Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Choose the right inverter & battery for your home - Quick Guide

Are you planning to buy a new inverter or upgrade your old one? Whatever may be the reason, it is very important to understand what is the right inverter for your home. The power requirement at your home can be different from your neighbour’s home. So do not just blindly install the same inverter (in terms of power) in your home. Before buying an inverter for your home do a little homework and understand the basics.

# What is an inverter?

Most of us associate inverters with emergency power back-up – a device that magically lights up our house when the government cuts the main supply of electricity.

This belief is only partly right.

Yes, one of the uses of the inverter is to provide power back-up but if that was it then why would they use inverters in developed nations, where they never face power cuts, like US, UK, Australia etc.?

Simple Definition for Inverter:
Simply speaking, the inverter is a device that turns Direct Current (DC) from batteries to Alternating Current (AC).

 And we hear you asking,

# what is this DC and AC ?

Direct current (DC) is produced from the source of energy such as batteries or solar panels.

Unfortunately, direct current can’t be carried to over long distances – that is why the main electricity supply we get in our houses is in AC – alternating current.
All of our electronic equipment is made to run on AC because that’s what we get in our main power supply. AC and DC look something like this:

As you can see, direct current is really like its name. DC is so direct that it just flows in one direction whereas alternating current is more like a sea with waves – it goes high and low.

# Now here comes the problem:

If batteries and solar panels (the original source of energy) generate DC and but all of our ordinary electrical equipment like fans, TV, lights, laptops etc. can only run on AC then how can we power them through batteries and solar panels?

Inverter solves the problem:

The inverter takes DC from batteries or solar panels and converts it into AC so that you can plug and play electric stuff like fans, TV, lights, blenders, laptops etc. through the inverter, anywhere.

In countries like India when the main (grid) power supply is often cut, inverters keep the power up through batteries – they convert the DC power stored in batteries into AC as they are attached to the main power socket of our house so that we can continue operating our electrical equipment even during power cuts

# How are the batteries charged?

Inverters in India have an inbuilt charger for them to charge batteries. When the main grid supply is on they charge the batteries.

In foreign countries, people use inverters when they are cruising in their RVs, private boats or camping in remote places to use their electric gadgets like blenders, TV sets, laptops, microwaves etc. They can power the gadgets by simply plugging them into inverter, and the inverter is charged from the car batteries.

The technology has advanced too much that inverters are obsolete in India as they have been replaced with Home UPS – a device which intelligently combines the features of inverters and UPS into a single unit. No one buys an inverter these days, they buy UPS.
So what do you need to know?

Look at the list of appliances that you want to run on backup and their wattage. Check the list below to get some standard values used for calculations:

  • 1 Fan – Fans Consume 70-90 Watts. For calculation we take 90 watts.
  • 1 tube light – Assume 40-50 watts for standard tube lights. 28 watts for T5 tubelights.
  • 1 CFL – 25 watts (default) or take the actual number if known.
  • 1 Television – LED TVs take 30-100 watts depending on size. LCD TVs consume 50-150 watts. CRT takes about 120 watts.
  • Set top boxes consume anywhere between 8 watts and 25 watts. Standard Definition set top boxes consume 8 Watts. HD boxes consume about 18 watts and HD DVR boxes consumed 25 watts.
  • Desktops consume 120-250 watts depending on type High end is about 450-650. Those with LCD screens consume about 150 watts and those with CRT about 250.
  • Laptops consume about 50 watts.
  • Wi-Fi routers, modems, mobile phone chargers, etc consume 5 watts or less.
  • Gaming stations and home theatre systems consume 100 watts or more depending on type and size. It should be available on product manual or on manufacturers’ website.
  • A room air cooler would be about 250-300 watts.
  • Induction cooker would be 1000-1500 watts (or 1 – 1.5 kW)
  • Mixer Grinder would also be about 350 watts.
Now in the example, above we needed a 356 VA inverter and we want a backup of 6 hours, then the total VAh that we need is: 356 x 6 = 2136 VAh
A regular inverter battery available in market is of 12 V, so the Ah value of battery required would be: 2136 / 12 = 178 Ah
At the end, we’ll also recommend some reliable and secure batteries from sellers that you can trust on.

"6 Things You Must Know, Choose the Right Inverter & Battery for Your Home"

1. First, understand your Power Requirement

One of the most important factors that you must know before buying an inverter is your “Power requirement”. In simple words- what all electrical appliances (like fan, tube lights, television, CFL etc.) you want to run at the time of power failure. The power requirement is the addition of the power consumed by various electrical equipment.

