There are all sorts of ways to get power to a jobsite, from temporary power poles to jobsite generators. One power-packed option that’s often overlooked, though, are power inverters. Sure, they have limitations like anything else, but choosing a power inverter gives you an effective way of powering electronics and delicate equipment all day long.
Types of Inverters
There are two main types of inverters used in vehicles: modified sine wave and pure sine wave. Modified sine wave inverters are generally ok for a wide range of electronics, but they may not be ideal for a jobsite vehicle.
Pure sine wave inverters, however, produce a sine wave that’s more like the power that runs through a house (and, consequently, the kind that your battery tools and laptops are really designed for). Some devices will fail entirely without a pure sine wave inverter, others may have intermittent problems or suffer additional stressors that aren’t immediately obvious from short term use.
If you plan to use an inverter to help power things on your jobsites over the long term, a pure sine wave is the way to go. Using a pure sine wave inverter, you can power anything from battery chargers to portable appliances and, of course, more sensitive televisions and laptops.
Installing an Inverter
Unless you’ve got a strong background in vehicle electrical, you’ll do yourself a huge favor to hire this installation done. Your installer will be able to advise you about how much power you’ll likely require and how to get the most out of your inverter.
However, if you want to go it alone, keep these things in mind:
● Opt for an extra battery. Your vehicle’s battery may be fine for a few things, but if you’re running much at once through your inverter, you may quickly find yourself out of juice. Anything that needs a constant electrical feed, like, say, a portable refrigerator, will do better with the help of an additional battery. The problem with relying on the main battery in your vehicle is that you’re probably only going to be able to run your electronic devices with the truck on and idling. That can get pretty expensive over a long workday.
● Consider a plug-in inverter. For just one or two items, an inverter that will plug into a cigarette lighter or accessory socket may give you plenty of bang for your buck. Not only are these units relatively inexpensive by comparison, they’re super easy to install and remove as you see fit. You can still power the same devices, depending on whether you choose a modified or pure sine wave inverter.
● Check your factory alternator. Alternators are meant to keep your vehicle battery charged while running the components that came with the truck. When you start adding all kinds of extras, you run the risk of overtaxing your alternator and draining your battery entirely, even if the truck is running. You can upgrade to a higher output alternator to help with this issue.
Having a power inverter as part of your electricity line-up can create more ways to use current and upcoming technology on the job, but it’s important to carefully choose the right inverter and match it to the power consumption you anticipate you’ll actually use. A hasty decision may leave you with a cheap, but useless, power inverter or a dead truck battery.
Do you use a power inverter on your jobsites? What do you use it for? Tell us in the comments!