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

Missouri Wind and Solar Giveaway #10

Missouri Wind and Solar Giveaway #10

Many of you are planning your spring wind turbine or solar panel projects and we want to help!  Jeff and Missouri Wind and Solar are giving away three items in the latest giveaway that will make a great addition to any setup.  The best part – it’s easy to enter, there’s no purchase necessary, and we’ll ship anywhere!  Make sure you watch the video below for complete details on how to enter.  Good luck!

The YouTube Giveaway contest begins March 4, 2015 and will run until April 4, 2015.

Giveaway #10 Prizes

 

Prizes:

1st Place: 24 Volt 1000 Watt 5 Blade Furling Wind Turbine

2nd Place: 60 LED AC/DC Rechargeable Work Light

3rd Place: 150 Amp Watt Meter Power Analyzer

 

Watch the video below for more info on the prizes

How to Enter the Contest:

Winners will be selected at random and will be required to submit a video of the unboxing of the prize.  Winner videos will be added to our Winners Playlist.


Missouri Wind and Solar YouTube

Wind Turbine Blades: What’s the Difference?

With the residential, small scale wind turbine industry growing rapidly over the last decade, many new wind turbine blade sizes, materials, and designs have emerged onto the market. The options may leave you scratching your head so, with the release of our newest wind turbine blade, the Raptor Generation 5™, we thought we’d answer some questions you may have.

 

 

Things to Consider:

Blade Material:

  • Carbon Fiber Composite: extreme durability, rarely suffers from breakage.  Our Raptor G4, Raptor Series Black, and Raptor Generation 5 blades are all a carbon fiber composite.
  • Aluminum, aircraft grade: heavy weight, typically laser cut for precision.  Our Falcon Wind Turbine Blades are made from aircraft aluminum.
  • Plastic: breaks easily, suffers from photodegradation (gradual breakdown from UV rays), sharp and potentially hazardous if breakage occurs
  • PVC: brittle in cold weather, breaks easily, extremely dangerous is breakage occurs (we highly recommend you steer clear of these entirely)
  • Wood: commonly used with axial flux wind turbines, laminated and pressed under 20 tons of pressure using the same process for manufacturing wooden aircraft blades

Factors Affecting Startup and Torque:

  • Width: A wider base provides more surface area for start-up.
  • Weight: Heavier blades require more wind for start up but will provide more torque once they are rotating.  Lighter blades will start up in lower wind speeds but will also quit spinning more readily when the wind dies down.
  • Length: Length also plays into surface area and weight in similar ways as blade width and weight.

Takeaway: small blades require high wind speeds to start spinning, that’s why they’re commonly used as sailboat wind turbines. Larger blades require less wind for start up and provide more torque to keep the turbine spinning under a load.

Number of Blades:

  • More blades have more surface area, more weight & torque to keep the rotor spinning when the wind dies down.
  • Smaller blade sets will allow the rotor to spin faster (higher RPMs, less torque).  Once under a load, when the batteries are charging, the blades will actually slow down.

Small 3 blade turbines may take wind speeds of 12 mph* to turn the blades whereas our 7 blade Freedom wind turbines have start up speeds of 7 mph*.

(*Based on tower height and wind turbine placement)

Odd versus even number of blades:

On even blade sets: when the bottom blade passes the wind turbine mounting pole it creates a disturbance in the blade directly across from it, causing the blades to vibrate and shake.  It’s nearly impossible to get these blades to balance.  Balance is important to minimize vibration in the turbine.

Odd blades: the bottom and top blades don’t align and create a disparity that causes the turbine act as a flywheel to keep the turbine spinning.

 

I highly recommend watching our Wind Turbines for the Beginner How To Part One for more in depth explanations from Jeff on blade basics.

Jump forward to 8:02 for the blade segment of this video.
 

 


Watch all our videos on our Missouri Wind and Solar YouTube Channel


Wind Turbine Blades on Missouri Wind and Solar YouTube

How To: Cut Your Electric Bill – Home Efficiency Check

How To: Cut Your Electric Bill

Home Efficiency Check

Home Efficiency Check

 

Do you know how energy efficient your home is?  Did you know that some appliances are using electricity (and costing you money) even when they’re switched off?  How do you figure out which items in your home are an energy hog?  Watch Jeff’s How To: Cut Your Electric Bill – Home Efficiency Check video – the first in the series.

