Home Preparedness

By using a simple transfer switch, supplementing your grid power with a battery backup can be easy and affordable. You don’t need an electrician to install a system that can allow your refrigerator or freezer to run off-grid. Nor does it take an electrical expert to run critical appliances like a C-PAP machine or crockpot.

A transfer switch is a device that chooses between two power sources. If you connect your freezer to a transfer switch, your transfer switch can be connected to both the utility grid and to an off-grid inverter. While grid power is present, the transfer switch will pass only grid power to the the freezer. But, as soon as grid power disappears, the transfer switch will switch over to your off-grid inverter.

This diagram shows a complete battery backup system capable of powering a freezer and a crockpot.

AC Input/Output

1.  Select an inverter and transfer switch:  The transfer switch chooses between utility power and inverted battery power. Choose an inverter that can support your loads and a transfer switch that can handle the current.

The 1200VA inverter can power a crock pot or a small chest freezer. It should be paired with the 15A transfer switch.

When using the 1200VA inverter, an optional 25A charger can be plugged into a wall outlet to keep the batteries topped off while the utility grid is active.

Neither the Xantrex Freedom XC nor Victron Multiplus inverter/chargers need the 25A charger or transfer switch, but require more elaborate wiring.

A 2000VA inverter can power a microwave, blender, residential refrigerator, hairdryer, small space heater, etc. A 3000VA inverter can power multiple loads at the same time.

 

  • Victron Phoenix 1200VA Inverter Kit

    This kit includes all the standard components for the do-it-yourself installation of a Victron Phoenix 1200 inverter system.  This inverter offers Bluetooth communication compatibility through a dongle and is ideal for refrigerators, laptops, entertainment centers, and cell phone chargers. Wiring Diagram Due to...

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Additional inverter/charger options:

  • Victron Blue Smart Chargers

    The Blue Smart Charger is a professional-grade battery charger with built-in Bluetooth. The Blue Smart Charger can be used on devices in your workshop and on motor vehicles, such as cars; motorbikes; boats and camper-vans. Kit option for the 30A IP22 includes wiring,...

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  • MultiPlus 12/2000/80-50 - 120V Inverter/Charger

    The MultiPlus is a powerful true sine wave inverter, a sophisticated battery charger that features adaptive charge technology and a high-speed AC transfer switch in a single enclosure. Rated at 2000VA. Note: Some Keurig coffee makers are known to be incompatible with inverters....

    Please select your battery type for Multiplus programming
    If you selected "Other" for battery type above, please provide battery make, model, absorption/float voltage settings below
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  • MultiPlus 12/3000/120-50 120V VE.Bus Inverter/Charger

    The MultiPlus is a powerful true sine wave inverter, a sophisticated battery charger that features adaptive charge technology and a high-speed AC transfer switch in a single compact enclosure. Rated at 3000VA. Note: Some Keurig coffee makers are known to be incompatible with...

    Please select your battery type for Multiplus programming
    If you selected "Other" for battery type above, please provide battery make, model, absorption/float voltage settings below
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Battery Bank

2.  Select a battery bank:  The battery bank is the heart of the system. We recommend LifeBlue lithium batteries because of their built-in Bluetooth monitoring, high quality, and ability to expand over time.

We sell LifeBlue batteries individually, or as a base kit, which includes one battery, a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor, cable, lugs, and heat shrink, plus expansion kits, which include one battery and parallel cables. For two batteries, select one base kit and one expansion kit. If you want three batteries, get one base kit and two expansion kits.

LifeBlue batteries come in three size configurations, choose what will fit best for your application.

100Ah: H 9.4″ x W 12.5″ x D 6.5″ 28lbs

200Ah: H 10.8″ x W 20″ x D 6.9″ 57lbs

300Ah: H 9.5″ x W 20.25″ x D 11″ 83lbs

Do not let your lithium batteries get below -10° F. Lithium batteries will not charge below 32° F.

  • LiFeBlue LiFePO4 12V Drop-In Battery

    LiFeBlue lithium batteries have integrated controls to automatically protect against overcharging, overly discharging, and frozen charging. This integration makes installation much easier for DIY projects. LifeBlue offers the most comprehensive Bluetooth monitoring showing status, temperature, voltage, current, cycle life, battery health, Faults and...

