DC to AC
Owner’s Manual
1.0 Introduction ............................................................................. 1
2.0 Safety First … Before You Use the PORTAWATTZ 150 ....... 2
3.0 Quick Start Guide ................................................................... 4
4.0 Design Features ...................................................................... 6
5.0 Placement Guidelines ............................................................ 7
6.0 Operating 115 Volt AC Products and Equipment ................ 8
7.0 Using the PORTAWATTZ 150 ................................................ 11
8.0 Troubleshooting ................................................................... 14
9.0 Limited Warranty and Performance Guarantee ................. 17
10.0 Specifications ..................................................................... 22
11.0 Other Products from Xantrex ............................................ 23
PORTAWATTZ is a trademark and Statpower is a registered trademark of Xantrex International. Xantrex
is a registered trademark of Xantrex Technology Inc. © 2000 Xantrex International. All rights reserved.
1.0 Introduction
Thank you for purchasing the PORTAWATTZ 150 Power Inverter. The
PORTAWATTZ 150 is part of an advanced family of high performance
power inverters from Xantrex, the leader in the field of high frequency
inverter design. From the 12 Volt outlet in your vehicle or boat, the
PORTAWATTZ 150 will efficiently and reliably power a wide variety of
household AC products, such as compact TVs and VCRs, laptop
computers, camcorder and cellphone chargers, fluorescent lights,
soldering irons, etc. The PORTAWATTZ 150 employs reliable solid state
power electronics for years of safe, trouble free operation and includes
automatic safety monitoring circuitry to protect it, and your battery, from
inadvertent overload conditions.
Read this manual before installing or using the PORTAWATTZ 150
and save it for future reference.
The following main topics are covered in this manual:
Important safety information
Installation and operating instructions
General principles of operation
Warranty and service information
2.0 Safety First … Before You Use the
Incorrect installation or misuse of the PORTAWATTZ 150 may result in
danger to the user or hazardous conditions. We urge you to pay special
attention to all CAUTION and WARNING statements. CAUTION
statements identify conditions or practices that may result in damage to
the PORTAWATTZ 150 or to other equipment. WARNING statements
identify conditions that may result in personal injury or loss of life.
WARNING! Shock hazard. Keep away from children.
· The PORTAWATTZ 150 generates the same potentially lethal AC
power as a normal household wall outlet. Treat it with the same
respect that you would any AC outlet.
· Do not insert foreign objects into the PORTAWATTZ 150’s AC
· Do not expose the PORTAWATTZ 150 to water, rain, snow or
· Do not, under any circumstances, connect the PORTAWATTZ
150 to power utility AC distribution wiring.
· Failure to follow the above safety instructions may result in
personal injury and/or damage to the PORTAWATTZ 150.
WARNING! Heated surface.
· The PORTAWATTZ 150’s housing may become uncomfortably
warm, reaching 140°F (60°C) under extended high power
operation. Ensure at least 2 in. (5 cm) air space is maintained on
all sides of the PORTAWATTZ 150. During operation, keep away
from materials that may be affected by high temperatures.
· Do not connect any AC product to the PORTAWATTZ 150, whose
neutral conductor is connected to ground.
· Do not expose the PORTAWATTZ 150 to temperatures in excess
of 100°F (40°C).
3.0 Quick Start Guide
3.1 Overview
These basic instructions are intended to provide a brief overview of the
PORTAWATTZ 150’s key features. For complete information about the
PORTAWATTZ 150, it is important to read this manual fully. The diagram
below shows the PORTAWATTZ 150’s key features.
Figure 1. Key Features
3.2 Operating 115 VAC Products
1. Plug the PORTAWATTZ 150 DC lighter plug into a vehicle’s
cigarette lighter or 12 Volt outlet.
2. Turn the PORTAWATTZ 150 ON/OFF switch ON. The green
POWER light indicates AC power is available at the AC outlet.
3. Plug the AC products you wish to operate into the AC outlet and
switch it on.
