Power Inverter Faq | Performance Shop

Information Security

Power Inverter FAQ

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions below to help answer any questions you may have about our 8Zed Power Inverters.

What is a Power Inverter?

8Zed Power Inverters are devices designed for powering household appliances from a car, or similar battery. They convert 12V or 24V DC battery power to 230V (10VAC) AC mains power and are an ideal source of portable mains power. Being compact and portable, power inverters can be used in cars, caravans, boats, 4WDs and trucks. Using a power inverter for household appliances is a much cheaper option than purchasing specialized 12V or 24V appliances for those times when mains power is not available. Compared to Generators, Power Inverters are a greener and cheaper long term option.

What are the different types of inverters?

There are two different types of power inverters: modified sine wave and Pure(true) sine wave inverters.
The difference between the two types is how close the output power replicates standard AC mains power.

To gain a clearer understanding of the difference in output between mains power, modified sine wave and pure(true) sine wave inverters, check out the diagrams below.

A pure (or true) sine wave inverter is far more complex than a modified sine wave inverter and as a result is more expensive item to purchase. Modified sine wave power inverters are quite common due to the fact that many electric appliances do not require a pure(true) sine wave power source. Pure(True) sine wave inverters are often used on medical equipment and other sensitive electrical applications, such as sound/audio equipment. Increasingly, appliance manufacturers are changing to a mandatory pure sine wave power source specification for their appliances.

8Zed Power Inverters are available across a range of power output levels to power a range of appliances. Small power inverters, such as the 200 Watt & 300 Watt 8Zed Power Inverters, are designed for powering one small low power electrical appliance whereas larger units such as the 2400 Watt & 3000 Watt are suitable for powering multiple small appliances at the same time or just one larger appliance.

How do I choose what Inverter is right for my Application?

In order to determine the size Inverter you may require for your specific application. There are several main points that you first need to establish.

  1. What appliances do I need to run from the Inverter at the same time?
    Take into consideration every appliance you may wish to run from the Inverter simultaneously in order to meet your needs.

  2. What is the power requirement (watts or Amps) of all of these appliances?
    Adding the total power requirements of all of the appliances that you wish to run will give you an initial indication of what size Inverter may be suitable for your specific application.

  3. Do any of these appliances contain elements such as a compressor, motor, pump or heating element?
    Appliances carrying these listed elements will have special requirements. As their start up requirement will greatly exceed their listed continuous power requirement. You will require a larger Inverter, with the continuous capacity to cover this initial start-up requirement. For more information, please feel free to contact us.

  4. How to connect my Inverter to my power source?
    Smaller Inverters may only provide limited battery connection possibilities. For more options, please ensure that the accessories available with each Inverter will suit your application. For more information, please feel free to contact us.

Can any appliance be run from an Inverter?

Power inverters are not an efficient way to run appliances that have very high power requirements during start up and their continuous operation. This is due to their high current draw and rapid battery depletion.

You may have difficulties running the following appliances: (Please note: This is not an exhaustive list, for more information please contact us)

Back to top

What is a suitable power source to operate an inverter?

To operate an inverter and supply power to an appliance, a suitable 12V DC power supply is required. This can be a vehicle, boat or caravan battery, portable power pack or an independent 12V lead acid battery. For most applications, a deep cycle battery is recommended for best performance.

How do I connect to a power source?

CAUTION: Before making any connections ensure inverter is switched off and has no AC appliances plugged into the AC output sockets.