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  • LiFeBlue Lithium Battery Bank with BMV-712 Monitor

    This is a complete LiFeBlue lithium RV battery base kit with a Victron BMV-712 Bluetooth battery monitor. The monitor is included to provide cumulative battery bank data, compatible with Victron VRM monitoring. LiFeBlue offers the most comprehensive Bluetooth monitoring showing status, temperature, voltage,...

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  • LiFeBlue Lithium Battery Expansion Kit

    This kit is designed to be an add-on to an existing LiFeBlue battery system. LiFeBlue offers the most comprehensive Bluetooth monitoring showing status, temperature, voltage, current, cycle life, battery health, faults and state of charge. These batteries can only be parallel connected due...

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Solar Charging

3.  Prepare for a longterm outage with solar power:  Mounting solar panels on the roof of your house may require building permits or violate neighborhood codes. One way to get around this is with portable solar arrays.

Multiple folding panels can be connected to the same battery bank.

In good sun, you may get 3 watt-hours per 1 rated watt of solar panels in a day. That means a 230W solar panel might give you 690Wh of energy per day. This works out to about 57Ah of charge per day.

If permanently mounting solar panels on your roof, or some other structure isn’t a problem, you may consider one of the complete solar charger kits listed below. The mounting hardware in these kits is designed to attach to a flat surface (not a shingled roof) like a wooden frame or metal roof.

  • Zamp Z230 - 230W Folding Panel with Case

    Portable panels are an excellent option for rigs with limited roof space and the Zamp folding panels are some of the best we have found. These portable panels do not have a charge controller. They are meant to be used in a "solar...

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  • Zamp Z180 - 180W Folding Panel with Case

    Portable panels are an excellent option for rigs with limited roof space and the Zamp folding panels are some of the best we have found. These portable panels do not have a charge controller. They are meant to be used in a "solar...

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If you have an outbuilding, or less restrictions on your property, you may install a permanent solar generator built around one of our base kits with panels added on. For a complete explanation of everything you would want to know about how to design a solar charging system, check out our Solar Charger Design Guide

  • Complete Solar Charger (50A)

    These kits offer everything one may need in order to put up to 700W onto an existing battery bank.  With the advanced MPPT charge controller and Bluetooth communication, these kits form an ideal foundation for a medium power system mounted to a rigid...

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  • Complete Solar Charger (85A)

    These kits offer everything one may need in order to put up to 1200W onto an existing battery bank.  With the advanced MPPT charge controller and Bluetooth communication, these kits form an ideal foundation for a large power system mounted to a rigid...

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  • Rich Solar 200W Solar Panel

    High wattage, using 6" cells, this panel is ideal for large systems where there is ample roof space. These modules come in a standard and higher-voltage version*. Please be sure to match your kit and/or module(s) to similar voltage profile modules. Please reach...

    • Wattage: 200W
    • Type: Monocrystalline
    • Nominal Voltage: 12V / 24V
    • Operating Voltage (Vmpp): 20.4V / 37.6V
    • Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 24.3V / 45.4V
    • Operating Current (Impp): 9.80A / 5.32A
    • Short Circuit Current (Isc): 10.2A / 5.83A
    • Size: 58.7" x 26.8" x 1.38" 26.5lbs
    • Frame: Silver Anodized Aluminum
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  • NOIR 100W Solar Panel

    Custom designed by Grape Solar for mobile applications, this 100W panel is ideal for Airstreams trailers, vans, truck campers, and any application where roof space is limited. The Grape Solar NOIR 100W panel comes in several kit variants.  Select the correct kit to...

    • Wattage: 100W
    • Type: Monocrystalline
    • Operating Voltage (Vmp): 19.1V
    • Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 23.1V
    • Operating Current (Imp): 5.23A
    • Short Circuit Current (Isc): 5.59A
    • Size: 41" x 22" x 1.38" 15.4lbs
    • Frame: Black Anodized Aluminum
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  • Temperature Sensor for BMV-712 / SmartShunt

    Support from AMSolar is definitely 5 stars. 1st line of support for Victron equipment provided through distributors. AMSolar likely one of the best when it comes to RVs.

    Tom B

  • Zamp 2 Pole Plug, PV Side

    AM Solar is my “go to” website and store for all my solar needs. They provide technical advice to help ensure you are choosing the correct components. Their parts and connectors are high quality and come with heat shrink cabling to ensure a water tight connection.

    Bryan S

  • Zamp ATP Prep Kit – Male

    This is a nice kit to have. Everything needed to attach your panel to the zamp box. Very slick. Highly recommend.

    Steve S