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74 MAY 2009 ELECTRONI CS FOR YOU WWW. E F Y MA G . C O M
doesnt boot.
Its better to go for the UPS model
because even if you dont have a
computer at home, you may buy one
tomorrow. Also, inverters with UPS
are available for more or less the same
price as standalone inverters.
Luminous, for instance, has invert-
ers up to 6 kVA with built-in UPS. All
Parker GPH Home UPS up to 3.5 kVA
have built-in UPS.
Which type of inverter will
suffice?
Inverters convert AC into DC and then
DC into AC, which can be created as
square wave, modifed sine wave or
pure sine wave based on the fltering
process.
All squarewave inverters today are
more or less modifed sinewave type.
Modifed sinewave inverters are some-
where in between pure squarewave
and sinewave. The difference is only in
terms of the waveshape. People have
been using squarewave and modifed
sinewave without any problem per se.
Square wave doesnt affect the life of
appliances unless its a sensitive equip-
ment.
In sinewave, you get a waveshape
similar to that of AC mains. It doesnt
produce the humming noise from a
fan or tubelight thats produced with a
squarewave inverter. For sensitive loads
like audio appliances (CD players and
home theatre systems), water motors and
ACs, pure sinewave is recommended.
Sinewave is not a new technol-
Which
UPS OR INVERTER?
UMA BANSAL
Your guide to the best inverter-battery combination that gives you the best
backup but least headache
Luminous long-
backup UPS
W
henever power supply
fails and you sweat,
you need an inverter.
So an inverter is a
need-based product,
not a want product.
Basically, an inverter system com-
prises an inverter, charger and battery.
When mains power is available, it con-
verts AC into DC and stores the same
in the battery. When mains supply
fails, it inverts the DC power stored
in the battery into AC to run the con-
nected appliances.
Before you buy an in-
verter for your home, there
are several things to con-
sider, like:
1. Do I need a built-in
UPS?
2. Which type of
inverter (squarewave,
modified sinewave or
pure sinewave) will suit
me?
3. How much inverter
capacity do I need for run-
ning the desired loads?
4. How long can I run
the appliances on the in-
verter? (This depends on
the battery size (in ampere-
hours) and the type of bat-
teries used.)
5. Protection features
6. Additional features offered
by the inverter, such as battery level (in
per cent) display, load display, auto-
adjustment to battery and no-load
shutdown
Here are some recommendations
to help you choose the best inverter
for you.
Do I need a UPS model?
Inverters with built-in UPS come
with over- and under-voltage protec-
tion. So in the event of wide voltage
fuctuations, your PC isnt affected.
Also, changeover time from mains to
battery is fast and therefore your PC
BUYERS
GUIDE
ELECTRONI CS FOR YOU MAY 2009 75 WWW. E F Y MA G . C O M
ogy, it has been
a r ound f or
years. How-
ever, customer
adoption has
been low due
to their slightly
higher price.
No d o u b t ,
there is a shift to
sinewave inverters
but that shift is still
very slow.
Right now, the price difference
between sinewave and squarewave in-
verters is very nominal at only around
Rs 400.
What size of inverter do
I need?
When buying an inverter, be clear
about the number of appliances, bulbs
and fans that you want to be run on the
inverter in case of power failure. Buy
an inverter that is of slightly higher
capacity than you need at present as
you will be able to run something else
simultaneously, whenever required. So
calculate the total power consumption
requirement of the desired loads and go
for slightly higher wattage.
Going by this, for a two-bedroom
house, to run three lights, two fans and
a TV set, about 600VA inverter would
suffce. This is how the inverter capac-
ity is arrived at in this case:
Power consumption of
Three 60W lights: 180W
Two ceiling fans: 150W
One 48.3cm (19-inch) colour TV: 100W
The total power requirement in this
case being 430W, a 600VA inverter will
suffce.
Buy a 5kVA inverter in case you
also want to run an AC along with
fans, tubelights and TV set.
Some appliances require extra load
(called surge load) when these start
up. While calculating the load require-
ment, take into account this surge load
(startup load) and not the lower run-
ning load. Typically, the startup load
is two times the running load. In the
case of appliances like air-conditioners,
refrigerators and pumps, it could be
more than three times the continuous
load rating.
How long can I run the
appliances?
The battery capacity determines the
backup duration. It is primarily defned
in ampere hours (Ah) and selected on
the basis of backup requirements of an
individual. The more the Ah, the longer
the backup. The number of plates and
the total battery-plate surface area of the
cells determine the length of backup.
A 180Ah normal battery has 25 plates,
while a 180Ah normal tubular battery
has only 13 plates but greater plate area.
