Difference Between Inverter vs Converter

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Electricity is a strange thing no matter how you think about it. Take converters and inverters for example. 

Inverters and converters both have the job of converting electricity. But they do it in different ways. 

Inverters take DC sources and produce AC output. Converters take AC sources and produce DC output. 

Both are important to grid operations and operating most electronic gadgets. But which one do you need? In this article we’ll be explaining the difference between inverter vs converter.

What is an Inverter?

300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Charger Converter with 4.8A Dual USB Ports (Blue)

Inverters are a type of power converter that produce a DC voltage from AC power, and they are used in many applications that require DC voltage, such as a computer. They can be used to convert AC to DC, and the output voltages can range from a few hundred volts up to 20kV or more.

Also Read: Types Of Inverter

The inverter is used in electrical engineering to convert alternating current energy into direct current energy. The inverter can be used as a DC-to-DC converter or a DC-to-AC converter.

Inverters increase voltage.

What is a Converter?

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A converter is an electronic device that changes one form of electrical energy into another, or vice versa. Converters usually involve transistors, transformers, and capacitors. 

By switching the voltage or current, a converter can change the volume. You can use a converter to change the voltage from one source to another, such as a power supply to a headphone jack. 

You can also use it to change the frequency from one to another, such as from a radio to a CD player.

Converters reduce voltage.

Types of Converter

1. Half-Wave Rectifier

Source: Electric4u

The half-wave rectifier is a device that converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). It can be used in a variety of applications, including switching an amplifier on and off, in oscillators, and in the power supply of a radio transmitter to provide direct current to the antenna.

2. Full-Wave Rectifier

Source: Electric4u

A full-wave rectifier (aka full-wave bridge rectifier) is a device that uses a diode to convert alternating current into direct current. That is, the diode allows current to flow in one direction only. 

Significant Differences

1. Types

Although the two technologies work with each other, they have some fundamental differences in their circuit designs and the types of components that are used. Let’s explore the different types that are used between inverter and converter.

Converters:

Analog-to-digital converter (ADC): 

  • Analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) are used in electronic devices and computer systems to convert a continuously variable analog signal into a digital value. An ADC is a device that converts a signal continuously between two (usually digital) values. These digital values can be used for digital control, storing, and processing of data.

Digital-to-analog converter (DAC):

  • A digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is what takes the digital audio of an audio player and converts it into an analog signal that can then be played through an audio device. A DAC is a truly amazing piece of technology, and you can do an impressive amount of things with it.

Digital-to-digital converter (DDC):

  • Digital-to-digital converters are designed to convert digital signals to another digital format. They are used in a variety of different applications, including digital video and audio, computer networking, and various telecommunications devices.

Inverters:

Square wave inverter: 

  • A square wave inverter is a device used to convert AC to DC voltage. It is typically used for basic on/off switching and also for motor control. Some benefits of the square wave inverter are that it is small, inexpensive, and it can be used in a wide variety of different applications.

Quasi wave or Modified square wave inverter:

  • A quasi-wave inverter is a type of DC-to-DC converter circuit used in power generation, home automation, and other applications. It can be thought of as a modified inverter. In a quasi-wave inverter, a single pole, double throw (SPDT) switch allows the waveform to alternate between sine wave and quasi-sine wave.

True/Pure Sine wave inverters:

  • True sine wave inverters (TSWI) and pure sine wave inverters (PSWI) are two different types of inverters. Like the name implies, they have a pure sine wave output, which means the frequency of voltage they produce is the same as the input frequency. They differ from each other in the way they generate their sine waves. In TSWIs, the output is a wave shaped like a sine wave. In PSWIs, the output is square shaped like a sine wave.

2. Applications

There are a lot of applications that can be used for converting electrical energy from one form to another. The application which is used for converting electric energy can be either a Converter application or an Inverter application. 

Here are some real world applications:

Converters

  • Lighting switches
  • Temperature controllers
  • Voltage regulators

Inverters

  • UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems
  • Battery power storage
  • AC motors
  • Solar powered systems

Both these applications are used for converting one type of electrical energy to another type of electric energy. Converter application is used for converting the electric energy in the form of alternating current to the other form of electric energy in the form of direct current.

3. Appearance

AC and DC receptacles look totally different from each other. This is required for both identification and power use. 

AC Receptacles:

  • You’ll find AC plugs mostly in homes as the familiar two or three slot power inputs you see all along your home’s walls. Even RVs and other vehicles have these power plugins to provide the ultimate convenience.

DC Receptacles:

  • These power outlets look like those found in most vehicles. They are round receptacles that are mostly found where cigarette lighters used to be. They provide power for all sorts of devices from fans to laptop computers. These devices need to buy an adapter to use this receptacle.

When you take a look at a power plug receptacle in your home or RV, you are looking at an AC circuit. 

When you look at your automobile’s cigarette lighter receptacle, you are looking at a DC circuit.

Is One Better Than the Other?

As you see, there is no clear winner on whether a converter or inverter is better than the other. They each have a job to do, which is to better our technological world.

Why Should You Upgrade a Converter to a Smart Converter?

Why should you upgrade a converter to a smart converter? Smart converters are literally designed to be smarter than normal converters. 

Why? Because smart converters have the ability to identify the source of a voltage and deliver it to the device it is meant for. While regular converters simply convert voltage, smart converters can do so with a wide calculation for efficiency. By being more efficient, or smarter, these converters can save both time and money. 

Disadvantages of Converters

Although converters are great, they are not perfect. One of the main problems with converters is the fact that while it can convert power, it can’t directly send that power to a storage battery for example.

Here are a few disadvantages of converters:

  1. Poor overload capacity
  2. Tend to be more expensive, especially when something breaks

Disadvantages of Inverters

  1. Can destroy sensitive instruments
  2. Can’t really handle inductive AC loads
  3. Needs more power in order to recharge items

Conclusion

Thanks for sticking with us to the end of our article all about the difference between inverter vs converter. No matter how you put it, both converters and inverters have their respective jobs to do. Are either one of them perfect? No way, no how. 

Sure, they also have their disadvantages, but the thousands of advantages far outweigh any type of shortcomings they may have.

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