebook computer. Compared to its specifications, and for that matter my previous experience with the Xantrex Powerpack Mobile Mini, however, the product is a disappointment.