Xantrex XPower Micro Inverter 175 Review

Product Requirements:
A vehicle with an easily accessible
cigar lighter/power point

With the cold temperatures most of the country is facing at this time of
year, it is hard to believe that there is an end in sight. That the spring thaw
will come, and soon following will be the inevitable road trips, spring break
excursions, summer vacations and visits to see relatives across the state and
across the country. When you make those drives, I can guarantee that there will
be electronic items coming along for which you don’t have a car
charger.

How would you like to be able to be able to recharge the camcorder as you
travel down the highway? Or how about running the 13" TV/DVD or VCR combo you
brought from home for the kids to watch in the backseat?

Or maybe, like me, you own a PDA for which there isn’t yet an optional car
charger. On my Zodiac, there isn’t a
handy little round AC adapter plug on the bottom like some PDAs have. Therefore, 
I can’t use a power adapter
such as I reviewed not long ago. What I need is a 12 volt power inverter.

I have looked at power inverters that accept the prongs of a typical US power
cord in the past, but I have been put-off by either their size, expense, or
quality. Most of the power inverters that I have seen are relatively large. They
will generally have an electrical cord with a cigar lighter adapter on one end
with the cord’s other end entering what looks like a typical car stereo
amplifier. I have seen a few compact  inverters, but they appeared to be
cheaply made – something that I wouldn’t trust to properly power my laptop or
PDA. But now I have found a solution that properly embodies the size I want with
the quality I expect, for a price that doesn’t send me into shock.

Xantrex, manufacturers of "advanced
power products
" since1983, has introduced a line of
Micro-Inverters.
This line includes models that are extremely well made and that don’t feel or
look cheap at all. These inverters come in various configurations to fit
consumers’ needs. Today, we will take a look at the
XPower Micro
Inverter 175
, which is being marketed as a "mobile office companion."

   
   

According to the Xantrex website, the 175 is the "smallest 175-watt power
inverter on the market today
." By using this inverter, you can power
household electronics that use 115-volt  VAC electricity by converting VDC
power drawn from your vehicle’s 12-volt battery. By using a converter such as
this – one that electronics can plug right into – the need for multiple travel
chargers is eliminated, which saves you money. There are even several other
inverter models available which can accept more than one power cord.

To protect from overload the inverter will shut down if it gets too hot, if
your vehicle’s battery runs too low or if the internal fuse blows from a power
surge or overload. A green LED glows on the top side of the inverter when it is
plugged in, indicating that there is power available.

The XPower measures 5" from end to end, is approximately 2.5" wide and 1.5"
thick. It weighs a surprisingly hefty 5.5 ounces. The outer casing is composed
of solid matte silver plastic, interspersed with air openings. The bottom has
openings cut to expose the built-in cooling fan. The unit feels solid and does
not creak when squeezed. When you plug the inverter in, there is a very faint
whirring as the fan spins. The XPower will warm up a bit as it is used, so
nothing should crowd or touch it while running.

It’s wild to be able to power electronics you might not normally see in a
vehicle…

About the only downside I can see to the XPower is that since it is such a
compact all-in-one unit, it needs to be installed in a power point that has
unfettered access. This means that I can use it in my ranch truck, a Ford F-350
but I can’t use it in my personal vehicle, a Mini Cooper.


Note that there is no room to plug the Xantrex in due to the
location of  the power point

As long as you have a vehicle with an easy-access power point, the Xantrex
XPower will work its miniaturized magic. Its solid construction and safety
features, backed with a one year warranty make me feel safe about using it. This
inverter is a great accessory when you need power access for your electronics
while on the road. Since it is so compact, it can even be kept in your vehicle’s
glove box – which is where mine will be kept.

Price: $44.99
Comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty

Pros:
Compact all-in-one unit that is easily portable
Solid construction
Safety features are in place to prevent overloading, vehicle battery draining or
overheating

Cons:
Does not work in a vehicle with a hard to access cigar lighter/power point

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12 thoughts on “Xantrex XPower Micro Inverter 175 Review”

  1. If you want to use this in your Mini, just get an extension cord for your power point/lighter! Radio Shack should have them. Their’s would probably be long and the cord would get in the way of things. But if you’re handy with a soldering iron and shrink-wrap tubing you could shorten the cord.

    Or buy a plug and a socket and some power cord and make your own.

    Nathan

  2. Yes, I was going to suggest an extender. They’re just like drop cords for the home. Very handy to have, even if you don’t have one of these converters. Great for cell phone chargers that aren’t long enough.

    *50th post!*

  3. You know what guys, I am ashamed to say that I already have one of those, and I didn’t even think of using it! 😮 Thanks for the suggestions!

