I think one of the most important benefits of a setup like Phideaux's, generator--->batteries--->inverters that gets left out, is the ability to run the generator efficiently by pushing power into the batteries. Most generators have to run at 3600 rpm to make 60 cycles/sec AC. When we had an extended power outage I listened to the drone of generators running thru the night knowing they were pushing maybe 5% load...... for 8+ hours. This eats gas (the one thing you can't buy when the power is out)! I'd run power at 50% into the batteries for 2 hours, shut it off, and know I had enough to make it thru the night. When everything was off, it used nothing. Whenever the refrigerator kicked on, I knew I'd have plenty of ice to help my neighbor that ran out of gas.