4. In the event of an overload, low battery voltage or overheating,
the PORTAWATTZ 150 will automatically shut down. (See
section 7.0)
4.0 Design Features
4.1 Switchmode Power Conversion Technology
The PORTAWATTZ 150 employs advanced high frequency
switchmode power conversion circuitry. This results in a smaller,
lighter, more efficient and completely silent inverter.
4.2 High Surge Power Capability
High performance Power FETs (Field Effect Transistors) are
employed for high surge power capability.
4.3 Safety Features
These advanced safety features are built into the PORTAWATTZ
Electronic overload protection with automatic shutdown.
Automatic low voltage shutdown.
Overheat shutdown protection.
High input voltage protection.
Manual reset eliminates unexpected restarting.
5.0 Placement Guidelines
For optimum operation, the PORTAWATTZ 150 should be placed on a
flat surface such as the floor or seat of a vehicle. The location should
· …dry. Do not expose to water drip or spray.
· …cool. Operate only in ambient temperatures between 32°F
(0°C) and 100°F (40°C). Keep away from heating vents.
· …well ventilated. Allow at least 2 inches (5 cm) clearance above
and on all sides of the PORTAWATTZ 150 for proper cooling.
6.0 Operating 115 Volt AC Products and
6.1 General Information
The PORTAWATTZ 150 is capable of powering most 115 Volt AC
products that use 150 Watts or less. Its AC output waveform,
called “modified-sine wave” is designed to function similarly to the
sine wave shape of utility power. Most AC products rated for 150
Watts or less will operate normally with the PORTAWATTZ 150.
CAUTION: Do not use the PORTAWATTZ 150 with the following:
· Small battery operated appliances such as rechargeable
flashlights, some rechargeable shavers and night lights that are
plugged directly into an AC receptacle to recharge.
· Battery chargers used with certain power tool battery packs.
These chargers will have a warning label stating that dangerous
voltages are present at the charger’s battery terminals.
The power, or “wattage”, rating of AC products is the average
power they use. When many AC products are first switched on,
they initially consume more power than their power rating. TVs,
monitors, and electric motors are examples of products that have
high “surge” requirements at start up. Although the
PORTAWATTZ 150 can supply momentary surge power as high
as 400 Watts, occasionally some products rated less than 150
Watts may exceed its surge capabilities and trigger its safety
overload shutdown feature.
6.2 Interference with Electronic Equipment
Generally, most AC products operate with the PORTAWATTZ 150
just as they would with household AC power. Below is information
concerning two possible exceptions.
6.2.1 Buzzing Sound in Audio Systems.
Some inexpensive stereo systems and “boom boxes” have
inadequate internal power supply filtering and “buzz” slightly
when powered by the PORTAWATTZ 150. Generally, the only
solution is an audio system with a higher quality filter.
6.2.2 Television Interference.
The PORTAWATTZ 150 is shielded to minimize interference with
TV signals. However, with weak TV signals interference may be
visible in the form of lines scrolling across the screen. The
following should minimize or eliminate the problem:
· Use an extension cord to increase the distance between the
PORTAWATTZ 150 and the TV, antenna and cables.
· Adjust the orientation of the PORTAWATTZ 150, television,
antenna and cables.
· Maximize TV signal strength by using a better antenna and
use shielded antenna cable where possible.
· Try a different TV. Different models of televisions vary
considerably in their susceptibility to interference.
7.0 Using the PORTAWATTZ 150
Refer to Figure 1 in section 3.1 for location of the items identified below.
7.1 Indicators, Controls and Connectors
· An AC outlet is provided on one end of the PORTAWATTZ 150. A
115 Volt AC product with a power consumption of 150 Watts or
less, may be plugged in.
· The PORTAWATTZ 150 receives its operating power through its
DC lighter plug that fits standard vehicle cigarette lighter sockets
and DC power outlets.
· The ON/OFF switch enables output AC power at the AC outlets
when switched ON. It also acts as a manual reset for overload,
low battery voltage and overheat fault conditions. Reset occurs
by switching OFF for 5 seconds, then back ON again.
