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Operating Principle of an Inverter

An inverter can be taken as a crude form of UPS. Obviously the main use of an inverter is only for
powering common electrical appliances like lights and fans during a power failure.
As the name suggests the basic function of an inverter is to invert an input direct voltage (12VDC) into a
much larger magnitude of alternating voltage (generally 110VAC or 220VAC).
Before learning how to build an inverter, lets first understand the following fundamental elements of an
inverter and its operating principle:
Oscillator: An oscillator converts the input DC (Direct Current) from a lead acid battery into an oscillating
current or a square wave which is fed to the secondary winding of a power transformer. In the present
circuit, IC 4049 has been used for the oscillator section.
Transformer: Here the applied oscillating voltage is stepped up as per the ratio of the windings of the
transformer and an AC much higher than the input DC source becomes available at the primary winding
or the output of the inverter.
Charger: During power backups when the battery gets discharged to a considerable level, the charger
section is used to charge the battery once the AC mains is restored.

How to Build an Inverter

As per the circuit schematic first complete the assembly of the oscillator section consisting of
the smaller parts and the IC. It is best done by interconnecting the component leads itself and
soldering the joints.

Next fit the power transistors into the appropriately drilled aluminum heat sinks. These are
made by cutting an aluminum sheet into the given sizes and bending them at the edges so that
it can be clamped.

Do not fit the transistors directly on to the heat sinks. Use mica isolation kit to avoid direct
contact and short circuiting of the transistors with each other and the ground.

Clamp the heat sink assembly to the base of a well ventilated, sturdy, thick gauge metallic

Also fix the power transformer beside the heat sinks using nuts and bolts.

Now connect the appropriate points of the assembled circuit board to the power transistors on
the heat sinks.

Finally join the power transistors outputs to the secondary winding of the power transformer.

Finish the construction by fitting and interconnecting the external electrical fittings like fuses,
sockets, switches, mains cord and the battery inputs.

An optional separate power supply circuit using a 12V/3Amp. transformer may be added inside
to charge the battery whenever required (see diagram).

Circuit Description
To better understand how to build an inverter, it is important to learn how the circuit functions through
nthe following steps:

Gates N1 and N2 of IC 4049 are configured as an oscillator. It performs the primary function of
supplying square waves to the inverter section.

Gates N3... N6 are used as buffers so that the circuit is not load dependant.

Alternating voltage from the buffer stage is applied to the base of the current amplifier
transistors T1 and T2. These transistors conduct in accordance with the applied alternating
voltage and amplifies it to the base of the output transistors T3 and T4.

These output power transistors oscillate at a full swing, delivering the entire battery voltage into
the each half of the secondary winding alternately.

This secondary voltage is induced in the primary winding of the transformer and is stepped-up
into a powerful 230 volts (AC). This voltage is used to power the output load.

Testing Procedure

Begin the testing procedure by connecting a 100 watt bulb at the output socket of the inverter

Insert a 15 Amp./12V fuse inside the fuse holder

Finally connect a 12V automobile battery to the battery inputs of the inverter.

If all the connections are right, the 100 Watt bulb should immediately light up brightly.

Keep the inverter ON for an hour and let the battery discharge through the bulb

Then shift the given toggle switch to the charging mode, check the meter reading,

The meter should indicate the charging current of the battery.

The meter reading should gradually die down to zero after a span of time, confirming that the battery is
fully charged and ready for the next cycle.

Cheap 12V to 220V Inverter

Posted Apr 17, 2013 at 8:43 am

Even though todays electrical appliances are increasingly often self-powered, especially the portable ones you carry
around when camping or holidaying in summer, you do still sometimes need a source of 230 V AC and while were
about it, why not at a frequency close to that of the mains? As long as the power required from such a source
remains relatively low here weve chosen 30 VA its very easy to build an inverter with simple, cheap components
that many electronics hobbyists may even already have.
Though it is possible to build a more powerful circuit, the complexity caused by the very heavy currents to be handled
on the low-voltage side leads to circuits that would be out of place in this summer issue. Lets not forget, for example,
that just to get a meager 1 amp at 230 VAC, the battery primary side would have to handle more than 20 ADC!. The
circuit diagram of our project is easy to follow. A classic 555 timer chip, identified as IC1, is configured as an astable
multivibrator at a frequency close to 100 Hz, which can be adjusted accurately by means of potentiometer P1.
Circuit Diagram