A standard battery provides three
hours of backup time at full load and
six hours at half load. Youll need a
180Ah battery for 800VA load.
You can increase the backup dura-
tion by installing a higher-capacity
battery or adding extra batteries in
parallel.
Standard, tubular or SMF?
Battery selection is very important as
its a recurring cost every 2-3 years. An
ideal solution for inverters is either a
thick-, fat-plate (standard) battery or
a tubular battery. Both the thick-plate
and tubular batteries need topping up.
Of the two, tubular is better because
it lasts longer. Flat batteries generally
do not exceed three years of lifetime as
against fve years in the case of tubular
batteries. But, the initial cost of tubular
batteries is also higher.
UTL sinewave combo UPS
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76 MAY 2009 ELECTRONI CS FOR YOU WWW. E F Y MA G . C O M
SMF batteries that are available in
the market today are generally not the
correct solution for inverter application
because inverter is a heavy-duty appli-
cation and SMF batteries wont give a
good life for such an application.
Some companies have recently
designed an SMF battery with the char-
acteristics of thick-, fat-plate batteries.
So its a thick-plate battery which is
specially designed for inverter appli-
cations. It gives you two advantages:
It doesnt require topping up and can
last long enough for an inverter kind of
application.
The frst lot of these batteries is
available in the market and its accept-
ance has been good. Price is 25-30 per
cent higher than of normal thick-plate
battery.
There are tubular batteries in nor-
mal-size container, jumbo container,
tall container, etc. Capacities are gen-
erally 135 Ah, 150 Ah or 180 Ah. The
jumbo and tall containers have extra
electrolyte, so the topping-up frequen-
cy is reduced.
Which inverter-battery
combination will work
the best?
You may think a combination of the
best inverter brand and the best battery
brand will give you the best backup. But,
rather than buying inverter and battery
separately, go for a package. Otherwise,
you will be running after two companies
if something goes wrong with the battery
or inverter. The inverter maker will say
its a battery problem and the battery
maker will say its an inverter problem.
There is no one-point solution. So buy
both the battery and the inverter of the
same brand, or at least from the same
vendor.
Bhalla says that Luminous designs
an inverter or charger for that keeping
the batteries in mind. Similarly, it de-
signs a battery keeping the inverter in
mind. Since inverters and batteries are
not designed in isolation, this gives the
best solution to customers.
The life of a battery depends on
the quality of charging by the in-
verter.
Battery costs one-and-a-half times
the inverter. So the company should
be able to take care of boththe in-
verter and the battery.
Can I use an automotive
battery?
Automotive batteries can be used for in-
verters, but these are not recommended.
They are not designed to withstand long
discharge periods with inverters. They
are designed with thin plates to deliver
a high current for a very short duration,
and are mainly used for starting, light- Parker Power Sun 810 solar inverter
Some Popular Inverters with UPS
Note: While every precaution has been taken to ensure accuracy and adequate information in this table, EFY assumes no responsibility and disclaims all liability for damages resulting from use of this information or for any
errors or omissions. Also, prices may vary from dealer to dealer and change with time.
Company Type/model Capacity Price (Rs) Features
Luminous Sinewave 600VA 6930 Very high cold start by the UPS, fast changeover time, surface mount technology for reliable and compact design, sensor charge
long backup 800VA 8950 technology for faster charging and longer battery life, intelligent thermal management, free pre-loaded battery management software,
UPS miniature circuit breaker instead of fuse to protect load and equipments, single battery, 10-12 hours typical recharge time, low battery and
reverse polarity protection, LED display for switch on, UPS on, low battery pre-alarm, battery low, mains on, smart charge, overload, short
circuit under battery mode, and MCB trip or short circuit under mains mode, alarms for low battery pre-alarm, low battery, overload, no load
shut down and short circuit, 0-40C operating temperature
Microtek Model UPS E
2
625VA 4290 Highly energy effcient, in-built low watt loss transformer saves the power while charging the battery, two years warranty, single-battery
system, TPZi waveform, 110V~310V input AC range, 10.5~14.2 input DC range, overload protection (110 per cent), short-circuit protection
(300 per cent), charger current protection (6.75A)
Model UPS 850VA 4990 Single-battery system, TPZi waveform, 110V~310V input AC range, 10.5~14.2 input DC range, overload protection (110 per cent),
EB 850 short-circuit protection (300 per cent), charger current protection (9.00A)
Parker Power Pure sinewave 810VA/ Dual charging options (solar as well as mains utility), 100 per cent pure sinewave output, dual functionality modes (Inverter and UPS), with
solar inverter/ 12V DC UPS mode, computers can be directly connected to UPS without the need of a separate UPS for each computer, smart charge pulse
model SUN technology and solar charge controller, advanced thermal management for longer life and higher reliability of inverter, high-end
microcontroller/digital signal controller based design, unique overload and short circuit protection with auto reset feature, unique child lock
protection, user-friendly graphic display, compatible with all types of batteries, four modes provided for different top-charging level,
one battery
upsINVERTER. Sinewave 810VA 5990 Starts from as low as 90V, just 2.5 kg of total weight, 20kHz PWM based pure sine wave output, selectable fast/normal charging, auto-
com Combo UPS/ restartable no-load shutdown, higher effciency that gives 15 per cent more back-up, auto-adjustment with any kind of battery, touch switch
model UTL Hi-Lite for smooth operation
BUYERS
GUIDE
78 MAY 2009 ELECTRONI CS FOR YOU WWW. E F Y MA G . C O M
ing and ignition of any automotive ap-
plication. As soon the automobile starts,
the battery becomes idle. Inverters, on
the other hand, require a steady current
for a long duration.
