Since we want to use the more stuff than just 12 Volts lights we have to have something to go up with the output voltage to the regular 110 Vac. Inverters are available in a wide range, so that should be no problem. Nearly everyone knows the smaller in-car inverters that have a power like 50-200 Watts and provide 110 Vac from the 12 Vdc lighter plug. A bit bigger might be required for a house.
Two major categories are available, the modified sine wave and the true sine wave models, depending on what you want to connect to it, it can be wise to use true wave models. Electrical equipment doesn’t really mind modified wave, products like lights, refrigerators or power tools. Electronic equipment howevcr, which can be a small as a phone charger, usually does, so it might be wise to just invest some more money.
True wave vs modified wave
- The differences between modified and true wave inverters becomes higher and more expensive when output power goes up.
- This is just an example, there can be different modified waveforms.
How to pick the right size
An inverter should be choosen to be able to do the job. Besides the obvious input and output voltages, that should match our set-up the is a lot of choice in rated power outputs. Sometimes the peak power is advertised, so be sure to watch that.
The amount of power needed depend on what there is going to be connected. One thing to keep in mind is the switch-on peak current of different items. Compressors usually have one of the highest values and can be upto 6x the rated current. A small refrigerator for example, if it has a rated current of 1.3A that would mean an (1.3A x 110V) = 143W inverter would be enough. Since the peak is approx. 6 times higher it would use, very shortly about 858 Watts which means a much bigger inverter.