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Old 26-10-2017, 14:52   #1
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Inverter energy usage when idle

I recently purchased a Xantrex 1000W / 55A Inverter / Charger. My question is when you have a transformer 220 - 110, and it is turned on but nothing is plugged into it, it is using energy.

My question is if I leave the investor on but have nothing plugged into it, is it drain gin my battery. I do not think it is.

Second, is it best to leave it off and only turn it on when in use?

Thanks
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Old 26-10-2017, 15:02   #2
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by landonshaw View Post
I recently purchased a Xantrex 1000W / 55A Inverter / Charger. My question is when you have a transformer 220 - 110, and it is turned on but nothing is plugged into it, it is using energy.

My question is if I leave the investor on but have nothing plugged into it, is it drain gin my battery. I do not think it is.

Second, is it best to leave it off and only turn it on when in use?

Thanks
It is consuming power when it is powered on. Look for this information in the owner's manual. You can turn it off when not in use.
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Old 26-10-2017, 15:09   #3
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by landonshaw View Post
I recently purchased a Xantrex 1000W / 55A Inverter / Charger. My question is when you have a transformer 220 - 110, and it is turned on but nothing is plugged into it, it is using energy.

My question is if I leave the investor on but have nothing plugged into it, is it drain gin my battery. I do not think it is.

Second, is it best to leave it off and only turn it on when in use?

Thanks
I think there are two questions here:
My question is when you have a transformer 220 - 110, and it is turned on but nothing is plugged into it, it is using energy.
A 220->110 transformer uses no power if no power is flowing through it.

I leave the [inverter] on but have nothing plugged into it, is it drain gin my battery. I do not think it is.
It most certainly does. Not a huge amount, but significant.
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Old 26-10-2017, 15:18   #4
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

Thanks for the reply. I was aware that the transformer is consuming energy, the heat signifies that it is. I was not sure on the inverter. I will leave it off when not in use. Thanks
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Old 26-10-2017, 15:21   #5
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

as a data point, my KISAE SW1220 2000W inverter draws 1.2A at idle (=no load):
http://pdf.donrowe.com/mw_sw_spec_sheet.pdf

too much for me to leave it on when not using 120V AC.
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Old 26-10-2017, 15:24   #6
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

A transformer that is on but not flowing current will use a small amount of energy to keep the magnetic field saturated. Generally a few watts with no load

An inverter at idle will also use power. If it has a standby mode it might be only 0.1 amp maybe even less. If not it will use somewhere between 0.5 and 1.0 amps (or more) to keep the circuits active and if transformer type, to keep the magnetic field saturated.
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Old 26-10-2017, 17:12   #7
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

I put my oscilloscope on a Xantrex 1800 watt inverter to see how the idle search function worked.
Every few seconds, it outputs a very brief 120 volts AC, like just one or two cycles.
If it senses a load, it stays on. If not, it goes back to sleep for another few seconds.
Average load is way less than on constantly with no load, but it's still a load.

A transformer also uses a small amount of power even with no load as Sailorchick noted.
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Old 26-10-2017, 19:42   #8
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Inverter energy usage when idle

I donít understand the idle or search mode as Magnum calls it.
My Inverter will ďsearchĒand look for a load that exceeds X number of watts, You program what X is. When X is exceeded, the inverter powers up. When in search mode, very little power is used as the inverter is off.
So tell me this, if the thing is off it canít be supplying power so how can any power be used? Or said another way, if there is no 110VAC power available, how can X number of watts be used?

An inverter has to be a transformer doesnít it? It first I assume converts 12 VDC to either AC or pulsed DC, then runs that through a transformer to increase the voltage to 120?
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Old 26-10-2017, 20:13   #9
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Inverter energy usage when idle

The inverter powers up occasionally and if it senses a load the it stays on until the load drops below some minimum wattage. Then it goes back into "search" mode powering up every so often sensing if a new load is on. Some microwaves can "fool" the search mode but generally it works well.

Yes, it has a transformer.
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Old 26-10-2017, 20:13   #10
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

Old inverters used transformers at 60 hertz. Now designs vary, and generally do not.

Electronic voltage converters of every kind are less than 100% efficient, many becoming less efficient at light loading. At idle, there is still parasitic heat-generating activity - but as noted some are "smart" and sense load, going to low-current sleep mode when not needed.

Always use boat voltage (12 volts) directly if at all possible.
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Old 26-10-2017, 20:43   #11
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

Modern inverters convert DC input to (usually) around $150 volts DC.
This is then pulsed by other circuitry to a variable duty cycle at high frequency at (in the US versions) to 60 hertz.
This is fed to a transformer which operates at the formerly mentioned high frequency.
This is why no heavy transformer steel laminates are necessary. Powdered iron cores transfer the high frequency energy to the secondary windings.
The output is fed to the loads.
Additional circuitry, including shunts looks for a load if the inverter is equipped with an automatic start function.
That, in a nutshell is how they work.
Some efficiency is sacrificed in a pure sine wave inverter for the additional circuitry to make the sine wave, but often is MORE than paid for by increased efficiency in running a load which really needs a sine wave to work efficiently.
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Old 26-10-2017, 20:57   #12
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

How do you increase DC voltage? I thought that took a transformer, and DC will not transform, you need either pulsed DC, like in a cars ignition system or old radios etc actually had vibrators to pulse DC.
My knowledge of electronics is old, back when I was a kid I was interested, but itís all pre semi conductor stuff. We were building breadboards and printing our own circuit boards was all.
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Old 26-10-2017, 21:39   #13
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
How do you increase DC voltage? I thought that took a transformer, and DC will not transform, you need either pulsed DC, like in a cars ignition system or old radios etc actually had vibrators to pulse DC.
My knowledge of electronics is old, back when I was a kid I was interested, but itís all pre semi conductor stuff. We were building breadboards and printing our own circuit boards was all.
Boost converter!
Read all about it:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boost_converter
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Old 27-10-2017, 00:53   #14
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

Quote:
Originally Posted by landonshaw View Post
I recently purchased a Xantrex 1000W / 55A Inverter / Charger. My question is when you have a transformer 220 - 110, and it is turned on but nothing is plugged into it, it is using energy.

My question is if I leave the investor on but have nothing plugged into it, is it drain gin my battery. I do not think it is.

Second, is it best to leave it off and only turn it on when in use?

Thanks
If you really want to know, use an ammeter and measure DC current drain with inverter off, unloaded, and with the transformer connected.

Last time I did this, the results were about 0.5 amp unloaded (idle), but 2 amps with the transformer connected. Inverters are very inefficient at loads which are less than 10% of their ratings.

Which is why I use a 150 watt inverter to run the computer and charge the cell phone, and only turn on the big inverter when I need big power.
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Old 27-10-2017, 11:13   #15
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Re: Inverter energy usage when idle

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I don’t understand the idle or search mode as Magnum calls it.
My Inverter will “search”and look for a load that exceeds X number of watts, You program what X is. When X is exceeded, the inverter powers up. When in search mode, very little power is used as the inverter is off.
So tell me this, if the thing is off it can’t be supplying power so how can any power be used? Or said another way, if there is no 110VAC power available, how can X number of watts be used?

An inverter has to be a transformer doesn’t it? It first I assume converts 12 VDC to either AC or pulsed DC, then runs that through a transformer to increase the voltage to 120?
The inverter turns on every few secs. Checks for power draw. Shuts back if not. If it's on for say .5 secs every 3 secs. It's using 1/6 the power in search mode as it would in standby. Plug an led lightbulb in and turn up the search watts. And watch. It'll flash every couple secs.
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