Camping and Inverters

With the weather getting nicer, camping season is just right around the corner for many of us.  For some this means pulling a camper behind you to your favorite destination or packing a tent to get away and relax.  This also means trying to figure out a way to power everything.  This was exactly my thought recently as I tried to purchase a couple different forms of power to take with us.  To my disappointment, I ended up returning both items.  Here is why.

Many people that go camping want power.  If you can’t plug into an outlet then you will want to bring the power with you.  This means getting a generator.   Regular AC generators can be rather loud and really take away peace and quiet that you want when you are camping.  This was my thought and so like many I looked to an inverter generator, which is much quieter.   After much research I choose a 2000W Inverter Generator made my WEN.  I choose this because it claimed the lowest THD which was at .3% at no load and 1.2% at max load.  Everything was fine until I fired this up and plugged in the Mircosurge Meter to take a reading.  The reading was over 2000 G/S units.  By plugging in two Stetzerizer Filters the G/S reading was still 500, which is a far cry from the 30 G/S units I was hoping for.  What does 2000 G/S unit look like?  Just take a look at the red in the picture below.   The area between the cursors represents a frequency of 20 kHz.

Inverter generator

The blue wave shown above is 60 Hz power, the same that runs in our homes.  The high red waveform is the high frequency that is riding on the 60 Hz cycle (blue wave).

Another item that I tried was a battery inverter.  In this case it was a Suaoki 220 Wh/20,000 mAh Portable Generator Power Source Power Supply.  When I plugged in my Microsurge Meter to test this, it gave readings of 1700 G/S and after adding two filters the reading only came down to once again 500 G/S units.  The waveform is shown below.   The area between the cursor is 33 kHz.

Battery Inverter

The problems shown for these two items are very common.  I was hoping to find an exception to the rule but I did not.  Since both of these items created very large amounts of dirty electricity I ended up returning both of these items.  It seems that when we camp now we will be doing so with less electricity, and possibly the way that we should have been doing it all along.

If you are wondering about your inverter generator,  or even testing your camper (since most campers have an inverter in them) all you would need to test this is a Microsurge Meter.    Simply plug in the meter and read the number.  The higher the number the worse it is.  To lower the number just add a filter in the plug in.  Test all the plug ins and add filters anywhere the reading drops more than 20%.  In our camper we have 5 filters plugged in.  You can purchase meters and filters by clicking this link.