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How Does a Pure Sine Wave Inverter Work?

You are probably already researching the installation of a solar system with battery storage for your RV or home if you want to know more about a pure sine wave converter.
You’ve probably already researched the main inverter technologies, pure sine wave or modified sine wave.

Modified sine wave inverters can be up to two times more expensive than pure sine wave inverters. Then, you might ask yourself: Are they worth it? What is a pure sine wave inverter?

Pure sine wave inverters can transform direct current (DC), into alternating current, which can then be used for high-quality electric current (similar to utility standards voltage: 230V frequency: 50/60hz) and power all kinds of home appliances.

Pure sine wave inverters can also be transformers. They increase the input DC voltage (e.g. 12V) to a higher AC voltage (e.g. 230V).

This article will discuss in detail pure sine wave inverters as well as how they work. Next, we will compare the main inverter technology. Finally, we will show you why pure sine wave technology is the best inverter technology for your electrical system.

What is a Pure Sine Wave Converter?

Let’s begin by explaining what a pure sinewave inverter is, and why it would be necessary for your electrical system.

You may already be aware that there are two types current.

AC stands for Alternating Current
DC, Direct Current

What is the Difference Between AC and DC?

A Brief History
Two famous scientists attempted to set the standard for electric revolution in the 20th century.

One side was Nikola Tesla, who advocated AC electricity. Thomas Edison, however, strongly supported DC electricity. The battle was won by Tesla, who today AC is the main electrical current for all household appliances and motors.

However, DC is still being used and has seen renewed interest with the recent development of solar energy. Solar panels and batteries are both producing DC power.

You may be curious about the differences between AC/DC, now that you have some historical context.

First, electricity is an electron flow.

DC is a way electrons flow from one electrode to another. You can represent it by a continuous, straight current that flows over time.

AC on the other hand flows electrons alternately in both directions in a periodic cycle. You can visualize it as a sine wave current that flows over time.

You now know that AC and DC have different natures. It is best to not connect AC appliances to DC power sources. This will cause irreversible damage.
How do we convert DC into AC?

The inverter is a device that converts DC to AC and vice versa. This was created by electrical engineers to solve the problem of AC and DC being compatible.

Therefore, a pure sine wave inverter will:

Produce an alternating current (AC), from a direct current source.
High quality electric current comparable to utility standards (voltage 230V frequency: 50/60hz).

Pure sine wave inverters can also be used as transformers. They increase the input DC voltage to a much greater AC voltage, e.g. 12V to 220V.

Let’s now see what a pure sinewave inverter looks like.
What Does A Pure Sinewave Inverter Do?

We have seen that pure sine wave converters first convert DC to AC and then increase the input (12V, 24V, 48V ) to reach an output voltage 230V (transformer), which is usable by all of our household appliances.

Let’s take a look at the two steps that a pure sinewave inverter performs.
From direct current (DC) to pure sine wave alternating current (AC).

This section will provide a simple working principle to show how pure sine wave converters work.

It is difficult to transform a straight line (DC), into a wave, in which current flows in both directions.

Let’s begin with a simple switch.

You can change the DC current frequently to get a squared current. This current alternates between zero (switch off) and maximum (switch on).

Okay, you now have a periodic current, but it is not flowing in both directions. It is still far from a sine waveform.

You will need an automated switch to reverse the contact and flip the current in either direction.

This can be represented as a rotating disc with crisscross connections. The frequency of an alternating current will depend on the speed of the rotating disc.

You now have a periodic current flowing in both directions. It is still a square shape. To make the square into a well-defined sine wave, it takes some more electronic circuits.

How do Pure Sine Wave Inverters Increase Voltage

The second step is to raise the voltage of the pure sinewave current. The voltage of DC is typically 12V, 24V, or 48V. AC is 230V.

The transformer is the right tool for the job. It is an electromagnetic device made from an iron core and two copper wire coils: the primary coil and secondary. The primary coil is where the low voltage current enters, while the secondary coil exits with the high voltage current.

The current is transferred between the coils via electromagnetic induction.

The output voltage is controlled by the wiring density of both coils. The secondary coil is wired with a higher density than the primary in a step-up transformer. This increases the output voltage.

Transformers are everywhere. For example, cell phone chargers and laptop chargers can be step-down transformers.