Gadgets

What to do when you wish to buy an Inverter

buy an Inverter
Written by Hammad Saif

Inverters are lovely devices that give you access to power during a power outage. Here are the pros and cons and everything you need to know when getting your Inverter.

When you have to deal with power outages, there is just too much to deal with power; you can find a handy inverter to help you with extra power and efficiency.

What is an Inverter?

First, you must understand what an inverter is. It is a device that can convert direct current power from an attached battery to AC current which can be then used to run appliances within your office, home or anywhere in any case of a power outage.

Is an Inverter the same as a UPS?

An Inverter is not the same as a UPS. However some UPS we see today actually has component inverters embedded in them. This is logical, so you do not need to pick a separate UPS for your electronics.

A UPS does convert direct current to AC which can be used to run appliances, but it does this quickly and easily which is quite critical for a lot of electronics which are sensitive to any trips in currents. Such devices include your TV, laptop, desktop, smartphones and many more. However many inverters are quite more substantial and can take your entire house from a single source.

But it is recommended that you use a UPS for these sensitive households appliances, so you do not love data within the time of the switch from the power source to the inverter. This switch usually takes some seconds which can be immediately detected by these appliances, and they may trip off in the process before the conversion is complete.

Kinds of Inverters

Inverters range from size to size, and they have there different levels of capacities and many more. However, all inverters are structurally differentiated into two leading technologies.

  1. Pure Sine Wave Inverters

Pure Sine Wave Inverters are very efficient especially if you intend using it for sensitive appliances such as your computers and TV. These devices offer high-speed transfers periods meaning that these devices will not trip off in the process of these transfer.

When buying an Inverter and you wish for this efficiency, look out for terms such as ‘Micro-Controller Based’ and ‘Digital Signal Processing,’ these will show if your inverter of choice has these features.

  1. Modified Sine Wave or Square Wave Inverters

Modified Sine Wave or Square Wave Inverters are quite acceptable but not efficient for sensitive appliances. However, they are more cheaper than the Pure Sine Waves and also induce an outdated system. Yet, your preference should be made based on your objectives and budget.

Specifications to look out for in any Inverter of your choice.

Apart from the overall technology, there is other specific information you should look out for when buying your Inverter. Here are the key specifications you should take note of when making that choice.

  1. VA (Volt-Ampere) Rating:

This rating system determines the kind of load your inverter is made for. Ensure that you have a good idea of the loads your appliances give off when picking your Inverter. We will discuss how to help you make this choice later in this article.

  1. Battery Voltage

This determines the amount of time required for your inverter to run. This depends on the duration of power cuts in your area because it will affect the time take for your Inverter to charge. This you will find is measured in volts and expressed in the symbol “V,” for example, 20V.

  1. Battery charging time

Some models of inverters will show you how long they will take for the battery to charge up completely.

  1. Safety Features

You should look out for safety features such as audio alarm, overvolt protection, auto reset feature, overload protection and many more. An inverter with a lot of these features is quite excellent as they go the extra mile to protect your appliances.

  1. Warranty

Be sure to check out the warranty of your inverter. This ensures you stay out of the maintenance specialists way for some time. However, you should know that the batteries of your Inverter require more maintenance than the  Inverters themselves.

  1. Other Features

The kinds of Inverters you will see this other also have added features that tend to make them more productive. This may include LCD Display buttons that will show your available battery, as well as charging time required. They may even come in handy when having an overload on the device.

Types of Batteries

  • Lead Acid Batteries: This kind of batteries require that you maintain them periodically. Also, you will have to fill Electrolytes from time to time.
  • Tubular Batteries: This kind of batteries offer more productivity, require fewer expenses regarding maintenance. They also last a lot longer but can be a lot more expensive when purchasing it.
  • Maintenance Free Batteries: These kinds of batteries are completely sealed and do not require much regarding care. They are also a lot more expensive and will have very little scrap value.

Do you want a Solar Based Power?

Some Inverters are made to switch to Solar charging systems whenever solar energy is available. This can be advantageous it gives you a lot more even if you have more power cuts within your location. This ensures that you use less and less electricity and will help cut your utility bills significantly.

How to calculate your power requirement?

To ensure that you use only an inverter that works best for you, it is crucial you understand the kind of power you need for your home.

This means the total load in watts of the power you need equals the individual power of every appliance within your home. Therefore you must make a list of all appliances as well as there power to understand the kind of Inverter that would be suitable for your purpose.

Next, perform this calculation

Watts = VA * Efficiency

Typically, you should look towards an Efficiently of about 80 percent. Therefore the formula becomes

Watt = VA * 80/100

Now making VA the subject, you will derive the right formula to understand the VA you should be looking for in an intended inverter,

This means VA= Watt/0.8

Points to note when calculating the average Power requirement.

There are scenarios when you may not plan on using all your appliances at one. Then you can lower the estimates accordingly. However, when considering the power consumption of bigger appliances, do not consider the power they use as they run but rather the power they take up when starting up, they are quite more massive.

Also, Inverters have surge ratings; Surge refers to the temporary power used to start the heavy loads.  This rating is based on the maxim amperage and time taking for the Inverter to run before getting damaged while starting up these heavy loads. It is crucial that your appliances take a shorter time than the time duration on your choice inverter.

If you are in South Africa that this is for you!

Did more help selecting an Inverter for your home or office, place a comment below, Let’s discuss it.

About the author

Hammad Saif