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.
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 require pure 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 could be a risk you need to take into consideration of you are going to use a modified sine wave as the AC power source for them.
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 which can ultimately damage it (depending on the design of the AC motor, some motors have internal mechanisms to handle this kind of power). 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.
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 may not 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
Note: Please note that we could not specify any of the above devices may not work 100% with a modified sine wave inverter. Most of the time, they will work, but they may not perform well. Further, for any specific device, you need to check its manual to figure out what is the best power source.
Can You Run Electronics On a Modified Sine Wave Inverter?
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
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 sophisticated AC-to-DC converter circuits.
The use of modified sine wave inverters could introduce some noises from the AC input that 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.
Hence, running a TV on a modified sine wave inverter is not a good idea (This depends on the device you have and its capability to handle modified sine waves). But if you have an old tube TV, you can run it with the modified sine wave inverter.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.