Choosing an inverter

 

When do I need an inverter?

Having an inverter means you can use your 240V appliances even if you do not have access to mains power.  

The inverter converts the DC electricity from your battery into Alternating Current (AC) electricity.  When an inverter is wired into your RVs 240V power system you will be able to use your 240 V appliances from the electricity stored in your batteries.   Powering a microwave is often one of the main reasons an inverter is installed but the ability to use a mains electric kettle, toaster and hairdryer is another consideration.

If you only want to use solar power to power your LED lights, laptop, TV, fridge, water pumps, radio and other 12 V low power devices using 12 V outlet then you do not need to purchase and install an inverter.

 

Pure Sine Wave Inverters features

  • reduced current distortion helps electrical equipment perform more efficiently, particularly for inductive load appliances such as microwaves;
  • reduced harmonic distortion (e.g. lines across TV screen, lights flickering, speaker static);
  • quieter operation of sensitive electronics (e.g. humming/buzzing noise)

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What size do I need?            

 Firstly you will need to work out how much power your appliances draw in watts.  Our guide can help you.  Click here to work out how to calculate appliance watts

Secondly you need to consider the start-up surge of your appliances.  The surge may only last for a short burst but it can be 2.5-3 times the rated running watts of your appliance. 

If running multiple appliances at once add the total watts and allow for the total start up surge. 

1000W rating at room tempwerature.  At 40 degrees the rating will be lower.

 

Specifications

Generally inverters will have two values.  

  1. Continuous Power Watts:  the amount of constant power the inverter is rated for e.g. 1000W.
  2. Peak Power Watts - The AC power output available for a split second e.g. 3000W.

Each appliance will draw a certain amount of power whilst running.  As long as they do not continuously draw over 1000 watts combined everything will work.

If there is a temporary power surge and it does not exceed 3000 watts then everything will continue to work. However, if the surge continues using more than 1000 watts then the inverter will shut down.  In other words, the inverter can handle a power draw over 1000 watts but not only for a short burst and no greater than 3000W during that burst.

 

Battery capacity

Battery capacity must be adequate to suppy the required power, particulrly the power surge.  Once you have selected the inverter size that will meet your needs, look at the manufacturer's manual as it will tell you the recommended battery capacity, cable gauge and fuse size.

 

​Installation

The inverter should be mounted in a dry area with adequate ventilation, and as close to the batteries as possible to minimize the voltage drop from the batteries to the inverter.  

If you are connecting to existing lead acid batteries they should be located in a separate area as flooded, wet, vented cell lead acid batteries can produce flammable hydrogen gas when being charged and switching on the inverter could cause a spark and even an explosion.

 

We source a variety of quality inverters including the Dutch Victron range and Enerdrive products.  We can match the inverter to your specific needs.