Power Inverter Types

DC to AC and Grid Tie Power Inverter Types

How to choose between modified and pure sine wave inverters and plug-in grid tie or wired grid tie power inverters

A DC to AC power inverter allows you to convert the stored power from your battery bank to the tools and appliances you want to operate.  The term “sine wave” refers to the type of power the inverter is producing – typically modified sine wave or pure sine wave.  Missouri Wind and Solar carries a variety of power inverters, but you need to know which unit is the best for your application.

  1. Modified Sine Wave Power Inverter

    Modified Sine Wave Power Inverter

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    • Most common
    • Lower starting price ($$-$$$$)
    • Emits a “blocky” sine wave
    • Primarily used for operating lighting and most power tools
    • May cause static, buzzing, and/or humming when used with electronics
    • Draws more amps to operate (battery power is used more quickly)
    • May reduce the lifespan of large appliances, like refrigerators.
    • Cannot be wired into a wall outlet
    • Click here for our modified sine wave inverters
  2. Pure Sine Wave Power Inverters

    Pure Sine Wave Inverter

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    • Higher price point ($$-$$$$)
    • Produces a “smooth” power that closely resembles (or is better than) power from the utility grid
    • Primarily used for electronics, such as  laser printers, medical equipment, televisions,  and variable speed power tools and cordless tool battery chargers
    • Draws less amps to operate (battery power lasts longer)
    • Cannot be wired into a wall outlet
    • Click here for our pure sine wave inverters
  3. Plug-in Grid Tie Power Inverter

    Plug-In Grid Tie Feed Inverter

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    • Inexpensive ($$$)
    • Feeds back into the grid
    • Turns off if the grid power is down
    • Somewhat limited by wattage rating (about 500 watts)
    • Very easy to use, plug and play operation
    • Inverter is plugged into a regular household outlet
    • Click here for our plug-in grid tie inverters
  4. Grid Tie Power Inverter

Kaco Grid Tie Feed Inverter

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    • Expensive ($$$$)
    • Designed to be wired into your fuse box
    • Pure Sine Wave
    • Higher wattage rating (1,500 watts to 10,000 watts+)
    • May or may not be used with a battery bank depending on the manufacturer and inverter type
    • Click here for our grid tie inverters


If you’re interested in the plug-in grid tie inverter, we recommend watching the video below

How To: Cut Your Electric Bill – Heat from Your Clothes Dryer

How To: Cut Your Electric Bill

Heat from Your Clothes Dryer

Cut Your Electric Bill

Jeff shares a quick money (and energy) saving tip that uses one of your biggest household energy consumers – the clothes dryer!  Using items you probably already have at home, you can make a $20 DIY bucket humidifier helps redistribute the warm air from your dryer back into your house and raise the relative humidity (great from those dry winter months).

If your utility or laundry room is rather small, you might consider setting up a small fan to improve air circulation and prevent moisture build-up.  Another quick tip: set a reminder on your calendar or smart phone to clean and refill your DIY bucket.

 

 

Items needed:

  • 5 gallon pail with a lid
  • Dryer duct for 4″ dryer vent pipe (we used this one)
  • Self tapping screws
  • Two 4″ hose clamps
  • Screw driver
  • Electric drill
  • 15/16″+ drill bit
  • Felt Marker
  • Utility knife (Gerber brand found here)
  • 4″ aluminum dryer vent hose

Directions:

  1. Trace the dryer duct onto the center of the lid with a permanent marker.
  2. Cut the circle out with a utility knife.
  3. Insert the dryer duct into the opening and secure with screws.  Be sure not to overtighten the screws to prevent them from being stripped out.
  4. Drill vent holes around the outside edge of the lid.  Make sure to put in plenty of holes to allow optimal air flow, we drilled 16 holes.
  5. Attach the dryer vent hose to the dryer and the dryer duct using the hose clamps.
  6. *Optional: Using the utility knife, carefully cut away some of the locking tabs from the lid to make regular removal easier.
  7. Fill the bucket halfway with water, lock the lid in place, and connect the dryer vent hose.

Make sure you check the bucket regularly to clean and refill.  Remember, you don’t want lint to build up or it will reduce the efficiency of your dryer.