  1. Connect the ring terminal on the positive lead (Red) to the positive (Red) DC terminal on the back of the inverter.
  2. Connect the battery clip (Red) or ring terminal on the other end of the lead to the positive DC supply or (+) battery terminal.
  3. Connect the ring terminal on the negative lead (Black) to the negative (Black) DC terminal on the back of the inverter.
  4. Connect the battery clip (Black) or ring terminal on the other end of the lead to the negative DC supply or (-) battery terminal.
Inverter Connection Step by Step
Ensure the inverter is switched off
Connect the positive cable to the battery
Connect the negative cable to the battery
Connect the positive cable to the inverter
Connect the negative cable to the
inverter (the cable may spark upon initial
contact. This is normal and will not harm
the inverter).
Best practice is to connect the case
directly to an earth.
Ensure the appliance is switched off
Plug the appliance in
Switch the inverter on (a short beep
may be heard, this is normal)
Switch on your appliance and operate
as normal

 

8Zed 200W USB Cup Inverter
Ensure the inverter is switched off
Ensure your device is switched off

Plug device into your 3pin (cigarette
lighter) accessory

To use while the car is turned off, switch
your car to accessory to power the 3pin
(cigarette lighter) accessory.

Alternatively, switch on your isolator to
provide power to your 3pin (cigarette
lighter) accessory.


To use while running your vehicle,
ensure to inverter is switched off.

Start your car
Switch on your 8Zed Inverter

Switch on your appliance

 

Wiring Diagrams
How can I use multiple batteries to
increase the Amp Hour rating while
keeping a 12v setup?

multiple batteries to increase the amp rating diagram


How do I make my 12v batteries
into 24v?

Turn your 12V battery into 24V


How can I use multiple batteries to
increase the Amp Hour rating while
keeping a 24v setup?

Multiple batteries as a 24V setup


Why is it important to ensure the battery leads are not connected back to front?

The 8Zed inverter uses highly reliable electronics to convert DC battery power to AC mains power. If you accidentally connect the inverter to the battery incorrectly a large current will be drawn by the inverter which will blow the protection fuses, as this occurs some of the high current could damage the sensitive electronic components. Because of this risk it is important to always double-check the battery polarity before making any connections.

Do power inverters store power?

Power Inverters do not have an in-built battery; they just act as a ‘converter’ to change the power from a 12VDC or 24VDC power source to 240V AC. This enables you to use normal household appliances and tools from a battery or your vehicle.

How do I determine a suitable load for appliances?

The 200W, 300W and 600W 8Zed Power Inverters are fitted with 1 approved AS/NZS power socket. 1200W to 5000W 8Zed Power Inverters have 2 approved AS/NZS Australian socket outlets where either or both sockets can be used, as long as the combined load (watts required) does not exceed the inverters continuous power rating (please refer to the Inverter Selection Guide for more information).

Every appliance has a rating plate which shows users the amount of power (watts) required to run the appliance or the current (amps) drawn under normal use.

To work out which 8Zed power inverter you need to run your appliances, please use our Power Inverter Selection Table for an approximate guide.

NOTE: Some appliances that use an electric motor or transformer may draw 4 to 6 times their rating when first turned on, known as inductive loads. These appliances are the most difficult for inverters to run.

If using these appliances with a power inverter, it can often be a matter of trial and error to see what size inverter they will require in order to run, but if you are in doubt always err on the side of a larger inverter.

Back to top

What is the right environment and appropriate way to set up the placement of my inverter?

In order for your inverter to operate properly, it should be placed on a flat surface e.g. on the floor or seat of a car. The inverter also should only be used in locations that are:

Back to top

How do I check or change the fuses?

The 300W and 600W 8Zed power inverters are fitted with one external fuse and a secondary internal protective fuse. If the unit is not functioning, you can check to see if a fuse has blown by disconnecting the inverter from the DC power source and AC appliances. Then remove the black external fuse cap and to check if the fuse has blown. The 200W, 1200W, 1800W, 2000W, 2400W, 3000W, 4000W and the 5000W all have their fuses contained within the actual unit. If an internal fuse blows, only a qualified technician should open up the inverter, inspect and replace fuses if needed. You can replace the blown fuses with the spares provided or you can use a standard automotive blade fuse of the correct rating.

THE DC SUPPLY MUST BE DISCONNECTED BEFORE ANY REPAIR WORK IS UNDERTAKEN, THEN TURN THE ON/OFF SWITCH OF THE INVERTER “ON” TO DISCHARGE THE CAPACITORS.

