|Item Weight||37.5 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||15 x 16.3 x 7.9 inches|
|Item model number||PICOGLF15W12V120VR|
|Manufacturer Part Number||PICOGLF15W12V120VR|
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AIMS Power 1500 Watt 12 VDC Pure Sine Inverter Charger w/ 4500W Surge
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AIMS Power 1500 Watt Low Frequency Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter Charger with battery charger and Transfer Switch is great for back up or smaller off grid applications. Outputting 1500W of pure sine power, this inverter is apt at handling start up surges of up to 4500W for up to 20s. The built in 50A battery charger can accept AC power from shore power or generator to keep your batteries charged and maintained.
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I found that there are two types of pure sine inverters. The cheaper smaller ones are high frequency. The AIMS PICOGLF20W12V120VR is a low frequency inverter. Low frequency inverters have tremendous starting power. This unit is rated to hold 6,000 watts of starting power for 20 seconds. The high frequency inverters are usually only rated to hold twice their power for less than a second. This unit easily starts my rooftop air conditioner which takes about 4,500 watts to start but settles back to 1,200 watts in operation. The difference is that this unit is very heavy. It's heavy because it has a large copper wound transformer in it - you get what you pay for.
Why was I willing to go from a 3,500 watt inverter to 2,000 watt? I learned that you can only draw so much current from a 12 volt system without generating tremendous heat. Under a constant 2,500 watt load, my heavy 2/0 welding cables and connectors would get very hot. I would say that it's impractical and perhaps dangerous to draw constant loads over 2,500 watts from a 12 volt battery system (Update: I used 2/0 welding cable throughout, marine quality bus bars and switches, and fused both sets of batteries (200 amp) as well as the inverter (300 amp). Also all of my 120 volt appliances are under 2,000 watts continuous. The microwave is 1,200 watts. Coffee maker and toaster about the same.
My other issue was voltage. Whereas the modified sine inverter's output voltage declined with battery voltage, the Aims unit holds a nice 121 volts AC at 60 cps down to battery voltage cutout.
Overall I believe this AIMS unit is an extremely well built, high quality unit. It has large connector posts for your 12 volt cables. The connectors for wiring 120 volt input and output are also high quality. The indicator lights on top of the unit are nice but for my application I purchased the REMOTELF remote display. There is also a little rheostat type dial on top which you can use to adjust how much of your 120 VAC input goes to charge and how much gets passed through (Update: This is a very important feature if you have a smaller generator My 2000 watt inverter generator (1,600) continuous will trip the breaker at the full 70amp charger draw. I can adjust this to load the generator at about 75% for a two hour charge). The transfer switch is very fast and doesn't drop loads when switching from house power to inverter or inverter to house power. The fan is quiet and only runs when there is a significant load or is charging at a high rate.
The unit does draw substantial idle power. It does have a power saver mode but this works by cycling power into the system every second or so. Problem with this is that my refrigerator doesn't see the power when deciding to use electric or gas so goes to gas. My other problem with it is that my microwave seems to have some type of relay in it that clicks every time the power cycles. The power saver was impractical for me to use so I just turn the inverter on from the remote when I need 120 VAC.
This unit has 1 more dip switch than shown in the manual. Also has a couple of green wires hanging out the back that look like they could be connected together or to external wires. I had no idea what they were for except some type of ground. I called AIMS and there customer service was very responsive. They told me that I should connect them for a motor home application but I still don't understand why. (Update: I've since learned a bit more about electrical and these two wires are connected to bond your 120 volt AC neutral to ground) It wouldn't hurt them to put out an addendum to the manual with the changes to the unit since the manual was printed and some explanations such as what the functions of these green wires are and when they should be connected or not and why. The manual could be much better.
Just took my 4 dogs out overnight in my Class C with the new solar installation and AIMS inverter. Found a nice isolated meadow on the eastern slope of the Washington Cascades about 40 miles from home. Turned on the AIMS inverter and popped some microwave popcorn (not good for you). Woke up at 5AM, let the dog's out, turned on the AIMS and made some coffee. Happiness in my old age.
Why do you want a low frequency inverter rather than a high frequency? These units have huge copper coils and can output 3 times their rating for up to 20 seconds. Even the 2,000 watt unit runs my air conditioner which requires nearly 5,000 watts on startup.
The battery charger on the 3,000 watt unit is rated at a maximum of 100 amps and 70 amps for the 2,000 watt unit. I pack a 2000 (1,600 continuous) watt inverter generator for emergency charging. With my solar charging, running my fridge on gas, and frugal use of the inverter, I only rarely have to use the generator. The problem is that the circuit breaker will trip on this generator at the full charging amperage of the inverter. Aims has a solution for this problem with a dial on the control panel where you can turn down the power diverted to charging. I adjust this to where the generator runs at a comfortable 75% of it's top RPM and the batteries still get charged fully within a couple of hours. Another nice feature is that the inverter doesn't switch to shore power until 15 seconds after you connect it. That will give it time to spin up and warm up a bit before taking the load if it was connected at startup.
Why do I have the 2,000 watt inverter instead of the 3,000 watt? Consider that 3,000 watts / 12 volts equal 250 amps. A continuous 250 amp draw on a twelve volt system generates tremendous amounts of heat in cabling, cable connectors, battery switches, and bus bars. It's almost scary heat in a motor home environment. I've installed marine grade bus bars and battery cutoff switches all fused and connected with 2/0 welding cable, but those connections get hot even with a sustained draw of 1,500 watts. A 12 volt system is only capable of so much. Higher output inverters are typically only offered for 24 or 48 volt DC systems for that reason. Not saying the 3,000 watt unit is not a great unit, just be aware of the battery, cabling, and electrical components required to safely provide that level of 12 volt amperage.
Edit Additional: I had originally crimped my cable lugs in my vice which, I found, is not a good practice. Bought a good hydraulic cable crimper and purchased all new copper lugs. Redid all my cable ends and, after crimping, sealed them with heat shrink. What a difference. I was losing lot's of power in those cable ends and generating heat. Now my battery charge lasts much longer and the connections are not getting hot.
One other thing: You are going to want the remote with the Aims unit. You will probably locate the unit where it's not easy to access the controls and the remote is much easier to use anyway. Since I have had this installed for 6 months, I never look at the inverter itself but just turn it on and off from the remote in the wall and check the battery voltage and AC load.
I tried a cheaper, half the price of this one, modified wave inverter, it did not last. The manual was not very detailed nor provide installation instructions.
This inverter weighs 70+ pounds which I suspect is heavy large iron in transformers.
I have it mounted on the side wall of our rv solar battery storage area.
my wife can run her upright full size vacuum.
we run our microwave.
we run our toaster.
my wifes hair/blow drier.
user manual is well written and detailed.
this inverter also has the option to have ground and neutral wires tied together internal to the inverter via external jumper.
this is good for those of us that want rv-frame as ground.
the tying of inverter ground/neutral auto disconnects on generator start up, also good, as most generators have their own internal connection of ground/neutral.
have seen no issues so far.
this falls into the camp of you sometimes need to pay more to get a much better product.
So I called, got return info, and shipping was gonna be 200$ each way. I am disabled, and broke. I get less than $400 each month to live on. So sending it back isn't an option.
Another friend went through 2 units before getting a unit that worked. There's a serious problem with this product.
It seemed like they couldn't care less to help me resolve this issue so my $850 unit is now junk.
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I wish it had a charger setting for the lithium batteries or a customizable setting, but...Read more