When to Apply Power Inverters

Knowing your motor vehicle’s battery voltage is important when choosing to use the battery as a power inverter. In other words, the voltage rating of the inverter you select has to match up with the voltage of that of the battery – but in all applications, a battery will provide a direct current.

This means that the current will then flow continuously from the negative terminal of the battery through the circuit and then back to the positive terminal of the battery. The flow is in only one direction, though, hence the terminology “direct current” is used; the ability to provide direct current power is characteristic of all batteries.

Direct current is useful although batteries can usually provide very low voltage DC power and most appliances and all other electrical devices require far more power in order to run properly – more so than DC is able to provide.

Instead they are designed to run on 120-volt AC power.  AC power – also referred to as alternating current constantly changes polarity, sending current one way through the circuit, and then reversing and sending it the opposite way. This is done very quickly – at least 60 times per second in most electrical systems.

Suffice to say, AC power works extremely well at high voltages and can be stepped up in voltage by a transformer far more easily than is the case with direct current.

Your power inverter increases DC voltage – here’s how:

An inverter increases the DC voltage and therefore changes it to alternating current before sending it out to power a device.

Originally these devices were designed to do the exact opposite – and this was to convert alternating current into direct current.

Because these converters could be run in reverse to accomplish the opposite effect, they were dubbed inverters.

How inverters work

If you use inverters to power computers or TV’s the power supply in the device will convert the 120-Volt alternating current into a much lower voltage direct current, because the electronic circuits in certain devices require extremely low voltages that are regulated – therefore you are actually converting from DC to AC in order for it to be changed back into DC once again.

In other words, you cannot use direct current without the AC to DC inverter because the device’s power supply needs the AC power so that it can step down and regulate the voltage correctly.

Remember to match up a power inverter correctly to suit the needs of your electrical devices.


Why Power Inverters and What Are They Mainly Used For

The main question here is – what does a power inverter do, and what can I use one for? Our extensive range of power inverters have been created specifically to ensure that the lights are kept on and machines continue running regardless of what happens to the power utility.

A power inverter changes DC power which is taken from a battery, and converts it into AC power that can be utilised to operate a whole range of devices including kitchen electrical appliances, microwaves, power tools, television sets, computers, electric lights and many more.

Inverters can be used for a wide range of applications such as:

Mobile laboratories.


AC back-up systems.

Solar systems.

Portable test centres.

Military installations.

Homes, factories and offices – there is no need to be left in the dark.

How your power inverter works:

Operating your power inverter is really quite easy – a simple, user-friendly option for those periods when we are privy to the numerous blackouts, brownouts, dips and surges that have become part and parcel of the lives of  millions of South Africans from all walks of life. All you need to do is to connect your power inverter to a battery, then to plug the AC device into an inverter which in turn produces portable power wherever you need it.

In most instances the inverter draws its power from a 12 volt battery which is preferably a deep-cycle battery or even several batteries that are wired in parallel.

The battery will have to be recharged as power is drawn out of it by the inverter.

The battery can be re-energised by a running car motor, gas generator, solar panels or wind; alternatively you can use a battery charger plugged into an AC outlet to recharge the battery.

Even though hurricanes are not common-place in South Africa, emergency power has become the norm due to our ageing utility power system.

Some handy tips regarding the running of your power inverter during a power outage:

  • Choosing the right size power inverter is all-important – it is easy to gauge the size of inverter needed simply by finding the correct information on the appliance itself.
  • The amount of Volts and Amps are usually indicated on individual electrical appliances.
  • One of the most common power inverters sold for emergency home back-up systems is 1750 watts – the main reason being that it is perfect for hooking up to a car battery.
  • Most power inverters should be kept close to the car battery for ease of access, where it will be close to the battery and should be kept out of the elements.
  • Bear in mind that using jumper cables for recharging from a car battery is not the best method possible as jumper cables will not offer a proper connection to the power inverter; instead choose a ring terminal that offers a far superior fit over the inverter post.

Choose from our range of pure sinewave inverters, Cotek inverters, modified sinewave inverters and grid tie inverters which will guarantee keeping the lights on and your business running regardless of what happens to the power utility.