The need for standby power has always being critical in Nigeria because of epileptic power supply in the country. Just like generators, power inverter provide good alternative for supplying backup or standby power during power failure.
Definition of a Power Inverter
A power inverter, or inverter, is electronic equipment that converts direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity.
A power inverter can be entirely electronic or may be a combination of mechanical effects (such as a rotary apparatus) and electronic circuitry. Static inverters do not use moving parts in the conversion process.
The input voltage, output voltage and frequency, and overall power handling depend on the design of the specific device or circuitry.
The inverter in itself does not produce any power, the power is provided by the DC source.Batteries are excellent sourcesof direct current electricity, and a common implementation of power inverters is car batteries.
Inverters are commonly used as indoor power source during power outages for common household appliances that are powered by alternating current.
Power inverters are sold as consumer items and are typically simple to install.
What is Power Inverter Used for?
A power inverter changes DC power from a battery into portable AC power that you can use to operate all kinds of household devices such as electric lights, kitchen appliances, microwaves, power tools, TVs, radios, computers, to name just a few.
A very simple way to use an inverter for emergency power outage is to use a car battery with the vehicle running, and an extension cord running into the house, where you can then plug in electrical appliances.
The inverter draws its power from a single 12 Volt battery, or several batteries wired in parallel. The battery will need to be recharged as the power is drawn out of it by the inverter. The battery can be recharged by running the automobile motor, or a gas generator, solar panels, or wind. Or you can use a battery charger plugged into an AC outlet to recharge the battery.
How Does Power Inverter Work?
The simple idea about how power inverters work or produce AC currents from DC currents is by adding a switch to a current flowing in one direction that changes the output lead.
The act of switching our light bulb on and off, very rapidly, in itself produces pulses of direct current. Using that principle a proper AC can be made.
To be able to get switch that would allow you to completely reverse the current flow and be able to do it about 50‐60 times every second. Now visualize being a human battery, which would mean swapping your contacts back and forth over 3000 times a minute. That would need some neat finger work there!
In reality, an old-fashioned mechanical power inverter would be a switching unit connected to an electricity transformer. They are certain electromagnetic devices that change low-voltage AC to high-voltage AC, or vice-versa, using two coils of wire (called the primary and secondary) wound around a common iron core.
In a mechanical inverter, either an electric motor or some other kind of automated switching mechanism flips the incoming direct current back and forth in the primary, simply by reversing the contacts, and that produces alternating current in the secondary.
Power Inverter Types and their Prices
The types of power inverter can be explained by the switching process as described above. The switching device of a power inverter works a bit like the one in anelectric doorbell. When the power is turned on, it magnetizes the switch, pulling it open and switching it off very briefly. A spring pulls the switch back into position, turning it on again and constantly repeating the process.
If you simply flip a DC current back and forth through switching its direction keeps reversing, what you end up with is very abrupt changes of current: all in one direction, all in the other direction, and back again.
Now if draw a chart of the current (or voltage) produced against time by that effect that will get us a square wave. Although electricity varying in that fashion is, technically, an alternating current, it’s not at all like the alternating current supplied to our homes, which varies in a much more smoothly undulating sine wave.
Generally speaking, hefty appliances in our homes that use raw power (things like electric heaters, incandescent lamps,kettles, or fridges) don’t much care what shape wave they receive: all they want is energy and lots of it—so square waves really don’t bother them.
Electronic devices, on the other hand, are much more fussy and prefer the smoother input they get from a sine wave.
This explains why power inverters come in two distinct types:
- True/pure sine wave inverters(often shortened to PSW) and
- Modified/quasi sine wave inverters (shortened to MSW).
True inverters use donut-shapedtoroidal transformers and electronic circuits to transform direct current into a smoothly varying alternating current which is very similar to the kind of genuine sine wave normally supplied to our homes.
They can be used to power any kind of AC appliance from a DC source, including TVs, computers, video games, radios, and stereos.
Modified Sine Wave Inverters
On the other hand, modified sine wave inverters use relatively inexpensive electronics (thyristors, diodes, and other simple components) to produce a kind of “rounded-off” square wave which produces a much rougher approximation to a sine wave.This kind of inverters are particularly fine for delivering power to hefty electric appliances and can problems with delicate electronics or anything with an electronic or microprocessor controller.
Also, if you think about it, their rounded-off square waves are delivering more power to the appliance overall than a pure sine wave (there’s more area under a square than a curve), so there’s some risk of overheating with MSW inverters.
