RV Solar Basics

RV Solar Basics

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How Does Solar Work?

Solar Panel installations, especially for RVs and van builds have significantly advanced within the last decade. Solar power (photovoltaic) has really taken off as a sustainable energy source, expanding off-grid living capabilities for a variety of vehicles. Traditionally, RVs have had on board generators to recharge a battery bank in order for dry camping or boondocking to be comfortable. With the rise of solar energy, and the scalability of smaller builds, replace the generators with a few panels then you'll be havin' fun under the sun - right?

Well it turns out there's a bit more to creating a sustainable solar array than just changing out a few parts. It is important to carefully consider your needs, and what your average energy consumption looks like in order to get the best fit for your needs. But first, you will need to do a few simple calculations in order to get started.

How Does Solar Work?

Solar Panel installations, especially for RVs and van builds have significantly advanced within the last decade. Solar power (photovoltaic) has really taken off as a sustainable energy source, expanding off-grid living capabilities for a variety of vehicles. Traditionally, RVs have had on board generators to recharge a battery bank in order for dry camping or boondocking to be comfortable. With the rise of solar energy, and the scalability of smaller builds, replace the generators with a few panels then you'll be havin' fun under the sun - right?

Well it turns out there's a bit more to creating a sustainable solar array than just changing out a few parts. It is important to carefully consider your needs, and what your average energy consumption looks like in order to get the best fit for your needs. But first, you will need to do a few simple calculations in order to get started.

Volts, Amps, Watt?

Voltage

Alternating Current (AC) Power: In North America, the standard voltage that comes out of an outlet is 120V. You may also see 60Hz associated with this voltage rating, which is just the frequency at which the electricity alternates current, hence the name.

Direct Current (DC) Power*: Most Deep Cycle batteries you will come across are 12V, however there are the other battery types that come in 6V or 24V. For this demonstration, we will use 12V since both of my batteries are this voltage.

*Important NoteAn Inverter is needed in order to invert 12V DC to 120V AC power if you plan on plugging into your battery bank like a normal house outlet. More on this later…

Amperage

Amperage or, Amps (A), for short is the 'current' of electricity. In terms of a battery, you will see Amp Hours (AH) used to describe the storage capacity of a battery. This is where some of those calculations start coming into play. How many amp hours is enough? That depends on how many Amps your devices (e.g. - phone, computer, water pump, fan, etc.) are drawing from your battery bank, and for how many hours they will be drawing from the battery. To the right is an example of how to determine how many Amps Hours are needed to use some typical devices. Total Amp Hours = (# of Devices) * (Amperage) * (Hours).

Amp Hour Example 2

So in this example, our daily usage is ~29AH so let's round up to 30AH. Most Deep Cycle batteries are either Lead Acid, or Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) styles which should only be drawn down to 50% capacity before needing to be recharged (more about this later on). Since our calculated daily usage is 30AH, that means we need at least a 60AH battery to meet our needs . Realistically, 60AH is not very much capacity because there are probably other devices you may want to use like a coffee pot, blender, or speakers. Maybe you underestimated some of your daily usage or forgot something that requires an outlet. On the other hand, perhaps you don't use that much electricity but want a battery that could last you more than one day without needing a recharge. These are some things to consider before picking out a battery (or batteries).

Wattage

Watts (W), or Wattage is where Volts and Amps come together. This equation will come in handy: W = V x A. Knowing two variables of the equation, you will always be able to find out the third. For example, lets say we want to figure out how many Amps a light bulb is drawing. Before I replaced all the light bulbs in our trailer with LED lights, the old incandescent ones were 15W 12V bulbs. Here's how I figured out how many Amps they were drawing:

1)  12 * A = 15                  2)  A = 15/12                  3)  A = 1.25

If all 14 of those bulbs in our camper were on, they would be drawing almost 18 Amps per hour! It wasn't long before I replaced all of them with 4W 12V LED bulbs. The LEDs are almost 4X the efficiency, brighter, and also run much cooler than the incandescent bulbs making running the lights during the summer much more comfortable. 

Volts, Amps, Watt?

Voltage

Alternating Current (AC) Power: In North America, the standard voltage that comes out of an outlet is 120V. You may also see 60Hz associated with this voltage rating, which is just the frequency at which the electricity alternates current, hence the name.

Direct Current (DC) Power*: Most Deep Cycle batteries you will come across are 12V, however there are the other battery types that come in 6V or 24V. For this demonstration, we will use 12V since both of my batteries are this voltage.