· The green POWER light indicates AC power is present at the AC
outlet and the PORTAWATTZ 150 is operating normally.
· The red FAULT light indicates inverter shutdown caused by low or
high battery voltage, overload or excessive temperature.
7.2 Inverter Operation
1. When connected to a vehicle’s 12 Volt outlet, turning the ON/
OFF switch ON, will illuminate the green POWER light and AC
power will be delivered to the AC outlet.
2. As the battery charge is used up, battery voltage begins to fall.
When the PORTAWATTZ 150 senses the voltage at its DC input
has dropped to 10.0 Volts, it will automatically shut down to
prevent battery damage. The green POWER light is switched off,
and the red FAULT light illuminates.
3. If an AC product rated higher than 150 Watts (or which draws
excessive surge power) is connected, the PORTAWATTZ 150
will shut down. The green POWER light will turn off and the red
FAULT light will turn on.
4. If the PORTAWATTZ 150 exceeds a safe operating temperature,
due to insufficient ventilation or a high temperature environment,
it will automatically shut down. The green POWER light will turn
off and the red FAULT light will turn on.
5. Should a defective battery charging system cause the battery
voltage to rise to dangerously high levels, the PORTAWATTZ
150 automatically shuts down. The green POWER light will turn
off and the red FAULT light will turn on.
6. To reset the PORTAWATTZ 150 after automatic shutdown, the
OFF/ON switch must be switched OFF for 5 seconds, then ON
again. This manual reset feature prevents unexpected or
hazardous restarting of connected AC loads.
7.3 Battery Operating Time
When using the PORTAWATTZ 150, operating time will vary
depending on the charge level of the battery, its capacity and the
power level drawn by the particular AC load. With a typical
vehicle battery and a 150 Watt load (such as a small TV-VCR
combo), an operating time of 2-3 hours or more can be expected.
Vehicle batteries are designed to provide brief periods of very
high current needed for engine starting. They are not intended for
constant deep discharge. Regularly operating the PORTAWATTZ
150 from a vehicle battery until low voltage shutdown occurs will
shorten the battery’s life. When using a vehicle battery as a
power source, it is strongly recommended to start the vehicle
every hour or two to recharge the battery before its capacity
drops too low. The PORTAWATTZ 150 can operate while the
engine is running, but the normal voltage drop that occurs during
starting may trigger the PORTAWATTZ 150’s low voltage
shutdown feature.
Because the PORTAWATTZ 150 draws less than 0.1 Amps with
the ON/OFF switch in the ON position and with no AC products
connected, it has minimal impact on battery operating times.
8.0 Troubleshooting
Problem: AC product will not operate, red FAULT light ON.
Possible Cause
Suggested Remedy
AC product connected is rated at
more than 150 Watts; overload
shutdown has occurred.
Use product with a power rating less
than 150 Watts (or 120 Volts/1.25
AC Product is rated less than 150
Watts; high starting surge has
caused overload shutdown.
Product exceeds inverter’s surge
capability. Use a product with
starting surge power within the
PORTAWATTZ 150’s capability.
Battery is discharged.
Recharge battery.
Excessive battery voltage
Check charging system
overheated due to poor ventilation
Switch PORTAWATTZ 150 OFF and
allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove
objects covering unit, then restart.
Problem: AC product will not operate, no inverter lights are on.
Possible Cause
Suggested Remedy
Poor contact with lighter socket or
12 Volt outlet.
Press plug firmly into socket. Clean
plug or socket if necessary.
Lighter socket or 12 Volt outlet may
require ignition to be switched on.
Turn key to accessory position.
Cigarette lighter or 12 Volt outlet
fuse is blown.
Check vehicle fuses and replace
blown fuse with correct value.
Inverter has been connected with
reverse DC input polarity.
Probable inverter damage has
occurred. Have unit repaired.
Problem: Measured inverter output is too low.
Possible Cause
Suggested Remedy
Standard “average-reading” AC
voltmeter used to measure output
voltage, resulting in an apparent
reading 5 to 15 Volts too low.