 

Step by Step Changing External Fuse
Disconnect the inverter from any power
source and remove the leads.
Disconnect inverter
Once isolated, switch on the inverter to
remove any residual power in the
capacitors. You will hear a long beep while
the inverter discharges, this is normal.
When the beep stops, switch the inverter off.
Remove residual power from the capacitors
Remove the external fuse protector.
Remove the external fuse protector
Hold the inverter in place with one hand and
remove the fuse with your other hand.
Remove the fuse
Replace the fuse with a new fuse. Insert new fuse
Replace the fuse protector. Replace fuse protector

 

How to recognise a blown fuse
Good Fuse
Bad Fuse
Good Fuse
Bad Fuse
Notice: Clear plastic,
fillament in tact
Notice: Scorch marks and
seperated fillament

How long will a battery last while powering an 8Zed Inverter?

The length of time that your vehicle/stand-alone battery will last when running an Inverter will be determined by 2 main factors. Firstly the Amp/Hour rating of the batteries you are using, as well as the power draw of the appliances you are running.

For example: a 100Watt appliance, operating from 12 Volts, will be using approximately 8.5 Amps per hour. Therefore a 100 Amp/Hour Battery will provide approximately 11.5 hours of continuous running power for this individual appliance.

Depending on the size of the inverter, the standby draw ranges from 0.8amps to 1.5amps.

Inverters also only draw the required amount of power for the device, regardless of the size of the inverter.

Batteries have an Amp Hour (AH) rating on them to assist in determining their longevity.

Using the calculator found in the “Inverter Selection” page, it is easy to find the appliances draw in Amps. To apply this information, follow example 1 below.

  1. A 120W appliance operating from a 12v power supply will draw approximately 10amps an hour from the battery.
    To power the 120W appliance for 8.5 hours continuously, a 90AH rated battery would be required.  

For more information on conversions relating to power draw, please visit our Inverter Selection Calculator.

Back to top

My 8Zed Power Inverter will not run my appliance, even though the listed power requirement of the appliance is less than the inverter size.

Electrical appliances can be separated into three load types by the way they draw energy (current) from their power supply. The 3 load types are “Resistive”, “Inductive” and “Capacitive”. Some appliances may draw all three types of power, in which case all should be considered.

Note 1: Some appliances such as large refrigerators, air conditioners or other pump driven appliances, have extremely high demand for start-up current due to an inductive motor which must start under load. Appliances of this type are not recommended for use with an inverter. They should be powered by an engine driven generator.

Note 2: There are no standards for "surge power” partly because it cannot be simply represented by a single sample number. Even though our 8Zed Inverters can provide up to double the listed continuous power (on initial start-up) for a short period, experimentation is the only method of determining whether it can handle the surges generated by a particular load.

Why do some power tools not function correctly?

Some newer power tools use Pulse Width Modulator (PWM) variable speed controllers to vary the tool's speed as the trigger is squeezed. These power tools switch the power on and off very quickly in a similar way to the functioning of the inverter. Because of this, some may not function properly with an inverter. However more appliances will be compatible with a Pure Sine Wave Inverter.

Can I connect my inverter directly to a solar regulator or controller?

It is possible to connect an inverter directly to a regulator/controller as long as the total amps being consumed by the inverter and anything plugged into it doesn’t go over the max amp rating of the controller. It is also essential that the regulator/controller can supply constant and stable 12-14VDC power. For example if you have a 12V controller rated at 12amps, and you connect a 300W Inverter which consumes 0.5Amps when turned on, you would be left with 11.5A to run your appliances (roughly 135Watts). If however you tried to use more than the power available from the regulator, you could cause damage to your inverter as well as your regulator/controller. Due to changing sunlight conditions providing a variable voltage supply, and due to it being hard to monitor exactly what power you are using, it is highly recommended to connect your inverter directly to your battery (or battery bank). A battery (or battery bank) is the most stable source of DC Power.

Diagram of recommended basic solar setup

Basic Solar Setup

Can I connect lights with dimmers to the inverter?

