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Basic inverter questions


Liz Pea
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Hello, I need some advice please - I'm slowly getting my head around things but struggling with electrics, so please excuse the very basic questions! Spent ages searching for the info, but none the wiser...

 

I don't have an inverter on my boat, I'm currently on shore power.

 

I'm going to leave the marina and start cc'ing. What would be the best option for being able to charge a phone sometimes & maybe plug in a radio & a lamp? I don't have any other appliances to run. 

 

There are a couple of 12v plug sockets & the rest are 240v. Can you get something to plug into the 12v socket to allow you to plug in a 240v appliance? 

 

Would one of those USB car charger things be best for the phone charging? Do they convert 12v to 240v? 

 

Basically, I don't think I need a big inverter installing, I don't need to use most of the sockets, or use much power. But I don't know a simple solution to this. 

 

Sorry if these are silly questions, I appreciate any advice :)

 

 

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Something like this will 'possibly' do what you require

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/300W-Car-Vehicle-Converter-Power-Inverter-DC-12V-to-AC-230V-USB-Charger-Port-UK/333071479447?hash=item4d8c9b7297:g:LrsAAOSwmxVcePNA

 

However, this item will be your only 240V, your 12V system will work and this single plug will give you a small amount of 240V - certainly enough to power a radio or a lamp.

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A car charger lead will charge your phone from 12V and you can get a small appliance that will do the same for a computer.  I suspect most of us use a car radio and lighting is almost always 12V, preferably LED "bulbs".

 

An inverter uses/wastes your electricity converting 12V to 240 and then phone charges, radios, computers waste another lon converting 240 V to whatever they run on, usually between 5 and 30 volts.

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37 minutes ago, Liz Pea said:

Would one of those USB car charger things be best for the phone charging? Do they convert 12v to 240v? 

When you plug your mains phone charger in, it converts the 230v mains to 5v for the USB to charge your phone.

 

If you get a USB Cigarette Lighter plug (£1 off ebay, or Poundland) it plugs into your 12 volt cigarette lighter socket (assuming that is what you have) and converts the 12v to 5v so your USB leads plugs straight into the 'plug;' and the phone.

 

You can get 12v lamps and radios.

 

No need for any 230 volt.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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Many desk-type lamps have a transformer ("brick") in the lead or a plug that converts 230V to 12V and the bulb itself is 12V.  You can bypass the brick and run the light directly off your 12V.

Edited by dor
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If you really only need a phone, radio and lamp there is no need at all for an inverter.  Are you sure you don't have any other appliances.  My tv is 240v so I use the inverter for that.  I've looked at 12v tvs and the quality is always terrible so haven't changed over.  I have an electric toothbrush and a rechargeable speaker which need 240v so I turn the inverter on for those now and then.  I also have a generator for 'big' appliances  - iron, hoover, washing machine so I don't strain the batteries when i use them - I never run anything powerful off the inverter.

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Absolutely nothing wrong with what you say but:-

 

If you are using things like electric tooth brushes or hair curlers/dryers that you ensure you get a pure sine wave (PSW) inverter because modified sine wave (MSW) ones have been known to destroy such equipment. MSW inverters can also cause audio equipment to buzz.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Liz Pea said:

What would be the best option for being able to charge a phone sometimes & maybe plug in a radio & a lamp?

 

As others have said, you don't need an inverter to charge the phone. A car charger adaptor can be bought for most phones like the pic here: 

 

image.png.debe0c3bcf10b259f820733ddb45aabd.png

 

Is that the type of 12v socket you have?

 

As for the radio and the lamp, do you have these already and they are 240Vac? If so then yes you'll need a small inverter which can also plug into the same 12v sockets. You can however get 12v lamps an 12v radios which will run directly from your 12v sockets, should you be happy to buy appliances specifically for your boat.

 

 

 

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We use a dead cheap inverter that came from the old Maplin store, I charge cordless tools, phone etc whilst we are on the move and we watch an hour or two of telly with it. Perfectly good for that sort of use.

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You're going to have to have a good think about your power requirements and solutions that work best for you. It won't be long till you find other items creeping into the equation - what about a fridge? It will become more apparent once you get under way.

There are a few different ways/combinations to serve boaters needs, I wont go into them all now, but the other side of the equation is making sure you have power coming in - so get those solar panels on!

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17 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

Absolutely nothing wrong with what you say but:-

 

If you are using things like electric tooth brushes or hair curlers/dryers that you ensure you get a pure sine wave (PSW) inverter because modified sine wave (MSW) ones have been known to destroy such equipment. MSW inverters can also cause audio equipment to buzz.

 

 

Good point. I found this out the hard way! :banghead: I now have a lovely pure sine inverter.

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8 hours ago, Liz Pea said:

Hello, I need some advice please - I'm slowly getting my head around things but struggling with electrics, so please excuse the very basic questions! Spent ages searching for the info, but none the wiser...

 

I don't have an inverter on my boat, I'm currently on shore power.

 

I'm going to leave the marina and start cc'ing.

 

 

Liz,

I note you are going to start CC'ing after spending time on a land line in a marina. Electrics seems to be a challenge to you! Are you up to speed on batteries and the importance of getting them to fully charged a  couple of times a week? It sounds like you will not be a 'high power' user but still important to get those batteries full.

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3 hours ago, Dr Bob said:

Liz,

I note you are going to start CC'ing after spending time on a land line in a marina. Electrics seems to be a challenge to you! Are you up to speed on batteries and the importance of getting them to fully charged a  couple of times a week? It sounds like you will not be a 'high power' user but still important to get those batteries full.

Yes, I think so - I'll also have solar by then, and a better way of monitoring my batteries & output. At the moment I just have a mains battery charger & a multimeter, but my batteries are in good nick & I have been looking after them.

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7 hours ago, Johny London said:

You're going to have to have a good think about your power requirements and solutions that work best for you. It won't be long till you find other items creeping into the equation - what about a fridge? It will become more apparent once you get under way.

There are a few different ways/combinations to serve boaters needs, I wont go into them all now, but the other side of the equation is making sure you have power coming in - so get those solar panels on!

I don't have a fridge, tv, hairdrier, electric toothbrush, hoover, any of that stuff. I have a tablet for watching films which I charge at work while I'm downloading stuff with wifi. Ditto my little speakers.

I'll have solar before I leave the marina too, and of course I understand about charging the batteries and keeping them in good condition :)

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5 hours ago, OldGoat said:

Solar is not a total solution - it just makes a contribution - and that's when the sun is shining....

 

Solar provides 100% of my electricity for 8 months of the year....

 

And the sun doesn't sun all eight months.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

the sun doesn't sun all eight months.

Sure it does. 

 

You might not not be able to see it behind all those clouds but...

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1 hour ago, WotEver said:

Sure it does. 

 

You might not not be able to see it behind all those clouds but...

 

Well if that is the measure, I'd possit the sun shines 24/7/365. 

 

If it isn't shining, you're standing in the wrong place!

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Well if that is the measure, I'd possit the sun shines 24/7/365. 

 

If it isn't shining, you're standing in the wrong place!

Spot on. Remember what you were taught at school about the British Empire?

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6 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Spot on. Remember what you were taught at school about the British Empire?

 

Yep. NUFFERN.

 

My teachers were all leftie loonies being a state run secondary modern. Failed my 11+ as my hard left edumacation authority thought it best the pupils should not know they was being tested.

 

BITTER? MOI?!!

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

My experience of inverters is that they just drain your batteries in no time. I wouldn't buy another one myself. I'm surprised people still use them. I'd advise a generator, it covers all your needs If they change over time.

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