Xantrex XPower PowerSource 1800

A practical, convenient, and safe source of backup power


Xantrex XPower PowerSource 1800

If you've ever had to deal with the inconvenience or a power outage, whether in your home, at the cottage, in the office, or in your workshop, you'll appreciate the benefits to be had from an emergency power backup supply.
Generators are the way to go for longer term power backup - particularly for anyone living in remote areas, or during winter months when blackouts can last for days at a time.
However, when you need power backup for a short period of time, battery backup power might be a better choice. Generators are more expensive than battery systems and they typically require a combustible fuel such as gas, diesel, or propane, making them noisy, and producing harmful emissions. Usually they need to be operated outdoors. If you live in a condo or apartment they're out of the question.
Battery power backup systems, on the other hand, are silent in operation, emission free, maintenance free, and considerably less expensive than generators.
Even if you have your own home, a generator combined with battery backup might make more sense. A battery backup system can keep a full-size refrigerator and home alarm system running for up to 1-1/2 hours; a cordless phone, 20” color TV, clock radio, and table lamp running for up to four hours; or a cordless phone, wireless router, laptop and inkjet printer on the go for up to 10 hours. Other practical uses for a battery powered system include include running sump pumps and fish tank pumps.
The Xantrex XPower PowerSource 1800 is, much like the XPower Powerpack 1500 that I reviewed earlier this year, designed to provide short to medium term power to products that consume up to 1,440 watts.

Wheels on the back make it easy to roll about 
The PowerSource 1800 is quite compact, measuring 8-1/2" wide by 10-1/2" high and 18-1/2" long. It's small enough to fit unobtrusively in a closet, on a bookshelf, or beside a filing cabinet, but at 55 pounds is at the limit of being a portable product. However, there are wheels on the bottom back of the unit, and convenient handles built into each end so that you can fairly easily roll it about.

Three AGM batteries store backup power
Inside the PowerSource 1800 are three 17 amp-hour AGM batteries, encased in a sheet metal case that has a high impact plastic housing. This sealed, lead-acid batteries use 'Absorbed Glass Mats' (AGM) between the plates. The acid (electrolyte) inside the batteries is contained in the glass mats and won't spill, even if broken, which makes these batteries non-hazardous.
The 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.

Electronic circuitry controls charging and discharging
Electronic circuitry, located above the batteries, controls battery charging and discharging, preventing the battery from overcharging or from excessive current draw. The controller also automatically turns the PowerSource 1800 on when there is a power failure, and then turns the PowerSource 1800 off when power is restored. For this to work, of course, the PowerSource 1800 has to be switched on.

Single AC outlet in the front
Four AC outlets at the rear
At the front of the unit is a single AC outlet, while at the back are four AC outlets, the AC power cord, and a 15-amp circuit protector. You can plug in as many appliances as you like, as long as the combined draw doesn't exceed 1,450 watts. However the PowerSource can accommodate power surges of up to 3,600 watts.
Xantrex recommends that you keep the PowerSource 1800 plugged into a wall outlet all the time - this will keep the unit in a continual charged condition, ready to supply maximum power in an emergency. It's also better for the batteries if they are kept continuously charged rather than being left uncharged for extended periods of time. It also defeats the purpose of a battery backup system if the power supply is not fully charged and ready to go when needed.
A full recharge takes up to 15 hours, while a 50% recharge takes 7 hours. The PowerSource 1800 should deliver about 400 discharge cycles with the XPower. Eventually the three AGM batteries will need to be replaced. The procedure isn't overly complicated - if you're not comfortable doing it yourself, any electrical repair shop can handle the job for you.

Control panel   
The control panel is located on the top of the unit, and is straight forward to operate. On the left is the 'Power' button. Once the PowerSource 1800 is plugged into a wall outlet, and you've plugged into the PowerSource the appliances for which you want power in the event of an outage, simply press the 'Power' button to turn the unit on. The PowerSource now sits quietly, monitoring your power supply, ready, in the event of an outage, to automatically provide power to the devices that are plugged into it.
On the right of the control panel is the 'Select' button, which enables you to display either the stored battery level (as a percentage) or the output power level (in watts). There are also indicator lights. The 'Fault' LED will illuminate should the PowerSource develop an operational fault, while the 'Charged/Charging' LED will glow green when the unit is fully charged, or it will flash on and off while the unit is recharging.
As with any power backup system, the runtime you get 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 PowerSource - while some of these chargers may have a warning label it's best to check with the manufacturer before using them with the PowerSource.
I have the PowerSource 1800 connected to my desktop computer, router, and cordless phone system. Even if the power never fails, I like the peace of mind it offers. I also like the fact that it will automatically switch to backup power when a power outage occurs. And it doesn't require any maintenance, nor does it emit any noise.
If you're looking for a practical, convenient and safe source of backup power, then the Xantrex PowerSource 1800 deserves a close look.

Runtime estimates for various applications based on continuous power consumption.

ApplicationWattsRuntime (hours, minutes)
Cordless phone563 h
Home alarm system563 h
Wireless modem/router656 h
Clock radio846 h
Inkjet printer846 h
Laptop2022 h
Table lamp4010 h 30 min
13" CRT TV3811 h
20" LCD monitor527 h 30 min
20" LCD TV755 h 10 min
8.8 cu. ft. freezer804 h 30 min
18 cu. ft. fridge1202 h 45 min
Desktop computer2001 h 30 min
Sump pump 1/2 HP3001 h
Microwave (compact)92012 min
Runtime assumes a 40 percent duty cycle


  • 8-1/2"W x 10-1/2"H x 18-1/2"L
  • 3 sealed lead-acid AGM internal batteries
  • Battery capacity: 51 amp hours
  • AC output (continuous): 1,440 W
  • AC output (peak): 1,800 W
  • AC output surge capacity: 3,600 W
  • AC output voltage: 120 V
  • 55 lbs (24.9 kg) pound weight
  • 15 hour recharge time at 100% discharge; 7 hours at 50% discharge
  • 1 year limited warranty

AVAILABLE FROM:Locate a retailer/service centre
MODEL #:852-1802
Carl Duguay, August 2012
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