Xantrex XPower Powerpack 1500 - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

An easy and safe way to get up to 1,350 watts of portable, quiet, emission free power


Xantrex XPower Powerpack 1500

Who wouldn't want access to a portable backup power supply during an emergency, around the yard or cottage when no power outlet is nearby, or on a job site when a power source is temporarily unavailable or out of reach? There are basically two options: generators, and battery backup systems.
The major advantage of portable electric generators is that they can provide power almost indefinitely - as long as their fuel source (gas, diesel,  or propane) is replenished - which can be as often as every couple of hours. Generators do require on-going maintenance; they produce harmful emissions, and if used indoors they need to be properly vented; they're very noisy; and they're fairly expensive.
Portable battery backup systems, on the other hand, only provide power for a specified period of time before they need to be recharged, anywhere from twenty or thirty minutes up to a couple of days - depending on the application they're powering. They are silent in operation, emission free, maintenance free, and less expensive than generators.
When you need backup power for intermittent use, specifically in an enclosed environment, a portable battery backup system is a sensible choice. The Xantrex XPower Powerpack 1500 is designed to provide short to medium term power to products that consume up to 1,350 watts.
The heart of the XPower is the 51 amp-hour AGM battery. This sealed, lead-acid battery uses 'Absorbed Glass Mats' (AGM) between the plates. The acid (electrolyte) inside the battery is contained in the glass mats and won't spill, even if broken, which makes these batteries non-hazardous. AGM batteries have other benefits as well. They're immune from freezing; they withstand shock and vibration better than other types of batteries; they don't heat up under heavy charge and discharge currents; and they have a low self-discharge rate of around 1 to 3 percent per month.

Easily removable handle  
The AGM battery is encased in a high impact plastic housing, which is supported on 1-1/2" x 7-3/4" wheels, and has a removable two-part metal handle for easy maneuverability and storage. As well, there are two built-in side handles that make it easier to lift the XPower. The complete unit weighs about the same as a portable air compressor - 60 pounds.

The positive high power DC terminal (the negative terminal is on the opposite side)  
At the back of the unit are the negative (black) and positive (red) DC terminals. They are wired directly to the XPower's battery pack and supply power for jump starting a car or truck. Jumper cables are not included with the XPower.
You can also connect an external battery (for example, a 17 amp-hour) to the XPower via the DC terminals, thereby increasing it's operating time by about 33%. The process is fairly simple, and outlined in the XPower owner's guide.

DC charging cable (A), AC charger (B)

The XPower comes with both a DC charging cable and an AC charger. Both of these plug into the XPower's DC power panel.
You use the DC cable to recharge the XPower from a vehicle - this takes up to 8 hours. You also use the DC power panel when you want to power DC appliances that draw 12 amps or less - essentially anything that you can run from your vehicles 12V socket (the lighter socket).
You use the AC charger to recharge the XPower from a standard 110/120 volt electrical outlet in your home or shop. A full recharge takes up to 24 hours. Xantrex recommends that you leave the AC Charger connected when the XPower is not in use - this ensures that the XPower will always be in full charge status.
Though not specified in Xantrex literature, I would expect to get somewhere in the range of 400 discharge cycles with the XPower.

On-board cable storage is tight  
There is a convenient storage compartment on the top front of the XPower. Unfortunately, I found it only accommodated the AC Charger; I ended up leaving the DC charger in the glove compartment of my truck.

DC power panel
As mentioned above, both the DC charging cable and the AC charger plug into the DC power panel.

AC power panel: Battery status switch (A), battery level indicator (B), on/off switch (C), power on light (D), fault light (E), AC outlets (F)    

The AC power panel is where the action takes place. At the top of the panel is a battery status switch. When pressed the switch enables you to confirm the battery charge level - LED lights give a clear indication of how much stored energy is available. Xantrex warns against pressing the battery status switch while supplying power to an AC product, as it may result in a false battery charge level reading.
When the AC Outlets switch is turned on the Power LED will illuminate, confirming that the XPower is ready to supply current. You can plug in up to two appliances in the AC outlets as long as the total draw doesn't exceed 1,350 watts.
The runtime you get from the XPower will depend on the current draw of the various appliances you use. The chart at the end of this review provides a list of average runtimes for various applications. Xantrex cautions that certain battery chargers used in hand power tools should not be used with the XPower. While some of these chargers may have a warning label it's best to check with the manufacturer before using them with the XPower.
The XPower has built-in high surge protection, which protects the unit from excessive temperatures (particularly if an appliance is attempting to draw more than 1,350 watts). In such a case the XPower will emit an audible signal, the red Fault light will illuminate, and then the XPower will shutdown.
When the XPower is close to being discharged, it will emit an audible signal, giving you time to turn your appliance off and shut down the XPower - otherwise the inverter will switch off automatically a few minutes later to prevent battery damage.

Portable power when and where you need it
I found the XPower most convenient for use with appliances that consume no more than about 200 watts - anything more, and the XPower quickly drains. This effectively precludes using the XPower with miter saws, compact routers, air compressors and the like. However, or a work site where a power source is temporarily unavailable, it would be useful for keeping the batteries for your cordless power tools charged, and running a radio or other low wattage devices.
Where the XPower should prove most useful is for homeowners who find themselves in power emergencies. In a situation like this the XPower can run radios, lamps, coffee makers, small fridges, small power tools, computers and communication devices. People who live in apartment buildings or condos are likely prohibited from using a generator - battery power backup will be their only alternative.
As a home backup power source, the Xantrex XPower Powerpack 1500 is an very good choice. It's the easiest and safest way to get up to 1,350 watts of portable, quiet, emission free power.
Runtime estimates for various applications based on continuous power consumption.

ApplicationWattsRuntime (hours, minutes)
Cordless phone5130 h
Home alarm system5129 h
Wireless model/router6118 h
Clock radio887 h
Inkjet printer887 h
Laptop2527 h 30 min
Table lamp4016 h
13" CRT TV4514 h 6 min
20" LCD monitor5211 h 54 min
Desktop computer678 h 48 min
20" LCD TV757 h 42 min
8.8 cu. ft. freezer807 h 6 min
18 cu. ft. fridge1204 h 18 min
Jigsaw1503 h 18 min
3/8 corded drill2501 h 48 min
Sump pump 1/2 HP3001 h 18 min
7 1/4 circular saw80025 min
Microwave (compact)100019 min
Runtime assumes a 40 percent duty cycle


  • 15.8" x 12" x 14.8"
  • Sealed lead-acid AGM internal battery
  • Battery capacity: 51 amp hours
  • Battery voltage: 12V
  • Internal circuit breaker: 12 Amps
  • AC output (continuous): 1,350 W
  • AC output (peak): 3,000 W
  • AC output voltage: 120 V
  • AC output frequency: 60 Hz
  • AC output waveform: Modified Sine Wave
  • 53.5 lbs (24.3 kg) pound weight
  • 24 hour recharge time (6-8 hours from vehicle)
  • 1 year limited warranty
  • Includes: AC charger, DC charge, removable handle

AVAILABLE FROM:Locate a retailer/service center
MODEL #:802-1500
Carl Duguay, March 2012
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