If you've been looking to purchase a power inverter you may have seen the terms "Modified Inverter" and "Pure Sinewave Inverter" mentioned. There is often a lot of confusion about what these terms actually mean, and which type of inverter to choose. Both types of inverters have their advantages and disadvantages but the choice will ultimately depend on your specific needs and the equipment you're looking to power. In this guide we're going to clear up the common misconceptions when it comes to power inverters and help you make an informed decision on which inverter is best for you.
What is a Power Inverter?
A power inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) electricity, stored in a battery, into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is the standard form of electricity used in homes and businesses. Power inverters come in various sizes and are used in a variety of applications, including powering electronic devices while on the road, providing backup power during power outages, and powering tools and equipment in remote off-grid locations.
What is a Pure Sinewave Inverter?
A pure sinewave inverter outputs AC power in a waveform that is a perfect replication of the AC power supplied by a standard electrical outlet. The output produced by a pure sinewave inverter is high quality and is suitable for powering sensitive electronic devices such as laptop chargers, audio equipment, televisions and other electronics that require a stable power source.
The Pure Sinewave inverters get their name from the waveform that they produce, which is a true sinusoidal pattern. due to the Pure sinewave inverters are more expensive, but they are also more reliable and capable of powering all electronics a standard plug outlet can power.
Pure Sinewave Signal
A Sinusoidal Waveform
What is a Modified Sinewave Inverter?
Like the pure sinewave, a modified sinewave inverter still produces AC power but with a different style of waveform. The output of a modified sinewave inverter is not a perfect replication of the AC power supplied by a standard electrical outlet. The waveform produced is often referred to as a "square wave" or "quasi-sinusoidal" waveform and is considered to be of a lower quality compared to the waveform produced by a pure sinewave inverter. Because of this low quality waveform, modified sinewave inverters are not suffiencent for powering devices such as radios, flourecent lighting, and other sensitive electronics. Modified sinewave inverters are less expensive than pure sinewave inverters though, making them a cost-effective solution for many applications that use only basic loads.
Modified Sinewave Signal
A "Square Wave" or "Quasi-sinusoidal" Waveform
How do I use a Power Inverter?
In order to correctly use a power an inverter, you will need a source of DC electricity, which is typically a leisure battery.
Before connecting an inverter to a battery, it is important to determine the power requirements of the devices you want to power and check that the inverter you're using is capable of meeting those requirements.
For example, if you want to power a large tool that requires 1000 watts, you need to choose an inverter that is rated to deliver at least 1000 watts of power. It is also important to choose a battery that is capable of discharging the necessary power to the inverter. Lastly you'll need to ensure your battery has enough storage to run your appliance for the duration you wish.
How to calculate battery size
When choosing a battery to pair with your inverter you'll want to ensure you have enough energy storage to fit your needs.
How do I find out my battery capacity?
It can often be easier to measure capacity in Wh rather than AH, and to do this we can use a simple calculation
Battery Voltage x Battery Capacity in AH = Battery Capacity in Wh
For Example a 12V with 100Ah will result in 1200Wh of storage.
This battery will then be able to power a 600W device for 2 hours, or a 1200W device for 1 hour.
There are other factors to include such as battery chemistry and natural losses so you should always have a larger capacity than what you're expecting to use. (Typically 20% more than what you need)
For example if you need 1000Wh of energy, then its best to have a 1200Wh energy storage.
In short, its best to choose your battery specifically for your application, making sure that you not only have enough storage (AH), but that your battery is capable of discharging to the level you need it to.
If you want more help in choosing the right battery for you, check out this battery guide from our knowledge centre.