How to Choose a Suitable Power Inverter?
There are a lot of options out there for power inverters. There are 12V inverters, 24V inverters, Pure sine inverters, modified sine inverters, and an array of different sizes and power ratings. We want to help you choose the right inverter for your needs.
INVERTER VOLTAGE (V)
First, you will have to make sure your inverter voltage matches your battery bank. That means if your batteries are connected so that they are 12V, you will need a 12V inverter.
INVERTER WATTAGE (W)
What do you plan on powering? Do you want to run an electric kettle? An electric cook top? Power tools? If so, then a 2000 watt inverter will work. 2000 watts is as high as you want to go on a 12V battery bank, otherwise you can pull too much power and generate too much resistance in the wires and connections.
If you don’t plan on running heavy power consumers, a smaller inverter is a good way to go. A 1200 watt inverter will still run most small appliances and even some microwaves.
The reason some may want to go for a smaller inverter is that when an inverter is turned on, it has a constant, no load, power draw. Each manufacturer should list in their product description how much power the inverter uses at a constant. For example, a 1200 watt inverter uses 1.2 amps/ hour, while the same company’s 2000 watt inverter uses 1.7 amps/hour. 1.2ah x 24h = 29 amps/ day. 1.7ah x 24h = 40.8 amps/ day. You’d be surprised just how much power some devices and appliances use. Here are some home appliance labels you can refer to.
GET THE RIGHT SIZE FOR YOU
With 12 and 24 volt inverters ranging from 100 Watts or less, right up to 6000 Watts plus, it’s important to choose the right size for your application. These days inverters are over 90% efficient, which may seem like a figure that won’t affect your power usage, but consider a 1000 Watt inverter at full power and there is a waste of around 100 Watts – at 12 volt that equates to over 8 Amps! In a 100 amp hour battery, just the wasted power could drain the battery to 50% charge in around 6 hours, so it’s not always a case of bigger equals better. Make a list of the appliances and devices you wish to run, consider which ones might be run at the same time and then calculate their total wattage. Another consideration must be made for the extra power that is needed on start-up of some devices, particularly those with an electric motor such as fridges or power tools.
MODIFIED SINE WAVE
* Wide range, plenty of choice
* Inexpensive compared to PSW
* Generally smaller than PSW
* Not suited for sensitive electronics
* Create more heat than PSW inverters
* May not work with all appliances
The Modified Sine Wave (MSW) inverter’s main strength is its relatively cheap price when compared to a Pure Sine Wave model. For most purposes an MSW inverter will suit, as they are ideal for most devices with the exclusion of sensitive electronics. Modified Sine Waves may cause some distortion on TV and computer screens and they are not recommended for constant use with battery powered items like laptops as they can eventually damage the battery – occasional use is fine though.
PURE SINE WAVE
* Smooth and reliable power output
* Able to power any device within
* Runs more efficiently than MSW
* Higher cost than MSW
* Physically larger and heavier than MSW
Pure Sine Wave (PSW) inverters are more expensive than other models and are generally larger because of the added circuitry and sophisticated electronics they utilise. Though they are more expensive, PSW inverters can be relied upon to deliver excellent constant power and that’s why they are trusted to power sensitive devices as well as medical equipment.
Finally,It is important to remember that when using power from an inverter, you should not exceed its power rating
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