Power Inverter :: Power Converter :: Inverters
From Wikipidia - the free encyclopedia; Power Inverters
A power inverter, or inverter, is an electrical device that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC); the converted AC can be at any required voltage and frequency with the use of appropriate transformers, switching, and control circuits. The DC to AC inverter is commonly seen in the form of a car inverter of power converter for recreational and camping purposes.
Solid-state portable power inverters have no moving parts in the inverter circuit and are used in a wide range of power conversion applications, from small switching power supplies in computers, to large electric utility high-voltage direct current applications that transport bulk power. Inverters are commonly used to supply AC power from DC sources such as solar panels or batteries.
The power inverter performs the opposite function of a rectifier. The electrical inverter is a high-power electronic oscillator. It is so named because early mechanical AC to DC converters were made to work in reverse, and thus were "inverted", to convert DC to AC.
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Power Inverter Sine Waves Explained
Modified Sine Wave Vs Pure Sine Wave
To gain a better understanding of the differences between the Pure Sine Wave Inverters and the Modified Sine Wave Inverters, we have added a diagram below of the different Sine Wave outputs. In short, it's a reference to just how closely the power inverter circuit replicates the wave form pattern of AC Mains power. A modified sine wave inverter, when converting 12 Volt power into 240 Volt power, tends to mimic the sine wave pattern in what looks like a blockish or stepped format allowing you to power a myriad of appliances depending only on the output size of the inerter itself. Generally speaking, a modified sine wave inverter will power most of the items that you would tend to typically use in a vehicle or while camping.
A Pure (commonly known as True) Sine Wave Inverter that when outputting 12V power that has been converted to 240V for example, will more closely align the power wave to what is outputted by household AC mains power as shown in the diagram below. This is of great importantance for those electrical items that are highly sensitive to the power flow such as high tech medical devices, or finely tuned monitoring devices such as those used in underground mining and exploration. So it becomes important that the correct power converter is chosen for your alternative energy needs.
Keeping in mind that most appliances will work very well with a Modified Sine Wave Inverter, and that a Pure Sine Wave type are quite a lot more expensive being due to the internal technology of the power inverter circuit to not only convert the 12 volt power, but to also output it in a near replicated AC Mains wave form. While it is true that a modified sine wave inverter would suffice most needs, for the use in a travel situation in an RV, we would suggest the true sine wave inverter as you never know when you may need it. Also, it is possible (though not likely) that the modified sine wave inverter may be more likely to send sensitive equipment into self oscillation over the pure sine wave inverter - important when considering using a DC to AC inverter or power converter.
Please note that while extremely useful and convenient, power inverters are not an efficient way to be running appliances that are of very high power requirements such as: air conditioners, stoves and electric heaters. The reason for this is that these appliances require a high current draw and will therefore promote a more rapid battery depletion, unless of course you are using a larger battery bank (this would mean a bank of batteries either sharing the current draw, or that are alligned to switch manually or automatically from one battery to another as power is lost). For this purpose we would suggest referring to our "power generator" page.