I nverter’s “modified sine wave”
Battery voltage is too low.
Recharge battery.
output requires “true RMS” voltmeter,
such as Fluke 87 series multimeter,
for accurate measurement.
Problem: Battery run time is less than expected.
Possible Cause
Suggested Remedy
AC product power consumption is
higher than rated.
Use a larger battery to make up for
increased power requirement.
Battery is old or defective.
Replace battery.
Battery is not being properly
Have vehicle electrical system
checked by a qualified technician.
9.0 Limited Warranty and Performance
Guarantee (USA and Canada Only),
and Out-of-Warranty Service
What Does This Warranty Cover? Xantrex manufactures its products
from parts and components that are new or equivalent to new, in
accordance with industry standard practices. This warranty covers any
defects in workmanship or materials.
How Long Does The Coverage Last? This warranty lasts for 6 months
from the date of purchase. Implied warranties of merchantability and
fitness for a particular purpose are limited to six months from date of
purchase. Some jurisdictions do not allow limitations on how long an
implied warranty lasts, so the above limitation may not apply to you.
What Does This Warranty Not Cover? This warranty will not apply
where the product has been misused, neglected, improperly installed,
physically damaged or altered, either internally or externally, or
damaged from improper use or use in an unsuitable environment.
Xantrex does not warrant uninterrupted operations of its products.
Xantrex shall not be liable for damages, whether direct, incidental,
special, or consequential, or economic loss even though caused by the
negligence or fault of Xantrex. Some jurisdictions do not allow the
exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the
above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you.
What Will Xantrex Do? At its option, Xantrex will repair or replace the
defective product free of charge. Xantrex will, also at its option, use
new and/or reconditioned parts made by various manufacturers in
performing warranty repair and building replacement products. If
Xantrex repairs or replaces a product, its warranty term is not extended.
Xantrex owns all parts removed from repaired products.
Service During Warranty. In order to qualify for the warranty, dated
proof of purchase must be provided and the product must not be
disassembled or modified without prior authorization by Xantrex. If your
product requires warranty service, please return it to the place of
purchase along with a copy of your dated proof of purchase. If you are
unable to contact your merchant, or the merchant is unable to provide
service, contact Xantrex directly:
(604) 420-1585
(toll free) 1-800-670-0707
(604) 420-1591
(toll free) 1-800-994-7828
You must obtain a Return Material Authorization (RMA) number from
Xantrex before returning a product directly to Xantrex. Do not return a
product to Xantrex without first obtaining an RMA number. When you
contact Xantrex to obtain service, be prepared to supply the serial
number of your product and its date of purchase as well as information
about the installation or use of the unit.
If you are returning a product from the USA or Canada, follow this
1. Obtain an RMA number and a shipping address from Xantrex.
Product(s) returned without an RMA number or shipped collect,
will be refused.
2. Package the unit safely, preferably using the original packing
materials. Include the RMA number, a copy of your dated proof
of purchase, a return address where the repaired unit can be
shipped, a contact telephone number, and a brief description of
the problem.
3. Ship the unit to the address provided in Step 1, freight prepaid.
Obtaining proof of delivery is recommended.
The Performance Guarantee. Xantrex guarantees the PORTAWATTZ
150 will run any 13 inch television or Xantrex will replace your unit with
another inverter (selected at Xantrex’s option) that will run your
particular television model. This performance guarantee is offered
because we are confident you will find the PORTAWATTZ 150’s
performance superior to any other brand with similar power ratings.
Conditions That Apply To The Performance Guarantee. This
guarantee is valid only if your PORTAWATTZ 150 is installed to a
properly functioning power source and according to guidelines in this
manual. Your PORTAWATTZ 150 must be within the warranty period
and all conditions that apply to the Warranty also apply to the
Performance Guarantee. In addition, the television must be an AC
powered consumer model designed for use in the USA or Canada, in
proper working condition, and have a screen size of 13 inches or less as
specified by the television’s manufacturer, and may not be altered in any
way or used in an unsuitable environment.
