Will Modified Sine Wave Damage Electronics?

written By Matthew Joseph Nandirio   Reviewed by Dinu Sri Madusanka, PhD •  Updated: 02/17/23 •  8 min read

If you’re looking for a machine that can maintain your appliances when there’s a sudden power outbreak, then a modified sine wave inverter will get the job done for you. It converts the electrical currents from direct currents to alternating currents.

The modified sine wave inverters are somehow similar to the pure sine wave inverters. But in reality, they aren’t the same. The modified inverters create a sine wave that’s easy to produce but is not closely related to the actual DC currents. 

 The modified sine wave inverter is quite popular and way better than the pure in many aspects. However, their designs, working, and parameters are entirely different from one another. While using the modified inverter, you have to be extremely careful because some of its technology is incompatible with your device. It can damage your other devices, thus, one should know what you can run on a modified sine wave inverter. 

Admit that you won’t know about it. Well! If your answer is a yes, then be honest, and no need to worry. 

Check out the remaining part of the article, and you’ll get to know the answer. So, let’s get started.

What Can You Run With a Modified Sine Wave Inverter? 

The modified sine wave inverters are used in systems that don’t require any sensitive or high volts electronics. Old tube televisions, phone chargers, and water pumps work well with the modified sine wave inverter. 

However, all those appliances that use AC motors such as compressors, microwaves, and refrigerators run efficiently on a modified sine wave inverter. Besides this, some fluorescent lights may not glow much brightly with this inverter. 

Some devices might also suffer from unwanted interruption from a modified sine wave inverter. For example, you can power the radio with the modified inverter, but it will pick up interference, making it difficult to listen.

Examples of Devices That Might Not Work With Modified Sine Wave Inverter 

Here are some other devices that won’t run on a modified sine wave inverter:

  • A sewing machine that has microprocessor control. 
  • Output voltage control devices such as ceiling fans and dimmers. Devices that utilize radio frequency signals are carried out by the AC distribution wiring. 
  • Furnaces with microprocessor controls
  •  Laser printers and magneto-optical hard drives. 
  • Alarm clocks, coffee makers, VCR, and microwave ovens
  • Modern TVs
  • Fluorescent lamps

Can You Run Electronics On a Modified Sine Wave Inverter? 

There’s a common misunderstanding that modified sine wave inverters can cause harm to electronics. Well! It is neither entirely wrong; it is the whole truth. Whether the modified sine wave inverter damages your device depends on the electronics you use. To your knowledge, there are two main types of electronics you should worry about when using the modified sine wave inverter, namely: 

  • Appliances that use AC motors 
  • Classes of specific medical equipment 

If your electronics don’t fall into these categories, it’s unlikely that the inverter causes any damage. Anything that uses an AC motor won’t work well with the modified sine wave inverter. If you run an AC motor on a verified sine wave inverter, it will build up excess waste heat that can damage your appliance. 

Using an electronic appliance with a modified inverter is like doing a risky business. The pure wave inverter will be a safer option for using a more comprehensive range of devices.

Can You Run a TV on a Modified Sine Wave Inverter? 

The short and simple answer is no! It is a sensitive electronic appliance; thus, running it on a pure sine inverter would be better. Nowadays, smart TVs are pretty popular and convert the incoming AC to DC using capacitors and diodes. The high voltage DC is converted to a higher frequency AC driving transformer.

 However, some noises from the AC input might be coupled to the output depending on the power supply. While in some cases, the power supply for the audio amplifier might not be regulated or filtered. As a result, audio frequency noise is detected in the audio amplifier and the speakers. Television tends to be heated more than it should. Also, it will affect the video quality as there would be distortion in the picture.

 Hence, running a TV on a modified sine wave inverter is not a good idea. But if you have an old tube TV, you can run it with the modified sine wave inverter.

How Bad is the Modified Sine Wave Inverter?

There are two major things at which a modified sine wave inverter is very bad. Firstly, these inverters are not good at powering devices that use AC and other devices like a radio that suffer from noise interruptions. 

Secondly, not all the equipment sold in the markets is designed for the modified sine wave inverter, which reduces its worth compared to the pure sine wave inverters.

Why Should You Use a Modified Sine Wave Inverter?

Modified sine wave inverter is relatively popular among users because it works well with most equipment even though the efficiency and power of the equipment might be reduced. If you need to use electrical appliances off the grid, then here are the reasons why you should use a modified sine wave inverter:

  • Cost-Effective

The best feature of the modified sine wave inverter is that they are less expensive than the pure sine wave inverters. The technology they use is more cost-effective to produce than most other inverters. Although they are incapable of generating a perfect AC replica, they can still provide a more affordable option that suits most mobile power applications. 

  • Saves Money

As the modified sine wave inverters don’t cost you much more money than the pure sine wave inverters, you can save a lot of money. It also helps to minimize your expenses while you purchase them.

  • Perfect for Equipment that Runs on Non-Sinusoidal Current

If the appliance or equipment you want to run with the inverter can work on the non-sinusoidal current that contains different sine waves of different frequencies, then using the modified sine wave inverter is the best option to go with. 

Is Modified Sine Wave Inverter Safe to Use?

As mentioned above, if you run an AC motor on a modified sine wave inverter, it can overheat the appliance or equipment that can ultimately damage it. So, if you’re using any such equipment on a modified inverter, then run it at your own risk as it is not safe at all. 

Using a modified sine wave inverter with medical equipment is also safe. For example, using CPAP with a pure sine wave inverter is a better option to consider. The CPAP manufacturers have warned that the modified wave inverters will damage the humidifier option and affect its entire working. Also, oxygen concentrators work more safely with the pure sine wave inverter. 

Will modified sine wave damage electronics?

It is possible that modified sine wave inverters could damage some types of electronics, particularly those that are sensitive to changes in the quality of the power supply.

Modified sine wave inverters produce a power output that is a stepped approximation of a pure sine wave, which can result in voltage spikes, harmonic distortion, and other irregularities in the waveform.

While most electronics are designed to handle some variation in the power supply, certain devices may be more sensitive to these irregularities than others.

Devices that are most likely to be affected by a modified sine wave include those with microprocessors or digital circuitry, such as computers, audio and video equipment, and other sensitive electronics.

On the other hand, devices with more basic electrical components, such as resistive heating elements, incandescent bulbs, and motors, are generally less affected by waveform irregularities and may be operated safely with a modified sine wave inverter.

Can you charge a laptop with a modified sine wave inverter?

In most cases, it is possible to charge a laptop with a modified sine wave inverter, but there are some considerations to keep in mind.

However, some laptop power supplies may not work well with modified sine wave inverters and may produce errors or fail to charge the battery properly. In general, it is a good idea to check the manufacturer’s specifications for your laptop and its power supply to determine whether they are compatible with a modified sine wave inverter.

Final Thoughts

The modified sine wave inverters are still viable if you aren’t concerned with the appliances’ efficiencies. These inverters won’t work well with machines and devices that comprise sensitive electronics such as computers and laser printers, and more. Suppose you want to enjoy some peace of mind while using any electronic instrument and want to be sure that the device will run safely with the highest efficiency. In that case, it is better to use pure sine wave inverters instead of modified ones. 

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