What Are DC To AC Power Inverters?

In order to make DC energy usable, you often need DC to AC power inverters. DC energy is often produced by batteries, solar panels, and fuel cells among other sources. One of the most popular types of DC to AC inverters are grid tie inverters which can actually feed energy back into the distribution network which can then be sold to power companies for a profit. There are also micro-inverters which can convert the DC energy from solar panels into AC energy that can be used in the power grid.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, DC to AC power inverters mostly included rotary converters and motor generated sets. It is the origin of these devices that explain how they received the name ‘inverter.’ These earliest examples directly connected an induction alternating current motor to a generator which allowed it to reverse the connections at the necessary moments to create direct current energy. A later model allowed the motor and generator windings to combine into a single armature. The result of this change allowed for AC in and DC out. In a motor generator set, the direct currently energy is generated separately from the alternating current.

It is a technical process by which DC to AC power inverters work, but you will find them much easier to understand when you view a well drawn 12v inverter circuit diagram. In the most basic of designs, the direct current power is connected to a transformer through a center tap. A switch is flipped in a rapid movement which controls the current and allows it to pass through both ends of the primary winding, one end at a time. It is precisely this alternation in current which allows AC energy to be produced in the secondary circuit. The switching device contains 2 static contacts and a spring which supports the moving contact.

The switch mentioned above is one of the most crucial parts of DC to AC inverters. It is basically used to produce a square voltage waveform instead of the sinusoidal waveform that is typically found in an alternating current power supply. DC to AC power inverters will require different qualities of output waveforms depending largely on the features of the connected load. Some load will need a near perfect sine wave in order to work while others have requirements that are not as strict.

Of course nowadays DC to AC power inverters can be found that offer much more complicated designs. Different power circuit topologies and control strategies are used in their designs. These different approaches are used to address several different issues that have a different level of importance depending on the application in use. There are also multilevel inverters which are designed to address harmonic cancellation. These devices create an output that exhibits several steps and at several different levels. A three level inverter has 2 voltages and a ground.