When looking a building your remote power system, the selection of your DC to AC inverter is very important. There are two styles of inverter. The difference between the two is how closley they reproduce the standard mains power. The diagram below illustrates the situation:
The modified sine wave output is the mose economical and commonly used inverter for most home power systems. The true sine wave inverter technology is more complex and expensive, but does have its own set of applications.
I’ve had a modified sine wave type of inverter now for ten years, and it has served well. We use two Trace DR 2400 inverters that can be synced together and provide 240AC output. (Trace Engineering changed names and is now Xantrex)
There are rarely any appliances that ever give us trouble with the modified sine wave. All our computers, routers, and switches work well. There are two cautions to be aware of before taking the modified sine wave inverter route.
First, we have rarely had issues with the bulky ‘wall wart’ style of power supply for our electronic appliances. You know, the bulky transformer on the plug type power for small items. These transformers can get very warm if it is one of the problem types. I was never able to determine what made one wall wart different from the other that had problems. Be assured that this is rare. Last time I saw it was for the charger for my old Motorola flip phone about eight years ago. Whenever using a new wall wart power supply, I watch it for the first 30 minutes before ‘blessing’ it for use in my system.
Second, is the 60Hz hum that it will introduce to AM broadcast radios, or in my case HF Amateur radio. I wish I had a true sine wave inverter to test with, but I suspect the noise is minimal. I have toyed around with the idea of purchasing a small true sine wave inverter to run my ham radios with, but they don’t seem to offer any of these complex units for power less than a thousand watts.
If you have experience with the true sine wave inverters, please post a comment. Does the AM band work or do they generate the same noise?