Tip & How-To about Electronics - Others

WHAT IS A POWER INVERTER?

A power inverter is an electronic device that converts electricityfrom one form to another. Power inverters have become more popularrecently as the technology has become more efficient and much moreaffordable.

The most popular use for a power inverter isconverting battery electricity into mains electricity. For exampleconverting your car batteries' 12 volts DC into mains electricity 240Volt AC (Australia) or 110 Volt AC (USA).

WHAT POWER INVERTERS WILL HELP YOU DO

  1. Power inverters enablemains operated electrical equipment to be used even where there is nomains outlets, like in your car, caravan or even on your boat!
  2. Powerinverters bring creature comforts from home when you go camping orcaravaning allowing you to use your TV, fridge or electric shaver infact most of the normal mains powered conveniences from the home.
  3. You can charge your laptop in the car even if it doesn't happen tohave a 12 volt adapter. In fact a power inverter can be a very handygadget just to have in your car for those times you need to use a mainspowered appliance while you're away from a power socket.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A POWER INVERTER
Apartfrom looking for a good quality well priced product there are a coupleof important elements to consider when selecting your power inverter:

HOW MUCH POWER IS ENOUGH ?
Powerinverters come in a range of power capacities so selecting the rightone for you is very important. Your power inverter needs to be able toprovide sufficient power for the equipment you want to use it with.
Here is a brief check list:
  1. Check the power consumption for the device you want to power
  2. Allow an additional 20% free board
  3. Add the power for all the devices you want to run at the same time
Note also that devices with induction electric motors like an power saw mayrequire 3 to 7 times the operating power when they start.
Usingan under-powered power inverter may damage it or the appliance you aretrying to use, so be sure to check the specific wattage requirementsand operating instructions for appliances / tools to be used.

PURE SINE WAVE INVERTERS
Normal mains power is known as Alternating Current (AC) and is a sine wave shape like the black line in the drawing below
Pure sine wave (black) versus modified sine wave (red)
Atypical power inverter produces a 'modified sine wave output' like thered line in the drawing above. While this works for most appliances,light dimmers, variable speed drills, sewing machine speed controls,some laser printers etc. will not operate correctly with a modifiedsine wave power inverter.
Pure sine wave power inverters areespecially designed to provide a more accurate sine wave output and socan be used with these appliances, but unfortunately they are moreexpensive.
Check with your with appliance manufacturer or itsspecifications to confirm if you can use a conventional power inverteror will need a pure sine wave inverter.
WARRANTY
One of thegreat things about electronic equipment is there is no moving parts(although there is a fan in some models) so you can expect a longserviceable life from a power inverter.
STANDARDS
Powerinverters generate dangerous mains voltages so ensure the product youchoose is approved for use with your mains voltage and supplier.
Powerinverters can also generate electro-magnetic radiation that caninterfere with other electronic equipment such as radios transmittersetc. Check for compliance with relevant standards such as C-Tick etc

SAFETY
Powerinverters can generate potentially lethal voltages so the utmost ofcare should be exercised using them to avoid accidental electrocution.

SUMMARY
To select your power inverter carefully check the power requirements for the appliance(s) you intend to use it with.
  1. Start power - Allow up to seven times for an induction motor
  2. Operating power - Allow a 20% margin
  3. Pure or modified sine wave

Posted by on

Electronics - Others Logo

Related Topics:

Related Questions:

1 Answer

Do I have a negative battery system or positive battery system?


If you have a 12volt standard electrical system in your vehicle.
It is both positive and negative. The travel inverter converts this 12 volt DC current into 110v 60hz AC current so you can plug in your electronics that require standard household current to charge/operate.
There is a built in USB port if you device will accept this for 12 volt power. It also has the power oultet with ground for 110v 6hz power.
Link below has a good picture and description. Hope this helps!

http://www.sears.com/diehard-120-watt-ultra-slim-travel-inverter-with/p-02871520000P

Dec 30, 2013 | Sears DieHard 120Watt Ultraslim Travel...

2 Answers

I recently purchased a schumacher 410w inverter, while it came on right away and powered my electrical device the cooling fan never came on. Is the fan supposed to run all the time, once its connected.


I recently purchased a Schumaker 410/820 watt inverter. I immediately hooked it up to a brand new deep cell batery I had purchased just prior to receiving this inverter.
I plugged in several devices to make sure the inverter worked and to get some idea of what devices I can expect this unit to handle.
I noticed that the fan only ran when I plugged in a device that drew a certain amount of power from the unit. I also plugged in a CPAP unit to make sure the inverter would operate the unit properly, and noticed that the CPAP only drew 38 to 40 watts of power and the cooling fan on the converter never came on. When I plugged in an oscillating fan it drew around 128 watts from the converter and the cooling fan immediately came on when I turned the fan on. Based on that, I would assume that the cooling fan in the converter only runs when there is enough power being drawn through the inverter to cause the inverter to heat up enough to cause possible damage to or failure of the inverter. I haven't taken the time to find out the power draw at which the cooling fan will run. Hope this helps.

Jul 10, 2011 | Schumacher 410 Watt Power Inverter...

2 Answers

My husband hard wired an inverter for our RV to run the TV & associated equipment. It powers them fine but the reception has lines and dots running through it when on the inverter. We purchased a sine wave inverter hoping it would be cleaner, but it's worse. Are we missing something or is that just the nature of the beast?


It is becaus the inverter erradiate EMI (Eletro Mechanical Interference) and the EMI is picked up by the TV antenna, try moving them a part as far away as you can from each other (the inverter and the TV antenna), there are also some filters you can pusches, but enven with all that stuff you could end up with EMI any way so don't spend to much,

Good luck!

Apr 20, 2011 | Electronics - Others

1 Answer

Have a 1000 watt black n decker converter and it is humming and making a loud sharp noise. The pump that it's attached to does work. We are trying to find out why it's making these sounds.


when connecting a MOTOR to a DC to AC inverter the clipping sound comes from the fact that a inverter produces a switching voltage (Square wave) not a sine wave, than the motor's winding acts as a transponder and emits a clipping sound.... always check the specifications to see if you can plug any kind of motorised device to the inverter... electric motors have a different load ratings than other electric/electronic devices due to the mechanical impact (if it turns freely or has restriction) it affects the power rating...

Apr 09, 2011 | Black & Decker 1000w Power Inverter

2 Answers

How do i tell when the inverter is charged?


Question does not seem to match this inverters capability.

INFO:
This Power Inverter converts vehicle’s 12-volt DC power into household 115-volt AC power. AC and USB outlets power and/or recharge personal electronics.

We have owned one of these Power inverters for over a year now and have run a great deal with it, from TV to drill press PC and any thing that was small and that could run from my car. Very nice product.

SET UP: Connect wires. ensure correct polarity, push button on top. Plug in 110 volt appliance.

Hope this tip was of some use.

R/
David

Feb 12, 2010 | Black & Decker Power Inverter PI400AB

Not finding what you are looking for?

1,596 people viewed this tip

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Electronics - Others Experts

Donald DCruz
Donald DCruz

Level 3 Expert

17130 Answers

kakima

Level 3 Expert

102366 Answers

Brad Brown

Level 3 Expert

16195 Answers

Are you an Electronics - Other Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Loading...