What is an Inverter – in Layman’s terms

To so many people, this is still a budding question. I’m certain that the majority of the population in South Africa are almost ashamed to admit that they do not know or understand what an Inverter is or what purpose it serves – hence, the fear of purchasing sets in.

I will try to outline in a brief and understandable way what this device does and why it is so critical to own in this day and age. With Load shedding as real as it could be in our daily lives, an Inverter stands between you and your life being on hold for 2-3hrs at a time.

First question I generally receive – Do I need a battery when I just want to buy an Inverter? Answer, Yes! Unfortunately the Inverter does not have the internal capacity to store power, that is what the batteries are used for. If you had to imagine the following layout: Power Outlet – Inverter – Battery. This is the simplest concept of having this solution installed into your household or office. During normal operations where ESKOM provides utility power, this sequence will ensure that your batteries are being charged (assuming that your Inverter has a built-in charger – not all of them do).

Once Load shedding is implemented, the reverse effect will take place. Now your batteries will push power through the Inverter and a conversion from DC to AC power takes place. This basically means that the power stored in the battery now becomes safe to use for any appliance or electronic device.

This can all be complicated a little further by adding solar panels to also charge your batteries, but we will get to that next time!!! I hope this has cleared up the question – What is an Inverter.

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