Suppose you want 3 Fans, 3 Tube lights, 1 CFL & 1 television to operate at the time of power failure. Below is the power consumed by these items:

1 Fan – 70 Watts 
1 tube light – 40 watts
1 led light – 7 watts
1 led television – 70 watts
1 Refrigerator - 140 Watt

Therefore your total power requirement is (3*70 +3*40 +8* 7 + 1*70+ 1*140) = 596 watts

2. Find the VA rating of the inverter you need

It stands for the Volt ampere rating. It is the voltage and current supplied by the inverter to the equipment. If an inverter operates with 100% efficiency, then the power requirement of the electrical items and power supplied by the inverter is same. But we all know that 100% or ideal conditions don’t exist in reality. Most inverters have the efficiency range from 60 % to 80%. This efficiency is also called power factor of an inverter and is simply the ratio of power required by the appliances to power supplied by an inverter. The power factor of most inverters ranges from 0.6 to 0.8.

Hence Power supplied (or VA rating of the inverter) = Power requirement (power consumed by equipment in watts) / Power factor.

Usually, at homes, power factor ranges from 0.65 - 0.8, taking 0.7 for the calculations,

Power of inverter (VA) = 596/0.7 = 851 VA

So an inverter with 900 VA will be the right choice for your home

3. Know the battery your inverter needs
The battery is the backbone of an inverter system. The performance and life of an inverter largely depend upon the battery quality. The next big question is “how much back up will an inverter provide?” or for “how many hours it can run all of your equipment?”. This is what is called the battery capacity. It is the battery capacity that decides the backup hours. It is expressed in Ah (Ampere Hours).

In the market batteries with a capacity of 100 Ah,150 Ah, 180, 220 Ah etc. are readily available. So how to decide which one do you need? To find this out let's do a reverse calculation. Consider that you need a battery that provides back up to 3 hours.

Battery capacity = Power requirement (in VA) * Back up hours (in hrs) / Battery Voltage (in volts)

For lead-acid battery, battery voltage = 12 V.

Battery Capacity = (851 * 2) / 12 = 142 Ah

In reality, battery performance degrades with usage, so you are recommended to buy 5-10% higher capacity battery.

Therefore a battery with a capacity of 150 Ah will work for you.

So if you want to run 3 Fans, 3 Tube lights, 8 LED lights 1 television & 1 refrigerator for 2 hours during a power failure you would need 900 VA inverter and 150 Ah battery.

4. Single Battery or Double Battery

Now suppose your power back up requirement is 4 hrs for the same power load.

Battery Capacity required = (851*4) / 12 = 284 Ah ~ 300Ah

Since batteries are available between 60-200Ah, you will need 2 battery of 150Ah (in series) to provide 300 Ah. Two batteries together create 24 V output, hence you need to choose inverter which supports 24V input.

5. Battery Plate Type

Lead acid batteries come in flat plates or tubular (rod-shaped) plates.

Flat Plate or Tubular batteries come in small height containers, and are suitable for low power cut areas as their designed cycle life is low.

Tubular batteries come in small as well as tall containers, they typically have a longer design life, suitable for all areas. Due to the longer life, they are replacing flat plate batteries in inverter battery applications.

Plates should be constructed from highly pure lead alloy with high-pressure casting machines to ensure low maintenance and long life.

6. Consult with Technical Person 
Finally, you can consult with a technical person or shop owners. They can assist very well as you need inverter and battery for your home. We would suggest Box Power Enterprises one among the best

Other Features

When buying you may consider other features such as:
Warranty: Higher warranty indicates longer life and superior quality. Typically, the warranty on batteries ranges from 12 months to 48 months.

Float indicators & vent plugs: Batteries have conveniently placed visible float indicators so that you don’t miss topping up water when needed. Vent plugs should be designed to ensure that the gas pressure inside the battery is regulated.

Terminal Protectors: Batteries should come with terminal protectors to ensure utmost safety to the consumers. These protectors prevent chances of accidental electrical shock.

By understanding this simple calculation you not only save yourself from the misleading information shared by inverter dealers but also help yourself in taking the correct decision.

Here, are some batteries that we highly recommend. Amaron, Exide, SF Sonic, Luminous, Microtek, Tata Green, Amco and Amptek, This was highly recommended by one of the top and leading suppliers of Chennai, for batteries and inverters Box Power Enterprises (Contact: 9884688036) A good thing about this company is they offer the most competitive prices and absolutely free delivery & installation within 24 hours of your order. All kinds of Car Battery, Inverter Battery & Inverters available at doorstep. Also great in-service support.

Box Power Enterprises believes in making its customers smart and aware of the home repair and improvement. For inverter repair/buy in Chennai contact Box Power Enterprises.

We hope that this information helps you choose the right inverter for your house. We have tried to include answer to every question that we get on this website, but if you still have some doubt, you can leave a note in the comments section below.

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