Following last weeks newsletter on gas or inverter power we were asked by a few customers what exactly an inverter is.

Here is a basic explanation.

Power inverters are electrical devices that have a DC input for battery power; this could be a jack that plugs directly into the cigarette lighter on the dashboard or they might also come with jumper-like cables for connecting directly to a battery. The device normally has one or two outlets for standard electrical cords. Your laptop, small-screen television, video game player or portable DVD theatre are all examples of devices that will get you through a long ride, assuming you're not the one driving!

Power inverters are great for camping at parks that do not provide electricity. The inverter size and available battery capacity will determine what can be powered from it. On your boat you can plug in the digital movie camera to capture those great water-skiing videos you might have missed after the camera's battery ran low!

In a utility outage a power inverter can be used for emergency electricity. Just run an extension cord from your car into the house, or if you have a charged spare battery you can connect the power inverter directly. Plug in a radio to tune into important alerts, run essential medical equipment, lights, or whatever else you need that falls within the inverter's power limits.

Power inverters come in many models that vary in watts. The amount of wattage you will require on yours depends on the total draw of the devices you'd like to use. If you have a two-outlet inverter and will be plugging in 2 devices at once, add up the total wattage of both devices then add at least 50% more to account for peaks or spikes in the power draw. For example if your DVD theatre draws 100 watts and your laptop another 100 watts, a minimum 300-watt inverter is recommended.

Home ABR - SIDEWINDER To return to the main HOME page click on this logo.