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Jun 23

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Basic Insight Regarding Your Power Inverter System

posted by Patrick Fallon

A power inverter is designed to provide two essential needs: ‘Peak power’, also known as ‘surge power’ and ‘typical power’, also referred to as ‘usual power’.   Knowing the difference between the two is vital, not only in terms of what type of power inverter you might purchase, but also in terms of how your power inverter will perform, optimally.

Peak/Surge Power:

Surge power is two-fold and finds itself on both ends of the power spectrum: It is the maximum power the inverter can provide yet it is also extremely short-lived—typically no longer than a second.   A number of appliances have electric motors such as refrigerators, pumps and compressors.  You, no doubt, have any number of appliances with electric motors, and even some without electric motors, that have a much higher start-up surge than they do while they run continuously. Because of this, you will need to make sure you choose an inverter with a continuous rating that can comfortably deal with any surge ratings. Failing to do so can prematurely burn out the inverter—not good!

Typical/Usual Power:

You’ve probably already guessed that typical power deals with the power an inverter possesses to run on a perpetual basis. This continuous rating is almost always much lower than the surge power.   Once your microwave, for example, pulls surge power of only a second or two, it will pull typical power to continue to run.   When choosing an inverter, you will need to plan for the start up or peak/surge power of all the appliances that would be used during a power outage, for instance. You will need to know your total power requirement, ahead of time.

Contacting a power inverter professional is a great way to help you determine your power requirements per hour.   It can be a bit involved and requires some mathematical calculations, but that’s what inverter pro’s do—they help you get started, especially if proactively integrating power inverters for your home during a blackout or using inverters in an off-grid cabin is a new endeavor for you.

A Little Battery Insight:

Most typical deep-cycle batteries are 6 volts or 12 volts. If you use 6 volt batteries you have to connect them in series to reach 12 volts. You will hear the terms “connecting batteries in series” and “connecting batteries in parallel”. Connecting in parallel means you are increasing amps. Connecting in series means you increase voltage.

Connecting in series adds the voltage of the two batteries, but keeps the same amperage—known as ‘Amp hours’.   For example, you could join two 6-volt batteries–each with 10 amps–in series, and produce 12 volts but still have a capacity of 10 amps. So, what we have here is increased voltage.

Connecting in parallel will increase your current rating, but the voltage will stay the same. If we go back to our previous example of joining two 6-volt batteries—each with 10 amps—only this time in parallel, we will end up with 6 volts but the Amps will increase to 20. So, what we have here is increased amps.

Involve The Professionals:

When planning on how and when your power inverter(s) will be used, be sure to purchase the correct type of battery for the job it must do. It’s very important to use a high-quality deep cycle battery for your power inverter system because it is designed to provide stand-alone power and handle a deeper discharge than a regular car battery.  Not only will the quantity of batteries need to be determined, but also the type of battery you’ll use for your particular applications as well as the size of the battery and the number of amp hours you’ll need between charge cycles.

There is a lot to consider when selecting and integrating a power inverter/battery bank system; but, again, that’s where power inverter specialists come in. They can answer all your questions and help you design the correct system to optimally and safely meet your specific power needs!

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