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Choosing a Power Inverter

by Barbara 4. July 2003 08:33

Q: "Which car power inverter is best for operating a Canon pc 420 copier?"

Answer: To choose the correct power inverter, first learn the amps, the volts and the maximum watts surge that a copier, television set or other appliance will draw when first turned on. Look in the product manual or on the case for this information.

Then use this equation you (and I) probably learned and forgot from high school or college physics:

Watts = Amps Times Volts

Always buy an inverter that supplies a higher wattage or surge than the minimum you need. Remember that only low wattage power inverters plug directly into cigarette lighter type outlets. (Higher wattage units would burn out the outlets.) To operate appliances that draw 150 watts or more of continuous power, the power inverter must connect to a 12V battery using a positive and a negative battery cable. Most power inverters' low battery feature shuts off the inverter when input voltage drops below 10.5 volts.

Most appliances like copiers don't need a pure sine wave power inverter. (Some medical appliances do.) Safe Home Products sells pure sine wave power inverters and modified sine wave power inverters. Manufacturers include Go Power, Peak, Thor, Sima, Wagan and Vector. Wattages range from 100 watts that plug into 12V outlets up to 3000 watts. Pure sine wave units are always more expensive. Commercial vehicles with large batteries are best for 3000 watt inverters.

Feel free to email if you have more questions or concerns.

Sincerely, Barbara