What Do You Mean, a “Real Inverter”?
Like so many things in life, appearances can be deceiving. Not all inverters are the same. I was talking to a colleague in Zimbabwe this morning, where power is getting really bad. For the last few years, there have been power cuts in Zim, but they were semi-scheduled, did not last longer than a few hours, and only occurred every few days. That is what we would consider a very easy environment for inverters. So the cheap inverters from the east were very popular – they seemed to work fine in that situation. Most of those inverters are high-frequency design, meaning that they are less tolerant of spikes and surges, have very small transformers, and consequently have very small chargers. Now that power is getting worse, most of those inverters are failing to cope. Their small chargers can’t recharge the batteries in time and the instability on the grid burns their delicate components. Our Magnum, Outback and Xantrex inverters have chargers that are about 6 times larger than the average high-frequency inverter and our H-bridge topology can withstand most of the craziness that happens in a really bad grid. So use the cheap ones while you can, but if conditions start to get tough, it is time to step up to a “real inverter”.