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Old 8 Mar 2005
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Location: Cornwall, UK
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Inverters ???

Looking into inverters (12v - 240v) and would appreciate any advice as to makes, specification and where to source in the UK
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Old 9 Mar 2005
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Try Maplins, keep an eye on their website for specials, from time to time they sell em for about 1/2 price, £30 quid for a 300w modified sine wave. I would say a 300 or 600w is the norm, but they are quite ineffiecient and use a lot of power, a 600w at full power will draw in excess of 50 amps. If its for powering laptops, charging camera batteiries etc, you`d be better off getting a DC step up or step down converter, it`ll be much more power effiecient than an inverter. I picked up one for our laptop on Ebay for around 20 quid.
An aussie escaped from london, now in Dubai.
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Old 9 Mar 2005
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Hi !

Regarding efficiency , Its around 80-90% at peak power . That is . multiply your Wattage by 1.2 and divide by 12.5 Volts . That will give you the expected 12 Volt Amps at full power.

Also -and I learned the hard way- There are 2 main types :
a/ Modified Sine wave (cheaps)
b/ Pure Sine wave. (expensive as hell)

Modified sine wave converters CAN NOT operate any electric motor such as drills ,power tools , compressors , etc.. , nor fluorescent lamps.

They are only intended to power apliances with powersupply transformers (such as PCs , chargers , lights , TVs , radios , etc) .

The more expensive type "Pure SINE wave" are much much more expensive . But then , remember , if you want it for powering electric tools/drills etc.. you need twice the nominal wattage .

My advice - after lots of cash spent in "experimenting"/"fireworks" with possible solutions in my vehicle , is ... get a really cheap small inverter to power chargers (phone , Laptop , and similar) and -if you neeed power tools /serious electricity then instead a big inverter , buy one of these Petrol generators ,around 100 quid ,as they can power power tools , compressors and most importantly a battery charger! .

i.e. a 1000 Watts Petrol Generator (+ a Battery charger ) is much much cheaper and reliable than a 1000 Watts inverter (plus solar panels?).

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Old 9 Mar 2005
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I quite agree. 99 of things you may want to use in a car have a 12V PS option. The one percent is just not worth the bother. You can't win a prize by stepping up voltage from 12V to 240V, only to reduced to 12V by the power supply unit in most notebooks.

And as for running power tools, you won't have enough current in the batteries to do any useful job.

Roman (UK)

[This message has been edited by Roman (edited 09 March 2005).]
Roman (UK)
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Old 12 Mar 2005
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I have to agree wholeheartedly with Roman on principle, even if I didn't go that route:

Depending on how many gadgets/toys you have the 12V adaptors can add up to a hefty packet. IMO PC manufacturers deliberately use input voltages above 12V to prevent you connecting directly to the lighter socket.
Targus make good adaptors but look at the price.

I looked into a 12V charger for my camcorder and quickly decided that a cheap 300W inverter was a less expensive option requiring fewer accessories.

Got mine for about 70 pounds tax free from the main chandlery in Gibraltar on the way through.

It runs small motors ok. It was vital that it could run the orange press considering we were going to Morocco in December. The handheld milkshake blender also turned out to run fine with the inverter.

To charge gadgets that take a while just remember to plug them in at the beginning of a day's driving, considering that the best infernal combustion motor's only about 50% efficient the power loss in your inverter is pretty much negligeable.

Happy trails
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Old 15 Mar 2005
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We bought an expensive Pure Sine-wave inverter, capable of 1500W continuous. Spent an absolute fortune. It's blown twice - now it's just an extra bit (lot) of ballast. (Synergex PureSine 1500).

We have reverted to a cheap 800W (continuous), Modified Sine-wave unit, badged by Coleman, which does pretty much everything we need. (Incidentally, it does our power drill and angle grinder just fine. On that topic, both tools pull around 500-800W, which equates to about 50-80 amps. Even without the engine running, we can run the tools for several hours on a typical duty cycle.)

I'd go for a cheap inverter in the first place next time, and just check that it works with the particular applicances you want to use.



[This message has been edited by SandyM (edited 15 March 2005).]
Michael & Sandy
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