What Is A Power Inverter?
Last Updated on October 1, 2021 by Gabriel Goddy
Do you need to convert DC to AC voltage? Then you’d need a power inverter. If you have no idea what a power inverter is, then this guide is perfect for you. read through as we show to you all you need to know about power inverters.
What Is A Power Inverter?
A power inverter changes DC power from a battery into conventional AC power that you can use to operate all kinds of devices … electric lights, kitchen appliances, microwaves, power tools, TVs, radios, computers, to name just a few. You just connect the inverter to a battery, and plug your AC devices into the inverter … and you’ve got portable power … whenever and wherever you need it.
Why Do I Need To Convert from DC to AC?
Most cars and motor homes derive their power from a 12-volt battery. In some cases, a heavy-duty 24-volt battery might be used. It’s important to know your vehicle’s voltage because the voltage rating of the inverter you select should match the voltage of the battery.
In either case, the battery provides direct current. This means that the current flows continuously from the negative terminal of the battery, through the completed circuit, and back to the positive terminal of the battery. The flow is in one direction only, hence the name direct current. The ability to provide direct current power is inherent to the nature of batteries.
Direct current is very useful, but batteries can generally only provide relatively low-voltage DC power. Many devices need more power to function properly than DC can provide. They’re designed to run on the 120-volt AC power supplied to homes in the U.S.
Alternating current or AC, constantly changes polarity, sending current one way through the circuit, then reversing and sending it the other way. It does this very quickly — 60 times per second in most U.S. electrical systems. AC power works well at high voltages and can be “stepped up” in voltage by a transformer more easily than direct current can.
An inverter increases the DC voltage and then changes it to an alternating current before sending it out to power a device. These devices were initially designed to do the opposite — to convert alternating current into direct current. Since these converters could basically be run in reverse to accomplish the opposite effect, they were called inverters.
How Do Inverters Invert?
From dc to ac and back again. Ironically, if you use an AC inverter to power a computer or television, the power supply in the device is converting the 120-volt alternating current into a much lower voltage direct current. The sensitive electronic circuits in these devices need low, regulated voltages to work, so you’re actually converting DC to AC so it can be changed back into DC again.
You can’t use straight direct current without the AC to DC inverter because the device’s power supply needs AC power to properly step down and regulate the voltage.
Application Of A Power Inverter
The application of a power Inverter varies. Because of the huge benefit of a power inverter, it can be applied in a variety of places and jobs.
A power inverter could be applied in the :
- Running Of Variable Frequency Motor Drives:
While applying the power inverter for variable-frequency motor drives (VFD), the power inverter converts from the power from direct current to alternating current power.
The inverter also provides a medium for the control of the frequency and voltage produced by the alternating current power.
- Running Of Solar Panels:
Depending on the type and size of an inverter, there is a provision of bigger inverters, which can run throughout on a Twenty-four-volt direct current and even currents with higher voltage.
Contemporary and technologically speaking, a lot of brands and people are embracing the Solar panel and power system, and batteries are slowly and gradually becoming less a thing of an interest. Why Solar power is accepted compared to batteries, it is more affordable and economical.
In Solar panels, inverters used as Solar panels need to convert direct current to alternating current. For this conversion to take place, this Solar panel needs the aid of an inverter. And this is when the power inverter is applicable, to convert DC to AC in Solar panels.
- Use Of Fuel Cells:
Just like Solar panels, fuel cells produce direct current power. Which needs to be converted to alternating current control for a variety of use.
Especially the use of electronic equipment and tools. And because they turn DC power to AC power. They need the help of an inverter to aid in the conversion of DC power to AC power.
- Use Of Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS):
Uninterruptible Power Supplies, UPS, are a viral electronic tool found almost in every residential and primarily commercial place. They are now as common as stabilizers.
Due to safety and other factors, there is a considerable need for an uninterruptible power supply. Especially for very delicate electronic equipment.
A UPS functions through the use of a battery set and an inverter to provide power when power is not available. How the UPS works, is that it charges itself and stores up electrical energy in the battery.
The converter in it aids in converting these stored charges from DC power to AC power. So when electricity is not available, one can make use of the stored charges for electricity.
- Use For Extended Power Supply:
In some countries where there is still a shortage of electricity, an inverter is essential as it would help in the running of daily activities that require the use of power.
It could be used in cases of emergency and could come in handy when the electricity is no longer available, and there is still work to do. In such cases, as mentioned above, the need for a power inverter is a definite necessity.
Benefits Of A Power Inverter And Reasons You Should Get One
The power inverter has numerous benefits and it is advisable to have one. As long as the product is of premium quality and efficient, you get the following benefits mentioned below.
- Extended Power Supply:
With this, you don’t need to worry about a file that is not backup or the need for the day because you have backup power to carry on with your activities the day.
- Affordable And No Running Cost:
With generators, you need to bother about fuel, diesel, etc. But with inverters, all you need is a charged inverter, and you are good to go.
A right inverter is silent. With this, you can focus and not have to deal with the stress that comes with noise pollution.
- No Fumes
You don’t need to trouble yourself with the hazards of other power supply machines like generators. The inverter has no fumes and can even use inside the house. With an inverter, say bye to the stress of air pollution like dangerous fumes.
- No Oil Spillage:
Inverters are very safe; unlike generators, you don’t need to bother about Oil Spillage, explosions, and any of those electrical or careless hazards.
- Energy Conservation:
Inverters aid with the conversation of power for use.
How To Pick The Right Inverter For The Job.
- Watts, Peaks, and Surges
The first step in selecting an inverter is to match the inverter to the voltage of the battery you’ll be using for power. In the majority of cases, you’ll be using a 12-volt battery, so you would want to select a 12-volt inverter.
The next step is to determine which devices you plan to power with the inverter. Look for a label somewhere on each device that tells you the wattage it requires to operate. The wattage rating of your inverter must exceed the total wattage of all the devices you plan to run simultaneously. For instance, if you wanted to run a 600-watt blender and a 600-watt coffee maker at the same time, you’d need an inverter capable of a 1,200-watt output. However, if you knew you would never be making coffee and fruit smoothies at the same time, you’d only need a 600-watt inverter.
Unfortunately, things aren’t quite that simple. Devices that have electric motors, as well as some televisions, draw a higher wattage than their normal operating wattage rating when they first startup. This is known as peak or surge, and this information should also be listed on the device’s label. Most inverters also have a peak rating, so make sure the inverter’s peak rating is higher than the peak wattage of the device you intend to power.
Microwaves are a special case. As an example, you may know that your microwave is a 500-watt microwave. This is actually the cooking wattage. The power wattage might be twice that amount. Again, check the label on the device to make sure.
If you plan to run your inverter through the cigarette lighter in your car, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be using any high-wattage devices. In fact, if you try to pass more than about 400 watts through a cigarette lighter connection, it will fail — and it might even start a fire in your vehicle.
The final specification to look for is the wave output of the inverter. If you’ll be powering any of the equipment that is sensitive to square waves, look for an inverter with a “perfect sine” wave output. Be prepared for sticker shock — a perfect sine inverter can cost almost 10 times as much as the same wattage inverter with a modified sine output. Modified sine means that the current is run through some filtering, so it isn’t a square wave, but it isn’t totally smooth either.
Hope so it is clear about what is a power inverter, its functionalities, and its applications. Power inverter is essential for our daily life with good impact.