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Ask Max: Running a Mac on a power inverter

Asked on 11/14/2007:

I'm putting together a large UPS so I can continue working during blackouts. I'm going to connect a 120 AC power inverter to a deep cycle 12 volt DC battery. I've done the research know what I want, I just need to know what type of Power Inverter my Power Mac G4 should run on. my choices are:

- A modified sine wave inverter which is very common.

- Or, a pure sine wave inverter which is very expensive.

Most indications are that the modified will be fine, but I'm supposed to check with the manufacturer (Apple) to be sure. I can't find or get an answer from them.

Any insights?


Yes Apple is going to be a little hard to pin down on an answer to this one. A modified sine wave inverter will work in most short-term uses. UPS units that have just enough battery power to let you save your work and shut down. These are modified sine wave. The chance of a modified sine wave inverter causing damage to your computers is slight, but the longer you run off of it, the greater your chance of causing minor damage to your computers.

For longer run times off of battery power, or generator power, sine wave inverters are recommended. This is definitely a recommendation and not a requirement. The modified sine wave inverter will do the job well, and the damage you could suffer will be minor. It is more likely to take months of the life of the computer as opposed to killing it outright.

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