*Important NoteAn Inverter is needed in order to invert 12V DC to 120V AC power if you plan on plugging into your battery bank like a normal house outlet. More on this later…

Amperage

Amperage or, Amps (A), for short is the 'current' of electricity. In terms of a battery, you will see Amp Hours (AH) used to describe the storage capacity of a battery. This is where some of those calculations start coming into play. How many amp hours is enough? That depends on how many Amps your devices (e.g. - phone, computer, water pump, fan, etc.) are drawing from your battery bank, and for how many hours they will be drawing from the battery. To the right is an example of how to determine how many Amps Hours are needed to use some typical devices. Total Amp Hours = (# of Devices) * (Amperage) * (Hours).

Amp Hour Example 2

So in this example, our daily usage is ~29AH so let's round up to 30AH. Most Deep Cycle batteries are either Lead Acid, or Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) styles which should only be drawn down to 50% capacity before needing to be recharged (more about this later on). Since our calculated daily usage is 30AH, that means we need at least a 60AH battery to meet our needs . Realistically, 60AH is not very much capacity because there are probably other devices you may want to use like a coffee pot, blender, or speakers. Maybe you underestimated some of your daily usage or forgot something that requires an outlet. On the other hand, perhaps you don't use that much electricity but want a battery that could last you more than one day without needing a recharge. These are some things to consider before picking out a battery (or batteries).

Wattage

Watts (W), or Wattage is where Volts and Amps come together. This equation will come in handy: W = V x A. Knowing two variables of the equation, you will always be able to find out the third. For example, lets say we want to figure out how many Amps a light bulb is drawing. Before I replaced all the light bulbs in our trailer with LED lights, the old incandescent ones were 15W 12V bulbs. Here's how I figured out how many Amps they were drawing:

1)  12 * A = 15                  2)  A = 15/12                  3)  A = 1.25

If all 14 of those bulbs in our camper were on, they would be drawing almost 18 Amps per hour! It wasn't long before I replaced all of them with 4W 12V LED bulbs. The LEDs are almost 4X the efficiency, brighter, and also run much cooler than the incandescent bulbs making running the lights during the summer much more comfortable. 

Battery Types

Unfortunately, installing solar panels on your RV or van is not going to do any good without having a way to store the energy. Finding a big enough battery to fit your needs might take a bit of calculation, but the price, quality, and lifespan will vary among the several different types. For starters, the battery in your car is a 12V battery, but this particular type is called a starting battery. For a quality solar battery bank, you will want to go with 12V deep cycle batteries. It is possible to work with higher or lower voltage battery banks, but to keep things simple we will stick with 12V. Deep Cycle batteries are meant for multiple discharge/recharge cycles and tend to have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand-charge cycles within their lifetimes if properly maintained. The two most common types of deep cycle batteries are Lithium and Lead Acid, which has three different types (Wet Cell/Flooded, Gel, AGM). Spoiler Alert! We ended up going with a VMax 125AH AGM battery for our solar rig.

Lead Acid

Wet Cell

Pros: Cheapest, Original Lead Acid battery

Cons: 15-20% self discharge rate (per month), lower depth of discharge-cycle lifespan, need to be recharged at ~50%, higher associated maintenance, heavy

AGM/Gel

Pros: 1-3% self discharge rate (per month), higher depth of discharge-cycle lifespan, Sealed (do not need to be mounted upright), little/no maintenance, safer

Cons: More expensive, need to be recharged at ~50%, may have specific charging requirements, heavy

Dating back to the mid 1800’s, lead acid batteries are the oldest type of battery and are the type you would typically see in an automobile. Most RVs also come stock with lead acid batteries. Since they have been around so long, these have withstood the test of time and are still used today because they are low-cost and can provide a relatively large power-to-weight ratio. Although they have a shorter lifespan than the Lithium batteries, the newer Gel and AGM type of lead acid batteries can have lifespans of up to 1000 charge cycles if they do not drop below a 50% depth of discharge rate. This just means they need to be recharged when they hit 50% if you want the battery to last longer. Unlike lithium batteries, they are only expected to last a few hundred-charge cycles if fully drained at a 100% depth of discharge rate. Above are some pros and cons of the different types of lead acid batteries.

