ARE INVERTERS BETTER THAN GENERATORS?
The terms inverter and generator are often used interchangeably due to the similarity in their applications. However, the two machines have different principles of operation and differ in several other aspects like usage and carbon footprint. In this article, we detailed the differences between inverters and generators. We also discussed the different applications where one would be better suited over the other.
In most cases, Power Inverters offer superior performance and significant cost savings when compared to generators. In general, the more that a load requires high inrush current with lower running power, such as an air compressor, water pump, or electro-fusion - the more favorable an inverter is for use in that situation. Generators may be favored only where loads require little or no peak power and high levels of running power (above 5 KW), such as a large heater, or on for a long period. When compared with modern, solid-state Dimensions Power Inverters, generators have definite drawbacks.
Peak output power or inrush current is the ability of a power source to provide more than its rated power to start a load. Generators have poor peak power capability due to their inherent operating characteristics.The continuous power rating is the ability of the power source to provide rated power for an indefinite time. All Magnum-Dimensions inverters use the UL rating method for continuous duty. If a larger than ideal generator is purchased to satisfy the load's peak or starting requirements, the excess generator capacity is wasted and will result in additional fuel consumption and reduced life since the generator's engine must always be running resulting in; great inefficiency, noise, pollution, and wear. On the other hand, with little or no load, a Magnum-Dimensions inverter requires only 25-50 watts at idle; yet it can deliver full power instantly to loads when needed.
Comparison between inverters and generators
Both inverters and generators can be portable but inverters are generally more compact in size. Generators are bulkier than inverters and need frames or wheels to be mounted. Hence, if you want power for something small like a hiking trip, a night of camping, or a small building, a power inverter would be your option.
Inverters are generally more efficient than generators and can be more compact in size because they don’t have large fuel tanks. However, it is important to remember that inverters work in conjunction with batteries and don’t produce power on their own. Inverters are capable of running loads for about 10 hours which is well-suited for most small-scale applications.
Noise levels and Exhaust:
The prime advantage that inverters have over generators is the fact that they are much quieter and cause less pollution. Traditional diesel generators produce a lot of noise due to the rotation of the alternator. The burning of fuel also emits polluting fumes. This exhaust is often considered hazardous by different health departments and hence having a generator in an enclosed place is not a good idea. Considering the need to reduce the depletion of the Ozone layer caused by fumes from generators and cars, an inverter provides an excellent choice of power. Therefore, if for instance you are running a food truck and want to hook up your kitchen appliances, having an inverter mounted in your truck is a much better idea than having a diesel generator. The lack of noise levels also means fewer complaints from neighbors.
A diesel generator is typically connected to the load without any power electronic processing unit in between. Hence, due to fluctuations in the speed of the engine, the power frequency generated flickers as well, the power produced from a generator is not ‘clean’. This might adversely affect many modern appliances that are sensitive to power spikes and dips. An inverter, on the other hand, has inbuilt capacitors that smoothen the produced AC output. The power quality is very clean. True sine wave inverters produce perfectly sinusoidal waveforms that ensure your electric appliances last long. Modified sine wave inverters are better suited for light-duty applications like charging cell phones.
Engine generators occasionally deliver voltages outside of the accepted ANSI range of 110-127VAC. These voltage excursions can damage loads. In contrast, Dimension inverters closely match utility power and are consistently regulated within the ANSI specification.
Generators require periodic maintenance to assure proper operation. The oil needs to be changed after every 200 hours of use. It is also highly recommended that if the generator will be stored for more than 30 days without use, the fuel is drained and the carburetor runs dry. Inverters require no maintenance other than inspecting your batteries once a year.
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