An inverter takes DC power (battery or solar, for example) and converts it into AC "household" power for running electronic equipment and appliances.
Q. Why are they called inverters?
Originally converters were large rotating electromechanical devices. Essentially they combined a synchronous ac motor with a commentator so that the commentator reversed its connections to the ac line exactly twice per cycle. The results is ac-in dc-out. If you invert the connections to a converter you put dc in and get ac out. Hence an inverter is an inverted converter.
Q. How can an inverter be used?
With a large enough battery bank, almost anything within reason can be operated from a power inverter - this assumes that the inverter has the proper power output for the given load. Everyday appliances such as microwaves, power tools, TVs and VCDs , lights, audio/visual equipment, battery chargers, tube lights, Fans and computers are common loads. An inverter sized for loads with heavy inrush current can be used to power air compressors, water pumps, heaters, ventilation fans, and air conditioners Kevin Pure Sine Wave inverters\Home UPS are ideal for running sensitive test equipment such as communications equipment, oscilloscopes, scales, high end stereos & video equipment, communications equipment, etc
Q. What is Sine Wave?
It is the ideal waveform for the transfer of AC power. There are two types of waveforms available. A "modified sine wave" and the "true sine wave".
Modified Sine Wave The modified sine wave is not really a sine wave at all. It is more less a "stepped wave". It achieves voltage regulation by varying in width according to the battery voltage and the load. Thus, the wave is not as smooth as a sine wave. The quality of modified sine wave inverters should not be underestimated. They are highly capable, and (by narrowing the waveform) they save energy when running only small loads, as happens during most of the day in a typical home. Modified sine inverters have been successful in many thousands of remote home, RV and marine systems since 1986.
True Sine Wave Also known as Pure Sine Wave, is the most reliable waveform and provides power almost identical to a standard wall outlet. The power produced fully assures that your "sensitive loads" will be correctly powered, with no interference. Some appliances are likely to require Pure Sine Wave including digital clocks, battery chargers, light dimmers, variable speed motors, and audio/visual equipment. For these reasons, true sine wave inverters can be more a more expensive choice.
Q. Why do I hear buzzing on my stereo when using a modified sine wave inverter?
Some inexpensive stereos use power supplies that cannot eliminate common-mode noise. These would require a sine wave inverter to operate noise-free.
Q. How do I know which inverter to buy?
Different devices require specific wattages to run correctly and efficiently. Please use this easy formula to determine the correct size inverter
AMPS x 220 = Watts
Example: 10 Amp Cooling Unit X 120 = 1200 Watts
Q. What is the Low Voltage Alarm & Shutdown?
The low voltage alarm will sound when the DC source falls below 10 volts and the automatic shutdown will power off the inverter. This is done to save your battery ( ies ) so you can restart your vehicle.
Q. Is my inverter weatherproof?
The low voltage alarm will sound when the DC source falls below 10 volts and the automatic shutdown will power off the inverter. This is done to save your battery(ies) so you can restart your vehicle.
Q. How do I charge the battery for my inverter?
Because inverters operate from a DC (Direct Current) power source, usually a battery bank (one or more batteries), the battery source will have to be recharged at some point. (Remember that a battery discharged more than 80% is probably close to being dead.) Depending on the inverter load and runtime required, most power use applications will be covered by the charged battery. If the load is large (air conditioner, large draw power tools, large microwave, food freezer, ice cream machine, etc.), the user should verify that the installed inverter is of large enough capacity to operate this power requirement.
Battery installation tips
Connect high amperage accessories such as a winch to the top terminals only. Do NOT use the side terminals.
Replace any cables and connectors that have corrosion, rust, or other damage.
Do not install batteries in a non-ventilated or sealed compartment.
Do not lift or handle the batteries by the terminals.
Do not over tighten terminal bolts
Q. What are some safety precautions to keep in mind?
Improper use of a power inverter could result in personal injury. Keep the inverter free from moisture as liquids conduct electricity, which may lead to serious damage or injury! Do not use the inverter near flammable materials or where fumes or gases may accumulate. The AC Output (neutral) wire should be ground, except in special applications.
Q. Is it possible to run an air conditioner on power inverters?
Yes, it is possible to operate a air conditioner in range using a higher-powered inverter and battery bank with the right capacity for power. Select an inverter and battery combination that takes into account the startup surge required by the air conditioner.
Q. What type of batteries should I use in my Inverter/Charger installation?
Uniscan recommends using only high-quality deep cycle batteries in Wet, Gel or AGM etc.
Q. What is the difference between Automotive and Deep Cycle batteries?
Automotive batteries are usually adequate for small inverters, (500 Watts). Deep Cycle (marine) batteries are best for larger inverters as they are designed for several hundred charge/discharge cycles. (Automotive batteries wear out much more quickly after heavy discharge)
Q. Are there any appliances that cannot be run on an inverter?
In general you can connect almost any appliance to an inverter, with a few practical exceptions. While the inverter can easily supply a heavy load like an electric heater, the battery capacity is often too low to maintain the supply for any great length of time. The same applies to air conditioning units. As long as the battery capacity is high enough you can use a large inverter to run a washing machine, a large single cooking element or a small two-ring electric cooker.
Q. Can I use my inverter in parallel with the generator or shore power?
Definitely not! If you have a generator on board or a shore connection you must install a Master switch. The switch is available with various applications, but its main function is to switch automatically and safely between shore, generator and inverter power.
Q. Can I run a computer on the inverter?
Yes, you can. All TRIBAL sine wave inverters can easily and safely supply a computer. In fact the output voltage from an inverter is often better than that from the electricity grid. A TRIBAL inverter, combined with a battery charger and a battery set, is often used as a back-up system on shore in places where the grid connection voltage is contaminated or unreliable.
Q. Can I run a microwave on an inverter?
Yes. You can connect any model of microwave to your inverter, but keep in mind that a 800 watt microwave consumes 1200 to 1300 watt from the 230V system, so you must make sure you choose the correct size inverter
Q. How much battery capacity do I need with an inverter?
As a rule of thumb you can assume the minimum battery capacity for a 12V installation is about 20% of the inverter capacity. For a 24V installation this would be 10%. In other words the minimum battery capacity for an AJ1000-12 is 160Ah
Q. Are there any appliances that cannot be run on an inverter?
In general you can connect almost any appliance to an inverter, with a few practical exceptions. While the inverter can easily supply a heavy load like an electric heater, the battery capacity is often too low to maintain the supply for any great length of time. The same applies to air conditioning units. As long as the battery capacity is high enough you can use a large inverter to run a washing machine, a large single cooking element or a small two-ring electric cooker
Q. How much power does an inverter consume?
If you connect a 850W coffee machine to a Studier sine wave inverter, consumption will be 850W divided by the voltage of the electrical system (12V) = 70 Amperes. Add another 8% (100%-92% =8%) to this total for the inverter consumption. The total power consumption is then 70 Amperes + 6 Amperes = 76 Amperes. Of course a coffee machine is only in use for about 10 minutes so the actual Ampere consumption is relatively low (76 x 10 min = 13Ah).