Lithium

Pros: Much longer depth of discharge-cycle lifespan, No maintenance, Virtually 0% self discharge rate (per year), Can be used indoors, Lighter than lead acid batteries

Cons: Significantly more expensive, Newer technology is less reliable, Requires a complex BMS to function safely

Lithium batteries came to be in the 1970’s, more than a century later than lead acid batteries. However, they didn’t come into commercial use until the 1990’s and have been evolving ever since. In 2012, the Lithium-Ion battery was developed and has been exploding (literally and figuratively) in the renewable energy field. Some manufacturers are producing lithium-ion batteries that have up to 2000 lifecycle charges at a 100% depth of discharge rate. This means, you can fully drain the battery and can be recharged 2000 times within the battery’s life. That’s like more 6X better than the old lead acid battery! Well, since this is still a relatively new technology, these batteries can be pretty pricey. Just for reference, the average 100Ah AGM lead acid battery will run around $200-$300 while a 100Ah Lithium-Ion battery will cost you anywhere from $1000-$1300. If the price tag doesn’t deter you, be sure to research the manufacturer that is producing the Lithium battery before purchasing. Since this is a much newer technology, it isn’t hasn’t been tested as long as the lead acid type batteries. In particular, the Lithium ion type was only been invented within the past decade. These batteries require complex battery management systems (BMS) in order to make sure they are functioning safely and properly so they do not catch fire. Lithium batteries cannot be the checked baggage of a plane due to this fire risk.

Battery Types

Unfortunately, installing solar panels on your RV or van is not going to do any good without having a way to store the energy. Finding a big enough battery to fit your needs might take a bit of calculation, but the price, quality, and lifespan will vary among the several different types. For starters, the battery in your car is a 12V battery, but this particular type is called a starting battery. For a quality solar battery bank, you will want to go with 12V deep cycle batteries. It is possible to work with higher or lower voltage battery banks, but to keep things simple we will stick with 12V. Deep Cycle batteries are meant for multiple discharge/recharge cycles and tend to have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand-charge cycles within their lifetimes if properly maintained. The two most common types of deep cycle batteries are Lithium and Lead Acid, which has three different types (Wet Cell/Flooded, Gel, AGM). Spoiler Alert! We ended up going with a VMax 125AH AGM battery for our solar rig.

Lead Acid

Wet Cell

Pros: Cheapest, Original Lead Acid battery

Cons: 15-20% self discharge rate (per month), lower depth of discharge-cycle lifespan, need to be recharged at ~50%, higher associated maintenance, heavy

AGM/Gel

Pros: 1-3% self discharge rate (per month), higher depth of discharge-cycle lifespan, Sealed (do not need to be mounted upright), little/no maintenance, safer

Cons: More expensive, need to be recharged at ~50%, may have specific charging requirements, heavy

Dating back to the mid 1800’s, lead acid batteries are the oldest type of battery and are the type you would typically see in an automobile. Most RVs also come stock with lead acid batteries. Since they have been around so long, these have withstood the test of time and are still used today because they are low-cost and can provide a relatively large power-to-weight ratio. Although they have a shorter lifespan than the Lithium batteries, the newer Gel and AGM type of lead acid batteries can have lifespans of up to 1000 charge cycles if they do not drop below a 50% depth of discharge rate. This just means they need to be recharged when they hit 50% if you want the battery to last longer. Unlike lithium batteries, they are only expected to last a few hundred-charge cycles if fully drained at a 100% depth of discharge rate. Above are some pros and cons of the different types of lead acid batteries.

Lithium

Pros: Much longer depth of discharge-cycle lifespan, No maintenance, Virtually 0% self discharge rate (per year), Can be used indoors, Lighter than lead acid batteries

Cons: Significantly more expensive, Newer technology is less reliable, Requires a complex BMS to function safely

Lithium batteries came to be in the 1970’s, more than a century later than lead acid batteries. However, they didn’t come into commercial use until the 1990’s and have been evolving ever since. In 2012, the Lithium-Ion battery was developed and has been exploding (literally and figuratively) in the renewable energy field. Some manufacturers are producing lithium-ion batteries that have up to 2000 lifecycle charges at a 100% depth of discharge rate. This means, you can fully drain the battery and can be recharged 2000 times within the battery’s life. That’s like more 6X better than the old lead acid battery! Well, since this is still a relatively new technology, these batteries can be pretty pricey. Just for reference, the average 100Ah AGM lead acid battery will run around $200-$300 while a 100Ah Lithium-Ion battery will cost you anywhere from $1000-$1300. If the price tag doesn’t deter you, be sure to research the manufacturer that is producing the Lithium battery before purchasing. Since this is a much newer technology, it isn’t hasn’t been tested as long as the lead acid type batteries. In particular, the Lithium ion type was only been invented within the past decade. These batteries require complex battery management systems (BMS) in order to make sure they are functioning safely and properly so they do not catch fire. Lithium batteries cannot be the checked baggage of a plane due to this fire risk.