Older style light dimmers may function correctly, however most modern light dimming circuitry is designed to work with household pure (true) sine wave AC power. These may not work properly with modified sine wave inverters, and therefore a Pure Sine Wave Inverter would be required.

Back to top

Can I run fluorescent lighting from my inverter?

Most portable fluorescent lamps should operate fine on a power inverter. Please note they may be slow to start and may require up to 3 times the listed power (i.e. 20W Fluorescent light = 60W Power required from an Inverter).

Fluorescent lights are an inductive and capacitive load and therefore tend to draw three times as much power from the inverter.

Standard household fluorescent lights are not recommended because they contain Power Factor correction capacitors. Power Factor correction is normally used in buildings to help smooth out the inductive effects of fluorescent light ballasts. If they are used with a power inverter, the power factor correction is effected by the harmonic distortion in the modified waveform which can cause a high load for the inverter that can then overload the inverter. If you wish to use normal household fluorescent lights of a power inverter, it is recommended that you get a qualified electrician to remove the power factor correction capacitor.

Can I run computers with my 8Zed power inverter?

Most laptop/notebook computer AC power adapters work perfectly well with the 8Zed modified sine wave power inverters. Desktop computers and some laptops/notebooks may be more sensitive so they may not function correctly or cause a humming noise, in which case a pure sine wave inverter is recommended.

Mac/Apple products are extremely sensitive in the way they use their power, and will require a Pure Sine Wave Inverter to run successfully.

I have a 170W 240 volt gas fridge, is the 8Zed 300 watt power inverter suitable to run my fridge while I am travelling, using my car battery?

With Fridges, we normally recommend that it's a good idea to allow 4 to 6 times the required power. However this is due to the fact that normal fridges (with electric motors) require an Inductive Load and need a large rush of power (surge current) to start.

Why won't my inverter work when I use a rechargeable Alkaline battery or an appliance with rechargeable AA or AAA batteries?

You may have trouble using an AA battery charger with any inverter due to the way the battery chargers draw energy. You will also find that a Pure Sine Wave Inverter is a better option for battery chargers due to the fact that there's much less ‘noise’ interference compared to a modified sine wave inverter. This ‘noise’ can often wear away at the sensitive components in lower quality battery chargers. The rechargeable batteries, recharging transformer and/or the 8Zed Inverter may be damaged when trying to recharge devices of 10 volts or higher.

In most cases you can safely charge your laptop, mobile phone, cameras and cordless drills using a modified sine wave Inverter. For example, you can charge a Dell Laptop, a PDA mobile phone and a Black & Decker cordless drill via these power inverters.

However, it is always a good idea to double-check your appliance's manufacturer's guidelines first. If they can't be charged via a modified sine wave inverter, they will mention something similar to "Charge via Mains power only".

Back to top

Why is my inverter making a buzzing noise?

An alarm will sound if you have a Low voltage or Overload situation. The Low Voltage indicates that the battery does not have enough capacity to power the appliances and may require recharging. You should cease operations at this time, since the 8Zed Inverter will shut down automatically when battery voltage drops to 10.0-10.5 volts.

If the low battery alarm still sounds when the battery is fully charged, try reducing the load on the inverter, and keep the voltage above 11.5 volts to maintain regulation. The alarm will sound when the inverter is overloaded, or if there is an excessive voltage drop between the battery and the inverter.

An alarm will also sound in an Overload situation if the appliance/s you have plugged into the inverter are attempting to draw more power than the listed capacity of the inverter. In this instance, it is recommended to reduce the load on the inverter. Once an Overload situation is present, a reset of the inverter may be required (i.e. turn off Inverter and disconnect from power source for 30-45mins before reconnecting).

Note: The alarm may sound momentarily when the unit is being connected to, or disconnected from, the power source. This is normal and does not indicate any problem.

Why does my inverter turn itself off?

If the inverter makes a beeping sound and the “RED” fault light comes on, this indicates a problem, and the inverter will usually turn itself off for safety reasons. This is most commonly caused by an appliance that is drawing too much power thereby overloading the unit being used, low battery voltage or voltage drop which is due to insufficient sized cables, and/or poor connections.

