ALL INVERTER PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS. Shrego ProBTech (Online eXpert)
Inverter/Solar Online Technician. All Inverter/Solar basic problems are resolved here.
NOTICE: This article is published and intended for First Level Troubleshooting (FLT) only. It is advisable to seek expert’s opinion before carrying out major works on your Inverter/Solar apparatus.
The detailed tips given in this article are practical as they are gathered through years of working experience on Inverters, UPS, Solar and other power appliances, coupled with academic knowledge acquired through years of intensive studies in institutions of higher learning and professional bodies as an electrical engineer. Therefore this may be the last bus stop when you are searching for solution to all common Inverter problems.
All the major problems common with all Inverters are under these nine (9) headings plus (7) other tips.
If the solutions provided here would not resolve your unique Inverter problem or you have any problem not detailed here, you may as well contact us directly either through phone conversation, whatsapp, SMS, e-mail or
if you require the physical presence of our Technical personnel in your location. Our telephone lines are open 24/7.
- In case you need to contact Shrego ProBTech for free Technical advice, troubleshooting or complete resolution of your issue: Please call our Technical Director directly: Engr Shola Peters on:2347039745558(whatsapp), 2347045541814,2348053143834or mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you follow these tips it will save you a whole lot on repairs, cost of electricity consumption, maintenance, as well as system failure.
Shrego ProBTech Online….”Helping You To Grow Our Brand”
First, let’s define an Inverter
What is an Inverter?
Basically, Inverter is just a form of UPS but with longer backup time. It has an input source connected to mains from public utility source, or a Generator. The AC supply is converted to direct current (DC) by means of a rectifier on the Inverter circuit to charge the battery, which is DC. The charged DC battery is then inverted back to AC (Alternating voltage) via a step up transformer, which is what supports the load (equipment) during power outage, hence the name INVERTER. Ther are other Inverters too that do not incorporate the use of isolation transformer, they are called Transformerless Inverters.
Apart from the runtime, there are other features that distinguishes an Inverter from a UPS.
First, the switching time between the UPS and some Inverters differs.
Switching time for UPS is in the range of 0.5mS to 5mS, while for Inverter, it may range from 20mS to 500mS. This wide time lag may be noticed as power interruption by sensitive equipment.
While UPS is built primarily for short time data protection when there is power interruption, because it can perform voltage regulation at the output, some low grade offline Inverters on the other hand are intended primarily for backup only, but not equipped for smooth transition between power interruptins. In other words, they are not equipped with interruption-free circuits. they use some system of relay for switching. Such Inverters cannot guarantee data protection especially during power fluctuation or when power is out of range. It is simply garbage-in-garbage out meaning, whatever voltage comes in is what it gives out at the output. If the input voltage is poor, the output voltage will also be poor.
Since there is no real switching taking place in an online UPS, it is recommended to connect very sensitive equipment, like servers, switches, computers and other communication equipment to UPS/online Inverter.
Secondly, Inverter operates with external batteries because of their size in contrast to UPS. The size of charger in Inverter enables them to charge larger size and number of external batter(ies) than the UPS would do hence, Inverters are further distinguished by the size and number of batteries they can be operated with, which also determines the runtime during power interruption.
In summary, all UPS contain inverter circuit within them, but not all Inverters perform voltage regulation that ensures regulated power during interruption, as UPS would do. Also, while Inverters can backup for hours or days, UPS may only last for minutes or few hours, their major design is to retain power temporarily and prevent interruption only until the main power source is restored.
COMMON INVERTER PROBLEMS SOLUTIONS
Basically, all the major problems common with all Inverters and/or common error displays will fall under one or more of the headings listed below.
CONTENTS OF THIS ARTICLE
(1) Inverter Not Charging
(ii) Bad input Voltage or Frequency
(iii) Blown Fuse/tripped breaker
(v) Inverter fault (Board Issue)
(2) Battery Problem
(i) Battery Under Charge or Over Charge
(ii) Battery charges or discharges fast.
(iii) Battery voltage too low
(iv) Reversed Battery Polarity
(v) Corroded battery terminals
(vii) Loose battery terminal
(3) Inverter over load
(i) Loading Inverter above the rated capacity
(ii) Short-circuit condition
(7) Output overload/short circuit
(11) Inverter is shocking.
(12) Why battery may fail easily ( For Inverter/UPS)
(16) Cost effectiveness of using Inverter/Solar over Generator
(17) Our services.
Now, let us go into details and what to do to resolve each of these problems one after the other.
(1) Inverter Not Charging:
There can be lot of reasons why the Inverter may not charge,
- No power supply: When you notice that the Inverter is not charging, the first thing to do is to:
(i) Check the power source to be sure that power is available. Be sure power is available from Public utility source of Generator. If available, check the breaker between the power source and the Inverter
(ii) Check the fuse in the plug, where plug is use to connect Inverter to mains power source and replace if blown off ( but be sure to detect what caused the fuse to blow off and correct where necessary).
(iii) Ensure that the input socket and plug are ok, and where the input connection is via a connector, ensure there is no loose or disconnection of the input cable(s).
(iv) Check the continuity of the input cable, to be sure the cable supplying power to the Inverter is not broken.
- Bad input Voltage/frequency: If the input Voltage or frequency is too high or too low for the preset value of the Inverter or there is power fluctuation, the Inverter will delay to accept the supply. Bad voltage may be corrected with a Voltage Regulator installed at the input of the Inverter, but the frequency has to be corrected by the public utility supply Authority or on the Generator. The correct Voltage and Frequency values and window of allowance depends on each country’s standard. You may set the Inverter to accept wider voltage/Frequency window if equipped with such option.
- Blown fuse: The Inverter may also not charge if the input fuse is blown or the breaker trips due to fault. Since breaker cannot just trip or fuse blown without a cause, the cause of this has to be ascertained before the breaker is reset or fuse replaced. In replacing the fuse, the fuse must be replaced with exact same rating otherwise, a major damage will be done to the board in case of another fault.
- Wrong Connection: If the line and neutral or earth cables are interchanged, the Inverter may not charge but come with error message on the display. Ensure that the Live cable go to the live terminal of the Inverter and Neutral to the Neutral terminal, same to the earth. Also ensure that the battery polarity is correct. If the battery is not connected or the battery DC breaker is not ON, the Inverter will not charge. Wrong connection can cause a major damage to the Inverter, therefore ensure that a qualified Technical personnel is employed to handle your Inverter installation.
Shrego ProBTech has a reputation for reliable, neat and affordable installations. Call today.
- Inverter fault (Board issue): In some cases, especially if the Inverter is not well protected from surge, there may be some failed or blown component on the Inverter board due to surge, it may also cause the Inverter not to see the input. Refer to product vendor or qualified Technician for repair. You may also contact Shrego ProBTech for assistance if you want to save cost.
- Battery full: In some Inverters when the battery is charging, the Charge indicator blinks but stops blinking and remains steady when the battery is full or near full, some customers inteprete this to mean that the battery is not charging. When the battery is full, the battery indicator stops blinking and remains steady, until there is a drop in the battery’s nominal voltage.
To confirm if the Inverter is charging, switch off the input to the Inverter and drain the battery a bit, say for 10 minutes or more then return, power to the input, the indicator should start blinking again for a few minutes before stopping again.
(2) Battery Problems
Battery is the major component of Inverter that needs to be carefully selected from reliable shop as their replacement is very costly and success of repair cannot be guaranteed.
When battery fails, one or more of the following can be responsible:
(i) Battery Under Charged/Over-Charged: Every battery has its charge/discharge cycle. A battery that is continuously under-charged or over-charged cannot maintain its rated lifespan. Most of the modern day intelligent Inverters have over-charge or over-discharge cut-off sensor that ensures that the batteries are not unduly over-charged or discharged. However, most of the cheap (sub standard) Inverters in the market are not equipped with this intelligent device, which causes the batteries to boil when over-charged or cause suffation to set up when the batteries are constantly over-discharged and are not constantly kept at full charge. For batteries to serve their stated lifespan successfully without premature failure, they must be maintained kept charged at all times after use.
Another thing to consider is that, batteries must not be over-discharged. In-fact, batteries are not expected to be discharged below 0.5V per cell, i.e. for a 12V battery, minimum voltage to discharge the battery must be around 10.8V ( for the conventional batteries). Once it is below this, most intelligent Inverters will begin to beep to alert that the battery is low and after sometime shuts itself down completely to prevent damage to the battery. At this point, the battery must be fully re-charged before use, even if the machine fails to shut itself down. Many battery users complain of early failure of battery because they don’t know or follow this simple maintenance instruction.
Since it is not all Inverters that are equipped to shutdown or prevent over-dis/charge, it is advisable to seek technical personnels’s opinin before shopping for an Inverter; otherwise untimely failure of batteries will be a constant issue.
(ii) Battery Charges/Discharges fast: If the battery shows full charge too early meaning, it reaches its full charge earlier than usual, which consequently also determines the discharge rate, it may be the first sign that the battery is getting weak. A strong battery takes longer time to be fully charged and also longer time to discharge. However, in a battery array that involves two or more batteries joined together, failure of one battery in the string may affect the performance of other batteries in the array. The strength of all the batteries in a string is determined by the capacity of the weakest of them in the array. This also explains why weak and strong batteries should not be combined in a battery array. This shall be explained further under battery maintenance.
Another important thing to consider is when battery discharges faster but takes longer time to be fully charged. In this case, you need to evaluate total load connected to the Inverter to find if there is a hidden heavy load draining the battery. If a battery takes a long time to be full but discharges faster than expected, it may mean that there is too much load feeding from the battery. Shed some heavy loads and observe any difference.
(iii) Battery Low Volt: When the battery voltage becomes too low, lower than the normal voltage then it is time for replacement. One of the symptoms that will manifest is that the battery discharges faster than usual and also complete it’s charging process earlier than usual. When a battery shows full charge within a few minutes of charging, it is time to call a battery Technician to evaluate the voltage level or the electrolyte level, in case of tubular battery. For wet cells, electrolyte level must be checked every three months and it must be above the cells level. No other water except Distilled water must be used to refill the cells, otherwise corrosion of the cells and consequently failure will result. Most of the modern day Tubular batteries are designed with float indicator that measures the electrolyte level on each cell, when the electrolyte drops below the marked evel on the float indicator, it is time to top up the electrolyte,
Dry cells are maintenance-free, so all they need is to be operated under cool temperature and be constantly in charged condition.