 

 

 

 

Quick Tips:

  1. Switch to water saving shower heads to save hot water.  Sure, you’ll save on the amount of water you use, but you’ll also be saving on the cost of running your water heater (and your well pump, if you have one).  This quick switch is a no-brainer with multiple energy savings benefits.
  2. Lightbulbs – we all know that fluorescent lights are significantly more energy efficient than incandescent varieties, but LEDs are even better! While compact fluorescent bulbs are 75% more efficient than incandescents, LED bulbs are 85% more efficient and have nearly double the life expectancy of fluorescents.  Bonus: many LED lights come with a 5 year manufacturer warranty for material and workmanship.
  3. Winter insulation on your windows doesn’t have to block sunlight.  Mist a window with a water filled spray bottle and apply a trimmed section of bubble wrap to the window, no adhesives or tape necessary.  This is a simple tip that’s easy to put up and take down.  If you’re not a fan of the look, reserve this hack for seldom used rooms at the back of your house or consider using cold blocking thermal curtains.
  4. Believe it or not, plugged-in appliances continue to consume energy when they are turned off.  This is often referred to as “ghost energy” and the cost really adds up.  Coffee pots, microwaves, DVD players, and other electronics that have timers, lights, clocks built in may be pulling energy even when they’re switched off.  Luckily, many Energy Star models have energy saving options to turn those feature off.  If you’re not sure, we recommend the Kill A Watt device – just plug it into a wall outlet and plug the appliance into the meter.  It does the calculating for you.  If you’ve got “ghost energy” running up your meter, install a power strip with an on/off strip that can be switched off when the item is not in use.
  5. Moist air holds heat better.  Implementing a humidifier in your home during the dry winter months will help hold the heat in the air meaning less on time for your in home heat system.
  6. Did you know ceiling fans will rotate in two directions?  If you can’t remember which is which, you can note “S” for Summer and “W” for Winter on the switch and set a calendar reminder to  change the direction seasonally.
  • During winter heating, to help move warm air that is trapped on the ceiling, blades should turn ‘forward’ in a clockwise motion. This movement will push up the air and pull the warm trapped air down the sides of the room improving heat distribution.
  • During hot summer weather, to help produce a comfortable breeze or ‘windchill’ that cools the skin, blades should rotate in a ‘reverse’ counter-clockwise motion. The air movement has the same comfortable effect as when you fan yourself with a magazine to get relief from hot, stifling air.

Ceiling fans in themselves do not heat or cool a room, but the ceiling fan rotation allows improved air circulation, which can greatly improve the comfort of your living space.  You can also save in energy costs when the ceiling fan is on the correct setting to support your cooling or heating efforts.

 

 


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

How To: Cut Your Electric Bill – Saving Water

How To: Cut Your Electric Bill

Saving Water with SinkPositive

Save Water with Missouri Wind and Solar

 

Jeff shares a quick money and water saving tip using an innovative product.  The employee restroom in our store is cramped on size, leaving the sink and toilet in different rooms.  We recently discovered Sink Positive, a retrofit for your toilet lid that turns it into a sink, delivering a clean, environmentally friendly, and touch-free hand wash with every flush.  Talk about a really convenient space saving product, especially when there isn’t room for a full sized sink!

 

 

Items needed:

  • SinkPositive Standard model (*Missouri Wind and Solar is not sponsored by, or paid by the manufacturer to use or review this product.)

 Installation:

By following the instructions included with the SinkPositive, your sink can be easily installed in just 10 minutes.

 

How to Save Water

You may be wondering how this item will save you money in the long run.

The SinkPositive reroutes clean water from the supply line, the water runs through the faucet for a touch-free hand wash and then drains directly into the bowl. The reuse of this soapy water to refill the bowl helps in saving gallons of water each day, up to 2 gallons per person per day, as well as promoting hygiene.

This product is not for everyone, but offers a solution for where standard sinks are not  an option.

Other ways to save water around the home:

Take showers instead of baths.  A full bathtub can use up to 70 gallons of water.

Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth to save up to 4 gallons per minute.

Use WaterSense® labeled showerheads to save up to 750 gallons per month.

Test your toilet once a year for leaks.

Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.

If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones, just make sure you scrape the plates and clean the food trap in the dishwasher.

Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time.

Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.

Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.

Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.

 

 


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

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