Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prep Tip - Power Inverter Quick Facts

What is the difference between a modified sine and pure sine wave inverter?
Modified sine wave power inverters are more portable than pure sine wave power inverters, lighter, and definitely much lower in cost. If your device will handle voltage fluctuations, a modified sine wave inverter should be considered.

Most devices that people typically wish to power will work fine with a modified sine wave inverter, as a precaution, please contact the manufacturer of your device to determine if it is compatible.

Pure sine wave power inverters motor's run cooler, last longer and provide very clean power like you would receive from a power company. Devices such as laser printers, digital clocks, and most medical equipment require a pure sine wave inverter to run correctly.

As noted above, as a precaution, please contact the manufacturer of your device to determine if pure sine wave power is required. Most devices required in an emergency will run okay on modified sine wave power but if it is medical equipment you need then best find out ahead of time. Some battery charging equipment and power adapters may not function properly Don't be surprised however when you contact the manufacturer if they don't have an answer for you right away.

How long can I expect my devices to run after installing an Inverter?

The run time depends solely on the amount and size (capacity) of your batteries.

Total the amps on your batteries and divide by 12. Take that number and set it aside, we'll get back to it in a moment.

Total the amps on the devices you will use on the inverter, add another 1/2 amp for the inverter itself.

Take THAT total and divide into the first number you came up with.

The result will be your runtime in hours.

The more batteries you put in parallel the longer runtime you can expect.

With an inverter installed on a truck, can the engine be idled to maintain a charge on the batteries to offset the drain by heavy powertool use?
Yes, most who use inverters in this manner will leave their vehicle running while using their inverter. It is recommended that only 2500 watt inverters and below be used on your truck or large vehicle. Advise your vehicle's manufacture or mechanic to make sure your alternator will keep up with the amps being used. (Heavy duty alternators should keep up at 80-90Amp)

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. Vehicle batteries were not designed to be used as sources of regular power for inverters as compared to deep cycle batteries.

My inverter's fans won't come on.
On almost all of our inverters over 1000 watts, the fans are connected to a thermal switch which will only allow the fans to come on when they reach a certain temperature. This helps keep your batteries holding their charge longer by reducing demand, and also makes it QUIET!

Is my inverter weatherproof?
No. Treat your inverter like you would your TV. You wouldn't put your TV outside in the rain, please don't leave your inverter there either. Be aware of lighting storms. If struck, your inverter would go into a permanent overload state and may even smoke it. If using in a marine environment, try to keep it tucked away underneath, in a dryer area.

Some newer inverters make claims of being weather resistant - you may want to explore those for marine use.

Source -Adapted from All-battery.com

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