    Judie :0)

  4. Here I thought you were just a “city gal” driving an Expedition and much to my chagrin, you drive…not a 150, and oh my gawd not a 250; but a full version F350 Pickup!!!!!!! Just one question though, being (bein in Texas) in Texas, do you have a set of longhorns mounted on the hood?? And a bull horn maybe? (Not making fun of you please don’t think that, but I farm here in Illinois and we are kidded all the time if we chew weeds all day).:p

  5. Originally posted by oopscdaz
    Here I thought you were just a “city gal” driving an Expedition and much to my chagrin, you drive…not a 150, and oh my gawd not a 250; but a full version F350 Pickup!!!!!!! Just one question though, being (bein in Texas) in Texas, do you have a set of longhorns mounted on the hood?? And a bull horn maybe? (Not making fun of you please don’t think that, but I farm here in Illinois and we are kidded all the time if we chew weeds all day).:p

    Here is a picture of the F-350, you will note that there are no horns mounted to the front – just two serious heavy duty replacement bumpers and a gooseneck hitch. It will also never be this clean again – this picture was taken the day we got it from the dealership…before it was introduced to West Texas coleche roads. :p

    http://the-gadgeteer.com/images2/red-dog.JPG

    I’ll have you know that I am a 4th generation rancher…and as such I have either owned or driven (as work vehicles) all of the vehicles mentioned above: an Expedition, an F-150, an F-250, and this is my second F-350. 😀

  6. That’s a nice truck Ms. Judie, and I noticed that you use diesel engines. Alas, here in IL. with the price of gasoline 5 to 7 cents a gallon cheaper than diesel we are confined to gas engines for the most part. Our pickups are very similar to yours and are used as support vehicles for our harvest and planting units.
    Presently, we are working on a pilot project with John Deere building a conduit between their Monitoring systems and accounting as well as GPS so we also equip the pickups with Ipacs and GPS accessories that are WAAS enabled. That way any replanting can be logged by scouting with GPS on the pickups and the spots are very easy to find via the coordinates entered. As the Ipacs are heavily involved with or operation, they have indeed become a valuable asset although if the truth be known, I prefer the Palm Operating System….Anyway, thanks for the response and the picture of your pickup!
    🙂

  7. Originally posted by oopscdaz
    That’s a nice truck Ms. Judie, and I noticed that you use diesel engines. Alas, here in IL. with the price of gasoline 5 to 7 cents a gallon cheaper than diesel we are confined to gas engines for the most part.

    With the better mileage of Diesel engines you might break even or even run cheaper on diesel anyway..

  8. Toolkit – you nailed it – plus I don’t think anything can pull a 32 ft Gooseneck trailer with the power of a 7.3L PowerStroke and still get pretty darn good mpg.

  9. The Ford diesel costs $4300 and then add 7 cents per gallon. So tell me: How many miles does one have to drive to make up the difference in price?
    A Gooseneck? hahahhahaha hey go hook on a 500 bushel grain wagon; 29000+ pounds rolling. THEN you can say you actually pulled something
    Also, Ford uses a variant of the International Harvester V8 diesel NOT the Cummins 6 that Dodge has. Talk about off the line torque: Ford doesn’t cut in until 2000 RPM where as the Dodge has it off the line! (5 whole torque lbs more for the Ford)
    Only problem is, what goes; has to stop and there in lies the problem; all have are brakes that might or might not work off the shock hitch…..
    You may know computers and PDA’s but in this country, WE know what works and what doesn’t!:mad:

  10. Originally posted by oopscdaz
    [B]The Ford diesel costs $4300 and then add 7 cents per gallon. So tell me: How many miles does one have to drive to make up the difference in price?
    A Gooseneck? hahahhahaha hey go hook on a 500 bushel grain wagon; 29000+ pounds rolling. THEN you can say you actually pulled something
    Also, Ford uses a variant of the International Harvester V8 diesel NOT the Cummins 6 that Dodge has. Talk about off the line torque: Ford doesn’t cut in until 2000 RPM where as the Dodge has it off the line! (5 whole torque lbs more for the Ford)
    Only problem is, what goes; has to stop and there in lies the problem; all have are brakes that might or might not work off the shock hitch…..
    You may know computers and PDA’s but in this country, WE know what works and what doesn’t!:mad: [/B]

    Ummmmm, okay. If you would like to PM me, you are more than welcome to.

    Otherwise, it looks like it’s time to reign this subject back in to the forum topic.

    Judie :0)

  11. Did you try running any appliances with this? All I saw in your
    writeup seemed just to address the size of the device and how
    convenient it might be. How well did it actually work? What did
    it power successfully, and what proved too much? Did it run a TV
    set with good picture and no buzz in the sound? Cheap inverters
    are notorious for poor performance regarding electrical noise.
    If this device is limited to lights and charging applications, it’s
    not useful compared to it’s maker’s claims.

    best regards,

    Martin

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