Another problem that can cause battery to have low voltage is when the battery has been left in a deeply discharged condition for long without recharging, it develops what is called suffation which may be irreversible, and it may be impossible to revive such a battery again. A dry cell battery loses 2% of it’s voltage every 30 days if left in a discharged condition, while wet cell self-discharges as much as 10-15% monthly, that is why battery must be fully charged if it is going to be left unused for a long time. The shelf life of battery is very short, that is why it is not advisable to buy battery and keep for a long time if it is not going to be used. If a bettry is not going to be used over a long period of time,it is advisable to have it charged after every three (3) months and stored in a cool place. Heat helps in self-discharge.
(iv) Reversed Battery Polarity: Reversing the battery polarity will cause damage to the Inverter, especially the one that is not adequately protected. Care must be taken to ensure that the positive terminal of the Inverter cable is terminated on the positive terminal of the battery and ditto for the Negative (-) terminals. Also for batteries in series or parallel, the polarities must not be reversed. It is always advisable and safe to allow a Technician handle every battery installation.
(v) Corroded Battery Terminal. Corrosion of battery terminals is one of the causes of poor battery charging as the corroded materials forms a thin film of insulation between the battery terminal and the connecting cables hence reducing the current flow to the battery from the Inverter.
To reduce this effect, you can apply petroleum jelly on the battery terminals after scrapping off the corrosive substance or immediately after battery installation.
(vi) Swollen/Hot Battery. This is a situation whereby the battery gets swollen or bulges out as a result of failure of the battery. Such battery should be isolated from the array and replaced immediately.
When battery is charging, try and feel the temperature from the casing of the battery, if the Inverter is not equipped with battery temperature sensor. If battery gets unnecessarily hot, please, call a Technician immediately. A battery that hot during charging can explode, causing electric fire.
(vii) Loose battery terminals. If the battery terminals are loose, high resistance will be built around the terminal that will prevent or reduce the flow of charging current to the battery. This can result to arching (sparking) around the terminal and in extreme cases can result to fire. Ensure all battery terminals are firm.
(viii) Battery Electrolyte dry out. Tubular or wet cell batteries, unlike dry cell (maintenance-free) batteries needs periodic maintenance. The electrolyte level must be closely monitored and must not be allowed to dry out otherwise, permanent damage may be done to the battery cells and consequently failure of the battery.
(i) Loading above the rater Inverter capacity. Basically, most low grade domestic or industrial Inverters are designed for light loads- such as lighting, electronics appliances, and fan. Heavy high wattage equipment, like refrigerators, heating appliances, ovens, Air conditioners, electric motors and pumping machines are not practically suitable for low grade Inverters. Apart from some of these appliances drawing very heavy current from the battery causing it to run down quickly, their starting current can be a burden on the Inverter, causing it to shutdown under over-load condition or even burn the machine board. When calculating the loads to be connected to the Inverter, the total expected (maximum demand) load must not exceed the rating of the Inverter. Allowance also must be given for future load additions or for redundancy, so the rating of the Inverter must be a little bit above the expected maximum load demand, like 20% higher.
over, when calculating the total load, which is the sum total of all the watts ratings of each appliance to be connected to the Inverter, consideration must be given to the difference between the Wattage rating of the appliances normally written on the name plate and the KVA rating of the Inverter. Kilowatt is not the same as KVA. The efficiency value and power factor of the Inverter must be good. Since there is a difference between (Kilowatt (KW) Volt Ampere (VA) and Kilovolt Ampere (KVA), and most of the appliances are rated in KW while most Inverters are either rated in VA or KVA, some mathematical conversion has to be done to determine the actual kVA capacity of the machine. For further information on suitable Inverter size to for your installation, you can contact Shrego ProBTech.
Please, take note that some Inverters are also overrated that is, they are rated above their real capacity. For instance, an Inverter that has a label of say 2kVA can in real sense be just 1.5kVA or less. Some bubious sales persons even remove the manufacturer’s label and replace with cloned label with higher rating. This is very dangerous and that is why it is advisable to consult a Technical personnel before shopping for Inverter as well as every other electrical appliance.
Point To Note: Inverter or UPS should not be loaded above 80% of its rated capacity for three basic reasons:
One, possible future expansion of load.
Two, maximum efficiency of the machine. Loading machine to full load will lead to low efficiency (performance) and consequently pre-mature failure.
Three, many of the Inverters are overrated, and so may begin to show overload indication even at less than 80% loading.
(ii) Short-circuit condition. Another thing that the Inverter can sense as overload is when there is a short-circuit on the line. When there is a bridge between the Neutral and the line (live/hot) cables, the Inverter sees it as overload because it will be drawing very heavy current more than what the Inverter can handle.
(iii) Inverter Fault. Inverter can also show overload as a result of internal fault on the circuit board. Refer to competent Technician for repair.
(iv) Battery Low Volt. Another fault that inverter can translate as over-load is battery low volt. When the battery voltage drops below the preset value for the Inverter, it may cause the Over=load light or display on the Inverter screen to come up. If after recharging the battery the fault clears, then it is low dc voltage otherwise, go further with the possible conditions stated above
(4) Wrong Circuit Wiring and Cable Sizing:
Before installing Inverters, care must be taken to the theoretical calculations involved in selecting cable sizes and types as well as international standard cable colour codes, how the machine is connected to the load and the supply source. Wrong cable size is a potential fire disaster, loose termination and wrong wiring is another accident waiting to happen. Most fire incidents in homes and offices are caused by loose terminations or wrong (low grade or under-sized) cable. (see my note on Common Causes of Fire in Homes and Offices) for details on this. The current-carrying capacity as well as the colour codes of the cables must be carefully selected. There are American, British, German etc colour codes for cables which must be religiously followed. Also, the size of the input and output receptacles (sockets and plugs) must be adequate for the load demand of the machine. Breaker(s) or fuse of suitable sizes must also be incorporated at appropriate places for protection of not only the equipment but also humans.
Inverter load must be completely separated from the rest of the loads in the installation and appropriate isolation and protection devices such as MCBs and ELCBs must be used both for the input and the output of the Inverter. The ground cable of the Inverter must be terminated on the earth bar of the building, which must in turn be buried to the general mass of earth.
(5) Inverter Displays Utility Failure (Battery Not Charging):
This problem occurs when the Inverter cannot get supply from the source. When this happens, the Inverter can only run on battery mode but cannot charge. This is accompanied by a beep sound that repeats itself every second (depending on Inverter configuration). A lot of things can be wrong, some of which are: blown fuse or tripped breaker, unavailability of supply from the source or bad input frequency or voltage. Another thing that can be responsible is a broken cable or open-circuited transformer.
The first thing to confirm when the Inverter displays utility failure or No input is: Availability of supply from the source.
Check the fuse/or input circuit breaker.
If plug and socket is used to connect the input to the power supply source.
Check the plug and the socket to ensure there is no loose or open connection and also ensure the fuse on the plug is ok.
You can also carry out continuity and short circuit test on the supply cable (to be done by a qualified Technician).
You may need to test the isolation transformer as well and surge module if available.
In the case of blown fuse, fuse don’t just blow, it is caused by a fault. The fault can be transient or permanent. You must first establish the anomaly that caused the fuse to blow in the first place before doing replacement, otherwise the same fault if not cleared will blow the fuse again and may cause further damage to the inverter. You may replace the fuse with the same current rating as the blown one or refer to a qualified Technician for replacement. Don’t use overated fuse otherwise, you may damage your Inverter. If the Inverter is equipped with a circuit breaker instead of fuse, you may reset the breaker only after the fault that triggered the fault is cleared.
In complex cases, the surge circuit of the Inverter might have been affected or some other power components on the board, in which case you will need to refer to your product vendor, Inverter Technician for repair, or simply call Shrego ProBTech for assistance.
(6) Inverter Over heating:
Inverter over heating can be caused by many things, but the most common cause is fan failure or overload. The purpose of the cooling fan in an Inverter is to provide a means of cooling for the electronic components on the board, which generates heat when in operation. The fan does this by dispersing this generated heat to the neighbourhood. When the fan fails,or the enviromantal temperature is too high, the heat buildup can cause these semi-cnductor components to explode and fail. For this cause, ensure that the room where the Inverter is installed allows for cross ventilation and is spacious.
Therefore, at every point in time, the fan must be working when the Inverter is in operation and heat is being generated. Most Inverter designs are equiped with thermostat such that the fan stops blowing when the Inverter senses that the room temperature is normal, the battery has passed the bulk charge stage and the load is minimal.
If it is the cables that are overheating, then the cable contacts must be examined for partial contact (loose connections) or overload.
Over-heating can also result from operating the Inverter in poorly ventilated environment.
This can occur when the Inverter is operating under abnormal working conditions. One of this is when the mains Voltage or Frequency is abnormally poor. This is more common when powering the Inverter with Generator. Most Generators usually have poor Frequency and/or Voltage problems which may cause the Inverter to operate under tense condition and can eventually lead to Inverter failure.
Humming can also result when the Inverter is abnormally overloaded or under short-circuit condition.
(7) Output Overload/Short-circuit:
This fault can occur when there is a bridge between the phase and Neutral of the output cables or between phase and earth. In such case if there is no circuit breaker incorporated at the output of the Inverter before feeding the load, this can feedback to the Inverter causing it to fail. If such fault occurs, first of all find a means to isolate the load from the Inverter, then change the cable and return the load back to the Inverter. If there is a breaker at the output of the Inverter, it must trip to save the Inverter.
Overload may also occur when the Inverter powers load more than it’s rated capacity. In such case, the Inverter will beep for some seconds and then shutdown by itself. Ensure that the excess load is removed and reset the breaker.
Some Inverters may also show Overload before shutting down when the battery is too low as earlier stated but, this error will clear off after the battery is recharged. When an Inverter shutdowns as a result of low battery, do not attempt to load the Inverter immediately the mains is present but allow the batteries to charge to some percentage before connecting the load back.
Overload can also be as a result of blown components on the Inverter board.
(8) Inverter On Bypass Mode:
In bypass mode, the Inverter can only supply to the load when mains is present, but shutdowns instantaneously after mains is off. This can happen when the Inverter is not properly powered up.
To power up the Inverter, depress the ON (power) button until the Inverter comes online or follow instructions on powering up. If it fails to come online after the ON button is depressed, then it may be a sign of fault or bad ON/OFF switch or even disconnected signal cable.
