The Don Rowe Blog
Stand Alone Inverter vs. Inverter/Charger
The stand-alone inverter is the most common type of power inverter. It functions solely as an inverter. In other words, the inverter will only take DC power from the battery and invert that power into AC power. A majority of the power inverters that you will find on the Internet are stand-alone and perform only one operation. Stand-alone inverters will range in size from as little as 75 watts all the way up to 5000 watts. Inverter pricing for this range of sizes will differ based on what features are offered. The size of inverter that will work best for you will depend on your power requirements.
Stand-alone inverter installation is relatively easy and virtually anyone can do it. A typical permanent installation should only take about 10 minutes. A temporary install should just take a few seconds. It is as simple as hooking the cables to the inverter – Positive (+) on the inverter to Positive (+) on the battery and Negative (-) on the inverter and Negative (-) on the battery. This works fine if you are doing a temporary install, however there is an additional step if you are installing the inverter permanently. Permanent installation requires the addition of an inline fuse located in the Positive (+) cable between the inverter and the battery.
Some inverters may also have the capability to be AC hardwired. What this means is that you can wire the inverter directly to an external outlet or sub panel. This type of installation will require a licensed electrician or certified installer. This will work best if you are trying to power a complete circuit so that you can use existing outlets in a cabin, boat, or RV. Some models also have a built in transfer switch that will protect the inverter from incoming AC from a generator or shore power.
Since stand-alone inverters are physically smaller then inverter/chargers they can be transferred between locations relatively easily. This portability makes the stand-alone inverter a useful device to bring with you camping or to have in case of a power outage. A typical 2000 watt inverter weighs only about 10lbs making it easy for anybody to carry.
To find out more information on specific stand-alone power inverters please visit our website by clicking here. You may also reach us by phone at 1-800-367-3019.
Inverter/Charger’s – What are they?
Inverter/chargers are all-in-one units that combine a power inverter, a battery charger, and a transfer switch into a single unit. This combination creates a convenient and functional unit that eliminates the need for multiple component installation. Inverter/chargers are designed mainly for applications in which AC power will be available from an outside source, such as shore power or a generator.
Installation of an inverter/charger is a more difficult process then that of the stand-alone inverter. It will require a professional installation by a licensed electrician or certified installer. The average person with no knowledge of AC wiring should not attempt to install an inverter/charger.
Once installed the inverter/charger is capable of operating independently. This is made possible by the inclusion of internal automatic transfer switch. The average transfer switch is capable of transferring 30-amp service, and a few are capable of transferring 50-amp service. The transfer switch is able to determine whether or not power is available from another source. If power is available from another source the inverter/charger will put itself into charge mode. This will allow the three-stage charger to turn on and start charging the batteries. When the transfer switch senses that power has been lost it switches to inverter power. This allows the inverter/charger to start supplying power for all of the loads on the AC distribution panel. Additionally, once voltage in your battery bank drops below the programmed voltage some inverter/chargers have the capability to start your generator. By utilizing an automatic generator start (AGS) the unit is able to start your generator and enable the charging function of your inverter/charger to begin. This automated function makes an inverter/charger an invaluable upgrade to any RV, boat, or home system.
Some of the inverter/chargers offer an advanced control system that gives you complete control over the inverter/charger. You are able to control everything from the low voltage shut-off to the battery charge type. They provide convenient LCD readouts and easy to understand programming guides.
Inverter/Chargers are only available in sizes above 1000 watts. We currently offer sizes ranging from 1000 to 3600 watts. Inverter/chargers are more expensive then stand-alone inverters and installation typically costs more. However, you cannot beat the convenience that they offer.
If you are looking for a simple to use system for your RV, boat, or home then you should take a look at the inverter/charger systems that we offer. If you have questions feel free to contact us at 1-800-367-3019.