Xantrex Xpower Powerpack 600 HD





A portable Powerpack is a handy piece of hardware to carry.  Not only can it supply 600 Watts of AC power (Modified Sine Wave), DC power to cell phones etc, but also has the ability to jump start a dead battery.  This is the key reason I purchased it.  I carry all kinds of tools onboard my SUV, including a tire plug kit, air compressor, tow strap, folding shovel, tools, electrical kit, etc.  The weak link for me would be a dead battery.  I could get out of most other situations, but a dead battery would leave me stuck.  Now I've fixed that issue.  The Xantrex Xpower Powerpack 600HD comes with a 28 AH sealed lead acid battery.  It'll easily jump start a car.  Also has a built-in light, and radio.  It'll be useful when I'm camping, or during a power outage here in hurricane prone Florida.  Bought it through Amazon's website, which offered free shipping of this heavy item.  I considered making my own Powerpack, but the battery alone is about $80 with shipping.  Add to that the cost of an inverter, jumper cables, light, radio, a box to put it all in, and a charger, it's cheaper to buy this pre-made product.

The Powerpack included jumper cables, a DC-DC plug to allow charging via the vehicle, and a wall charger.  The digital display shows the battery charge state, and the number of Watts when the inverter is being used.


Powerpack in use...


At work we setup an HCL monitor to measure Hydrogen Chloride fallout from solid rocket motors during a launch.  We got varying performance between units due to differing battery Voltages.  To eliminate this issue, we used my PowerPack to run them.

Ever visit KSC and go see the Saturn Rocket?  It's housed in the building in the background.

VAB in the distance.

We enlisted the help of another lab to perform vibration analysis of our M-113 Armored Personnel Carrier used during Astronaut rescue.  Under the jumble of wires is their PowerPack.


More Testing


Some variable speed equipment won't work properly with a MSW type inverter.  My Makita drill doesn't care, works fine. 

Here I'm using a masonry bit on the drill to install wall anchors.

Nothing fancy, a decade old.

Specs on the drill.

I knew this was too much for the PowerPack, but wanted to prove it anyway.  The saw would 'click', but the blade wouldn't begin to spin.  Overload.

A 600 Watt inverter is just too small to run a 13 Amp circular saw (big surprise).



Modifying My SUV To Charge The Powerpack


My SUV has a power outlet in the cargo area.  The issue is the outlet is always hot.  If I leave the Powerpack plugged in, and the vehicle's battery runs down, it'll run the power pack's battery down as well.  I needed to have the two systems isolated when the key is off.  To accomplish this, I used a relay to disrupt the power wire to the outlet.  The relay will be tied to the auxiliary outlet in the center console, which does turn on/off with the ignition.  I connected the control wires from the relay to the outlet wires in the center console.  Now power is only applied to the cargo outlet when the key is on.  The Powerpack will always be fully charged, and always ready to go.


A basic 12V automotive relay.  Available at Radio Shack, online, Ebay, etc.  I bought a 10 pack through Ebay.


I could tear apart the entire back corner of my SUV to gain access to the wires leading to the outlet, but that's a big job!  The Service Manual showed the wire harness leading to the outlet, is accessible at a kick panel at the rear passenger door.  I cut the wire leading to the outlet.

The wires to the outlet in the center console storage box run under the drink holder section.  This portion of the center console simply pulls out.

The wire harness to the outlet is wrapped in foam to prevent noise.

The foam can be pushed back to expose the wires.

To get the relay control wires to the center console, I used a metal fish to sneak a nylon cord under the carpet.

I tied and taped the relay control wires to the nylon cord, and pulled it to the center console.

The relay wires were connected to the wires leading to the outlet in the center console.  The wires were then tie wrapped to the existing wire harness.  There are moving parts for the parking brake in this area, so it's important that the wires are carefully routed.

I tucked the relay and wiring inside the paneling next to the seat.  The trim and carpet were put back in place.  All hidden, but easy to access if ever needed.

I plugged a Voltmeter into the outlet.  With the key off, the outlet is dead.

Key on, outlet is hot.

The Powerpack can now safely be left plugged into the outlet.  No fear of the battery dying, and killing the Powerpack.

Privacy cover pulled over the cargo area, all my gear is hidden.



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Last updated 12/28/08    All rights reserved.