What is the difference between modified and pure sine?

Modified is a blocky sine wave and a pure sine is a cleaner rounded sine wave.   A pure sine wave is as close to city power as it gets via inverter.  Pure sine inverters are intended for sensitive electronics and some motors.  Modified sine nverters should work with the majority of devices.

Do I need Modified Sine Wave, or Pure Sine Wave?

  • Advantages of Pure Sine Wave inverters over modified sine wave inverters:
  • Output voltage waveform is pure sine wave with very low harmonic distortion and clean power like utility-supplied electricity.
  • Inductive loads like microwave ovens and motors run faster, quieter and cooler.
  • Reduces audible and electrical noise in fans, fluorescent lights, audio amplifiers, TV, Game consoles, Fax, and answering machines.
  • Prevents crashes in computers, and glitches and noise in monitors.
  • Reliably powers the following devices that will normally not work with modified sine wave inverters:
  • Laser printers, photocopiers, magneto-optical hard drives
  • Certain laptop computers (you should check with your manufacturer)
  • Some new furnaces and pellet stoves with microprocessor control
  • Sewing machines with speed/microprocessor control
  • Medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators
  • The difference between them is the Pure Sine Wave inverter produces a better and cleaner current.
  • They are also considerably more expensive. You might find it practical to get a small Pure Sine Wave inverter for any "special need" you may have, and also a larger Modified Sine Wave inverter for the rest of your applications.

How much power can I get from my cigarette lighter?

DC cigarette lighter adapters commonly used in vehicles average 150 watts to 180 watts, UL recommended rating for a cigarette outlet is 80 watts max; This is because the wiring within the port is small, as well as, fused at 15 amps DC

How does a transfer switch work?

Transfer switches are designed to isolate multiple sources of AC power.  When one source power is eliminated from the system, the next source of power is automatically applied.  Also, the AIMS Power transfer switch  unit is easily installed via separate terminals for each power source.

What is advantage/ disadvantage of 12, 24, 48 volts?

Advantages for different voltages are as follows.  Higher voltage battery bank can be more efficient, due to smaller cable sizes which can lead to less current, less voltage drop and less heat.    Also, higher voltage battery banks typically have multiple batteries in series to increase the voltage; this increases the amount of charge and discharge cycles your batteries are capable of handling. Disadvantages for different voltages are as follows, lower voltage battery banks are typically used for smaller systems and these battery banks may be less efficient and may consume more DC power than higher voltage systems.

A Few Helpful Inverter Tips:

  • Never leave an inverter connected to a line where other power (Vac) may feed into inverter.  It doesn’t matter if inverter is on or off.  Unless your inverter is a grid tie inverter.
  • Using inverters in moist areas is a common cause for their drivers to burn out.  Even an outdoor extension cord that was lying in a puddle a day previously may have enough moisture to burn out the drivers of the inverter.  Tip: if using inverter in rain one day, allow cords that may have gotten wet to dry a few days before using in inverter again
  • Always prevent foreign objects from entering inverter through the vent or fan openings
  • Keep cables between inverter and batteries as short as possible.  This will help your batteries perform their best.
  • Always use sealed batteries if you want to keep the inverter close to the battery bank.
  • Don’t over tighten nuts to battery or inverter, but do check them occasionally to ensure they are snug.
  • If the cables between your battery and inverter get hot while under heavy load, then you should consider using heavier cables
  • Both “hot” and “neutral” lines are hot on many inverters.  Do not ground the neutral line.  Do not connect neutral to panels that may have neutral grounded unless you are sure that the input and outputs of inverter are isolated.  Call the inverter manufacturer to verify.
  • Using a 12Vdc inverter, your input Voltage should never exceed 15Vdc (17Vdc for some models) or the inverter may shut down with Over Temp and you should hear an audible beep.  This may cause permanent damage to an inverter
  • When selecting an inverter, try to buy one that will stay in the continuous operating range and do not rely on advertised surges.  This will help your inverter last longer and operate more efficiently. 
  • Standard 110Vac outlets are typically rated at 1500W or 15Amps.  This is for heat dissipation through the outlet and is typically not a limitation of the inverter
  • If cables need to be run, it is best to keep inverter as close as possible to your sealed deep cycle batteries.  Use extension cords on the output side (AC output) rather than extending the DC cables.  Tip:  Contractors often need to mount the inverter in the back of their trucks.  In a case like this it would be best to mount a secondary battery near the inverter and wire it to the primary truck battery.
  • An inline fuse is recommended in any inverter system, to protect your batteries from a ground fault fire.
  • Ac plug testers do not work with most inverters.  You will see an open ground
  • Be aware of lightning storms.  If struck, inverter could go to a permanent Over load state and may even smoke.
  • AC extension cords should not exceed 100 feet or you will have a voltage drop and not push enough power down the line.
  • Inverters emit RF and may cause interference.  This is noticeable in AM radio and often monitors and computer mice
  • Never parallel multiple inverter outputs.  This will generally burn the ac drivers out.
  • If the inverter does not turn on, or has a constant beeping sound, verify you have the proper input voltage supplied to it.  Also ensure the battery connections are clean and secure.
  • Never start a vehicle with inverter turned on, this will cause eventual and permanent damage to inverters
  • If you do run cables from battery to inverter that have any chance of shorting to a chassis or ground, it is best to fuse the + battery cable nearest to the battery as possible




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