Power Inverters

Submitted: Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 09:44
ThreadID: 22079 Views:4268 Replies:8 FollowUps:2
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Hi All.

This is my first post (after reading for a while).

I am looking at buying a power inverter. Are there any good brands out there, and what sort of cost am I looking at for around 800-1000W?

Should I look at a modified sine wave type, or something else?

thanks in advance,

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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 10:27

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 10:27
G'day Catherine and welcome to the mad-house......

You will need to give us a bit more info please.

Are you going to be using it to power "sensitive" gear like a laptop? If so, you'll probably need a Pure Sine Wave type, but may not need that much grunt. I'm no expert on the topic, but the concensus seems to be that more is not necessarily better in this matter. It takes power to run one of these (DOH!!!) and the bigger it is the more power it'll pull from your battery, whether your end device needs it or not.

Hope you can give us a bit more info.


AnswerID: 106859

Follow Up By: Nissan_Catherine - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 10:34

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 10:34
I was thinking along the lines of "if I get bigger, then I won't have problems in the future". Kinda like buying a computer - buy the biggest and best you can afford, and it might last a bit longer.

It will mainly be running a laptop, and a couple of lights from time to time, and sometimes mabey a small hairdryer ;-), or some other necessity.

I have dual batteries, and a bigger alternator, so a bit extra power should not be too much of a hassal.

FollowupID: 363828

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 11:25

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 11:25
Catherine, Roachies questions are pretty applicable as with a bigger inverter the bigger the overhead to run it and the more intrusive they are, weight wise too. I have a 150w to power the laptop and another 300w sine wave one for when needed over night. Most of your lights can be 12v rather than 240v right down to the compact fluros.

If I need to get a powered site in a caravan park occasionally I do so to run an angle grinder - not that I have carried one. Do you need a hair dryer in the bush? Heather's gas wand is useful I know for her, I don't need it round my edges. Not that I say you shouldnt be adequetly coiffured, but well we all understand we are getting away from it a bit. My beard even gets scruffy after a few weeks. LOL

FollowupID: 363843

Reply By: Wizard1 - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 12:44

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 12:44
You can get inverters a variety of power outputs from places like Dick Smith for reasonable prices. But you need to know what you want to use it for.

We carry a Dick Smith 300W unit which runs a fan or laptop, etc. For larger power applications we use the generator.

If you intend to regularily power 240 V items from a battery system, such as one fitted to caravan, you may need a more robust unit (heavier and generally more expensive). If you are only running items infrequently then a Dick Smith unit could be the go.

Depending on where you live there may be a reatiler that specialises in 12 volt power applications (eg. 12 Volt Shop on Perth). Most Battery World outlets can provide info as can Dick Smith.

But to say what sort of inverter you need is like asking how long is that piece of string.

Prado TD
Gold Coast
AnswerID: 106878

Reply By: Mainey (WA) - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 17:58

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 17:58
Add the total wattage of all the items you are likely to have running at the same time, add 50% and accept that number as "close" to your requirement.
The hair drier would be ok on a 'normal' inverter, however the computer is more sensitive and would be safer running on pure sinewave if it was mine.
I only used my fridge inverter system to recharge the computer battery and then run the computer from it's own battery till it needed recharging again to be safe.
AnswerID: 106929

Reply By: Lone Wolf - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 18:49

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 18:49

As a regular user of 240 volt power whilst away, I have the following recommendations.........

The larger the inverter, the more power it consumes on standby to operate.

I use the following..........

100 watt Modified Square Wave, for small applications. Costs around $70.00

150 Nominal 300 peak Modified Square Wave, if I need just a little more grunt.

Now, both of these plug into an Outback Power Pack, or a Cig Lighter.

Dick Smith Electronics 300 Watt Nominal Pure Sine Wave, for a small ceramic heating unit I use on a humidifier. ( I use a CPAP, which assists with sleep apnea ).

This cost around say... $300.00.

So, start off small, and build them up, then if your power needs fluctuate, or an inverter dies.......... no real big deal.

AnswerID: 106938

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 22:25

Friday, Apr 15, 2005 at 22:25
Hi Catherine,

FYI we're using a Dick Smith 300W modified sine wave inverter to run our laptop and charge batteries for digi camera, mobile phones etc. Jaycar also recommended the same for our application when I inquired with them. We paid about $125. Your hairdryer could be a different matter though. I've just checked the two hairdryers I've got and both are 1000W so you'll need a pretty big inverter to run one and I imagine this would set you back considerably more.

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 106979

Reply By: bob2 - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 10:34

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 10:34

We bought a cheap 600w inverter for the 500w hair dryer and a 150w pure sine wave inverter for laptop, cameras, sat TV etc.

We have found that the battery neads to be fully charged to get enough time using the hair dryer befor low voltage protection in the inverter switches it off. We have just purchased a $98 generater for the hair dryer so we probably won't use the 600w inverter any more.
AnswerID: 107000

Reply By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 14:26

Saturday, Apr 16, 2005 at 14:26
Hair driers!!!!

You're a bunch of big girls blouses :)

300W square wave inverter will do for the vast majority of things - at 300W you're drawing 25 amps from the battery which is a _lot_ of current. At 900W you would be drawing 75A which is a _hell_ of a lot of current and would flatten most vehicle batteries in minutes.

Aldi, Dick Smith or Jaycar – I’ve run the Dick Smith one for about 4 years without problems.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 107033

Reply By: G.T. - Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 16:22

Monday, Apr 18, 2005 at 16:22
Catherine --- don`t get your hopes up re running a hair drier off an inverter. My wife`s dryer draws 1800w which puts it out of reach off standard inverters. Unless there is a lower wattage hair drier around I can`t see an inverter doing the job. Sorry to rain on your parade. Regards G.T.
AnswerID: 107254

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