Also, if the dc circuit is broken, it will not allow flow of current from the battery to the load.
This may also be as a result of an internal fault within the Inverter.
Please, refer to a qualified Technician or the product vendor for repair,
(9) Inverter Goes Off Few Moments After Power Supply Is off:
This situation is different from Bypass Mode described above as it is not instantaneous. It is a situation whereby the Inverter goes to battery mode when there is utility failure but lasts only a few seconds or minutes, then goes off. In such case, confirm that the battery is ok, because a bad battery cannot retain charge and consequently will also not be able to discharge to the load.
(10) Inverter returns power to the input
When an Inverter returns power to the input, it’s a sign of fault. A damaged relay or AVR can sometimes be responsible among other components. Please, consult your Technician or Shrego ProBTech for help.
(11) Inverter is shocking.
A shocking Inverter may be a sign of failed component that is causing leakage, broken cable that is causing leakage and an unearthed Inverter. First, ensure that the Inverter is connected to the earth, and that there is equipotential (0V) or voltage less than 10V between the Live and Neutral cables.
FACTORS DETERMINING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF INVERTER
There are some factors that determine how effective and durable a good Inverter would be. Under good management, an Inverter is a durable machine which hardly develops fault if operated under suitable conditions.
(1)Environmental conditions: Temperature and dusts play very significant roles in the performance of an Inverter. High temperature causes excessive heating on the transformer and other components of an Inverter. Besides, every 8°c rise in temperature shortens a battery’s lifespan by half.
Inverter must therefore be installed in a place where there is cross ventilation and free from moisture.
Accumulated dusts on the circuit board of the Inverter can also react with moisture to form a conductive film and cause short circuit, thereby damaging the board. It may even lead to fire incident. That is why it is essential to have your Inverter/UPS serviced from time to time by a qualified technical personnel.
You may contact Shrego ProBTech for preventive maintenance whenever you feel your Inverter is due for servicing.
(2)Quality of supply (Voltage/Frequency Fluctuation): If either of the two electrical quantities is out of range, it can affect the performance of an Inverter. Voltage fluctuation may be corrected with an automatic Voltage Regulator/ Stabiliser that compensates for the high or low voltage as the case may be or an Over-voltage cut-off device (Voltage Guard) that outrightly cuts off supply to the machine whenever it goes out of preset range. Allowable AC Voltage for Nigeria is between 220V and 230V, while some machines may still tolerate between 190. 270V depending on the design.
However, unlike voltage, frequency cannot be corrected by Voltage Stabilizer or Over-Voltage cut-off device; it has to be corrected from the supply source, i.e either from the AC Generator or from PHCN. Allowable frequency window for AC machines is 50Hz ±2. When this is out of range, the Inverter/UPS will reject it and the battery will stop charging until this becomes normal again.
I have had cases where clients complained that their Inverter does not backup for long when batteries are charged with Generator but does well when charged with public utility source and vice versa, my response has always been to check the frequency of the Generator being used for the charging which most of the times are far above or below the allowable frequency window. If the Voltage or frequency is higher or lower than allowable range, the batteries would not be charged well and the result will be low backup time.
(3)Wrong Cable Size and loose connection on battery terminals: Wrong size of cable for interconnection of batteries or loose contacts can cause fire and loss of life in the worst case or erratic performance/short battery runtime and lifespan in the least. Correct calculation of the cable cross sectional area to handle the load demand must be strictly ensured. Underrated cable size, especially when strings of batteries are connected in parallel can lead to insulation breakdown and consequently failure of the cables and the batteries.
(4) Inverter Size: It is important to ensure that the loads to be powered by the Inverter does not exceed the maximum rated capacity of the Inverter, otherwise constant breakdown will be the experience.
WHY BATTERIES MAY FAIL EASILY (FOR INVERTER/UPS)
I have been invited by clients to many homes and offices to come and have their Inverter/UPS batteries checked. Most of these clients complain of their batteries being only a few months old and yet failing so suddenly, could be as short as four months old. So bad. Whenever I hear such story, I am always full of pity for these clients who after spending hundreds of thousands on batteries, hoping to solve their power problems still could not derive the best from their investment. It grieves me whenever I hear such complaints. Many of these failures can be avoided if the user is given adequate information on why these early failures occur and how to mitigate against it. That is why I have taken my time to explain some of the commonest reasons why batteries may fail before their designed time.
Whenever a battery fails, it is easy for clients to assume that such battery is sub-standard or maybe it’s a refurbished battery, while this is true in some cases, in most cases it is not. Even some of the best brands in battery can fail prematurely if proper maintenance procedures are not observed.
Battery, like other apparatus is an exhaustible device meaning, it has exhaustible number of charge and discharge cycles, after which it will begin to degrade until the active materials in it is completely exhausted. Apart from this, battery also has a suitable operating temperature under which it must operate, above or below which it will be adversely affected.
Below are some of the reasons why batteries may fail before their designed time.
(1) SUB-STANDARD PRODUCT. There is no doubt that most battery products in the market today as ever are sub-standard, while some of them are refurbished. This is why selection of batteries must be carefully made. Most clients go for just any cheap battery their money can afford or find on the internet and expect to get the best out of them. The fact remains, nothing good comes cheap. If you are looking for something cheap, not like battery because battery is the main strength of your Inverter, without battery, there is virtually no Inverter. If it fails, your Inverter machine is just like an ordinary box. Fake Inverter can be repaired, but not a fake battery. That’s why at Shrego ProBtech, we always emphasize to clients, above other things to leave supply of batteries to us, and some of those who do otherwise have had to call us a few months later for battery replacement, so pathetic. We carefully shop for our batteries from trusted manufacturers directly, that’s why we can afford to give a year warranty with confidence.
(2) CHARGE/DISCHARGE CYCLE: Battery, like any other device has its own number of charge and discharge cycles after which it will begin to show signs of degradation. In other words, it can be depleted after the active materials in it has been exhausted. The time it takes to complete this cycle now depends on how much it is being used. A battery that is being deeply discharged constantly with heavy load may take a shorter time to complete its life cycle than the other that carries lesser loads and maintains full charge at all times. That is why we always advise our clients to avoid as much as possible adding high current demanding loads such as Refrigerator, water heater, electric cooker, pressing iron and Air Conditioner to Inverter. While this may work, depending on the power rating of the Inverter, the rate of discharge will be very high on the battery which may lead to premature failure.
(3) UNDER/OVER-CHARGING: One of the major causes of battery failure is over-charging or under-charging. When battery is constantly under-charged or left in low charge state for a long time, it slowly causes the lead sulphate in the battery to crystallize which results in the battery’s storage capacity being permanently damaged and reduces the battery’s active materials that is responsible for its high capacity and low resistance, this is called suffation. Reversible suffation can be corrected if the battery is serviced early by applying a specific voltage that helps dissolve the crystals thereby bringing the sulphate to its active state, but irreversible sulfation cannot be corrected. It sets in when the battery has been left in a low or discharged state for a very long time. This is why it is not good to leave batteries in the discharged state for a long time.
Continuous overcharging on the other hand can lead to electrolyte boiling and outgassing which will eventually damage the cells in the battery.
(4) LOW ELECTROLYTE: Battery also fail when the level of distilled water in the battery (Tubular) is low. Ensure that the level of electrolyte in the battery is not low at all time. Most of the modern day Tubular batteries are designed with liquid level indicator tht helps to moitor the electrolyte level on the battery cells. Ensure that the water level does not go down below the level marked as Low
(5) SULFATION: This situation as described above occurs when the battery is left in an uncharged condition for a long time. Batteries need to be constantly recharged to keep the sulphate active. A battery loses 2% of it’s charge every 30 days and if this is left for a very long time without recharging, then sulfation sets in.
If a sulfated battery is connected to an Inverter, even if it has never been used before, it cannot be effective again.
SIMPLE TIPS TO PREVENT BATTERY FAILURES
(1) HEAT. Keep heat away. Heat has a very damaging effect on battery’s lifespan and overall performance. In fact, theoretically, every 8 degrees rise in temperature reduces a battery’s lifespan by half. In other words, for instance, a battery which is designed to last 4 years if operated under 25 degrees Celsius temperature will only last 2 years if it is constantly operated under a temperature of 33 degrees Celsius. At Shrego ProBtech, consideration of the environmental conditions under which the battery will be operated is very key, that’s why our batteries rarely fail, more especially if other maintenance conditions as we have advised are also followed. Batteries installed close to source of heat, like kitchen will no doubt fail in no distant a time.
(2) SHORTING THE BATTERY TERMINALS: Some people try to test the capacity of a battery by shutting the two terminals (positive and negative) expecting a sharp spark. This action has a very damaging impact on the battery by weakening the internal cells of the battery, thereby reducing its lifespan.
(3) DIRT AND LOOSE CONNECTION: Dirt at the battery terminal or loose connection may cause high resistance at the terminals of the battery that adversely affects the performance of the battery. Keep the terminals clean and greasy always.
(4) MIXING BATTERIES OF DIFFERENT BRANDS OR CAPACITIES TOGETHER: I once met a Technician who wanted to install two units of 12V batteries in series for a client and mixed one that is 100AH with another that is 200AH capacity. I asked why he was doing this and his answer is simply, He go work meaning, “it will work” Truly this arrangement will work but the ignorance of the gentleman is that while this may work on the interim, the 200AH battery will soon be damaged by the 100AH. The simple logic is this, during the charging process, the charger has a sensor that senses the voltage at the battery terminals which it uses to control the amount of charging current to deliver to the batteries. So when the charger senses that the voltage at the battery terminal is approaching full charge, it reduces the charging current from bulk charge stage to absorption stage, then to float charge stage. So since the charger sees the two batteries as one, not two, while the 100AH battery is full, the 200AH is still hungry for charge, and the consequence is that the 200AH battery will not be able to reach full charge at every point in time, which as earlier discussed is one of the main causes of battery failure.
Also, during discharge the batteries connected in series have the voltage increased, but the current the same, so the Inverter choses the current of the smallest battery, which in this case is 100AH as the current to work with, since it sees the two batteriesas as one unit thereby reducing the backup time. So, it is wrong to mix smaller and bigger battery as well as new and old batteries together. The same is true for batteries of different manufacturers (brands).
