*New* Inergy "Flex" Solar Generator

Will Prowse

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I do not have much information yet (I haven't talked to this company in months), but they started posting teasers on their facebook page for a new solar generator:
93323012_2471467439619987_585627531068047360_n.png
From facebook post:
  • "Not only is the Flex a game changer when it comes to lithium expansion, but we have opened the doors for solar charging. On board the Flex control unit is a 12-90VDC MPPT charge controller, allowing you to charge with a huge variety of solar panels."

  • "We’re just going to come right out and say it, the Inergy Flex is... MODULAR
    Yes, you read that right, modular. The Flex Modular System consists of both an advanced, intelligent Flex control unit AND the extremely smart and powerful Lithium-ion Flex battery."
  • "We know you’ve been wondering, so let’s just cut to the chase. Yes, the Flex battery is the Lithium Expansion Battery that is compatible with BOTH the Kodiak and Apex."
My opinion:
  • It has the same exact "stackable expansion battery" design as the Point Zero Titan. I hope point zero energy patented that design or else everyone will copy it.
  • Looks like they got rid of the Apex power switch and reverted to the Kodiak power switch. Smart idea actually. That "new" switch was horrible.
  • It states the solar input voltage will be 90V! Which is awesome, but it looks like they are using EC8 plugs still.... Can they handle that voltage? I had some arcing problems at 80V with that plug in the past. That plug is a shock danger when used for high voltage. I cannot find a EC8 plug data sheet, so I am unsure.
  • All we have is renderings. Inergy is great at making products look great, running a pre-sale, running lots of ads etc. But we will have no idea what the quality of this unit is until we see it in person.
Do you guys have any more info? We can make this the official thread for future updates of this unit. Let me know what you find and what you think of my opinions I listed above. I am curious what your thoughts are.
 

Knighthawk

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As for bonding of neutral and ground, many inverters and generators aren't bonded. It's really easy to do that tho. Not really a safety issue at all.
 

JettyDaddy

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I was talking to the IT support a couple of weeks ago and they mentioned that their 12V plugs on the Inergy Flex will now have regulated ports to above 13V regardless of battery power. Lets see if this holds true.
 

Tpath

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As for bonding of neutral and ground, many inverters and generators aren't bonded. It's really easy to do that tho. Not really a safety issue at all.
A little off-topic, but important to understand why these guys (and others) don't provide true neutral (for EV charging, etc.).. Careful; that's not really correct. Generators and solar gens don't often have "neutral". The inverter output is very similar to the 240V L1/2 at your house. Each line swings in voltage, whereas N stays at zero volts. The inverter can't do that (provide a neutral), since it doesn't have a way to produce actual negative voltage (it would need a special DCDC converter, or a dual-battery system, which would be very expensive and complex). It just boosts (and isolates, unless it's cheap and unsafe) the voltage to ~200VDC, uses a couple of bridges to connect one line to 0V and the other to the 200V (through a simple PWM buck topology to produce the 0-160VDC sine wave that results in 120VAC RMS). This alternates at 60Hz to produce a signal that is, for all intents and purposes, 120VAC (because the 160V alternates between each line). They're essentially a SMPS with an inverter circuit on the output.

So if you connect "neutral" to GND, you're connecting a line that goes to 160V (remember that 120VAC peaks around 160V in the middle of the phase) to the housing of your car, unit, or other appliance. It's like connecting the hot wire to GND. In EVs and most grounded appliances, GND is chassis-connected (otherwise there's little point in having a GND line), so the chassis will swing from 0-160V with the AC output of the gen/inverter.

Gens that produce 240VAC usually have a center-tapped winding to produce 120VAC, and the center tap is the neutral and can be grounded. However, inverter-gens and inverters usually don't. They would need a transformer, which would be heavy and costly.

