Stage 0 | Background discussion and research

A lesson (series)to learn about what AC is and what its advantages are (as opposed to DC) and build an inverter to allow the solar system to power standard electrical appliances

Some Notes From Brianna

Sine, Square, Modified Sine Wave inverters
what is necessary
sine - transistors not either on/off efficency loss and heat
understanding of basics of how transistors work would be good.
(some experimenting with them if we don't know anything about them?)

Squre Wave is ok for most stuff - Ned says all, but the internet says some sensitive stuff might want sine. Dont think we're dealing with that kind of stuff.


would an amplifier be needed on that?
I think the idea is that you generate the signal at low power and then you run the amplifier off the batteries or panel to get a high power signal and then you put it through the transformer to step the voltage up to the 120/240 VAC

…I have more, am in process of looking for them.

We ordered stuff to make one!

  • made the one noted below, but with no luck. Not sure how it's supposed to work - might depend on differences between transistors (which since we ordered them, they came from the same batch and were most likely not different enough) - so no good way to debug it
  • Next step: try a 555 - amplifier - transformer architecture. LTSpice is being dumb and not simulating the 555 circuit correctly, so I haven't any idea yet how well this will interface with the amplifier.

Circuit diagrams!

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date user description url
26/12/2011 Ned (Ned) Square wave's been working at my house for more than 15 years, now. Some adapters and desktop computers are sensitive.
26/12/2011 Brianna Conrad How sensitive? Desktop computers might be something people are interested in powering (eventually). Do we need to be concerned about this?
30/12/2011 Brianna Conrad EE Lab project building a 555-based inverter. Schematic also involves logic gates. :/ http://www.ibiblio.org/kuphaldt/socratic/output/proj_inv.pdf
30/12/2011 Brianna Conrad Really simple, using discreets (no IC's) but ppl in comments seem to say its tricky to get working - values are really sensitive or sommat http://www.aaroncake.net/circuits/inverter.asp
30/12/2011 Brianna Conrad There's no schematic here, but its another one that uses only simple things. Will draw it out and see how it might work http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-build-a-power-inverter
30/12/2011 Brianna Conrad Basic Info and further links http://www.smps.us/power-inverter.html
30/12/2011 Brianna Conrad Another simple one - maybe the same? - tested this, no luck. And we don't know how it's supposed to work, so debugging would be difficult. (http://www.free-electronic-circuits.com/circuits/12-to-120-volt-inverter.html
12/01/2012 Ned Desktop computers aren't that sensitive; ours died after a few years to motherboard failures, but that could have been for other reasons as well.
19/01/2012 Ned Wikipedia has a great resource on transitr-only clocks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multivibrator

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