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Old 02-17-2018, 08:53 AM   #1
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Can I get by with Modified Sine Wave Inverter?

Hey all,

Tossing over whether to get a modified sine wave inverter as I read that HandyBob used everything from power tools to laptops and phones off his for 8 years.

Any thoughts regarding this? Ideally I'd get about a 2000 watt inverter, however if I go pure sine it'd be a lot less due to price

Also, any recommendations on brands? I'm in Canada and GoSolar would be an easy choice but I have heard average reviews.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:15 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jeremyc View Post
Hey all,

Tossing over whether to get a modified sine wave inverter as I read that HandyBob used everything from power tools to laptops and phones off his for 8 years.

Any thoughts regarding this? Ideally I'd get about a 2000 watt inverter, however if I go pure sine it'd be a lot less due to price

Also, any recommendations on brands? I'm in Canada and GoSolar would be an easy choice but I have heard average reviews.
The reason Pure Sine Wave inverters cost so damned much is that they are completely different animals.

They are designed with much heavier-duty components, and produce power that is virtually identical to the power that comes from the grid.

Can you get-away with the cheaper units? Sure, for a while and for most things. However, it only takes one blown main-board in a modern fridge, or maybe an over-heated compressor, and the savings look paltry.

I am on a very tight budget. I won't be compromising the inverter, but we each make our own choices.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:26 AM   #3
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OK great. I think you're right regarding cost and I'll go pure sine.

Any thoughts regarding brand? I am looking for one that can be hardwired to the circuit board and then to my outlets
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:47 AM   #4
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OK great. I think you're right regarding cost and I'll go pure sine.

Any thoughts regarding brand? I am looking for one that can be hardwired to the circuit board and then to my outlets
I preface this by saying that I haven't used one yet.

The unit I am looking at is the AIMS Inverter Charger.

The units are mid-priced, solve the charging, power and transfer switch issue, and are very well-liked by reviewers.

There are others.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:06 AM   #5
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I preface this by saying that I haven't used one yet.

The unit I am looking at is the AIMS Inverter Charger.

The units are mid-priced, solve the charging, power and transfer switch issue, and are very well-liked by reviewers.

There are others.
Thanks for the recommendation! I Checked them out and they indeed seem to have very good reviews and their prices are not cheap but fairly moderate.

I purchased a 1500 Watt Pure Sine Inverter (used) from Amazon for just about $530 canadian excluding tax. Pretty good deal!

Thanks again
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:00 AM   #6
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I opted for the pure sine inverter to avoid any issues with my fridge compressor.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:48 AM   #7
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I used an MSW inverter in my last bus and had no issues. However, I did not run anything with an electric motor in it.

I just bought two Xantrex Prosign 1800/24's on eBay for$275 each. You don't have to spend a fortune to get PSW.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:14 AM   #8
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I used the Xantrex inverter/converter

probably on the high end with regard to price, but it is the heart and soul of my electrical distribution.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:18 AM   #9
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I used the Xantrex inverter/converter

probably on the high end with regard to price, but it is the heart and soul of my electrical distribution.
I have tinkered with a number of different inverters. One of those was the Xantrex that I put in my 5er.

After using the Xantrex in my 5er for a couple of years it was an easy choice to buy Xantrex for the bus.
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:08 PM   #10
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I bought a cheap inverter just to drive my freezer and I have no regrets. We've gotten a year out of it with no issues and I spent less on the freezer+inverter than a low end PSW inverter costs.

Granted, I'm not typical, the freezer is 99% of what we use the inverter for, and we only run it for an hour or so per day.

As a second and really more important pint, if you're charging phones and laptops from your inverter you're being really wasteful with your power. You're spending half your power converting between DC and AC and back again. Every watt you don't consume is a watt you don't have to generate and store.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:02 PM   #11
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As a second and really more important pint, if you're charging phones and laptops from your inverter you're being really wasteful with your power. You're spending half your power converting between DC and AC and back again. Every watt you don't consume is a watt you don't have to generate and store.
Good point!

I just finished helping a gentleman here with his bus electrical. He found a little panel with a 12v cigarette lighter plug and two USB charge ports. We put 4 or 5 of them in his bus.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:56 PM   #12
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I've installed several of these outlet groups on my bus. I pulled the outlets out of their panel and installed them into a 3d printed case I designed along with these LED lamps. My printed case isn't holding up so well but we use the outlets for charging laptops, phones, tablets, running fans etc and the two lamps are the only fixed lighting we have in the bus.

I made these decisions to be frugal with power before we started the build, and it has really paid off.
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:00 PM   #13
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That is near identical to the ones I was describing.
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:10 PM   #14
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They make one with an integrated voltage reading that I have hooked up in the driving area that actually runs from the alternator circuit. Good stuff, I can charge my phone while using google maps and I power my backup camera's screen from it as well.
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Old 02-18-2018, 06:02 PM   #15
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I've installed several of these outlet groups on my bus. I pulled the outlets out of their panel and installed them into a 3d printed case I designed along with these LED lamps. My printed case isn't holding up so well but we use the outlets for charging laptops, phones, tablets, running fans etc and the two lamps are the only fixed lighting we have in the bus.

I made these decisions to be frugal with power before we started the build, and it has really paid off.
+1 on the USB outlets. I always install one next to 110 V AC outlets. They run straight from 12v or 24v batteries to 5v (to charge your phone and other devices.
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Old 02-19-2018, 09:31 AM   #16
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I bought a cheap inverter just to drive my freezer and I have no regrets. We've gotten a year out of it with no issues and I spent less on the freezer+inverter than a low end PSW inverter costs.

Granted, I'm not typical, the freezer is 99% of what we use the inverter for, and we only run it for an hour or so per day.

As a second and really more important pint, if you're charging phones and laptops from your inverter you're being really wasteful with your power. You're spending half your power converting between DC and AC and back again. Every watt you don't consume is a watt you don't have to generate and store.
Is there a way so I can use 12v power for my laptop WITHOUT having to use a cigarrette lighter plug lol? Is there not a way just to change the input to a normal plug?

An adapter of sorts?

Ideally i dont want to have to charge anything on AC and only use the inverter for bigger appliances
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Old 02-19-2018, 09:38 AM   #17
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+1 on the USB outlets. I always install one next to 110 V AC outlets. They run straight from 12v or 24v batteries to 5v (to charge your phone and other devices.
Is an iphone charged with 12v or 110v? I'd preferably just install wall plugs rather than additional usb plugs as they all come with a normal wall plug anyway
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Old 02-19-2018, 09:58 AM   #18
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Your iphone charges from 5v DC. It's hugely more efficient to turn 12v DC into 5v DC than it is to turn 12v DC into 110v AC into 5v DC.
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:27 AM   #19
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ditto on all you said brokedown.

The modified sinewave inverters are slightly more efficient because of less switching losses.
Inverters in general only reach there advertised efficiencies at about 80% full load. with low loads like laptops, light bulbs the efficiency becomes horrible.
Microwaves need a psw inverter because a microwave relies on the peak voltage in the sine wave.
Some ac motors will run a little warmer if used on a square wave or msw inverter.

good luck
later J
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:11 PM   #20
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Your iphone charges from 5v DC. It's hugely more efficient to turn 12v DC into 5v DC than it is to turn 12v DC into 110v AC into 5v DC.
So would I just plug a regular phone charger into the 12v socket and it will convert to 5v on it's way to the phone?

For laptops - are there any DC to DC converters that have a wall socket plug on the end as opposed to a cigarette lighter end? I'd rather not have to install lighter plugs haha!
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