To get a safe neutral, you have to actually go through a transformer that isolates the input from the output and provides a zero-volt center tap you can ground. That would also get you 240VAC from the 120v output of the inverter. You're still talking a 15-30lb transformer to get that..and it's even still not a safe GND unless you stake it to ground. The point is to put GND at the same voltage potential as you (the guy standing on the ground).
 

Curb71

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This is apparently being released tomorrow (or now if you're on the East coast). Still no details as to pricing or when it's going to ship. I'm guessing the three-tier system will be about 5K lol
 

mattleonard

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So... is Will going to do a video review for us? I see a few Prepper channels doing it already - but still lacking much technical detail. Can you use other external batteries (not just the Flex battery) with the Flex? Can you actually draw 1500w continuous - or is it limited to 550w or 1,000w like past Inergy products? What are the terminals on the Flex battery to connect it to a Kodiak or Apex?
 

mattleonard

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I just called Inergy today to try to get a little more info/specs - but the battery is around 80-90ah (they advertise 1069 wh, so depends on what reference voltage their marketing team uses), but the price ($850) is comparable to a Battle Born, or other high quality drop-in LifeP04 battery. It includes a BMS, and the form factor is nice. They say there are not conventional terminals on the battery - but they have an "Flex Battery to ring terminal" adapter (for $40!). Can't tell from pictures, but I assume one could DIY something on their own for about $38 less.

And if you do the pre-sale deposit now, it includes a 10-year warranty on the batteries (no details on that, presumably includes some reasonable loss of capacity), so again, comparable to the Battle Born.

I've got an old Kodiak - so not having to use heavy lead-acid external batteries would be really convenient upgrade for me. And, presuming I can use it as a stand-alone battery for homebrew inverter/charge controller rigs, it's not a bad deal.

However, batteries cannot be run in series, only in parallel. That's definitely a limiting factor for me. (My non-Kodiak rig is a 24v system)
 

axel44

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Charge controller circuits are well understood, Inverter circuits are well understood, LiFePo4 batteries, and their care (BMS), are
well understood, thermal control circuits are well understood. I fail to see the innovation here, and with many of the "Generators"
that are out there. It seems like the packaging is what the premium price gets you. It is very entertaining to watch Will perform the Design
Validation Testing (DVT) that these makers should have done well before they sent units to him.

Eventually, one of these makers will hit the nail squarely on the head with a high quality, well tested, reasonably priced,
versatile product. I will wait until then, or make my own.
 

Tgm

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A big concern for rv’ers is that the adapter for the Inergy Flex on their website is only good for 12.5 amps. TheTitan has a 30 amp plug. 12.5 amps is virtually useless for powering an rv. Big fatal flaw of the Flex if that is the case. Wills review will validate the specs. If you need a generator for RV, hold off on the Flex until its capability is validated.
 

mattleonard

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I did ask Inergy on any power limitations per outlet -they said each Edison outlet can pass the full 1500w (continuous) rating - unlike the Apex. While the Kodiak and Apex had a 30a RV plug... that's just a connector - it was still limited to 1500 watts. A $5 adapter addresses this.

I've used my Kodiak to power an RV (Cruise America rental) with no issues - fridge, lights, heater, water pump etc. We did 2 week rental in over New Years in California (including through a surprise snowstorm), and never turned the onboard generator on once.
 

Tgm

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I stick by my post. Try running microwave, your wifes hair blower or toaster or coffee pot at the same time and 12.5 amps wont work. Useless to run a A/C too. So for my needs the Flex wont work.
 

Scott702

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Form factor and the 12 volt regulated flex unit is cool. Interested to see if it can be run as an uninterrupted power supply, primary DC charging station for sensitive electronics. Like other posts I'll wait for Will's test review. Hint hint to company. Put you marketing where you mouth is.
 

BenG

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I feel the Inergy Flex is a poorer quality baby version of the Titan. I don't see a reason to get a Flex over a Titan.