Why does the fan only operate sometimes on the 8Zed power inverters?

8Zed power inverters contain a temperature controlled automatic cooling fan that only operates when needed. This allows the inverter to run very quietly for most of the time. Smaller sized inverters such as the 200W, 300W and 600W 8Zed Modified Sine Wave Inverters have their fans running constantly to ensure they never overheat.

Can power inverters be used directly off a battery whilst the car is switched off?

You can run appliances through the Inverter off the battery whilst the car is switched off. The time you can use it for will depend on the size of the Inverter and also the Appliance being used. As long as DC volts from the battery stay above 11.5Volts, it will run. It is recommended that the battery be charged at least once every hour to make sure there are no interruptions and to also make sure you can start the vehicle after use.

Please Note: The Inverter must be switched off before your vehicles ignition is turned on. Failure to do so may cause severe damage to the internal components of the Inverter and void warranty.

I would like to run an electric blanket and a small tv in my caravan, total watts about 400. What size inverter would you suggest and suit my needs?

Appliances that have coils that produce heat typically require 3 to 7 times the listed power. Therefore, if the blanket is rated at 100Watts continuous, you may require a 1200W Inverter just for the blanket. With the TV, they typically require a large surge current if they haven't been switched on in a while. This is due to the large capacitors in the power supply that must be quickly charged when the appliance is first turned on.

Due to the factors above, the minimum Power Inverter recommended would be the 1200W 8Zed Power Inverter. Ideally an 1800W or 2000W 8Zed Inverter should be used. Another benefit in purchasing a 1200W 8Zed Inverter or above is that it has 2x 240VAC sockets that would make things easier to connect the 2 different appliances.

What size inverter do I need to buy for a 600 watt microwave?

The power rating used with microwave ovens is the "cooking power" which refers to the power being "delivered" to the food being cooked. The actual operating power requirement rating is higher than the cooking power rating (for example, a microwave with "advertised" rating of 600 watts usually corresponds to almost 1100 watts of power consumption). The actual power consumption in most cases is stated on the back of the microwave. If the operating power requirement cannot be found on the back of the microwave, check the owner's manual or contact the manufacturer.

Taking into account that for a microwave it is a good idea to add approximately a 20% buffer to the listed power, for a 600W Microwave the minimum recommendation would be the 1200W 8Zed Power Inverter. This will make sure that the Inverter can supply the required power to the microwave consistently, even when the microwave is on High power.

Back to top

Can I run a kettle to boil water from an inverter through my cigarette lighter?

Unfortunately running any sort of Kettle from an Inverter is not recommended; however this will be directly determined by the wattage and start up requirement of the Kettle itself whilst also taking into account it may require 3-7 times the listed power.

Please Note: Due to the fact that most cigarette lighter plugs can only handle up to approximately 150Watts, only small appliances within this capacity can be run through these connections.

For more information on How to choose the right Inverter, you can view our Inverter Selection guide.

Can I run my 3-phase welder off your inverter?

Unfortunately a 3-phase welder cannot be used off an inverter because it only provides single-phase power.

Why does my power inverter only measure approximately 200V when using a standard multimeter?

True RMS Fluke multimeter will need to be used to accurately measure the volts of a Modified Sine Wave inverter. The rated voltage is an RMS (root mean square--they square the value to make sure it is always positive, then average it, then take the square root of the average to make up for having squared it in the first place) measurement.

Most multimeters are designed to give correct RMS readings when applied to true sine waves, but not when they are applied to other waveforms such as a Modified sine wave. When using a standard multimeter to measure the rated voltage from a modified sine wave inverter, your readings could be 5% to 20% lower in the true voltage.

Does the inverter drain power if it is turned off but still connected to the battery?

There is normally a small power drain of 0.8A 1.5A experienced when the inverter is off, this can differ depending on the Inverters.