On the positive side, they tend to be quite a bit cheaper than true inverters and often work more efficiently (which is important if you want to run something off a battery with a limited charge—because it will run for longer).
Although many inverters work as standalone units, with battery storage, that are totally independent from the grid, others (known as utility-interactive inverters or grid-tied inverters) are specifically designed to be connected to the grid all the time; typically they’re used to send electricity from something like a solar panel back to the grid at exactly the right voltage and frequency. That’s fine if your main objective is to generate your own power.
It’s not so helpful if you want to be independent of the grid sometimes or you want a backup power source in case of an outage.
For this reason, some people use bimodal or bi-directional inverters, which can either work in standalone or grid-tied mode (though not both at the same time). Since they have extra bits and pieces, they tend to be more bulky and more expensive.
Prices of Inverter Brands in Nigeria
Here are prices of various power inverter brands in Nigeria:
Sukam Inverter Prices
- Sukam 800VA – 40,000 Naira
- Sukam 1.4KVA – 64,500 NGN
- Sukam 2.5VA – 145,000 NGN
- Sukam 3.5KVA – 165,500 NGN
- Sukam 5.0KVA – 295,000 NGN
- Sukam 7.5VA – 450,000 NGN
- Sukam 3.5KVA – 540,000 NGN
Prag Inverter Prices
- Prag 1KVA – 75,000 Naira
- Prag 1.2KVA (12V input) – 80,000 NGN
- Prag 2KVA (24V input) – 105,000 Naira
- Prag 2.5KVA (24V input) – 115,000 NGN
- Prag 4KVA – 250,000 NGN (Wall/Rack Mount)
- Prag 5KVA – N300,000
- Prag 5KVA – N325,000 (Solar Panel support + Start Gen Automatically)
- Prag 7.5KVA – N725,000
- Prag 7.5KVA – N372,000 (Solar Panel support + Start Gen Automatically)
Mercury Inverter Prices
- Mercury 1.2KVA – 35,000 Naira
- Mercury 2.4KVA – 52,000 NGN
Luminous Inverter Prices
- Luminous 900VA – 45,000 Naira
- Luminous 1.5KVA – 60,000 NGN
- Luminous 3.5KVA – 218,000 NGN
BlueGate Inverter Prices
- Bluegate 1KVA – 40,000 Naira
- Bluegate 2.4KVA – 49,000 NGN
- Bluegate 3.5KVA – 180,000 NGN (Wall/Rack Mount)
Tripp Lite Inverter Prices
- Tripp Lite 1.2KW – 170,000 Naira
- Tripp Lite 2KW – 150,000 NGN
- Tripp Lite 2.5KVA – 214,000 NGN
Power inverter for home business and event
The best inverters to buy
Difference between Inverter and Generator
Generators use a combustion engine, which must turn at 3,600 rpm to generate electrical output, typically of 120/240 volts at 60hz frequency. The engine runs at a constant speed, regardless of electrical load.
Generators allow you to run essential appliances when the electricity fails.
Generators aren’t just for power outages, they provide a means of power for DIY projects, hobbies, power tools, and outdoor events where you may need additional electricity.
Generators offer the greatest output and extended run times, they are heavier to transport, and also use more fuel.
While portable generators serve many purposes, inverters with their light weight, and low noise levels, are ideally suited for camping, RV, marine, tailgating, and other uses in the outdoor recreation market.
Read also: Firman Diesel Generator Price & Specs
Difference between UPS and Inverter
As the name goes Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides power in moments of power cut mostly to backupsystems such as desktop computers.
Inverter on the other hand providestotal power backup solution to home appliances, lights, fans. The total unit consists of three components the charges, battery and Inverter circuit which converts DC battery current to electricity.
Inverter is not suitable for computer backup due to the delay in switching. If you connect desktop computer on inverter, any power loss, shutdowns the computer as it takes one microsecond to fall over to the backup power solution.
While UPS remains ideal to backup computer systems this only lasts for about 10 to 20 minutes. The main intention of it is to provide backup only for small time so that you can save the programs and data.
Solar Power Inverter
According to Wikipedia, A solar inverter converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current (AC) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network. It is a critical balance of system (BOS)–component in a photovoltaic system, allowing the use of ordinary AC-powered equipment.
Solar power inverters have special functions adapted for use with photovoltaic arrays, including maximum power point tracking and anti-islanding protection.