I will have a video about it in the future on my YouTube channel Minute Man Prep and an article on my website https://poweredportablesolar.com/. In the end, the Titan is still way more power, and MUCH more affordable. I have already preordered my Flex so that I can test it in person since this company very much dislikes me I can't get one for testing, I have to buy it all on my own just like every other solar generator I have.

The Flex has a 1,500w inverter and the Titan has a 3,000w inverter.

The Flex can draw 1,500w of power from 100% down to 20% (According to Inergy but untested and unverified). The Titan can draw 3,000w of power until 0% (tested and verified).

The Flex has stackable 1,069wh batteries (realistically 1,000wh at best) and the Titan has 2,000wh batteries (can actually use 2,000wh from it).

The Flex can add solar input of 600w per charge controller added (realistically 500w likely, again untested and unverified) and the Titan can input up to 2,000w of solar (tested and verified).

The Flex batteries have around 500 lifecycles and the Titan batteries have 2,000 lifecycles.

Inergy said their previous models could output 1,500w of power from the inverter and still have 2,000 cycles and that simply wasn't true as you can see in my Apex review video. My biggest issue with the Flex is that you will end up paying the same for it as you would a Titan but get 1/2 the inverter power.

Titan has 3,000w inverter, 2,000wh battery, 1,000w solar input (goes to 2,000w solar input with two or more batteries without having to purchase additional charge controllers) = $2,995
Flex has 1,500w inverter, 1,000wh battery, 500w solar input. Add one more battery for 2,000wh total and one more charge controller for 1,000w solar input total and the cost is $2,650 (presale pricing) or $2,950 (standard pricing).

So you can see for the Flex to match the battery capacity and solar input of the Titan the cost difference is $45 for normal pricing. So for $45 more, you can have twice the inverter with 4x the battery life.

If you add an extra battery to the Titan you'd have:
Titan with 3,000w inverter, 4,000wh battery capacity, and 2,000w solar input. = $4,390

If you had a Flex with the same battery and solar input capacity as a Titan with an extra battery you'd have:
Flex with 1,500w inverter, 4,000wh battery (3 additional to original) and 2,000w solar input (3 additional charge controllers to original) = $5,800 at normal pricing.

So especially when it comes to expanding it down the road it will cost you $1,460 more to match what the Titan with 1 extra battery can do. This means that not only is the Titan better in almost every way but also saves A TON of money.
 

Tgm

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Thanks Ben. Titan is still the king. Cant wait until you prove it with your review. Lots of competitiors out there now with the Bluetti ac200 and now the Allpowers Monster X 1700. Interesting to see how they compare.
 

mattleonard

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Ben - your assessment is helpful, but I think in the real-world - there are other considerations that warrant a closer look, and I think you some of your points might be inaccurate or misleading

I own a Kodiak - and it's been rock-solid for me - but from reviews it seems that the Apex was a step backwards in many ways. While it's worth knowing the faults of the Apex - it seems the Flex is replacing that unit in part to address those shortcomings. And while I don't own a Titan - I've used one, it's great - and I've debated buying one - so I'm no "fanboy" on either side - just trying to offer some perspective.

Battery- I haven't seen anything referencing 80% usable capacity on the Flex batteries. Given the intense scrutiny on Inergy's past spec claims - I think they'd be up front on this (rather than get caught) if this were the case. Inergy is also stating 2,000 lifecycles - not sure where you are getting the 500 claim from. (and a 10-year battery replacement warranty). And a Flex with a 2nd battery is ~2138wh - a bit bigger than the Titan - plus you have the option to save the weight/bulk if you don't need both all the time.

Charging: The Flex is 30a max charging, the Titan is 40a. Many folks don't need to fully dis/charge their unit daily so ~400 watts of solar input is pretty solid.. You don't need to buy their additional supercharger and all that cost unless you are really doing heavy-discharge, daily use with multiple additional batteries. Also at 24v - that Titan would require at least a pair of common 100w panels - vs just a single panel for the Flex. For casual users or portability - additional panels add up.

