Questions About My Harbor Freight 2000/4000 Watt Power Inverter

I All,

New here to the page. I really enjoy reading all the postings. I have been pondering the thought of going solar for a long time. Especially for my little workshop area.

I have had my HF 45 watt system for sometime now. It's hooked up to two deep cycle batteries. One 50 amp hour and one 100 amp hour.

They have been charging for over four months but I wasn't sure which power inverter to use for all my stuff.

Recently I watched the video link to "Larry" the HF Solar Toolman. This helped with my decission on which power inverter to buy. So I purchased the HF Chicago Electric Model 95596 2000/4000 watt power inverter.

I couldn't wait to gett'er home. 

I hooked it up and turned it on. I began testing each one of my tools to ensure that they were going to work.

Well sadly enough I ran into a few SNAFU's. 

Black and Decker 7-1/4" Circular Saw which only requires 9.0 amps kills my inverter.

(9.0 amps x 120 = 1080 watts) 

BENCHTOP brand 6" Bench top grinder which only requires 3.5 amps kills the inverter.

(3.5 amp x 120 = 420 watts) 

Delta 10" Chop/Miter Saw which reqires 13 amps also kills my inverter.

(13 amps x 120 = 1560 watts)


In the video Larry demonstrates using a 15 amp Chop/Miter saw and it worked okay.

All of my other tools worked fine except for what I've listed above. Oh of course I didn't even try my Craftsman upright compressor I'm sure that wouldn't have worked at all.


So what could be my problem? Any feedback is welcomed.



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Well mainly its the battery configuration you used. You said you have a 50 Ah and a 100 Ah. Because of the way batteries behave with other. When you tied those together the 100 Ah battery thinks it is a 50 AH batt now because of they way Batteries charge. Thus you are not able to get the current needed to run the Power inverter properly.

This is a what they call a no no in the solar world. If you have say a 3  - 200 ah batteries and 1 - 100 ah battery, you would say i have 700 ah , But since charging algorithms will fill the smallest battery first and cut of the charge, The Bigger batteries won't get fully charged. Thus making think they are 100 AH  then you have 400Ah and plus those other 3 batts can only provide 50 % of the stated output, Thus making less power available.


Now if you get 2 - 100 Ah batts fully charged...That inverter will fire those tools up just fine. 

Most likely you have destroyed the 100 Ah batt. The 50 ah might be fine. But probably wont provide enough current for such high loads.

When you say "kills the inverter" I assume you mean it faults out?  One would think that is probably be due to the inability to draw enough current from the battery bank to meet the load's demand for power. As Dale said, mixing batteries by Ah can cause some disappointing results, (bad JuJu?), although I don't know if you have actually damaged either of them - it would certainly be worth pulling them and testing each individually before trying to use either again. I would think that 100 Ah battery would provide enough punch by itself to let you run the same kind of tests you saw in the video IF it is a good battery.


Of course it "could" also be a bad inverter unit - just because it is new doesn't mean it is good - thank Heaven's for HF's return policy eh?


Have been hoping Larry would get back on YouTube as I have several questions for him too and the battery would have been the first one, (all he says is it is a deep-cycle 12v battery), followed by the cables leading from it to his inverter.  You will note his inverter is mounted high on the wall and his battery is all the way down on the deck.  Those have to be some heavy gauge cables to be that long and handle enough current to provide that kind of power without overheating. (If you look closely when he moves the (wooden box) cover, you can see they are indeed heavy - looking like very long vehicle battery cables which they just about have to be the equivalent of). To get 1080 watts to your circular saw, and allowing for power loss in going from DC to AC at the inverter, you would have to be drawing something over 90 Amps from your battery bank.  You can weld mild steel with 90 amps, so again those had better be some good cables and I, personally, would use somewhat shorter ones if I were looking to draw that many amps for any length of time.


I would also like the opportunity to ask him about the model of surge protector he is using between the inverter and the tools, (I very much like that idea but it must be a fairly heavy duty unit too).


Mr. Taylor obviously knows where he is coming from and is able to demonstrate in that video that his setup works, I'd just like some more details ON that setup. ;)  Let's hope he is OK and will eventually give us another Workshop and the opportunity to get some "nitty gritty" answers to this stuff.

