Portawattz Power Pac - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Canadian Tools: You might not think that an advanced power electronics products company has much to offer the average woodworker. Well, Vancouver-based Xantrex Technology has a nifty product that just might catch your attention.

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Portawattz Power Pac



The Portawattz Power Pac™ is a rechargeable AC/DC power system that gives you up to 300 watts of 115-volt power when and where you need. This ultra rugged, portable (indoor or outdoors) power source weighs in at 17 ½ pounds and measures a mere 12" x 9" x 5".

You can power almost anything with this unit, including small appliances, communications equipment and virtually any portable power tool. You can even use it to boost your vehicle, as it’s capable of delivering 500 watts of surge power (the PowerPac comes standard with a set of booster cables). The heart of the PowerPac is an 18-amp, hour-sealed lead acid battery and a modified sine wave AC inverter. The dual three-prong 115 volt outlets (each protected with a 15-amp breaker) allow you to run appliances drawing up to 12 amps of power.

The PowerPac features both overload and over temperature shutdown protection. Unlike the chargers for virtually all the cordless tools I own, the PowerPac comes with a “plug and forget” AC charger, which makes it always ready to go out on a job with me. When completely discharged the Power- Pac takes about 30 hours to fully recharge; or, you can recharge it ultra fast from a running vehicle in under three hours. I left the PowerPac unplugged for three weeks; it didn’t seem to loose much of its charge.

With appliances that have small power requirements (camcorders, radios, cell phones, and the like), Xantrex claims you can expect run times of up to 40 hours. For a bilge pump, power drill, or jigsaw, expect three to four hours of run time. An indicator shows recharge status, while an audible signal lets you know when to recharge. I’ve taken the PowerPac with me on a number of on-site jobs, and have been pleased with its performance. It’s convenient not to have to deal with extension cords and out of the way electrical outlets.

I’ve used the PowerPac with a bayonet saw, laminate trimmer, finish sander, and hot melt glue gun. You’ll find lots of uses for the PowerPac, and be extremely glad to have it when the power goes out! Priced at around $189, the kit comes with jump-start cables, an AC charger and a DC charging cable. 

NOTE: This product is no longer available. However, you can obtain information on a newer range of power backup products at:
http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/backup-power/overview.aspx