(5) QUALITY OF POWER SOURCE TO CHARGE THE BATTERIES: I have heard a lot of complaints from customers that their batteries always perform well after charging with public utility supply but performs poorly after charging with their Gasoline Generator. There are two major explanations for this. They are the Voltage and Frequency. These two electrical quantities are so important to electronics devices that any pronounced variation from the standard will surely affect the performance of an Inverter and other electronics devices. While Voltage variation can be regulated with a Voltage Stabilizer, the frequency on the other hand cannot. So, while the Generator Technician may be able to set a close to perfect voltage during servicing, most of them have issue with adjusting the frequency. The voltage window may range from 220V to 240V, any frequency window out of range of 50HZ ( or. 2) is abnormal and may not be accepted by most of the electronics appliances. The same frequency that may power the Air conditioner, Electric stove, fan, iron or light may not be acceptable by the Inverter because of the semi-conductor components that operates the Inverter.
(6) ELECTROLYTE USED TO TOP UP: Use of poor electrolyte or miniralized water to top up electrolyte in the case of Tubular (wet cell) battery will cause corrossion of the cells and premature failure of the battery.
(7) BATTERY USE AND STORAGE: As earlier stated, if battery is not going to be used for a long time, it should be stored in a cool environment free from heat and in full charge condition. Occassional charging is essential from time to time say, once in two to three months to arrest battery self-discharge. Also, during use avoid over discharging battery and be sure to recharge after each long use/deep discharge.
#1 If your battery is unduely getting hot, it may be a sign of battery failure. Switch off supply from the Inverter and call an eXpert nearby to get it accessed and if necessary replaced. A battery that get abnormally hot can explode and lead to fire outbreak.
#2 Do not use Car battery for your inverter as it is not designed for that purpose. Car battery is designed for quick start as in the case of car starting, and not for continuous use. Besides, it is also not designed for trickle charging that the Inverter provides.
#3 When it comes to battery selection, the size determines the strength, This size comes in form of weigth, as size of the casing can be deceptive. In most cases, the bigger the physical sze and correspnding weight, the larger the AH rating. Typical AH ratings of batteries are: 5AH, 7AH, 18AH, 75AH, 100AH, 150AH, 200AH, 1000AH and so on. These values determine the capacity of the battery. The larger this value, the longer the backup time.
Apart from the AH value of battery, another thing to consider is the voltage. We have 2V, 6V, 12V, 24V batteries. The voltage value determines the number of such batteries to be connected together in a string to give the desired voltage to energize the Inverter.
TIPS ON UPS MAINTENANCE
UPS is an electrical machine that provides emergency power to appliances for a short duration of time when power supply fails. It does this backup with the aid of internal batteries installed in the UPS.
The primary purpose of UPS is for data protection in the effect of sudden power interruption or outright failure. For instance, it prevents computer or server from restarting or shutting down when power surges, sags or outrightly fails, which may result to loss of valuable and unretrievable data.
Some UPS also provide voltage regulation at the output such that even when the supply is unregulated, a smoothened output is delivered to the load. So in this case, UPS also serves the purpose of a voltage stabiliser.
UPS also helps to give longetivity to the equipment it is protecting, as it helps to cushion the damaging effects of erratic power conditions on the equipment it protects.
TYPES OF UPS
Basically, there are two broad types of UPS, Standby/offline UPS and online UPS. There are other types like line interactive, Delta conversion, Ferro-resonance and so on, but I will limit my discussion only to these two basic types common in homes and offices.
This type of UPS cannot guarantee data safety as it uses relay for switching. It runs constantly on mains (power supply) and switches to battery mode only when the voltage rises or falls below pre-determined value. Data may be lost during this short switching period. This type of UPS is available below 1KVA.
This type of UPS is used for equipment that are very sensitive to power fluctuations, such as servers, routers, switches and personal computers. For this type of UPS, no switching actually takes place since the batteries are always connected to the inverter. This type of UPS is recommended for data safety. Although the initial cost of this UPS may be higher than its offline counterpart, the maintenance cost is lower due to longer battery life.
Another advantage of this type of UPS is in its ability to provide electrical firewall between the incoming utility power and sensitive equipment. It can adapt to varying input frequency range such that the output frequency can be maintained within the acceptable window.
HINTS ON MAINTENANCE OF UPS
UPS is not an inverter; it is designed only to back up for a short duration of time, say 5 to 20 minutes on battery. Prolonged use may result in sudden shutdown of load and low lifespan of the battery.
UPS must be constantly connected to a supply source (PHCN, Generator or solar panel) and should not be allowed to operate on battery for an extended period of time. Doing so will shorten the lifespan of the batteries.
UPS must not be over-loaded. Each UPS has its capacity written on its name plate (either in VA, WATTS, KVA, KW e.t.c). Also each appliance to be connected to the UPS has its own power consumption or current rating written on it. Total capacity of these appliances added together must not exceed 80% of the rated capacity of the UPS. Over-loading can completely damage the UPS, or in the least throw off the entire load.
UPS must be completely powered up with the soft button before it can backup during power outage or fluctuations.
Ensure to shutdown the UPS when leaving home or closing for business. This will ensure that it does not run down on battery when there is power outage.
Ensure your UPS is serviced by an expert at least once in six months in an extremely dusty environment or annually in a less dusty environment.
Ensure that there is no loose connection on the UPS terminals. Loose connection is one of the primary causes burning of cables and in some cases fire outbreak. During servicing, tell the technician to check the terminals for you to ensure it is electrically sound and firm.
For industrial applications involving high capacity UPS, ensure that the technician to handle the installation provides adequate protection both.
COST EFFECTIVENESS OF USING INVERTER/SOLAR OVER GENERATOR
I was asking my friend a question this morning
The question was, how much does it cost to fuel your Generator?
His response was ₦1,500 (Nigerian Naira).
As a matter of fact, my friend has 2.9KVA Generator which he uses to power his house.
I interviewed him on how much he spends to fuel his Generator. Here is his response
₦1,500 fuel when ran for 4 hours per day lasts 4 days, meaning ₦1,500 lasts for an average of 16 Hours.
This means an average of ₦100 per hour.
If he were to use the Generator for 12 hours a day as I use my inverter (7pm to 7am), he would be spending a total of (₦1,200 X 7) = ₦8,400 in a week
In just a month, he would be expending ₦1,200 X 30 = ₦36,000 on fuel alone.
Now let’s get down to Inverter
An average Inverter battery under normal circumstance and with normal maintenance is designed to last an average lifespan of 4 to 5 years before replacement is expected, but to be conservative, I am using an average of 4 years for my calculation.
Hence in 4 years, my friend would be spending (₦438,000 per year X 4 years) = ₦1,752,000on fuel alone, apart from cost of Generator servicing and repairs and the initialcost of buying the Generator.
Now, with 1.5KVA Inverter, the total amount I will spend for complete installation is a lump sum of ₦322,000 for the 4 years that the batteries will last.
From these analytical calculations, it is obvious that the cost of running a Generator for just 8 to 9 months only has covered what it would require to install 1.5KVA Inverter with batteries that will last for 4 years before battery replacement. This does not include the cost of buying the Generator itself which is about.₦120,000
So with Inverter, I have saved a total cost of ₦1,430,000 (One Million, Four Hundred and Thirty Thousand Naira Only) overt the 4 year period.
Now, that is just the cost implication.
There are other benefits of Inverter that might not have considered, here are few of them:
(2) With Inverter, you can sleep throughout the night without interruptions brought by the need to turn off or to add fuel to the Generator.
(3) You don’t disturb yourself and neighbor with the noise of your Generator. Some neighborhood don’t even allow running a Generator overnight for security reasons. In such neighborhood, most residents are forced to endure blackout under extreme heat.
(4) You don’t contribute to environmental pollution caused by harmful carbon mono-oxide that is being released from the Generator exhaust.
(5) You don’t need to disturb yourself with turning ON and OFF of Generator every time power is interrupted by the public utility supply authority. Inverter automatically switches itself to battery mode and vice versa when there is power interruption/restoration.
(6) You don’t waste energy as you only take what you need from the battery based on the load, unlike the generator that burns fuel irrespective of whether any load is connected or not.
(7) You are immune to fuel scarcity. During fuel scarcity, you don’t need to spend your productive or rest hours queuing for fuel at the filling station.
These and other reasons are stated so that you can know how much you have been losing by not taking advantages that Inverter offers you.
This awareness campaign is from Shrego ProBTech.
INTRODUCTION: Shrego ProBtech is an indigenous Alternative Power Solution provider (Solar and Inverter) company that specializes in supply, installation and maintenance of electrical equipment across Nigeria.
We have a Vision: To cross from the shores of Africa to the global world, by delivering unparalleled robust renewable energy and electrical services to our cherished clients.
Our online provision of useful and free solutions to Inverter, Solar and general electrical issues has made us the #1 on Google search engine, and our effort is to maintain this #1 position which we have been maintaining since 2015 up till date.
Our mission: is to ensure that all homes and offices get quality, yet affordable power supply, through various alternative sources. In pursuing this objective, quality of equipment and workmanship is our non-compromising selling point.
Our aim: This online technical assistance is aimed at freely helping to solve some of the commonest problems arising from electrical power appliances usage and to introduce our prospective clients to all the alternative power sources available to them with a view to providing useful information on how to put these appliances to optimum use, so that every dime spent on them will be justified.
You can contact us for Inverter and Solar installation using the best technology and product.
We also render online assistance to Inverter/Solar users at no cost, and if need arises for us to be physically present at your location for Inverter/Solar issue resolution, our charges are reasonable. Enjoy this free service while the opportunity lasts.
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What we say is what we mean……
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To buy or install UPS, Inverter, battery or solar panel, please call
Our Technical experts on: 2347039745558(whatsapp), 2348053143834 or
E-mail us at: email@example.com.
- Inverter/UPS Machine: Recommendation, supply, installation and maintenance of
- UPS and Inverter BATTERY
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You can call us for any of these services and we will give you a satisfying professional experience at reasonable cost.
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Shrego ProBTech Nigeria.
Cell: 2348053143834. 2347039745558(whatsapp line).
Reviews and information on the best Solar panels, inverters and batteries from SMA, Fronius, SunPower, SolaX, Q Cells, Trina, Jinko, Selectronic, Tesla Powerwall, ABB. Plus hybrid inverters, battery sizing, Lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries, off-grid and on-grid power systems.
