Inverter vs. Converter: Essential Power Components for Modern Living
Jan 10, 2024
Inverters and converters are important electrical systems. They help us convert and manage electrical energy in the home and office. So, we will discuss the benefits of these systems and their differences.
What is a Converter?
A converter is a device that transforms electric power from one form to another. A converter acts as a transformer between a power source and its output. Types of a converter include:
- AC to DC: This is known as a rectifier.
- DC to AC: This works like an inverter, so it is called an inverter.
- AC to AC: This is called an AC voltage regulator.
- DC to DC: This is called a chopper.
What is an Inverter?
An inverter is an electronic device that converts DC power to AC power. There are three major types of inverters:
- Square wave
- Modified sine wave
- Pure sine wave
Consumers use inverters to power various electrical devices. They are used as backup power in offices, houses, and factories. They control the speed of electric motors. Also they are used in solar systems.
DC Vs. AC Power
Electricity has two types. They are DC and AC power. AC means alternating current, while DC is direct current.
AC is the power produced in a power plant. It is then distributed to far places using power lines. Offices and homes use it for their electric devices.
One thing about AC power is that you cannot store it for later use. DC power, on the other hand, can be stored. You can store it in a battery for use. This is why DC is perfect for RV campers.
You can convert DC and AC from one form to another. An inverter and converter make this possible. A converter converts AC to DC. You can use converters if you have a DC power source and want to power your AC devices. This arrangement is great for DC camper batteries.
An inverter does the contrary. If you have an AC power source and want to power your DC device, you use it.
Types of Inverters
While there are many types of inverters, there are three major types:
Square wave inverter
This type has a DC power source, four switches, and a load. It is the most affordable inverter but produces low power quality. They are used in simple electric devices like power tools and lighting systems.
Modified sine wave inverter
This inverter has a DC source, an output filter, and an inverter circuit. It reduces distortions that cause issues in electrical devices. It works for appliances like heaters and lamps. It also works as a power source for RVs.
Pure sine wave inverter
This is more expensive than other types. Most devices work well with this inverter. Appliances like microwave ovens, motors, and battery chargers use them.
Types of Converters
There are several types of converter, including:
AC to DC Converters
This converter changes AC to DC signals. It is also called rectifiers. There are two types of rectifiers. They are the diode and phase-controlled rectifiers. The diode rectifier changes the applied AC voltage to a fixed DC voltage. Phase-controlled rectifiers change fixed AC voltage to variable DC voltage.
Applications of both rectifiers include the following:
- It is used in electroplating processes
- It is used in HVDC systems
- It is used in electric traction
- It is used in excitation systems for synchronous devices
DC to DC Converters
These convert a fixed DC signal at the input to a variable DC signal at the output. They are also called choppers. The direction of power flow defines choppers. Some applications of choppers include:
- Subway cars
- DC drives
- Battery-powered vehicles
- Electric traction
DC to AC Converters
This converts DC signals to AC signals. They are also known as inverters. The input is a fixed DC signal from a battery. The output given is a variable AC power.
Some applications of inverters are found in:
- Induction motors
- High-volt DC transmission systems
- Low power systems
AC to AC Converters
This is also known as an AC voltage regulator. It converts an AC power of fixed frequency to a variable AC voltage. There are two types of AC voltage regulators. They are the cyclo-converters and AC voltage controllers.
The cyclo converters convert the fixed AC input to a variable output at a different frequency. However, the variable AC frequency is lower than that of the fixed AC input.
The main applications of cyclo converters are found in large AC traction motors. Examples are multi mili-watt AC motor drives and rotary kilns.
AC voltage controllers convert the fixed AC voltage to a variable one of the same frequency. The major applications of AC voltage controllers are in:
- Speed control of huge fans
- Lighting control
- Electronic tap changers
Applications of Inverters and Converters
You can use converters and inverters as power sources. A converter can power your electronic devices. This includes your UPS, rectifiers, and battery-powered cars.
An inverter can be used as a power source for different devices. Some of them are AC electric drives and electric vehicles. Other applications of inverters are in wind and solar energy systems.
Converters and inverters play huge roles in energy conservation. They convert power and energy from one form to another. They are useful in power and energy applications. They provide us with efficient and convenient energy solutions.
Key Differences Between Converters and Inverters
Electrical devices that change electric power from one form to another.
Electrical devices that convert the voltage from direct current to alternating current.
The input power can be DC or AC, depending on its type.
The output power can also give DC or AC power based on the type of converter.
The input power is DC, and its output power is AC.
Converters are used in electrical and electronic devices like UPS, battery chargers, phone chargers, and electric drives.
Inverters are used in applications in solar and wind energy systems, backup power supply, and electric vehicles.
Converter or Inverter: Making the Right Choice for Your Camper
Which is the right choice for your camper, a converter or an inverter? As a camper owner, you have to make a good choice. Your decision depends on your appliances and power source.
For instance, if you have only DC devices and a solar panel installed in your camper, you might not need a converter or inverter. You can charge the solar batteries fully and charge your devices directly.
However, if you have AC devices with a DC power source, you will need an inverter to help you. This is because you cannot power your AC devices with DC power. You need something to convert it. So, you will need an inverter to convert the DC power to AC for you.
Also, remember that you can't charge your DC devices with AC power. You will need a converter to help you out.
It is always nice to have a converter and inverter in your camper. After all, you may not know when you will need either equipment. This ensures that you can invert or convert power anytime you want in your camper.
We have discussed a lot on how different inverters are from converters. This article has shown the key applications of inverters and converters in homes, offices, and campers. If you need more information on how to get batteries for your inverter or converter, feel free to explore Goldenmate Battery for great deals.