Break out the RV for the summer and get the power you need for all your appliances. We’ve got the inverter you’ll need to power your electronics and appliances. One question we often receive is, "How do I know which Inverter is right for me?" That really depends on the number of items you need to power! If you’re looking for an industrial strength inverter the Magnum-Dimensions line is perfect for RV and marine applications. Here are some tips for better understanding the terminology associated with picking out an inverter.
Three terms to be familiar with when looking at inverters and inverter chargers are Watts, Amps, and Volts. What do they mean and what are the differences? Well, a good way to imagine how the different terms act is to compare it to water flowing through a pipe. If you imagine electricity as water while it’s barreling through a pipe, watts would be the amount of power the water provides, or how much power is released.
Wattage can range from 20W to 10,000W depending on the product. If you want to find the inverter to use for a couple different appliances, add up the wattage of each device you want to run simultaneously, and make sure the inverter will supply enough power to cover it. For instance, our popular Magnum MS4448PAE inverter charger is 4400 watts. This is comparable to the amount of power a clothes dryer uses. For something a little less powerful, you could power a cell phone (50W) and stereo (250W) with our Samlex PST-300-12 300 watt inverter that plugs into a cigarette lighter. Note: Never use more than 400 watts through a cigarette lighter. If you don't know the wattage of something you can use find out if you know the volts and amps. The simple formula is Volts x Amps = Watts.
What about voltage? Sticking with the water in pipe metaphor, the voltage is the pressure of the water flowing through a pipe. It is the pressure of the electricity when it’s moving or how hard electricity pushes through a circuit. Your energy consumption will determine what voltage you need. DC, or Direct Current, comes from your vehicle's battery. However, since most electronics and appliances that plug into the wall need AC power, also known as Alternating Current, you would need to convert that DC power to AC to power first.
Amps would be the amount, or volume, of water that flows past a fixed point in a specified amount of time. This would be measured by how fast the electric current flows. On the MS4448PAE inverter/charger, the output current is 35 amps and peaks at 70 amps. This shows how fast the electric current will charge the item it’s connected to. A high amp charge, like 35, will charge a car battery in an hour or less. It is important to note that amps are directly tied to choosing the right wire size.
Most cars and RV’s have 12 Volt DC batteries whereas more heavy-duty vehicles use 24 volts DC. For instance, with the MS4448PAE, your wattage is 4400W and takes an input of 48VDC and converts it to 120VAC. Most household appliances use 120VAC. Larger appliances take 240V. The MS4448PAE can convert to either 120VAC or 240VAC. This type of inverter would be used for heavy duty purposes such as pumps, hydraulic lifts, ventilators and heaters. The Samlex PST-300-12 is a 12 volt unit that can plug directly into the cigarette lighter and power most appliances individually just fine. It’s when you want to run your entire RV off one inverter that you might look into a heavier duty inverter.