March 23, 2020 Jason Svarc
With the wide variety of solar battery systems now on the market, there is a lot of confusion about the different types of inverters and what’s best for a typical household. In this article, we explain the differences and hopefully help clear up some of the confusing and conflicting terminologies such as multi-mode inverter, inverter-charger, battery-ready inverter, and AC batteries.
What does an inverter do?
First, let’s clarify what an inverter is. Solar panels produce DC power, and batteries store DC energy, but households and most appliances run on AC power, which is also supplied by the electricity grid. Inverter converts DC power to AC power, but not all inverters are the same, solar inverters and battery inverters have very different purposes, which we explain in more detail below.
Over the last few years, the increasing demand for home battery systems led to many manufacturers combining solar and battery inverters into one common unit. these are referred to as hybrid inverters. A battery-ready inverter is simply another name for a hybrid inverter.
Solar inverters convert solar DC power to AC power. These simple grid-connected (grid-tie) inverters use one or more strings of solar panels and are the most common type of inverter used around the world. String solar inverters are available in many sizes for residential and commercial solar installations, from small 1.5kW single-phase inverters, up to large 3-phase 100kW inverters.
Microinverters, also known as micros, are very small solar inverters attached directly to individual solar panels. Micros are a great option for complex roof layouts or locations with shading issues, as each microinverter and panel operate independently. The main downside is the slightly higher cost. However, micros offer many advantages over string inverters, as explained in the detailed microinverter review article.
These are the most basic type of inverter used with batteries. Battery inverters convert DC low voltage battery power to AC power. These are available in a huge range of sizes, from simple 150W plug-in style inverters used in vehicles, to powerful 10,000W inverters used for off-grid power systems.
Simple ‘plug-in’ style battery inverters are often used in caravans, RV’s, boats and small off-grid homes. These inverters are typically coupled with MPPT solar charge controllers connected to one or more solar panels.
Hybrid Inverter. battery ready
Hybrid inverters sometimes referred to as battery ready inverters, combine a solar and battery inverter together in one simple unit. These inverters are becoming more competitive against solar inverters as hybrid technology advances and batteries become cheaper. See the detailed hybrid/off-grid inverter review for more details. Hybrid inverters are the most cost-effective way to add batteries, but generally have limited backup power capability and usually have a small delay (5 sec to 30 sec) when switching to backup mode during a blackout.
The term ‘battery ready’ is more of a marketing term used to up-sell a solar system. If you want energy storage in the near future, it is worth investing in a hybrid inverter, provided the system is sized correctly to charge a battery system throughout the year, especially during the shorter winter days. Also, not all battery-ready or hybrid inverters have backup capability, so be sure the system will meet your needs. You do not need to install a hybrid inverter if you are considering adding batteries in the future. Any solar system can have batteries installed anytime using one of many AC-coupled battery options such as the Tesla Powerwall or Sonnen ECO.
Multi-mode Hybrid Inverters
Multi-mode hybrid inverters are more advanced hybrid inverters designed to operate in on-grid mode and off-grid mode for a prolonged amount of time. Compared to basic hybrid inverters, which generally have very limited backup power, known as emergency power supplies or EPS, multi-mode hybrid inverters are more powerful and can typically backup not only light and basic power circuits, but even small air-conditioning units up to 5kW.
Multi-mode hybrid inverters and dedicated off-grid inverter-chargers (see below) are often confused as they can operate in both on-grid and off-grid modes. The primary difference is that multi-mode hybrid inverters also contain an integrated solar inverter (MPPT), while off-grid inverter-chargers do not. The reason is off-grid inverter-chargers are modular and designed to be either AC-coupled with solar inverters or DC-coupled with solar charge controllers.
Off-grid or stand-alone power systems require powerful battery inverters with inbuilt chargers that can be set up as either AC or DC-coupled systems. Most modern inverter-chargers can also be used to create advanced hybrid grid-tie systems which have the ability to backup an entire home (including most appliances) and can operate off-grid for weeks or months, depending on the solar and battery size.
Off-grid Inverter-chargers are available in a range of sizes from relatively small 3kW units, up to powerful 10kW inverter-chargers designed to run energy-intensive appliances like air-conditioners, pumps, electric ovens and hot water systems. High-consumption appliances require high continuous power or high startup ‘surge’ current, which is why inverter-chargers use heavy-duty transformers, making them more expensive than hybrid inverters, which are transformerless. Depending on the output power rating, inverter-chargers can cost anywhere from 1500 for a 2.5kW model, to 8000 for a 10kW model. See our best off-grid solar system review for more information.
Solar Charge Controllers
Solar charge controllers, also known as solar regulators, are not inverters but solar battery chargers connected between the solar panel/s and battery. These are used to regulate the battery charging process and ensure the battery is charged correctly or, more importantly, not over-charged. Simple DC-coupled solar charge controllers have been around for decades and are used in almost all small-scale off-grid solar power systems. However, more advanced MPPT solar charge controllers are now the most popular choice for off-grid systems.
What is an MPPT Solar Charge controller?
An MPPT solar charge controller is an efficient DC to DC converter used to maximise the power output of a solar panel. In order to generate the most power, the maximum power point tracker sweeps through the solar string voltage to find the best combination of voltage and current to produce the maximum power. The MPPT is designed to continually track and adjust the voltage to generate the most power under all conditions. Using this clever technology, the solar panel efficiency increases and the amount of energy generated can be increased by up to 30% when compared to cheaper (PWM) controllers. Learn more about MPPT solar charge controllers.
Generac, the Backup Generator Giant, Launches Souped-Up Home Solar-Storage System
Compared to home battery rivals Tesla and Sunrun, Generac is focused on offering extra oomph for customers concerned about reliability.
Senior Editor Greentech Media
Reporter covering the green technology space, with a particular FOCUS on Smart grid, demand response, energy storage, renewable energy and technology to integrate distributed, intermittent green energy into the grid.
Generac, the Backup Generator Giant, Launches Souped-Up Home Solar-Storage System
Solar-battery systems may be useful for providing backup power during power outages. But many of the systems on the market today don’t pack enough punch to start up power-hungry air conditioner or pumps, or store enough power to run an entire home’s electricity load for more than a handful of hours at a time.
That’s how Generac Power Systems sees it, at least. Since its entry into the solar-storage market last fall, the U.S. natural-gas backup generator giant has focused on systems with extra oomph, compared to competitors Tesla, Sunrun and LG Chem. While that extra power and capacity has come at a higher cost, Generac has been dropping to match competing systems in recent months, analysts say.
On Monday, Generac unveiled the latest version of its “whole-home solar power solution, which includes a revamped PWRCell battery with more power and capacity than before, along with technology to simplify its off-grid operations and maximize its backup potential at the household circuit level.
Managing backup power at the circuit level
“There’s a gap between what the customers want and what they’re being delivered” in the solar-storage field, Russ Minick, head of Generac’s clean energy business unit, said in an interview. A typical installation requires significant work to rewire critical loads and replace household electrical panels to provide reliable backup power, which can add several thousand dollars to the final price.
The new PWRCell automatic transfer switch, set for release in late August, eliminates much of this work for installers. “Whatever they’re doing today for whole-home backup power, it will cut back enormously on labor costs [and] on total expense,” Minick said.
Besides disconnecting from the grid during power outages, the automatic transfer switch can manage up to four household circuits, and Smart management modules can be installed on up to eight more. The hardware monitors power frequency to shut down loads when the total draw is exceeding system capacity, with the homeowner pre-selecting which should shut down first and which should be kept on as long as possible.
That’s a simpler proposition for installers compared to “worrying about doing load calculations and tripping breakers,” Minick said. Other unessential loads can be “locked out” from being backed up. That stands in contrast to pre-selecting critical backup loads for other solar-battery systems, as most solar-battery systems do today.
There are more advanced options for circuit-by-circuit controls, such as startup Span.IO’s Smart home electrical panel, or the ecoLinx system from sonnen using Smart circuit breakers from Eaton. But those are more expensive than Generac’s solution, Minick said.
Extra power for critical loads
Waukesha, Wisconsin-based Generac has also beefed up its PWRCell inverters, also set for release in late August, from 8 kilowatts of continuous power today to 9 kilowatts from a single battery or up to 11 kilowatts with a second battery. That compares to 5 kilowatts of continuous power from Tesla’s Powerwall and Sunrun’s Brightbox, or 3.5 kilowatts of continuous power from LG Chem’s Resu battery.
That’s a key metric for how much household load a backup battery can power simultaneously. As Greentech Media noted last year, most systems are configured to support fewer loads to ensure they can be kept running as long as possible.
Along with greater power density, the new inverters can provide up to 50 amps of peak motor starting current, up from 42 amps today. That’s enough to start up a 3-ton air conditioning unit or a well pump, something lower-power inverters can’t do, although contenders like Enphase Energy, which is bringing its own battery solution to North American market this year, has software to boost its ability to start up AC and pump motors.
Generac has also redesigned the battery modules developed by Pika Energy, the Massachusetts-based startup it acquired last year to enter the storage market, to boost their storage capacity from 17.1 kilowatt-hours to 18 kilowatt-hours per battery, or 36 kilowatt-hours behind a single inverter. Enhanced cooling via silicon pads conducting heat to aluminum heat sinks will also allow the batteries to be installed in outdoor enclosures when they’re available in early October.
The entire system is managed through software from Vancouver, Canada-based startup Neurio, which Generac acquired last year. “It’s going to tell you production, consumption — you can set energy budgets and bills, it will show you if there are ‘vampire’ loads, how you compare against a peer group, are you using more than your neighbors,” Minick said.
From backup generators to virtual power plants
Whether these changes will allow a relative newcomer to make inroads against well-established competitors such as Sunrun and Tesla, or residential solar inverter leaders with storage plans such as SolarEdge and Enphase, remains to be seen. Beyond using its existing network of generator dealers, Generac partnered with Sunnova, a rising residential solar provider, in February as its exclusive lease and power-purchase agreement provider to tap into this key avenue for solar-storage sales.
Generac set a goal of 125 to 150 megawatt-hours of battery sales this year, although CEO Aaron Jagdfeld noted during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call last month that solar installations slowdowns driven by the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to yield 2020 totals on the lower end of that guidance.
For long-term power outages, generators fed by natural-gas lines, which aren’t nearly as susceptible to storm-driven outages as the electric system is, are still a better bet for backup power, Minick told Greentech Media last year. On the other hand, solar-storage systems designed primarily to shift generation and load to increase net-metering value against time-of-use pricing may not need the extra battery capacity and power that Generac provides.