Submitting Performance Guarantee Claims. If your PORTAWATTZ
150 fails to run any television up to 13 inches and all conditions stated
above apply, contact Xantrex Customer Service directly at the telephone
number listed above. Do not return your unit for upgrade to the retailer
where purchased.
In order to process your claim, you will need to provide dated proof of
purchase confirming your PORTAWATTZ 150 is within the warranty
period and the model, size, manufacturer and serial number of the
television that the inverter will not run. In most cases you will receive a
Return Material Authorization (RMA) number and return shipping
instructions from Customer Service, which allows you to return your
PORTAWATTZ 150 for an upgraded model. However, Xantrex reserves
the right to conduct an independent test to verify whether or not the
PORTAWATTZ 150 will operate your particular television model.
How Other Laws Apply: This warranty gives you specific legal rights,
and you may also have other rights which vary from jurisdiction to
For Our Canadian Customers: When used herein “implied warranties
of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose” includes all
warranties and conditions, express or implied, statutory or otherwise,
including without limitation implied warranties and conditions of
merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.
Service Out Of Warranty: If the warranty period for your
PORTAWATTZ 150 has expired, if the unit was damaged due to misuse,
incorrect installation or if other conditions of the warranty have not been
met, or if no dated proof of purchase is available, your unit may be
serviced/replaced for a minimum flat fee of $30.00 US ($45.00 CDN).
To return your PORTAWATTZ 150 for out of warranty service, contact
Xantrex customer service for a Return Material Authorization (RMA)
number and follow the other steps outlined in the section “Service
During Warranty” above. Options for payment (e.g. credit card or
money order) will be explained by the customer service representative.
In cases where the minimum flat fee does not apply (e.g. incomplete
units or units with excessive damage), and additional fee will be
charged. If applicable, you will be contacted by customer service once
your unit is received. The minimum flat fee is subject to change without
10.0 Specifications
AC output voltage (nominal)
DC input voltage range
115 Volts AC
10 – 15 Volts DC
Maximum Continuous AC output power
150 Watts
Maximum AC output surge power
400 Watts
AC output frequency
60 ± 4 Hz
AC output waveform
modified sine wave
Battery drain with no AC load (at 12V input)
0.1 Amps
Efficiency (maximum)
Ambient operating temperature range
0°C - 40°C
32°F- 100°F
Low battery shut down point (nominal)
10.0 Volts
High battery shut down point (nominal)
15 Volts
Dimensions (L x W x H)
135mm x 120mm x 45mm
5.125” x 4.75 ” x 1.75 ”
575 grams / 1lb 4oz
Specifications subject to change without notice.
11.0 Other Products from Xantrex
The PORTAWATTZ 150 is part of the PORTAWATTZ family of DC to AC
power inverters. Other members of this family are:
PORTAWATTZ 300 Inverter The PORTAWATTZ 300 delivers 300
Watts of AC power yet is still small enough to hold in the palm of a hand.
Ideal for small power tools, full size TV sets, desktop computers and
similar medium power applications.
PORTAWATTZ 600 Inverter Designed for recreational and industrial
applications, the PORTAWATTZ 600 produces 600 Watts of AC power,
and can run loads ranging from power tools to bread makers to
PORTAWATTZ 1000 Inverter A 1000 Watt inverter designed for
installation in trucks, vans, boats and RV’s. This inverter can operate
more powerful tools and equipment, and even many smaller microwave
PORTAWATTZ 1750 Inverter A 1750 Watt inverter designed for
installation in a boat, vehicle, or remote home for operating power tools,
kitchen appliances, and a wide range of other equipment.
PORTAWATTZ 3000 Inverter A heavy duty 3000 Watt inverter perfect
for running multiple higher power loads simultaneously, or for starting
tough motor-driven loads.
Xantrex also designs and manufactures the PROsine line of high tech,
high performance sine wave inverters and inverter-chargers, and the
TRUECHARGE line of “smart” battery chargers.
Contact your Xantrex retailer for more information or visit our web site at