We have invited Larry to our forum, hoping he would answer some questions for us right here. We'll keep our fingers crossed. Maybe you guys could put out invites to him as well.   ;-]


 I have the same issue with my inverter, however I am testing hooked straight to the car battery in the car with the car running...


 Circular saw (very small hand saw)...It just pulses it but never runs....By pulsing I mean it will kick and keep kicking, does not fault, but never run.

 Sander....Same thing, just pulses it...

 Trim router.....Runs fine

 Upright fan...Works good, but does not seem to run full speed...

 Shop Vac....Pulses, never runs


 It seems to me that I have the amps, but something about the way the inverter works isn't allowing the tools to run...


 Just sharing my experience..


It could be the Inverter also. If it just Pulses. You have to explain in full what there doing.

So 2 things..Inverter is probably faulty. And the batts need some rearranging.

If I recall correctly, somewhere's here on the forum, someone was complaining about the 95596 inverter, describing it as "cheap"...I have no knowledge of this inverters abilities, as I do not own one, but if you have high enough amp/hour batteries and are using heavy cable from batteries to the inverter....the devices should work correctly....

Also, to add to Dale's last comment, you need to be drawing from the correct battery posts, here is how the installation (inverter) should be connected, this way using all the batteries power instead of mostly just one battery's power:

I have two of the big 2000/4000 inverters and they do seem to trip out on starting loads that they should carry.  I have a 1000/2000 and a 1200/2400 HF that will run loads the big guys trip out on, from the same source.  I run a saw from the little ones all the time.


Both big ones do it.  I don't have an answer.


I live off grid and off road and have seven HF kits in operation.  They work very well at a fraction of the cost of any alternative.


I recently got one of the little red 200 watt inverters on sale at HF and discovered it will turn its fan off when there is no load and apparently draw almost nothing.  I power my Wild Blue satellite Internet and PC with it and leave it on all the time, just turning the Wild Blue and PC on when needed.



Long live Harbor Freight.


Dude, I had one of those 2000 / 4000 Watt HF Inverters... After blowing up two of them with just a small shop vac and a circular saw I finally decided to return it and get the 400 Watt HF inverter... I also bought a 750 Watt HF Inverter.  Both of these work great.


The 2000 / 4000 looks impressive but something is just not designed right.  You will end up spending a lot of gas money returning these to HF.  Just get the little red inverters from HF and you will be happier.


I appreciate all your comments. First off I went back and looked at the video and paid attention to the cables from the battery to the inverter as mentioned in one of the postings. I purchased two 2 guage 48" battery cables and installed them.

Now all my equipment works plus my Craftsman upright compressor.

But I have not tested the length of time I can run each item. I know I read somewhere that the 1 amp hours equals something but I cannot remember. I'll have to search for that posting later.


Now for the batteries I had in paralell I removed the 50 amp hour battery because it was posted that I may damage the 100 amp hour battery. Well the damage may have already ocurred. I cannot get the 100 amp hr. battery to charge higher than 12.7 volts. It used to indicate 13.0 plus. I suspect it's toast.

So I may have to trade it in and get it prorated for a new one. Plus after reading more on "Hybred" deep cycles I think the one I have is one of them. I'll have to put the replacement battery into one of my vehicles and buy a true deep cycle battery. Any recommendations on which brand of battery to purchase?


Oh and why is so important to keep track of the amperage and voltage? I've notice people installing amp and volt meters into their system. Why should you have to babysit the system? If Solar is so good why can't it be as simple as "Plug N Play" like on a computer? 

It seems that it's like charging lithium batteries. You have to babysit them to make sure they don't get too hot then overcharge and explode.

Any comments are welcomed.







Solar can be "Plug N Play"......But that's $20,000.
Good to hear you got it resolved Jerry.  Gives me hope for the plans I have for my little 10x14' shop this summer. ;)
The quickest way to kill a battery is to draw it down too far, too many times.  The solar panels can only produce so much current.  An ammeter is a nice tool to let you know how much current is being produced by the solar panels.  The essential tool to have is a voltmeter, one that is fairly accurate.  Somewhere in the forum is posted a voltage chart. Never go below 20% charge at the worst.


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