If I'm only using a 600W appliance on a 1200W inverter, will the inverter use 600W or 1200W of power?

Your Power Inverter will still only use 600W. No matter what sized inverter you have the power draw will only be equal to what your appliance will draw.

What appliances are recommended to be used from a Pure Sine Wave Inverter?

The following appliances are likely to require a Pure Sine wave Inverter to function correctly;

Some power tools may be a problem if they have a warning label stating that dangerous voltages are present at the battery terminals when charging.

What precautions should I take when installing an Inverter?

It is best to install an inverter in a cool and dry location. Inverters should not be installed in an engine compartment due to possible water/oil/acid/fume contamination, as well as excessive heat. It is also a good idea to run the battery cables in a secure dry place. The best way to mount an 8Zed Inverter is horizontally face up to ensure maximum cooling efficiency via the inbuilt heat sinks.

What sort of Inverter should I get to run my Laser Printer?

A Pure Sine Wave Inverter would be the minimum that is required to be able to run a Laser Printer successfully. However a laser printer is not normally recommended to be used off an inverter due to the heat rollers Laser printers use up a surprising amount of power (Even when they are on standby). Inkjet Printers on the other hand use much less power than a laser printer and can be used with a modified sine wave inverter.

Back to top

Will an 1800W Inverter power my 1300W Heater?

Due to the nature and internal components of heaters, a 1300W heater cannot be run from an 1800W Inverter. Heaters have an extremely rapid and high power requirement. Our general recommendation is to multiply the continuous requirement of the heater by between 3 and 7 times. This will give you a more accurate recommendation of what size Inverter you will require for this sole appliance. However, this is a general recommendation, and can differ with ranging appliances.

What does Inverter efficiency really mean?

The efficiency of an inverter refers to how well it converts DC Voltage into AC Voltage. Inverter efficiencies range from 80% up to 95%. The average efficiency is around 90%. However, efficiency ratings can be decreased when using a resistive load such as an incandescent light.

When running appliances with motors, the efficiency breaks into 2 parts; the efficiency of the inverter, and the efficiency of the waveform. Waveform efficiency means that the motors and many other electronic appliances run better and use less power with a true or pure sine wave.

An appliance with an electric motor, like a pump or refrigerator will on average use 15-20% more power with a modified sine wave inverter compared to when it is run off a true or pure sine wave inverter.

When looking at the efficiency rating of an inverter you should also consider what you are going to run. I.e. An 85% efficient modified sine wave inverter is not going to run at 85% when powering a compressor motor. This is due to the fact that electric motors are less efficient and use about 20% more power off a modified sine wave inverter.

What forms of lights can I run from an Inverter?

Can I run my laptop from a Modified Sine Wave Inverter?

The 300W 8Zed Power Inverter should be perfect for powering your laptop. It would however be a good idea to double check the Power required on your Laptop (On the Power Pack and/or on the bottom of your laptop), It is a good idea to allow at least 10% power buffer, so that's one other thing to keep in mind. (i.e. 200W Laptop + 10% = 220Watts)

The Power Packs provided with PC based laptops are generally capable of coping with a sine wave generated by the Modified Inverters. However you may find some performance based issues such as slight humming, or the occasional line across your screen. An 8Zed Pure Sine Wave Inverter is recommended for the best performance.

Mac Books and other Apple based Laptops will require a Pure Sine Wave Inverter to run successfully. These appliances tend to be more sensitive with regards to how they utilise their power. In this situation a Modified Sine Wave Inverter can result in your Operating System freezing or locking up on a regular basis.

Back to top

Check out current Specials
Fast Delivery
Help Search Resources On Sale: US Extension Leads
Site powered by: WallCannRewards | Community | Finance | Health | Leisure | Shop | WallCann Academy | Promoter Login

Shop Online the WallCann way!
This information is being continually updated and is subject to change without notice.

In no event shall PerformanceShop.com.au, its employees or associates be liable to any person or individual for any loss or
damage whatsoever which may arise from the use of this information. The information contained herein should be used at your own discretion.