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Unread 07-14-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
FattyMac
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Default Pondering Pellet Pooper Power

I've done some searching here and at the FEC Owner's forum and I have some questions.

The first thing that I am confused about is whether it is ok to use a modified sine wave inverter.

Some seem to advocate only pure sine wave, while others see to have had no problems running modified. I am hesitant to hook up my expensive IQ4 FEC100 to something that may damage it. I have been running my treager off of a power pack (THIS ONE) and I have noticed that the fan seems to run a little faster and as a result the unit runs a little hotter. Also the digital display with the temp will flicker between temperatures every few seconds. I assume this is due to the power pack not providing a very good wave form.

I am sold on the merits of a combo inverter/charger. I am considering purchasing this unit:
http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/257/p/1/pt/8/product.asp

I understand that the FEC100 takes about 450 Watts at start up and about 100 watts after it's going and the treager is similar so this unit might be a little bit of over kill but it something that I can grow into and use for lights or what ever else I may need.

So what say you Brethren, am I on the right track?
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Unread 07-14-2010, 09:09 PM   #2
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I just bought the Xantrex that you posted. The AC side has to be hard wired so I haven't installed it yet. i used a different inverter/charger with a modified sine wave output for two years with my FEC-100 without issues. The inverter died and the manufacturer told me that their policy was not to repair out of warranty units, so I bought from someone else.

I also asked the folks at Hearthland Products who make the Memphis line of pellet grills/smokers to test a modified sine wave inverter with their controller and their engineer didn't see any issues with it in the lab.
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Unread 07-14-2010, 10:22 PM   #3
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You all know what a ditz I am when it comes to this stuff. Could someone explain to me exactly what this is?
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Unread 07-14-2010, 10:30 PM   #4
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Sure, my big ditzy friend

An inverter creates AC power from a DC source. The controllers, etc. for a pellet pooper run on AC power like you get from the power company. What the power company provides is a pure sine wave signal.



An inverter can create a pure sine wave from a DC source like a marine battery, but it takes more electronics and filtering to do so. Cheap inverter create a square wave, which can damage electronics.



Mid-range inverters add some filtering and create a modified sine wave, which is better, but can still cause issues with sensitive electronics.



How's that? Clear as mud?
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Unread 07-14-2010, 10:38 PM   #5
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So this thing has no power of it's own. It inverts and conditions power from a DC source. Correct?
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Unread 07-14-2010, 10:46 PM   #6
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Still too complicated for me.
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Unread 07-14-2010, 10:48 PM   #7
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Are you using this in remote areas or areas with no power? Buy a Honda EU1000 generator that is super quiet and makes very clean power. Around $800 and you could use it for all kinds of stuff. Probably find a used one for even less. I would imagine this would be a lot more simple than a inverter? Let me know if I am crazy.
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Unread 07-15-2010, 09:48 AM   #8
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Having been in the FE forum from the beginning, I've never heard an absolute answer from anyone.

Me? I use a Tripplite inverter/charger, have for 6 years for two FE's with zero issues. Both are IQ4 models.

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Unread 07-15-2010, 10:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmista View Post
So this thing has no power of it's own. It inverts and conditions power from a DC source. Correct?
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny_Crunch View Post
Are you using this in remote areas or areas with no power? Buy a Honda EU1000 generator that is super quiet and makes very clean power. Around $800 and you could use it for all kinds of stuff. Probably find a used one for even less. I would imagine this would be a lot more simple than a inverter? Let me know if I am crazy.
An inverter and marine battery can be as little as $100, can run an FEC-100 for at least 12 hours, typically a lot more, and doesn't require any fuel. With an inverter/charger with a transfer switch, it is also an automatic backup in case the power being supplied at a competition or from your own generator fails.
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Unread 07-15-2010, 10:15 AM   #10
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Thank you to all for the info, I think I can now make an informed decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
I just bought the Xantrex that you posted. The AC side has to be hard wired so I haven't installed it yet. i used a different inverter/charger with a modified sine wave output for two years with my FEC-100 without issues. The inverter died and the manufacturer told me that their policy was not to repair out of warranty units, so I bought from someone else.

I also asked the folks at Hearthland Products who make the Memphis line of pellet grills/smokers to test a modified sine wave inverter with their controller and their engineer didn't see any issues with it in the lab.
I think I may get the Xantrex as it is 40% right now.
I don't have a toy hauler (yet) to wire this into but I think I can rig up my own "Power Box" and wire in some receptacles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny_Crunch View Post
Are you using this in remote areas or areas with no power? Buy a Honda EU1000 generator that is super quiet and makes very clean power. Around $800 and you could use it for all kinds of stuff. Probably find a used one for even less. I would imagine this would be a lot more simple than a inverter? Let me know if I am crazy.
I am thinking of going the inverter route with an eye towards competing in the future. My thinking was that if the comp had a no generator policy this would be an acceptable alternative. If the comp has power I would obviously be using their power but should it cut out this would be a good back up. Also the Honda generators are a bit more spendy here in Kanuckistan, it has an MRSP of $1100.
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Unread 07-15-2010, 11:53 AM   #11
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That is the invertor that I have. Love it.
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Unread 07-15-2010, 12:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FattyMac View Post
I think I may get the Xantrex as it is 40% right now.
I don't have a toy hauler (yet) to wire this into but I think I can rig up my own "Power Box" and wire in some receptacles.
It has a duplex receptacle built in for the FEC to plug in to. What it doesn't have is a power cord to plug it into the AC source (for the battery charger side and the automatic transfer switch). You either have to hard wire that or wire in a power cord.
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Unread 07-15-2010, 08:17 PM   #13
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I was in the same conumdrum. I did get a modified sine wave inverter and have been running my GMG on it for months without issue. The charger keeps the battery at 100% and when in use uses AC power to run the things. If power (AC) goes out, like the other day, the inverter powers my essentials like freezer, sump pump, phone, etc. I have no definite answer re: sine wave or modified sine wave, and I haven't found that the mfg wants to commit their electronics to a definite position. For me at this point the modified is fine, though I do worry that a full sine wave may save me problems.

http://pelletheads.com/index.php?topic=2748.0
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