But the combination of increasingly favorable economics of solar and batteries and the rising need for protection from storms, wildfires and other grid supply disruptions is putting backup power at the forefront of many customers’ minds, he said.
At the same time, Generac’s new solar-storage systems could be combined with its massive installed base of generators to become a significant resource for the grid itself, much as Sunrun has been doing with its solar-storage systems. The company’s partnership with Virtual Peaker, a software startup aggregating behind-the-meter distributed energy resources for utilities including Portland General Electric and Green Mountain Power, opens up new opportunities on this front, Jagdfeld said last month.
“In the clean energy space, most people have been considering these blocks of load to be storage items or wind power or other clean sources,” Jagdfeld said. “We look at natural-gas generators, which in their own right, are quite clean.”
How To Stop Fan Noise On Inverter ( 7 Mistakes)
Inverters need fans to draw in cool air into the inverter component housing and expel the warm air through the device’s ventilation ports. Three types of fans are typically fitted by inverter manufacturers: continuous fans, load-controlled fans, and thermally controlled fans.
Inverter fans can become noisy if the fan motor becomes worn due to overuse, when the load placed on the inverter is too high, or when the temperature in the inverter remains too high despite the fan running at full speed. Dust on the fan blades or air intake also causes the fans to be noisy.
Inverter maintenance and proper installation for proper cooling will greatly reduce the potential of developing noisy inverter cooling fan problems. These measures will include:
- Correct installation of the inverter
- Inverter maintenance and care
- Inverter AC loading
- Inverter cooling fan replacement
- Elimination of thermal overloading
Let’s review how you can correctly install and maintain your inverter to minimize the wear on the cooling fans and reduce the impact of fan noise.
Avoiding Inverter Overheating And Noisy Cooling Fans
An inverter is designed for chopping, inverting, and adjusting incoming direct current (DC) into a pure sine wave alternating current (AC). This current manipulation and wave modulation is energy-intensive and causes heat to be generated in the inverter circuitry and components.
The active components of the inverter are located on large aluminum heat sinks fixed to the aluminum inverter cover to help dissipate the heat. Cooling fans draw cool are into the inverter housing to help cool the internal components and circuits.
An inverter must be installed in a space where the heat can easily be dissipated through the heatsink and cooling fans. At least one foot of space must be available on all sides and above the inverter housing to facilitate airflow.
The cable connections from the battery bank must be short and thick enough to minimize resistance and voltage drop. The cable connections to the battery and inverter terminals must also be very tight and free of corrosion.
Bad Cable Connections
Poor or corroded cable connections can often manifest in a noisy inverter. The battery bank state of charge (SOC) must also be sufficient to power the inverter with enough DC to meet the AC load demand.
The depths of discharge range (DOD) on Li-ion batteries or deep cycle gel batteries can be as low as twenty or thirty percent. Still, on lead-acid batteries, the DOD should not fall below fifty percent to prevent chemical degradation of the battery.
An insufficient battery state of charge can also cause the inverter and cooling fans to run noisily. As the inverter housing can become static and draw in the air via the air intake ducts, dust buildup can act like an insulator preventing the efficient cooling of the inverter.
The air intake vents and the cooling fan blades must occasionally be cleaned of dust buildup to prevent the cooling fans from running excessively to cool the inverter.
Switch the inverter off and disconnect the battery terminals and the AC loads before brushing off the dust and vacuuming the inverter air intake.
Check that the cooling fan blades are clean and that there are no insects or small lizards stuck in the fan blade housing.
Open the inverter housing, remove any obstructions, and gently vacuum the interior, not touching or damaging any components.
different types of cooling fans in inverters
Continuous fans are the cheapest and designed to run whenever the inverter is switched on, even when there is no load demand. They drain the battery bank and become worn out due to continual running much faster than other types of inverter fans.
Load-controlled fans will run when there is an AC load demand on the inverter and will increase fan speed as the load increases. The fans will run continuously when the AC load on the inverter is at or above 80% of the maximum output rating.
Thermally controlled cooling fans are linked to a thermocouple that measures the temperature inside the inverter housing and controls fan speed. They are more expensive but will last longer due to their controlled use.
Degradation of Fans
All cooling fans have moving parts that will wear out over time and need to be replaced. Fans wear out and become noisy due to the cooling demand of the inverter.
Quality brushless cooling fans are designed to last 80,000 hours (nine years) in ideal running conditions.
If you have eliminated potential causes of noisy cooling fans on your inverter, consider replacing the cooling fans. An inverter has a typical operational lifespan of ten to fifteen years.
Consider having the inverter replaced or an extensive service to replace other components.
Where To Install Your Inverter To Avoid The Fan Noise?
The point of installation for your battery bank and inverter should be far away from bedrooms or living rooms. The buzzing of the inverter or fan noise can become irritating, but it needs to be in an easily accessed space and often visited.
The installation point should also be well-ventilated and dry. The battery bank will require monitoring and servicing and must be close to your power supply system’s inverter and other components.
Ensure enough space for good cable management and have all components and cables clearly labeled. Also, label the AC load plug-in connections with the appliance and watt-rating for the appliance.
The total load connected to the inverter should never exceed 80% of the maximum output capacity rating of the inverter. An overburdened inverter will be noisy and have a much-reduced lifespan.
Most Common Mistakes When Installing A Power Inverter
If you are planning an off-grid or grid-tied solar power generation system, considers the following steps before designing and purchasing any of the components:
- Don’t confuse daylight hours with productive sun hours (PSH). PSH varies for each area and is the average number of hours your system will generate daily power. PSH is 5 hours on average in the US.
- Don’t underestimate your power consumption for all your house’s electrical appliances and devices. Make a comprehensive list and get the energy usage for each device. Determine how long each device will run daily and calculate the Watt-hours per device.
- Look for ways to eliminate or decrease the power demand of your household first. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs and replace old energy-inefficient appliances with modern low-energy ones.
- Don’t have unreasonable expectations of your solar power system. Installing too little battery capacity, solar power generation, or inverter capacity will frustrate you. Also, have some redundancy built into your system. Augment the solar panels with wind power or a diesel backup generator.
- Poor solar panel installation can also lead to inefficient power generation. Your solar panel array must be south-facing and angled correctly to get the optimal PSH in the US. Allow for sufficient cooling of the solar panels and correct wiring. Solar panels are designed to run best in cold conditions.
- Beware of being talked into a cheap grid-tied system by the solar companies installing such systems for “Free.” If something sounds too good to be true, it is because taken for a ride.
- Don’t buy any hardware before you have defined your household load. You will buy too small components and have to replace them sooner than you expect.
- Plan for the modular expansion of your backup battery capacity and solar power generation.
- Plan for having excess power available and a backup plan for when the sun does not shine for more than a week.
Inverter Generators Vs Generator ~ Which is the Best?
Inverter generators vs generator – Your generator can help you power all sorts of appliances and devices when grid electricity isn’t an option. I’ve been through a few generators in my time, and I can tell you, having the right one ready to go when you need it is a huge relief.
Whether you’re going to be staying off the grid, preparing for the unknown, want to have a backup for a medical device, or just want to have the whole backup electricity thing solved, choosing the right generator for your specific circumstances is a must.
Inverter Generators Vs Generator due to the similarity in usage, most people interchange these terms a lot, and there seems to be confusion among consumers on the differences between a inverter generators and conventional generator.
And after knowing the differences, which one is better between the two? We will try to provide the most detailed answers to all these questions, so read on.
Best dual fuel inverter generators
- Firman 2900 Watt Inverter Generator
- Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start
- Westinghouse iGen4500DF Dual Fuel Inverter Generator – 3700 Rated Watts Gas Propane Powered – Electric Start
- Champion Power Equipment 100402 2000-Watt Dual Fuel Parallel Ready Inverter Portable Generator
Considering getting an inverter generator?
The tough thing about being prepared for an unexpected emergency is figuring out exactly what you’ll need. After all, if you don’t know what you’re going to be facing, it’s hard to be sure which tools you’ll want to have on hand.
That’s why I am going to go over some of your generator options so that you’ll be able to get a better idea of what units may work for your individual needs.
Inverter Generators and Standard Generators
Two popular generator options are inverter and standard variants. They each have some great applications. For years, people have been using portable generators to keep their electricity going in all kinds of situations.
However, only recently have inverter generators become popular. Let’s go over the differences between these two options.
Inverter Generator vs Standard Generator
Inverter generators are smaller, lighter, and quieter than standard generators. They’re pretty innovative in that they are able to convert DC power into AC power with high frequency.
This conversion process eliminates power fluctuations like the ones you see in standard generators.
Both inverter and standard generators come in many different configurations with various power capabilities and fuel sources.
An inverter generator is just a generator with a built-in inverter.
When it comes to inverter generator vs standard generator operation, the real difference comes in with overall efficiency.
Standard generators operate at a constant speed. While reliable, these speeds are also non-adjustable. They can cause unnecessary noise, fuel consumption, and exhaust output.
Inverter variants are able to adjust their speeds according to the power requirements that are needed.
Inverter equipped generators have innovative engines which vary their speeds depending on the load they’re under. This makes generators with inverters quieter, more fuel efficient, and more environmentally friendly.
What is an inverter generator?
Inverter generators draw power from a DC source (e.g., a solar panel, car battery or their own gasoline powered motor), and converts the DC power into AC power using electronic circuitry. The converted electricity can be produced in different voltages and frequency, depending on the equipment to be used.
Most inverter generator convert the 12V DC power from a DC source and convert it into the 120V AC power used by most appliances.
What is a generator?
Conventional generators have been around for quite some time, and the core principles used to make them have always been the same. They are made up of an energy source, which is usually a fossil fuel such as propane, diesel or gasoline. This energy source is used to power a motor that’s attached to an alternator to produce electricity.
The engine needs a constant speed of about 3000 rpm to produce a standard current that’s used by most households. If the engines speed fluctuates, the power output will also fluctuate.
Just about every generator runs off either gas, propane, or both. You’ll definitely want to choose a generator that you’ll have an easy time keeping fueled.
Gas generators are super efficient, easy for most people to use, and reliable. Gas motors aren’t complicated either so if your gas generator breaks, you will probably be able to figure out what’s wrong with it pretty quickly.
On the downside, gas can be hard to store without a fuel stabilizer. Also, if the power is out citywide, you can’t just go get some gas from a gas station. Gas pumps require electricity to work.