Solar Panel Types

With most things, as technology becomes more advanced costs tend to decrease, and solar panels have most certainly followed that trend. To keep things simple, we will stick with the two main types of solar panels; polycrystalline and mono-crystalline. Both types of panels are made from silicon, however the purity of the silicon is the main difference between the two.

Solar panels are measured in watts, which will tell you how much power the panel will potentially output. You may see different voltage and amperage ratings in the descriptions of the panels, but the main thing to keep an eye on is the optimum amperage output. For instance, a 100W panel could be rated as having an optimum output of 5A at 20V, which means you can expect to have the panel charge your battery at 5A when it is operating at peak performance. So when the panel is reaching it’s optimum operating potential it is outputting 100W (5A * 20V = 100W).

Monocrystalline

Pros: Higher Efficiency, Performs better in heat

Cons: Higher cost, Greater silicone waste

Polycrystalline

Pros: Lower cost, Less silicon waste

Cons: Less energy efficiency, Less space efficiency

Mono-crystalline cells are cut from a single crystal silicon bar, which has a cylindrical shape. The octagon shaped wafers give mono-crystalline panels their signature look. It is also easy to tell these panels apart because the cells are an typically evenly colored dark shade which indicates a higher purity silicon. Unfortunately, due to the strange cut of the cells, there tends to be more silicone waste when producing mono-crystalline. Solar panels tend to get pretty hot in warmer weather, especially while collecting sun-rays all day. Unfortunately, heat tends to cut down on the efficiency of the solar panels. However, mono panels tend to tolerate the heat better and see a smaller efficiency drop in rising temperatures than poly panels. If you’re planning on using solar panels in hot weather climates, it might be worth shelling out the extra cash for higher efficiency gains.

Polycrystalline cells are created by melting many different fragments of silicon, and pouring it into a square mold. After the mold cools, it is cut into square wafers which are then assembled onto a flat panel. Since the square wafers are cut from a square mold, there is virtually no silicone wasted in the process. This type of panel has a characteristic blue-ish hue, which comes from the many different types of silicon crystals that are melted together to form the cells. Although these panels tend to cost less than mono-crystalline panels due to the simpler manufacturing process, they are also less efficient. This makes polycrystalline panels slightly less space-efficient since it usually take a larger surface area of poly panels to output the same amount of energy as mono panels. To put this in perspective, the poly panels are around 13-16% efficient while mono panels are generally about 15-20% efficient. For some uses these differences are negligible, but if you have enough space than poly may be the most cost effective method.

Solar Panel Types

With most things, as technology becomes more advanced costs tend to decrease, and solar panels have most certainly followed that trend. To keep things simple, we will stick with the two main types of solar panels; polycrystalline and mono-crystalline. Both types of panels are made from silicon, however the purity of the silicon is the main difference between the two.

Solar panels are measured in watts, which will tell you how much power the panel will potentially output. You may see different voltage and amperage ratings in the descriptions of the panels, but the main thing to keep an eye on is the optimum amperage output. For instance, a 100W panel could be rated as having an optimum output of 5A at 20V, which means you can expect to have the panel charge your battery at 5A when it is operating at peak performance. So when the panel is reaching it’s optimum operating potential it is outputting 100W (5A * 20V = 100W).

Monocrystalline

Pros: Higher Efficiency, Performs better in heat

Cons: Higher cost, Greater silicone waste

Polycrystalline

Pros: Lower cost, Less silicon waste

Cons: Less energy efficiency, Less space efficiency

Mono-crystalline cells are cut from a single crystal silicon bar, which has a cylindrical shape. The octagon shaped wafers give mono-crystalline panels their signature look. It is also easy to tell these panels apart because the cells are an typically evenly colored dark shade which indicates a higher purity silicon. Unfortunately, due to the strange cut of the cells, there tends to be more silicone waste when producing mono-crystalline. Solar panels tend to get pretty hot in warmer weather, especially while collecting sun-rays all day. Unfortunately, heat tends to cut down on the efficiency of the solar panels. However, mono panels tend to tolerate the heat better and see a smaller efficiency drop in rising temperatures than poly panels. If you’re planning on using solar panels in hot weather climates, it might be worth shelling out the extra cash for higher efficiency gains.

