Firstly, What Is An Inverter?

An inverter is a device that converts low voltage DC to higher voltage AC. Generally this means converting 12VDC or 24VDC to 240VAC. It was done mechanically in the old days but these days it’s all electronic.

How Do They Do It?

Inverters basically “chop up” the DC current into positive and negative pulses that can then be stepped up to 240V. These are called square wave or modified sine wave inverters. They are cheap and rugged but some 240V appliances don’t like them.

The other type of inverter, the sine wave, chops up the DC into finer segments and then synthesises an approximate sine wave. The 240V out of your power point looks like a sine wave and many appliances like to see their 240V in this form.

What Inverters Are Ok With Square Wave And What Needs Sine Wave?

Electric kettles, toasters, bar radiators and devices that just have a wire heater element seem to be ok with square wave inverters. Some TV’s even seem to work. Incandescent lighting is ok but not dimmable.

Devices such as microwave ovens sometimes give trouble, as well as anything that has a switchmode type power supply. LED lighting is ok and incandescent is ok.
We recommend that you make the investment in a sine wave inverter as they are much more efficient than square wave anyway.

Finally, please understand that you cannot treat an inverter power point like a domestic mains power point. Any appliance that has a high inlet surge current, such as a refrigerator, freezer, air-conditioner must be checked to see if it works ok before permanently installing.