Finally, gas is a bit corrosive and can leave all kinds of residue behind. Gas generators will require regular cleaning. You’ll want to take good care of your carburetor, check your fuel lines, and look out for corroded gaskets.
Propane is easy to store and has a very long shelf life. In addition, it is pretty much impossible to spill. Propane burns pretty clean as well meaning that you won’t have to clean your generator out as much.
However, propane is less efficient than gas. You’ll use more of it. Plus, propane engines can be complex and hard to fix. Finally, if you’re expecting cold temperatures, consider that propane is pretty much useless in temperatures below 20ºF.
Dual fuel generators are a great option as well. They let you use either fuel type, meaning that you’ll have a bit more room to improvise in a power loss situation.
Benefits of an Inverter Generator
The following are reasons why these generators are so popular.
Quality of Power Output
These generators produce power that is as reliable as line power. This is especially nice for powering your smaller devices like phone chargers, desk lamps and portable air conditioner units. Traditional generators, on the other hand, produce raw power that is best suited for powering large electrical systems like central air conditioning.
The inverter generator small is small and lightweight, making it easily portable. Despite its small size, the unit is very efficient. People bring it camping and in RVs. Traditional generators are bulky and a hassle to move. They have their uses of course, though you wouldn’t think to carry one along on a fishing trip.
This type of generator automatically adjusts the engine acceleration to produce only the needed power output. This makes for a smaller gas tank, lower fuel costs, and lower emissions. Traditional generators run at 3,600 rpm and at a frequency of 60 Hertz per cycle. The inverter generator runs at a lower rpm while maintaining the correct frequency for the load at hand.
Because the engine never runs at full speed, they work quietly compared to traditional generators. The volume is supposed to be equal to human conversation. This makes taking a generator along on a trip more appealing because you can use it, literally, without the headache. For home use during a power outage, it won’t bother your neighbors.
An inverter generator can be coupled with another one when you need more power. You can use multiple generators to do the work of a larger, bulkier traditional generator.
Inverter generators vs generator – which one is better?
First, let’s not think of the traditional old inverters because they cannot power appliances which can be powered by generators. Here we’re going to talk about two devices that can generate electricity well. So which is the best between the two?
The difference depends on some factors, which includes the appliances to be powered, the number of appliances, and your budget. Let’s discuss some of the most important portable energy device factors and how each device stacks up for them.
Generator inverter size, weight, and portability
Many inverter generators are quite small for the amount of power they carry. Inverter generators are easy to store and transport, and for those who want some power for hiking or camping, inverter generators can easily fit in your car.
In contrast, many generators are usually noisy, heavy and bulky, which requires them to to be mounted on frame and wheels. While they are also portable, they lack the convenience factors of being smaller, quieter and lighter.
Inverter generator fuel efficiency and run time
Generators are mostly designed to generate a certain amount of power needed to keep electrical appliances running. With generators, factors like the size of the unit have not been mainly considered.
On the other hand, inverter generators are designed to be compact and lightweight since they don’t need big fuel tanks like generators.
Although a limited fuel capacity means they have shorter run times, inverters have fuel efficient engines which adjust the power produced to match the load’s requirements.
Inverter generators save up to 40% of the fuel and have run times of approximately 10 hours, which are just enough for most users. Inverter generators also help to reduce exhaust emissions.
Noise level difference between generator and inverter
According to GreenGear global, the main difference between inverter generator and a conventional generator is the noise levels. Generators are usually very noisy and run at constant speeds of typically 3600 rpm to produce electricity. The engine speed should remain constant to generate electricity.
On the other hand, inverters can adjust the amount of power produced using microprocessors. This means that the device can regulate its power output depending on the load applied making it quieter than generators.
Quality of power generated by inverter generator
Since a generator is only an engine running at full speed to produce the desired frequency regardless of the load on it, the engine throttles up to keep the amount of generated electricity the same. The alternator’s output is directly connected to the load without processing.
With inverter generators, AC electricity is produced by converting direct current into alternating current.
DC capacitors smooth out the current produced to a certain degree before it gets converted into alternating current and the desired voltage and frequency.
Inverters produce consistent and reliable power which does not rely on the engine speed. The power generated by inverter generator is much “cleaner” than the power produced by conventional generators. This power is almost of the same quality as the electricity typically supplied by your electric company.
What’s the importance of using a cleaner power source?
Well, today most products including your televisions, mobile phones, and computers have microprocessors that are very sensitive to the quality of electricity used. If these devices use a power source that’s not clean, they may end up malfunctioning, or they might even get damaged.
Which is why I personally have, and truly trust, a solar generator. Any application that requires sensitive electricity (most devices do) will benefit from the cleaner power produced by inverters. I personally have and use a Goal Zero Yeti, but it has a finite amount of power stored…Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium
Inverter generator price comparison
There are fewer advantages when it comes to generators unless you need a very high power output. Conventional generators are also cheap and less costly to repair. Its simple design and functionality make the spare parts easily available at fair prices.
Although inverter generators are more compact, quieter, convenient and fuel efficient with controlled power outputs, they are available at higher prices.
But it’s up to you to evaluate how much you need each factor and how much you have budgeted for the device.
Parallel device operation inverter generator
Most inverter generators can be paired with identical units to double the powers capacity. With parallel capability, you can use smaller inverters to produce the same amount of power produced by one large generator.
Conventional generators do not have this feature. Conventional generators need special cables to connect them to their output, and they cannot be paired with identical units.
Read our review of the Champion Dual Fuel 9000 Watt Gas and Propane Generator.
Inverter generators vs conventional generator, which is the best?
It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of each of the devices for your situation. If all you need is some power where there isn’t any, and your more concerned about the budget the quality, a conventional generator will work for you. But most people have realized that convenience, quiet operation, clean power, and portability is exactly what they need.
Generators with inverters offer better fuel efficiency
Inverters make generators significantly more efficient. These generators are able to automatically adjust their engine speeds to match the needs to the application that you are using them for.
They only produce enough power to run the electrical devices or appliances placing a load on them. This means that they will ultimately conserve fuel better.
Higher quality electrical parallel capability and output
Inverters automatically make a generator more technologically advanced. They produce power similar to the power that’s used in a home or residential area. Another feature is that you can also pair them with identical units for more power output.
So, instead of using a large and bulky standard generator that makes a lot of noise, you could use two inverter equipped generators and get the same power output with twice the efficiency.
Generators with inverters are easier to take care of than non-inverter variants. You won’t have to use as much fuel, meaning less residue, and longer continuous running time. You’ll have to inspect your battery once a year, but that’s about it.
With an inverter equipped generator, you’re not going to have to replace your carburetor, fuel lines, or gaskets as regularly. Plus, they use less oil.
Inverter generators or standard generator: Which is best for you?
You can also checkout this Inverter Generator Reviews. We have also reviewed what we think are two of the best inverter generators on the market: Honda Inverter Generator vs Generac Inverter Generator
What are your options?
There are quite a few generators out there for you to choose from. You can decide between gasoline, propane, or combination dual-fuel generators.
- What fuel source will you have the easiest access to? Generators also come with various engine types and power output ratings.
- Are you only planning to power a few devices for the night or will you need a daily power source that you can trust for months at a time?
You can also choose between standard generators or inverter variants. Both have their uses and can be valuable assets when you need electricity on the fly.
Firman 2900 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator
Whether you are a traveler who enjoys having electricity everywhere you go or a homeowner who wants to always be prepared, having a good inverter generator is a huge step forward. Consider choosing a Firman generator. Quiet, compact and portable, the Firman Dual Fuel Inverter Generator worked greatly for me.
Without a doubt, in my case, the device’s practicality and convenience were huge selling points. However, what really convinced me that this is a great generator was its outstanding performance using either gas or liquid propane.
Firman Dual Fuel 3200 watt / 2,900 watt Inverter Generator
As far as I know, the Firman 2900 watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator is the first inverter generator that can run on two different types of fuel. Take into account that, depending on whether you use gas or liquid propane, the device’s output may vary.
In fact, using gasoline allows a slightly larger running wattage of 2900W (and a peak wattage of 3200W). Meanwhile, using liquid propane gets you 2600 running watts.
Rest assured, however, as this difference is basically non-important for most uses. At any rate, having the choice between these two types of fuel makes the generator more versatile and practical.
Featuring a capacity of 1.8 gallons, the Firman Inverter Generator can run for up to 9 hours on a full tank of gasoline. Using propane instead of gasoline, that run time is reduced to 8.5 hours of continuous use.
For most people, that is certainly nothing to scoff at, particularly considering the consistency and reliability of the output.
As a matter of fact, this generator produces a clean sine wave with less than three percent of total harmonic disruption or THD. That means no sudden rises in wattage that could damage your electronic devices.
In terms of design, there is a lot to say about the Firman Dual Fuel Inverter Generator. For one, it is notable that its closed body design provides security to all its components.
Without a doubt, this gives the device an advantage over traditional generators with an open frame. At the same time, the device is compact and lightweight enough so that one person can carry it.
With a total weight of 97 pounds, it can be easily lifted using its built-in handle. If that is not possible, though, don’t worry: The device includes a wheel kit that makes it even easier to move around.
In addition to all its main functions, the Firman Dual Fuel Generator boasts a few additional security and monitoring features that are certainly welcome.
Take the useful control panel for example. At all times, it shows important measurements such as voltage, frequency and remaining lifetime hours.
Whenever any of these measurements get too low, the device produces warning lights that will prompt absent-minded people like me to correct the situation.
In order to further ensure safety, the generator also features an automatic low-oil shut-off and a circuit breaker.
Firman Dual Fuel Inverter Generator Advantages
- It can be used with two different types of fuel.
- Compact and portable.
- Great performance.
But the Firman Inverter Generator, as with all dual fuel generators, will produces less wattage when used with liquid propane.
Personally, I like inverter generators – especially solar generators
They make generators run better and for longer. Plus, inverter equipped generators are generally a lot lighter, quieter, and more efficient. It’s easier to store them as well. However, if you need high-output power and don’t want to mess with anything overly complicated, standard generators work just fine.
If you’re going to go with a standard generator, I’d opt for a powerful and reliable dual-fuel unit.
No matter which generator configuration you ultimately choose, remember to consider your surrounding circumstances. Know where you’ll be using it, how much power you’re going to need, and if you will be able to maintain and clean your generator while off-grid.
Thanks for reading, and good luck!
