How Does A Power Inverter Work (PDF)

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					Title:
How Does A Power Inverter Work?


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592


Summary:
People always ask us “exactly how does a power inverter work?” The answer to this question often surprises
our customers. Car power inverters work much more simply than mysteriously, and the learning curve
required to understand them requires no more than a very basic knowledge of electricity. Essentially, there
are two forms of electrical power in the Universe: Direct Current (DC) and Alternating Current (AC). Direct
current flows continuously from the positive electrical po...



Keywords:
How Does A Power Inverter Work?



Article Body:
People always ask us “exactly how does a power inverter work?” The answer to this question often surprises
our customers. Car power inverters work much more simply than mysteriously, and the learning curve
required to understand them requires no more than a very basic knowledge of electricity. Essentially, there
are two forms of electrical power in the Universe: Direct Current (DC) and Alternating Current (AC). Direct
current flows continuously from the positive electrical pole to the negative electrical pole. Alternating
current flows back and forth between the two poles. DC current occurs in Nature and batteries, while AC
current is man-made and supplies power through the public utility grid that supports human industry and
infrastructure. Car batteries presented a problem in the past when people realized they needed to operate
traditionally AC-powered devices in their cars but could not do so because of incompatible current
requirements. Manufacturers like Vector stepped up to solve this dilemma by working to design car power
inverters that would safely and efficiently convert DC to AC. Their successful engineering has resulted in a
wide range of compact, rectangular devices that connect to batteries and output the resulting alternating
current safely through one or more standard electrical plugs.


Two factors determine how a power inverter works: wave output and wattage output. Wave output describes
the physical appearance of electrical signals as they move across an oscilloscope. Square waves appear
exactly as their name specifies: like squares on a grid. Pure sine waves, also called true sine waves, appear
as visible waves on the screen. Sine wave car power inverters work better than square wave power inverters
when uninterrupted power flow is a critical issue. In fact, true sine output is sometimes slightly superior to
that of public utility power grids! Because of this, they are also the most expensive devices of their kind on
the market. Recent advances in technology have accommodated users on a budget with a hybrid design
generally referred to as either a modified square or modified sine wave power inverter. The technical
differences that determine how a true sine car power inverter works and how a modified sine power inverter
works are too minor to produce any noticeable effects with standard electronics. Only the most high-end
equipment requires true sine output, and the cost of these devices may justify the additional investment in
pure sine technology to deliver maximum quality and reliable performance.


Another new development that allows car power inverters to work with even more reliability than ever
before is the sophisticated Soft Start Technology, branded “SST” by manufacturers such as Vector. SST is
the next step in the evolution of how power inverters work. The very first power inverters for cars would
only work intermittently during cold engine starts. Because they could not pull enough power from the
battery, they would shut down from current underload and require a manual restart. SST resolves this issue
by gradually increasing voltage ramp up during engine startup. If the output dips for any reason, SST makes
instant adjustments to compensate and will prevent most shutdowns. If in the rare event a shutdown does
occur, the newer car power inverters work automatically to restart themselves without distracting the driver
from the road.


Red Hill Supply delivers only the best and most reliable power inverters that will work in virtually any
situation requiring DC-AC conversion. Learn more about how power inverters work in our Resources
section, and browse our online catalogue to obtain the most high end and specialized devices through our
simple, convenient online order process.




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