So use only inverter-grade batter-
ies with inverters for better results and
long life.
Auto-adjustment to battery
Not all the inverters offer the facility
for auto-adjustment to different types
of batteries (standard, tubular and
SMF). If auto-sensing isnt there, the
battery will get under-/over-charged,
which will affect the backup time as
well as battery life.
Battery charging characteristics are
measured on two counts: boost voltage
and foat voltage. These settings should
change according to the type of battery
used. HI-LITE inverters of UTL come
with this auto-adjustment feature.
Some manufacturers offer an in-
telligent charging profle adjustment
wherein the inverter can sense the
charging profle need of a battery and
adjust the charging accordingly. To
give you an example, local batteries
require a different kind of charging
than maybe a branded battery. When
a company makes an inverter, it
doesnt know whether a branded or a
local battery will be used with the in-
verter. So if the charger in the inverter
is set for a local battery and you put a
branded battery, then its a problem.
These inverters automatically sense
after a few cycles of charging as to
whats the type of battery and whats
the best charging profle required and
perform the required adjustment in
time.
In the event of a very high or low
voltage, the inverter cuts off and
switches to the battery. A very low
voltage affects the charging. So some
inverters are designed for charg-
ing from as low as 110V, keeping in
mind the varied power conditions
in India.
Price
Home inverter requirement can go up
to as high as 40 kVA for farmhouses.
But 600VA and 800VA are the largest
selling models, accounting for 85 per
cent of the market. 1.5 and 3kVA in-
verters hold about 12-13 per cent share
and the balance is accounted for by
10kVA and higher models.
Microteks 600VA and 850VA in-
verters start at Rs 3990 and Rs 4990,
respectively. The average price for
Luminous 600VA and 800VA invert-
ers is Rs 3500 and Rs 4500, respec-
tively. UTLs 800VA inverters cost Rs
4500 for squarewave and Rs 5200 for
sinewave versions. Parker Powers
630VA and 860VA Digital Home UPS
start at around Rs 3300 and Rs 4300,
respectively.
Last but not the least
Buy only a branded inverter as there
are many down-the-line suppliers who
just assemble inverters from the kits
available in the market. These local
Microtek E
2
625 UPS
type of companies offer very low price
but the reliability of their inverter is al-
most nil as they do not have any manu-
facturing or R&D facility. See that you
pay a reasonable price for the branded
inverters and check the warranty terms
and period of warranty.
Apart from this, after-sales service
is very important and many manufac-
turers lag in that.
The next important factor is the bat-
tery of the inverter. Many companies
sell only inverter and one has to buy the
battery from another source. Complica-
tions arise when the inverter or battery
fails. Get inverter and battery from the
same vendor.
Also ensure that the inverter has
features of multiple charging, which
means that it has regulation for fast
charging, normal charging, branded
batteries and so on.
Other points to consider are features
like child lock, compatibility with solar
panel and input voltage range.
The author is a deputy editor at EFY
Checklist
Built-in UPS
Squarewave, modified sinewave or
pure sinewave
Size of the inverter
Backup duration/battery size
Type of battery (standard, tubular or
SMF)
Same battery and inverter brands
Protection features
I nnovat i ve f eat ures l i ke aut o-
adjustment to batter y, mul ti pl e
charging, etc
After-sales service
Price
Major contributors to
this report
N.K. Aggarwal, Chairman, Microtek
International
Sunil Bhalla, director, Luminous Power
Technologies
Sunil Bhatnagar, director-exports, Parker
Power Systems
Yogesh Dua, director, upsINVERTER.com