Most electronics equipment works well on solar power. Most modern electronics
has noise filters that filter almost all Mod-sine Inverter buzz. Battery powered
equipment like laptops and Radio/ CD players have become especially efficient
and are very feasible to run on even modest power systems. The biggest issue when
powering electronics is deciding whether or not to let the power system go to
sleep, or whether to keep it on 24 hours a day to run the plethora of cell phone
chargers, cordless phones,etc. Many devices like TV satellite receivers take full
power even turned off! While a few watts here or there may seem insignificant
at first, consider that the sun quits shining after 6 to 8 hours, but all those
loads with the inverter included may be on 24 hours. Then consider that the sun
may not shine for days, with very little power coming in, and possibly more electronics
use since the weather is bad and people are indoors more. For many of our systems
now, we recommend more panels and batteries to leave the inverter on full time
(see inverter standby), with a good backup power source in case the weather is
bad and/ or your usage goes up.
Or Not To Sleep?
Insomnia? No Lets consider the pros & cons of
using the inverter's sleep mode (aka "standby" or "search").
| ||Sleep Mode||Inverter
On 24 hours a day|
if inverter is in house||Quiet
& no EMF radiation when in sleep mode||extra
noise of inverter at night|
to confirm everything is off, if inverter is in sleep mode.||Easy
to leave lots of extra stuff on, plugged in, etc.|
|Turning on Lights ||some
delay, super high efficiency bulbs won't always wakeup inverter||
lights come on instantly|
charge when something else keeps the inverter on, may not fully charge.||Work
normally, but take power even after finished charging|
|radio, small electronics||often
not enough power draw to keep inverter completely on, annoyingly shuts off every
a corded phone during sleep mode||
cordless phones work 24/ 7|
customers who use sleep mode can possibly try to get by without a backup generator.||Need
backup power more often.|
designed for sleep mode will perform poorly if accidentally allowed to stay on.||More
like grid power, less learning curve.|
the equivalent of 240 watt-hrs to 500 watt-hrs, enough to run a laptop computer
for over 10 hours.||
Cost roughly $1000 in extra solar panels and batteries to run this.|
SolarRay recommends: Small systems use sleep mode: renegade+,
and frontier systems. Defeat sleep mode for certain usage.
Family and above
systems go to inverter "on" full time, but now how to sue sleep mode
if back up power is unavailable. .
satellite TV, DVD, VCR, etc. cameras
monitors, satellite Internet, video games...
CD, etc. Offgrid Studios
Hours a day
24 hrs a day |
combo Radio, CD, tape |
can be converted to 12 vdc|
Stereo Separate Components with subwoofer|
& 17 " LCD monitor|
& 17" CRT monitor|
Internet receiver |
Screen Plasma 42"|
or DVD player|
Electronic Loads, Surge Protectors and Radio Interference
Sizing an inverter for electronic loads
electronic devices (especially stereo and music amplifiers, computers and TVs)
are labeled with power ratings that are based on absolute maximum or surge conditions,
for the purpose of sizing power circuits. Their actual power draw may be HALF
of that, or less. The best way to measure the peak and average power consumption
is to use a Brand Power Meter (available from Dankoff Solar, see SunPaper 1).
Surge protector warning
Do not use household
or computer type surge protectors on circuits powered by a "modified sine
wave" inverter. They may overheat. Inverters do not produce dangerous spikes
or surges, so protectors are not necessary. EXCEPTIONS: Use a lightning arrestor
on any long AC feed line to another building or to a well pump, for example. Long
lines can pick up induced surges from lightning, and feed them back to the inverter
and to the AC circuits. The Delta LA302-AC Lightning Arrestor is appropriate.
Place it at the beginning of the line, close to a main ground connection.
ALL inverters produce radio interference in the AM and
short-wave bands. It may be necessary to use a radio that is powered by DC or
internal batteries, and is not located near the inverter. To hear distant stations,
it may be necessary for the inverter to be off.