Polycrystalline cells are created by melting many different fragments of silicon, and pouring it into a square mold. After the mold cools, it is cut into square wafers which are then assembled onto a flat panel. Since the square wafers are cut from a square mold, there is virtually no silicone wasted in the process. This type of panel has a characteristic blue-ish hue, which comes from the many different types of silicon crystals that are melted together to form the cells. Although these panels tend to cost less than mono-crystalline panels due to the simpler manufacturing process, they are also less efficient. This makes polycrystalline panels slightly less space-efficient since it usually take a larger surface area of poly panels to output the same amount of energy as mono panels. To put this in perspective, the poly panels are around 13-16% efficient while mono panels are generally about 15-20% efficient. For some uses these differences are negligible, but if you have enough space than poly may be the most cost effective method.

Charge Controllers

Battery ✔ Solar Panels ✔ The next step is getting the solar panels to charge the battery. In essence, the charge controller does exactly what it sounds like; it charges the battery. The two types of solar charge controllers are the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) and Pulse Width Modification (PWM).

PWM

Pros: Lower cost, Handles up to 60A of current, Durable and well established technology

Cons: Nominal voltage of panels must match nominal voltage of batteries, Cannot handle more than 60A (better for smaller systems), Lesser charging efficiency than MPPT

MPPT

Pros: Greater charge efficiency, Higher voltage panels can be used on lower voltage batteries, Can regulate more current than PWM (better for larger systems)

Cons: Higher cost, Typically larger units than PWM

PWM chargers are the traditional type of charge controllers. They are reliable, get the job done, and are less expensive than their MPPT counterpart. With this type of charge controller, you will need to make sure the nominal voltages of the panels are the same as the nominal voltage of the batteries. That is, if you have a 12V battery bank, you will need 12V solar panels wired in parallel (+ to + and – to –) to keep the voltage the same as the batteries. MPPT chargers are more efficient than the traditional PWM type chargers. They are essentially ‘smart’ chargers, in that they monitor the optimum-charging configuration of voltage and amperage from the solar panels to the battery bank. This opens up a variety of options not available when using a typical PWM charger. For instance, a 18V panel could be used to charge a 12V battery. They also tend to be more efficient in larger solar arrays that produce higher wattages than what I’m using for my RV setup. However, they tend are also quite a bit more expensive than the PWM chargers. Smaller solar systems can usually get away with PWM chargers, which is what we opted for since it was cheaper and fit our needs.

Charge Controllers sizes are determined by the amount of current (amperage) input they can handle. When looking at the amperage rating of a charge controller, consider how much amperage the solar array will be outputting. For instance, if we have 5x100W panels wired in parallel that outputs 25A at its optimum operating potential, we will need a charge controller that can handle at least that much current or else it will fry. One way that can be prevented is by using fuses on the solar panels before wiring them into the charge controller. However, it is probably smarter to have a charge controller that can handle slightly more current than that, say 30A, and put fuses on each solar panel as a fail-safe. Before purchasing a charge controller, it would be best to look at how much potential current your solar array will output and then determine what size fuses you will need for the circuit to function safely.

Charge Controllers

Battery ✔ Solar Panels ✔ The next step is getting the solar panels to charge the battery. In essence, the charge controller does exactly what it sounds like; it charges the battery. The two types of solar charge controllers are the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) and Pulse Width Modification (PWM).

PWM

Pros: Lower cost, Handles up to 60A of current, Durable and well established technology

Cons: Nominal voltage of panels must match nominal voltage of batteries, Cannot handle more than 60A (better for smaller systems), Lesser charging efficiency than MPPT

MPPT

Pros: Greater charge efficiency, Higher voltage panels can be used on lower voltage batteries, Can regulate more current than PWM (better for larger systems)

Cons: Higher cost, Typically larger units than PWM

PWM chargers are the traditional type of charge controllers. They are reliable, get the job done, and are less expensive than their MPPT counterpart. With this type of charge controller, you will need to make sure the nominal voltages of the panels are the same as the nominal voltage of the batteries. That is, if you have a 12V battery bank, you will need 12V solar panels wired in parallel (+ to + and – to –) to keep the voltage the same as the batteries. MPPT chargers are more efficient than the traditional PWM type chargers. They are essentially ‘smart’ chargers, in that they monitor the optimum-charging configuration of voltage and amperage from the solar panels to the battery bank. This opens up a variety of options not available when using a typical PWM charger. For instance, a 18V panel could be used to charge a 12V battery. They also tend to be more efficient in larger solar arrays that produce higher wattages than what I’m using for my RV setup. However, they tend are also quite a bit more expensive than the PWM chargers. Smaller solar systems can usually get away with PWM chargers, which is what we opted for since it was cheaper and fit our needs.