Cheap 12V to 220V Inverter Circuit Diagram

As the mark/space ratio (duty factor) of the 555 output is a long way from being 1:1 (50%), it is used to drive a D-type
flip-flop produced using a CMOS type 4013 IC. This produces perfect complementary square-wave signals (i.e. in
antiphase) on its Q and Q outputs suitable for driving the output power transistors. As the output current available
from the CMOS 4013 is very small, Darlington power transistors are used to arrive at the necessary output current.
We have chosen MJ3001s from the now defunct Motorola (only as a semi-conductor manufacturer, of course!) which
are cheap and readily available, but any equivalent power Darlington could be used.
These drive a 230 V to 2 9 V center-tapped transformer used backwards to produce the 230 V output. The
presence of the 230 VAC voltage is indicated by a neon light, while a VDR (voltage dependent resistor) type
S10K250 or S07K250 clips off the spikes and surges that may appear at the transistor switching points. The output
signal this circuit produces is approximately a square wave; only approximately, since it is somewhat distorted by

passing through the transformer. Fortunately, it is suitable for the majority of electrical devices it is capable of
supplying, whether they be light bulbs, small motors, or power supplies for electronic devices.

PCB Layout

PCB Layout For Cheap 12V to 220V Inverter Circuit Diagram

Component List


R1 = 18k?
R2 = 3k3
R3 = 1k
R4,R5 = 1k?5
R6 = VDR S10K250 (or S07K250)
P1 = 100 k potentiometer
C1 = 330nF
C2 = 1000 F 25V

T1,T2 = MJ3001
IC1 = 555
IC2 = 4013
LA1 = neon light 230 V
F1 = fuse, 5A
TR1 = mains transformer, 29V 40VA (see text)
4 solder pins
Note that, even though the circuit is intended and designed for powering by a car battery, i.e. from 12 V, the
transformer is specified with a 9 V primary. But at full power you need to allow for a voltage drop of around 3 V
between the collector and emitter of the power transistors. This relatively high saturation voltage is in fact a
shortcoming common to all devices in Darlington configuration, which actually consists of two transistors in one
case. Were suggesting a PCB design to make it easy to construct this project; as the component overlay shows,
the PCB only carries the low-power, low-voltage components.

The Darlington transistors should be fitted onto a finned anodized aluminum heat-sink using the standard insulating
accessories of mica washers and shouldered washers, as their collectors are connected to the metal cans and would
otherwise be short-circuited. An output power of 30 VA implies a current consumption of the order of 3 A from the 12
V battery at the primary side. So the wires connecting the collectors of the MJ3001s [1] T1 and T2 to the transformer
primary, the emitters of T1 and T2 to the battery negative terminal, and the battery positive terminal to the transformer
primary will need to have a minimum cross-sectional area of 2 mm2 so as to minimize voltage drop.
The transformer can be any 230 V to 2 9 V type, with an E/I iron core or toroidal, rated at around 40 VA. Properly
constructed on the board shown here, the circuit should work at once, the only adjustment being to set the output to a
frequency of 50 Hz with P1. You should keep in minds that the frequency stability of the 555 is fairly poor by todays
standards, so you shouldnt rely on it to drive your radio-alarm correctly but is such a device very useful or indeed
desirable to have on holiday anyway? Watch out too for the fact that the output voltage of this inverter is just as
dangerous as the mains from your domestic power sockets.
So you need to apply just the same safety rules! Also, the project should be enclosed in a sturdy ABS or diecast so
no parts can be touched while in operation. The circuit should not be too difficult to adapt to other mains voltages or
frequencies, for example 110 V, 115 V or 127 V, 60 Hz. The AC voltage requires a transformer with a different
primary voltage (which here becomes the secondary), and the frequency, some adjusting of P1 and possibly minor
changes to the values of timing components R1 and C1 on the 555.