Power Inverters (best / worst)

JD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
Very little unbiased reviews online for pure sine power inverters (12v in to 120v out.) So, I need to run a portable rig on the back of a parade vehicle and therefore need an inverter. Figuring on a 600 watt load, putting it on a 1000 watt (continuous rated) inverter. Problem is, most of this stuff comes from China and the reliability is hit or miss. They fit into one of three classifications:
1) pops the first time you turn it on.
2) pops about the 4th or 5th time you use it.
3) actually works as described!
So, in our vast knowledge base of performance applications, What brands have you had luck with and which brands and nothing more then smoking noisemakers?
 
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RonHebbard

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Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Very little unbiased reviews online for pure sine power inverters (12v in to 120v out.) So, I need to run a portable rig on the back of a parade vehicle and therefore need an inverter. Figuring on a 600 watt load, putting it on a 1000 watt (continuous rated) inverter. Problem is, most of this stuff comes from China and the reliability is hit or miss. They fit into one of three classifications:
1) pops the first time you turn it on.
2) pops about the 4th or 5th time you use it.
3) actually works as described!
So, in our vast knowledge base of performance applications, What brands have you had luck with and which brands and nothing more then smoking noisemakers?
@JD How much run time do you need? I can't speak to dedicated simple inverters but I can and will speak in favor of Middle Atlantic Products model UPS 2200R 2RU line interactive UPS which has been sitting on a sturdy wooden plinth under my desk next to my feet powering my antique MS XP tower and 5 other items on my desk for more than two years. At 95 pounds my UPS sneers at our Polish cleaners' cheap 'n cheerful plastic vacuum every week when our cleaners visit and bounce their lightweight vacuum off my UPS's plinth. Go big or go home. Buy once cry once. So far so good. Before my mini-stroke / forced retirement my employer used to swear by Best Power Systems but he's been installing primarily Middle Atlantic for more than five years now although he's normally installing one level down from the UPS2200R beneath my desk.
@JD EDIT: I'm successfully operating my unit from a standard 15 Amp / 120 VAC convenience receptacle since I know my total connected load is miniscule compared to the UPS2200R's ratings. It's not complaining and neither am I; neither of us care about our cleaners' cheap 'n cheerful plastic vacuum.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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JD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
@JD How much run time do you need? I can't speak to dedicated simple inverters but I can and will speak in favor of Middle Atlantic Products model UPS 2200R 2RU line interactive UPS which has been sitting on a sturdy wooden plinth under my desk next to my feet powering my antique MS XP tower and 5 other items on my desk for more than two years. At 95 pounds my UPS sneers at our Polish cleaners' cheap 'n cheerful plastic vacuum every week when our cleaners visit and bounce their lightweight vacuum off my UPS's plinth. Go big or go home. Buy once cry once. So far so good. Before my mini-stroke / forced retirement my employer used to swear by Best Power Systems but he's been installing primarily Middle Atlantic for more than five years now although he's normally installing one level down from the UPS2200R beneath my desk.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Probably about 1 to 2 hours. I have a 2kw APC pure sine sitting back in the shed, but that uses 72vdc, so I would end up buying 6 deep-discharge batteries. Also, UPSs generally are not designed to work for long periods of time, thus no fan and questionable heat sink ventilation. Figured it would be cheaper and more reliable to pick up one nice hefty 12v and buy an inverter. Other thing is the APC is huge! Made to sit on battery banks and sized that way!
 
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RonHebbard

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Premium Member
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Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Probably about 1 to 2 hours. I have a 2kw APC pure sine sitting back in the shed, but that uses 72vdc, so I would end up buying 6 deep-discharge batteries. Also, UPSs generally are not designed to work for long periods of time, thus no fan and questionable heat sink ventilation. Figured it would be cheaper and more reliable to pick up one nice hefty 12v and buy an inverter. Other thing is the APC is huge! Made to sit on battery banks and sized that way!
@JD My Middle Atlantic UPS2200R is no doubt overkill but it's more than meeting my needs. Every now and again its fan runs and it bumps up brown outs and / or carries me through outages common during this time of year in my neighborhood due to ice accumulation on power lines.
Toodleoo!
Ron (bearded master of overkill) Hebbard
 

BillConnerFASTC

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Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
No personal experience (well, I do have a 600 watt one in my car) but the RV and trailer people use a lot of these. Look at e-trailer.com.
 

DrewE

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Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Location
Vermont
No personal experience (well, I do have a 600 watt one in my car) but the RV and trailer people use a lot of these. Look at e-trailer.com.
Very true about the RV crowd. Perhaps even better would be to contact Randy et al at http://www.bestconverter.com; they are a great company to deal with, and know their stuff. (I have no connection with them beyond being a satisfied customer.) Xantax, Parralax, Samlex, and Go-Power all have pretty good reputations, perhaps among others I'm forgetting.

I would also consider borrowing or renting an inverter generator; the Honda units tend to be among the quietest and are extremely reliable. It's remarkable how little noise many of them make, little enough to be basically unnoticeable on a typical parade float over the general ambient parade noise. I think places like Home Depot often have them for rent.
 

JD

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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
Very true about the RV crowd. Perhaps even better would be to contact Randy et al at http://www.bestconverter.com; they are a great company to deal with, and know their stuff. (I have no connection with them beyond being a satisfied customer.) Xantax, Parralax, Samlex, and Go-Power all have pretty good reputations, perhaps among others I'm forgetting.

I would also consider borrowing or renting an inverter generator; the Honda units tend to be among the quietest and are extremely reliable. It's remarkable how little noise many of them make, little enough to be basically unnoticeable on a typical parade float over the general ambient parade noise. I think places like Home Depot often have them for rent.
I have one of those Honda inverter/generators, but there's no good place to put it that exhaust would not be an issue. It's basically a 17 piece singing ensemble crammed on an army truck! I figured sealed battery/inverter would be a better route.
 
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FMEng

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Fight Leukemia
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Mar 31, 2008
Location
Tacoma, WA
A true on-line UPS has inverters that are designed for continuous duty, and their output is sinusoidal. I no longer buy anything but on-line models for broadcast use. I've recently been buying Tripp Lite on-line models and had good luck so far. The models with "extended run" have a big, fat connector for external batteries, hidden behind a cover plate on the back. Take a look at the SU1000XLA for tower style, or the SU1000RTXL2UA for the rack mount version.

These run on 24 VDC. You could buy and stack their external battery boxes, but you may just want to wire your deep cycle batteries. I have not gone looking for the connector, but it looks familiar like it's an off the shelf component.

If you want a ready made solution with their add-on battery boxes, they make two types, ones with a connector for daisy chaining (stacking), and without the second connector. The "S" suffix is stackable. Two of the BP24V36-2US boxes will get you 131 minutes at 600 Watts.

This isn't cheap but I'm confident it'll work reliably and make for a clean sound system. $500 for a 1000 Watt inverter seems pretty reasonable. Mass production and wide use has dropped the cost to 25% of just a few years ago.
 

Crisp image

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Jun 18, 2017
Location
Eastern Victoria Australia
I have one of those Honda inverter/generators, but there's no good place to put it that exhaust would not be an issue. It's basically a 17 piece singing ensemble crammed on an army truck! I figured sealed battery/inverter would be a better route.
Surely there would be a place to sling (place securely) a generator under an army truck. Remember there will also be exhaust fumes from the truck if you are traveling along a parade route. Only a problem if in enclosed spaces.
My thoughts only and no cats were shot with a nurf gun while formulating