Size & Weight - 70lbs for the Titan, vs 30 lbs for the Flex. Even adding a 2nd Flex battery takes it to ~45lbs. I'd say the Flex is still in the easily-portable realm for most people, but 70lbs is in another league, and/or may require a 2nd person to help move. And having the flexibility of 2 batteries let's you only carry what you need. The Flex, even with the 2nd battery is also smaller. Also - see the note on panels above.

Warranty: Inergy is offering a 10-year "no BS full replacement" warranty (at least on presale) for the battery and 2 months on the whole unit. Titan only offers 24 months.

Cost:
Yes, the inverter is 1500w (Flex) vs 3,000 (Titan) - no getting around that. But if you don't need that power, and prefer the flexibility and size/weight of the Flex - here's a more accurate comparison:
  • Titan (3kw inverter, 2kwh battery = $2995
  • Flex + 2nd battery (1.5kw interver, 2.1kwh battery = $2200
Or - you can buy TWO Flex's for less cost (and combined weight!) of one Titan - $2700. That gives you a backup, or the ability to operate 2 sites, or the flexibility to stack batteries on one unit, and still have 3kw of power (though not on the same circuit obviously). For my purposes - that's great - I sometimes need that much power but I can split the load across different circuits. These are HUGE upsides for me.

I do have a DIY 3kw rig I build that is comparable to the Titan (for a lot less money!) -3,000w pure sine wave inverter, 24v LifeP04 batteries (210ah, expandable with a 2nd battery bank to 420ah), 40a of MPPT etc. But more often than not, I still use my Kodiak. Why? Because I don't always need that much power, and I can toss the Inergy over my shoulder (yes, it has a shoulder strap!) with a single 100w panel and just go.
 

tomjohn

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Totally new to this community and only about a month in on my solar and battery knowledge, but I agree with Matt. If you don't need the 3000w inverter the Flex is very competitive to the Titan. I'm currently researching my own system to add to a '73 Travco RV, and made a Solar budget to compare the costs of the different systems so I can see how many hours I can drive and still power a mini-split AC without needing to recharge. The Inergy seems to give me the best mix of capacity and value when I add 2 batteries. I was about to purchase the Titan + 1 battery until yesterday when I made this sheet to see which one was the best for my needs:

1598283083702.png

The Titan does come out ahead the larger capacity you get, but one of the interesting things about the MPPT controller of the Flex is that you can add more than one in the series with the batteries to max out the charge rate whereas the Titan is capped at the (admittedly very great) charge rate of 2000w.

If a 1500w inverter is enough for your needs, as it appears to be for mine, you have to purchase the Titan and 2 additional batteries to eclipse the value of the Inergy Flex. However, if a faster charge rate is a priority, it's hard to beat the Titan. For me, I'm only going to go with 6 100w panels on the roof of my rig, so the 2000w charge rate is wasted and the Inergy makes more sense. The current 10 year warranty is also super appealing.

If there are any glaring issues with my estimates, please let me know. Like I said, I've only about a month in and have a lot to learn.
 

Tgm

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Determining your needs is the bottomline on what solar generator you need to buy. If your needs is to plug your rv into a solar generator then you have to determine what items or appliances you r going to run and if you will be running them at the same time. If all you run is water pumps, lights, tv, radio, and other low watt items then the flex will meet your needs. If you plan on running a microwave, hair dryer, electric coffee pot or your a/c along with the lights, refer and water pump being on, the flex wont have the power to do that. I will guarantee that if you camp with a wife or significant other out in the sticks, she will want to use a hair dryer and microwave at times along with curling irons and who knows what else. Point is to not under estimate your power needs. Better to have more than you need than to be caught with not enough power to make your rving comfortable. Been rving since 1984, mostly in the sticks. I can tell you the older you get the more you like the comforts of home when rving. My 2 cents.
 
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