More Dryer Efficiency Tips:

  • Running back-to-back dryer loads is smart and efficient. It lets you take advantage of retained heat from the previous cycle, cutting down on energy usage.
  • You’ve heard it a million times, clean the lint screen between every load.
  • Periodically clean the lint screen and wash with a mild detergent and toothbrush to remove fabric softener residue from the fine mesh.  Rinse, air dry completely, and replace.
  • Go easy on the fabric softener – too much can slow drying times.
  • Once a year, or more depending on how much laundry you do, detach the hose from the back of the dryer and snake a long brush through to push out lint (20-foot dryer vent brush).  If your load takes more than an hour to dry, it’s likely you’ve got excess lint.
  • Make sure to pull the dryer far enough from the wall to prevent the vent tube from becoming kinked.

Disclaimer: Recycling heat from your gas powered clothes dryer can be potentially dangerous and anyone who tries it does so at their own risk. Attempting this can also void warranties on driers and other appliances. Please check with your manufacturer for safety information.


Watch this and all of our other videos on our YouTube channel!
Air Boss Axial Flux Turbine on Missouri Wind and Solar YouTube

Latty’s 11 Blade 1600 Watt Missouri Raider Wind Turbine

Latty’s 11 Blade 1600 Watt Missouri Raider Wind Turbine

 

Latty knows that it’s best to pair wind turbines and solar panels to get the best battery charging.  He added this 1600 watt Missouri Raider wind turbine with 11 Raptor G4 blades to his Jamaican rooftop along with his solar panel array.

Download the short video: Latty Hernel’s Wind Turbine


11 Blade 1600 Watt Missouri  Raider Wind Turbine
11 Blade 1600 Watt Missouri  Raider Wind Turbine

DC Amp and Volt Meter Wiring and Q & A

DC Amp and Volt Meter Wiring

Q & A with Jeff of Missouri Wind and Solar

 

Can’t see the video?  Watch it on our YouTube Channel

  Tips & Things to Remember in DC Amp Meter Wiring:

  • Use a DC amp meter for amp readings
  • Don’t allow incoming power to exceed the rated amperage (or voltage) of your meter – it may break the unit
  • Match the amp rating of the meter to the amp rating of the shunt bar
  • Match the millivolts (mv) of the meter to the millivolt (mv) rating of the shunt bar
  • The two wires between the meter and shunt bar need to be the same length
  • A wind turbine should be connected to a separate meter than the solar panel(s)
  • To test the amps or volts of your wind turbine or solar panel system with a handheld clamp on meter, you must use a DC model

Troubleshooting your DC Meter Issues:

  • If the needle on the meter is a negative reading, switch the sense wires between the meter and shunt bar
  • If the needle on your analog meter is not at zero when there isn’t incoming power, you can calibrate it by turning the screw on the front of the meter
  • If your digital handheld DC meter isn’t giving you an accurate reading, check the batteries in the unit

About DC Volt Meters:

  • The positive and negative inputs are typically not marked on the DC Volt Meter.  If you connect them to your battery and get a negative reading, simply swap the wires.
  • 12 Volt battery systems should use a 15 Volt meter; 48 Volt systems should use a 70-75 Volt meter.

Looking for a diagram?  Be sure to view our post on Connecting Amp Meters to Shunt Bars.  We also have diagrams for digital meter wiring.


 

If you liked this video, we recommend checking out all of our instructional videos on our YouTube Channel

Air Boss Axial Flux Turbine on Missouri Wind and Solar YouTube

Winner Videos Missouri Wind and Solar Giveaway Contest #7

Missouri Wind and Solar Giveaway Contest #7

Winner Videos

 

The winners of Giveaway Contest #7 have been submitting their YouTube videos.  We are impressed by our winners’ video making skills and look forward to see what they do with their prizes!

4th Place Winner Video: The Travelers Travels Solar Panel and Charge Controller Video

 

3rd Place Winner Video: Raymond Earle Two 12 Volt 24 Watt Solar Panels and Charge Controller

Please click here for the video
 

2nd Place Winner Video: haboob308 12 Volt 400 Watt 5 Blade Wind Turbine & Charge Controller

1st Place Winner Video: From Urban to Country Homestead 12 Volt 300 Watt Furling Tail Wind Turbine & Charge Controller


To view all of our Giveaway Contest videos, watch our Winners of Missouri Wind and Solar’s give away contest video playlist.


Make sure you don’t miss the next contest!  Subscribe to the MissouriWindandSolar YouTube channel

Winner Video Missouri Wind and Solar YouTube Channel