Charge Controllers sizes are determined by the amount of current (amperage) input they can handle. When looking at the amperage rating of a charge controller, consider how much amperage the solar array will be outputting. For instance, if we have 5x100W panels wired in parallel that outputs 25A at its optimum operating potential, we will need a charge controller that can handle at least that much current or else it will fry. One way that can be prevented is by using fuses on the solar panels before wiring them into the charge controller. However, it is probably smarter to have a charge controller that can handle slightly more current than that, say 30A, and put fuses on each solar panel as a fail-safe. Before purchasing a charge controller, it would be best to look at how much potential current your solar array will output and then determine what size fuses you will need for the circuit to function safely.

Inverters

Ok so you have the battery, solar panels, and charge controller. Now where do I plug in my laptop? That would be the inverter. Earlier I mentioned both A/C and D/C power, and that deep cycle batteries are D/C. Plugging in a laptop to a standard 120V outlet requires A/C power. This is where an inverter is necessary. As with everything else mentioned in this post, there are different types of this item as well. Modified Sine Wave inverters operate by allowing sudden voltage drops and spikes. Although they are more cost effective, these will not work well with sensitive electronic devices like laptops, TVs, phone chargers, etc. Pure Sine Wave inverters are a little pricier, but they are worth the extra cost to protect your expensive electronics.

Inverters are measured by how many watts they can output. Based on the wattage, it is simple enough to figure out how much current can be safely drawn from the battery by the inverter. However, just as I mentioned in the charge controller section, it would be smart to put a fuse on the positive wire from the battery to the inverter as a fail-safe incase of a short circuit. Some inverters even come with a fuse with the recommended amperage rating for that inverter. Before buying an inverter, take a look at some of the wattage ratings for devices or appliances you might want to use with it. To the right is a quick chart of some basic things we use our inverter for:

Inverter uses

Modified Sine-Wave

Pros: Cheaper, Works for non-sensitive equipment (No A/C motors or medical devices)

Cons: Can damage sensitive electronics

Pure Sine-Wave

Pros: No voltage variation, Best for sensitive electronic devices (laptops, cellphones, etc)

Cons: Higher cost

pure-and-modified-sine-wave

Inverters

Ok so you have the battery, solar panels, and charge controller. Now where do I plug in my laptop? That would be the inverter. Earlier I mentioned both A/C and D/C power, and that deep cycle batteries are D/C. Plugging in a laptop to a standard 120V outlet requires A/C power. This is where an inverter is necessary. As with everything else mentioned in this post, there are different types of this item as well. Modified Sine Wave inverters operate by allowing sudden voltage drops and spikes. Although they are more cost effective, these will not work well with sensitive electronic devices like laptops, TVs, phone chargers, etc. Pure Sine Wave inverters are a little pricier, but they are worth the extra cost to protect your expensive electronics.

Inverters are measured by how many watts they can output. Based on the wattage, it is simple enough to figure out how much current can be safely drawn from the battery by the inverter. However, just as I mentioned in the charge controller section, it would be smart to put a fuse on the positive wire from the battery to the inverter as a fail-safe incase of a short circuit. Some inverters even come with a fuse with the recommended amperage rating for that inverter. Before buying an inverter, take a look at some of the wattage ratings for devices or appliances you might want to use with it. To the right is a quick chart of some basic things we use our inverter for:

Inverter uses

Modified Sine-Wave

Pros: Cheaper, Works for non-sensitive equipment (No A/C motors or medical devices)

Cons: Can damage sensitive electronics

Pure Sine-Wave

Pros: No voltage variation, Best for sensitive electronic devices (laptops, cellphones, etc)

Cons: Higher cost

pure-and-modified-sine-wave

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Los Angeles, CA

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Yellowstone National Park, WY

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By |2019-05-15T05:05:40-05:00August 29th, 2018|Lifestyle|0 Comments

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