The Don Rowe Blog
Power Inverters—An Invaluable Companion
It takes a little bit of understanding power inverters to make an intelligent choice concerning which type would best fit one’s needs. Not all power inverters are created equally since each type is geared for its specific purpose; and figuring out your purpose, first, will narrow down the search.
In a nutshell, power inverters are electrical devices that convert direct current, or DC electricity into alternating current, or AC electricity. Power inverters can power household appliances that run on 240V AC from a 12V DC battery or vehicle that has a 12V system. The inverters actually convert the 12V DC battery power to 220/240V AC in order to power a whole range of applications at home, while traveling, boating and camping.
Power inverters are also used in many advanced applications such as high-efficiency induction heaters, for example.
Modified Sine and True Sine Wave Inverters:
A cheap modified-wave power inverter can create a choppy AC power source which is why a modified-wave inverter is less expensive than a true sine-wave inverter. A true sine-wave inverter will more perfectly replicate your home’s power supply from the grid; but if you have appliances in mind that you know would work seamlessly with a modified sine-wave inverter, then there’s no reason to pay more money than you need to, especially if you were to realize that 95% of appliances run on the modified sine wave.
The flip side of the coin, however, is that a lot of sensitive electrical applications such as medical equipment, computers and laser printers simply must have a higher quality power source or serious or irreversible damage can result. In this case, pure sine-wave inverters should be the only consideration; and paying the extra expense would be worth the continued assurance your valuable equipment will never be compromised.
Pure sine-wave inverters offer the option of being able to power far more appliances and equipment. Assuming one can work a pure sine-wave inverter into one’s budget, purchasing a pure sine-wave inverter will always be a safer option. You’ll have more peace of mind if you expect to use your inverter regularly.
These inverters connect directly to the battery of your car, boat, or RV. You can purchase a battery-direct power inverter for just about any wattage maximum.
These mobile minis are inexpensive and very handy and they plug right into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter to enable you to run a small appliance. Since your car’s fuses wouldn’t be able to handle a load over 300 Watts, this inverter needs to be reserved for those devices at or under that wattage.
Obviously, the type and size of your appliance will determine the type and strength of power inverter necessary. A much more powerful inverter that can provide Alternating Current for air-conditioners, large appliances and household lighting will be far different than those inverters one would use for a coffee maker or iPod. Smaller inverters can fit in one’s pocket or glove box. Hand-held inverters can prove to be a true luxury and convenience to power-up those comforts of home while one is “roughing it” away from home.
Though many families use power inverters mainly for powering appliances and devices while vacationing, for example, it’s easy to forget how weather-related disasters can result in power outages for days, weeks and months on end. Whether it’s hurricanes, floods, electrical storms or tornadoes, the thought of being caught, unprepared, in darkness with no lighting, heating or cooling is unthinkable for most of us; but it can happen to anyone at any time. Being pro-active by having power inverters on hand for unexpected emergencies is prudent and wise!