Voltage Converter Review

voltage-converterLike every self-respecting DIY’er, doing most of the housework yourself sometimes requires voltage converter. Simple device that you hook up to a car battery can provide desired voltage suitable to operate most power tools.  What if you need to work outside the home, where you can not connect the tool to the mains 220 or 110 volts? For example, there was a need for me to install fences in the village cemetery. In this case voltage converter or inverter came to the rescue and I could operate all my tools just like at home. Voltage converters turn low voltage 12 volt battery into high voltage of 220 volts, in many ways similar to household mains power socket.

For my need I purchased two converters:

  • Low power 75 watts
  • More powerful 600 Watts

Below is my testing result using those 2 voltage converters from the perspective of the consumer. I will not deal with the measurement of voltage and other parameters of the converter. I do not have an oscilloscope, and a simple home tester does not show the correct values. But still, comparing the operation of the unit from the power supply 220 (native strain), and from the inverter, I visually demonstrate the efficiency of the instrument and the inverter.

Firstly I will test inverter with power of 75 watts

The manufacturer declares a maximum load of 150 watts, that is, 2-fold greater than the nominal. I bought it to power a laptop, cell phone, camera and other small household appliances, which I often use. It has an output of 220 volts and 5 volts USB connector. For those countries which use 110V there is also suitable inverters. Five volt USB plug works fine: charges mobile phone and feeds a table lamp with a corresponding connector.

220 volt socket tested with 75W inverter:

1) With a large 17-inch laptop and power supply with a rated current of 1.5 A or 330 W (1.5 x 220) model ASER Extensa 7620G. Inverter connected to the laptop adapter in charging mode helplessly winks reporting overload – that is inbuilt short circuit protection. From laptop there was also an error message telling that it is not charging. Well, it seems clear that 330W is too much for 75 or 150 W nominal power.
The result – an overload.

2) With a small 10 inch laptop and power supply unit rated 1 A at 220 watts (1 x 220V). In battery charging mode (when the laptop is turned off), the inverter / converter behaves with dignity – not even hot. At the same time I connected the mobile phone in USB port, and both devices worked without any problems.
The result – excellent.

3) Old 60W electric razor. It works quite good – you can shave.
The result – excellent.

4) For fun I tried to run a household kitchen mixer with 220 watts (the rated power in the inscriptions on the body). Oddly enough, the mixer engine starts, the overload light is not shown. The mixer turned on and off, I adjusted the speed of mixing, all speeds works well. Well, 220 watts is much more than 75 or 150 watts so maybe mixer really is less powerful than what it is rated.
The result – excellent.

5) connected to the voltage converter 48 Watt electric soldering iron. Soldering iron is not Chinese but even from the Soviet times. After 7 minutes of heating it melts the normal 12 mm thick bars of solder that drips (seen in the video). Soldering works just like from the mains.
The result – excellent.

6) And finally, I simulated a mini office! I connected the inkjet MFP HP Deskjet F2100 series (Power Supply 130 watts). At the same time I connected the printer and later run printing from 10 inches screen laptop. On the laptop movie was running in full screen while printer was printing A4 copy in color. The movie was shown without delay, the page of the newspaper was copied perfectly. The total theoretical power consumption of 220 + 130 = 350 watts. Inverter got quite hot after this operation.
The result – excellent.

The overall result of 75W voltage converter: a low-power inverter is usable for consumer tools of up to 150/200 watts. Primarily for mobile office equipment and household appliances. Ideal because of its small size and overload protection. It is convenient to carry in a bag with a laptop, soldering iron, etc.

Testing more powerful 600 watts inverter

Declared overload capacity of up to 1 KW. Acquired for household tools – grinder, drill, jigsaw, etc.

Experimented with:

1) Large laptop with a screen 17 inches, as described above. The result – works fine.

The following instruments were tested while connected the inverter directly to the car battery to keep auto wiring and fuses safe.

2) A small electric jigsaw “Fiolent” power of 650 watts. Jigsaw coped with a wooden bar of 40 x 40 mm perfectly. No heating.
The result – excellent.

3) Electric drill “Fiolent” 1KW power with soft start. Excellent drill holes in the tree. I must say that I used a drill before – it even drilled metal. Operating normally, the inverter is not overheating.
The result – excellent.

4) Angle grinder, popularly here known as Bulgarian grinder, power of 650 watts and 115 mm diameter disk. The manufacturer is not known – bought long time ago, all the inscriptions erased. Without much load cut metal pipe. From 220 volts works the same way.
The result – normal.

5) Bulgarian DWT capacity of 1KW power without the starter. Do not run – triggered protection.
The result – is not satisfactory.

Conclusion. The overall result: a powerful converter for consumers suitable powering tools up to 1000 watts. Suits mostly small appliances and household tools. Even being small size this inverter has never overheated because it has constantly running fan and overload protection . One day after working with a drill and a small grinder, a car fails to start – run down the battery – and the inverter is not overheated. It is convenient to carry in the glove box (glove compartment) in the car.

The test I had to share the experience of the Chinese operation of inverters. I must say that in general, both devices accomplished my expectations with  the money invested. If you have a similar test experience and are ready to share your observations: write in the comments and send cool stuff.