If you plan to install a solar power system or generator to provide electricity to your home, cottage or RV, then you’ll need an inverter.
There are two types: pure sine wave inverters and modified sine wave inverters. Knowing the differences between the two can help you choose the best one for your needs. Here’s the key information you’ll need.
What an invertor does
Simply put, an inverter takes direct current power (DC) and turns it into usable, alternating current (AC) power. DC power is the type of electricity produced by solar panels and batteries, and this power must be altered before it can safely be used to run devices like your refrigerator or television.
Everyday household AC power that comes from your public utility takes the form of a smooth, consistent wave. This is called a sine wave. When an inverter converts DC to AC power, however, it produces a rough, uneven wave which can cause problems for some electronics.
Pure sine wave inverters
A pure sine wave inverter has a filter, capacitor or other hardware that allows it to “smooth out” the rough edges of the AC power it produces. It creates a reliable, even current. Pure sine waves are better for precise electrical machines such as medical devices and audio-visual equipment.
Because they have additional hardware, pure sine wave inverters are more expensive than modified sine wave inverters.
Pure sine wave inverters are also smaller than modified sine wave inverters and are therefore more portable and easier to use in vehicles.
Modified sine wave inverters
A modified sine wave inverter doesn’t have the ability to refine the AC waves it produces. The rough current is why you shouldn’t use a modified sine wave inverter if you have a newer television or microwave. In many audio-visual devices, modified sine wave inverters will produce an audible hum. They may also cause fluorescent lights to flicker. If you have delicate medical equipment such as a CPAP machine, then you shouldn’t use a modified sine wave inverter.
The advantage of opting for a modified sine wave inverter is that they’re much cheaper than pure sine wave inverters. They also work fine with most electronic equipment such as laptops and phone chargers. Though they can also help power your refrigerator or sump pump, a modified sine wave inverter will cause appliances with AC motors to work less efficiently, which could shorten their lifespan.
Inverters and batteries in Toronto and the Prairies
At Prairie Battery, we carry a wide range ofpure sine wave and modified sine wave inverters to suit every need. Plus, we also have a wide selection of solar power systems to help you get off the grid.