Things that Work Home Power tests the Powerstar Inverter

tests conducted by Sam Coleman and Richard Perez hen we unpacked the Powerstar inverter we were surprised. Could an inverter this tiny really put out 200 watts? Don't let the small size fool you, it's a midget powerhouse wherever you need 120 vac from a 12 volt battery.

variety of loads, from incandescent lightbulbs to coffee grinders and computers. Electrical data was taken with a Fluke 87 recording digital multimeter. This meter allowed us to detect the true RMS voltage of the inverter, its positive & negative peak voltages and frequency.

Test Results

We ran a variety of loads and took data on the inverter's performance. No load power consumption was measured at 0.24 Amperes at 12.60 VDC, about 3 Watts. The various load tests and a graph of the inverter's efficiency appear below.

IIt's apparent from the table that the inverter is capable of producing its rated 200 watts. We were able to sustain this 200 watt level for more than 5 minutes without the inverter shutting down. We then added an additional 40 watts bringing the total output up to 240 watts. After about 5 seconds the inverter shutdown (as it should) and protected itself from overload damage. We were able to

The Powerstar inverter is at home in the woods, in vehicles, or in your backpack. Photo by Brian Green.

The Powerstar

The inverter was heavily packaged and arrived in good shape via UPS. The only documentation was a specification sheet. The Powerstar is so simple to use we didn't need instructions. Only two connections are needed, both plug-ins. One is the inverter's DC input via a male cigar lighter plug. The other is the inverter's 120 vac output, via a single standard ac female socket.

The Powerstar is 5" long, 2.6" and 1.7" tall. It weighs 15 ounces. Its case is a beautiful piece of extruded, anodized aluminum and is the inverter's heatsink. The supplied DC cord is 18" long and made from 16 gauge wire. There is a small neon indicator that shows when the unit is making 120 vac.

Test Situations

We tested the Powerstar on a variety of batteries in two systems and the Ovonics battery as a portable test. The inverter was powered by both lead-acid and large nicad batteries. We used a

Power Star Inverter Efficiency vs Output Power

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