24 thoughts on “Inverter Generators Vs Generator ~ Which is the Best?”
The conversion of power in an Invertor Generator from its engine-driven (variable Hz) AC to DC and then its electronic conversion from that DC to our typical load’s required 60Hz 120volt AC innately wastes energy due to the multiple steps, as compared with a pure generator’s simple creation of primary 60Hz 120volt AC by spinning its generator at 3600rpm. And the Invertor Generator must be slightly larger and heavier to be able to deliver the same output due to those extra steps. Simple physics. You cannot create something from nothing and no physical process is 100% efficient. An invertor generator is more efficient and quieter ONLY when the required load is often much less than its max capacity. If it is lighter and smaller it either has higher tech or is unable to maintain max load as long or as safely. And making it prettier and handier costs too. So the advantages must be weighed against their extra cost. Choose the gen-type for the load-type. Again, nothing is free. Common sense.
In talking to a few heating contractors, they told me that today’s modern high-efficiency furnaces have circuit boards that will either burn out or not run, with a standard generator and you need an inverter generator to safely run them. This is also true for many electronic devices. I’m building a new house and leaving my old portable generator behind. I’ll be purchasing a large capacity inverter generator.
There are several inaccuracies in this article. Any type of Inverter produces a “simulated” AC sine wave. That sine wave is created by microprocessor controlled oscillations of DC polarity to create, or construct, a simulated 60Hz, AC sine wave. The clock speed of the microprocessor controlling these oscillations determines the resolution or smoothness (quality) of the sine wave produced. Many oscillations are required to produce one sine wave. There is a sawtooth effect going on in the edges of a simulated sine wave. Inverters do a pretty good job of creating a sine wave, but they’re not perfect. Electronic equipment does not like the rough sawtooth effect which can exist in a low quality inverter. High quality inverters will produce a high quality (high resolution) simulated sine wave. The clock speed of the microprocessor controlling the oscillations in the conversion process determines the resolution or degree of fineness in the sine wave. A low resolution simulated sine wave will have a more apparent sawtooth appearance on an oscilloscope. It will not be as smooth and pure. Conventional generators produce a pure sine wave which is electrically cleaner, and electrically noise free power. There is no conversion process needed. It’s pure AC power from the very beginning. The frequency of the AC power from a conventional generator is dependent on the speed of the engine driving the generator. That’s why they need to run at a fixed RPM. With inverters the frequency is processor controlled. The “source” of the DC power in an inverter can come from batteries OR an engine powered DC generator. When the source is from batteries only, it’s usually just referred to as an inverter. When the source is an engine powered DC generator, the result is called an “inverter generator”. And one other thing, unlike as was mentioned in this article, conventional generators can be electrically tied together to run in tandem or triple or even more. I’ve done this myself. Battle ship electrical systems were designed to be able to do this too. They had redundant capabilities which could be utilized in war. The issue in doing this is synchronizing the generator you’re bringing in with the others that are already running tied together. When synchronizing, battle ships used voltage meters connected across the legs of the phases, which measured potential between the generator being brought in versus the ones already running. In their case it was three phase power, but it can be done with single phase power too as is used in most homes. Before synchronizing, the one coming in would not be running at the exact synchronous speed as the others. It would be close, but not exact. There would be a slow, rise, fall, rise, fall seen on the volt meter as the two potentials resonated. All you have to do is close the switch to connect the incoming gen, when the volt meter falls low. When you do that you can actually see the two generators lock up electromagneticly. They will slightly jerk, just once, as they become synchronized. You can actually substitute the volt meter with incandescent light bulbs if you want to. The bulb will go bright, dim, bright, dim over and over. When it goes dim you can close the switch with a minimal spark. Don’t close it when it’s bright because the polarities are wrong in the sine waves when the bulbs are bright. After you close the switch with the bulbs dim, the generators will be synced, locked magnetically, and ready to work with increased capacity after you close the switch. This works. I’ve done it.
Question: I have two submersible well pumps (1/2hp) each and two pumps less than (1/2hp each). Will running a standard generator or inverter generator shorten/endanger the life of the pumps? Thank you in advance.
These are the ones I recommend: Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start Westinghouse iGen4500DF Dual Fuel Inverter Generator – 3700 Rated Watts Gas Propane Powered – Electric Start Champion Power Equipment 100402 2000-Watt Dual Fuel Parallel Ready Inverter Portable Generator
This one looks promising Firman 2900 Watt Inverter Generator. but I do not have any experience with this. If you buy this one, let me know what you think
You are linking directly to amazon for free when you could get paid for it using referral links. look into it!
To have a backup for an oxygen machine i would have to also buy a battery for a inverter generator. Is this a good idea or would a small generator be best bet. The above is for my residence, not a vehicle.
I have some medical devices as well that I have back up power for that I’m very cautious to have ‘clean’ electricity…sine wave or modified sine wave. I have both, a ‘Solar’ backup generator (Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium Solar Generator and a Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Solar Generator) and an Inverter generator (Firman Inverter Generator). I would not buy the Yeti 1400 again (or if I could go back in time), it just to big move around and handle. The Yeti 400 with the Firman Dual Fuel Inverter Generator is an excellent setup for both short term power outages, traveling and long term power outage. I can use my device directly plugged into any of them, and I can re-charge my Yeti’s with the generator as well if needed. I also have the adapters so I can charge the Yetis in my car as well. I take the Yeti 400 camping all the time. Usually last 2-3 days/nights before I need to re-charge it via a portable solar panel, my car or just plug it in somewhere I can. Haven’t taken the Firman camping or traveling yet but I will next trip. Few other article you might want to review as well: https://rurallivingtoday.com/generators/power-inverters-vs-generators-which-best/ https://rurallivingtoday.com/generators/best-backup-power-outages/ https://rurallivingtoday.com/generators/best-solar-backup-generator-goal-zero-diy/ https://rurallivingtoday.com/generators/top-best-portable-generators-can-buy/ https://rurallivingtoday.com/generators/Honda-inverter-generator-vs-generac-inverter-generator/ (I think Honda makes a great product but I think I get more value from others…cost/benefit has shrunk dramatically in recent years) https://rurallivingtoday.com/generators/top-best-portable-generators-hurricanes-portable-generator-reviews/ https://rurallivingtoday.com/generators/wen-inverter-generator-review/ https://rurallivingtoday.com/generators/Honda-eu1000i/ https://rurallivingtoday.com/generators/Honda-eu2000i/ I started writing these articles based on my research due to my PERSONAL necessity of NEEDING electrical power in case of an outage and for traveling.
Great article Rural Living Today. You guys know if you put two scientists or two engineers or more in a room together none of them agree 100% on anything esp the bright ones lol. The great thing about that is: (dumb people like me or lack of experience i should say. Ok we can go with dumb). Get a chance to learn from all of you lol Anything in This World that is created by man should always be looked at from as many angles, sides, views or theories and all of the important things in those views considered when making a judgement call or executive decision. It seems to me that an inverter generator would be great for uses that do not require two heavy of a power demand and where electronics need to be handled delicately. TV. Phones, computers ect ect… And a conventional generators used in the more heavier duty situations. I use generators for my fifth wheel. And when that Air Conditioning kicks on your generator better be ready to handle the load, because those dual units up top don’t play! Roy and Ken. Your replies makes me think an inverter generator would be less reliable in a HD situation because there is more electronic processes going on and electronics are more app to fail than mechanical a lot of times. Because of moisture, humidity. Dirt and dust. (I’m just being technical here because that is just what we are doing right?) I’m not to privy on electrical matters either. And Ken. Man, your story about the paralleling of generators on the open seas got my attention. ID like to spend some time with you and pick that brain! Very Cool brother. Old School is the New School. Semper Fi Chris R. Shark Management Group LLC
I never knew that the device should use a clean power source so it won’t malfunction any electronics. My brother wants to install a backup generator for his house since he is worried about hurricane season. I’ll have to help him find an electrical service that can get it installed for him.
DO NOT BUY THE GENERAC 2000 iQ. Out of the 5 we bought from Costco, only 2 have worked and the screws were rattling out of the working two due to poor quality control. Generac is junk. Choose Honda, Yamaha or Champion.
So.what about getting a conventional generator AND a high quality inverter. Two separate units but on easily plugs into the other. Then plug your appliances and other sensitive stuff into the inverter. Can this work? Inquiring minds need to know.
Yes, that is the set up I used for years before I got an Inverter generator. But I highly recommend an inverter generator. It is way better and more efficient
This review has helped me a lot in finding a good generator I was having electricity issues and I didn’t knew which generator is good and what to buy. This will be a great start for the new year 2021. Thanks for the review.
And one other thing, unlike as was mentioned in this article, conventional generators can be electrically tied together to run in tandem or triple or even more. I’ve done this myself. Battle ship electrical systems were designed to be able to do this too. They had redundant capabilities which could be utilized in war. The issue in doing this is synchronizing the generator you’re bringing in with the others that are already running tied together. When synchronizing, voltage meters connected across the legs of the phases, which measured potential between the generator being brought in versus the ones already running. In their case it was three phase power, but it can be done with single phase power too as is used in most homes. Before synchronizing, the one coming in would not be running at the exact synchronous speed as the others. It would be close, but not exact. There would be a slow, rise, fall, rise, fall seen on the voltmeter as the two potentials resonated. All you have to do is close the switch to connect the incoming gen, when the voltmeter falls low. When you do that you can actually see the two generators lock up electromagnetically. They will slightly jerk, just once, as they become synchronized. You can actually substitute the voltmeter with incandescent light bulbs if you want to. The bulb will go bright, dim, bright, dim over and over. When it goes dim you can close the switch with a minimal spark. Don’t close it when it’s bright because the polarities are wrong in the sine waves when the bulbs are bright. After you close the switch with the bulbs dim, the generators will be synced, locked magnetically, and ready to work with increased capacity after you close the switch. This is interesting- does this assume both generators are very closely matched in frequency and voltage output? How does those parallel operation kits work where the two independent generators are designed for this?
Better off with solar and battery option and if extra power needed conventional generator Have a nice day
I have a generlink to hook generator to power the house in times of outages works great and no problems with powering sensitive electronics. It’s 10,000 watt BE runs at 7400 full constant load. An electrician is needed though to install the generlink between meter and service which acts as a surge protector also. Simple 1 cable hookup so I keep the generator in the garage until needed as it has wheels for easy moving to meter. Easily powers entire house. Great backup when needed.