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Is a inverter the same as a transformer or marx generator?

  1. Jun 29, 2013 #1
    so i was looking up solar inverters (for solar panel setup) and i saw this picture
    and i thought it looked kinda the same how the marx generator is setup with a bunch of capacitors
    and on the schematic it looks like a transformer ... are these three similar in anyway? or do they use some of the same technology?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Solar panels generate DC. Households are typically set up to run with AC. It is the job of the inverter to change the DC into the specified AC required. As your photo illustrates, an inverter is a lot more than merely a passive transformer, though it almost certainly will include a transformer and some inductors to help it accomplish the task efficiently and safely.

    As for the marx generator, that sounds very ... political.
  4. Jun 30, 2013 #3
    lol why do you say it sounds political?

    heres a picture of one

    you can see its just a bunch of caps all next to each other thats why i was wondering if all the caps in the inverter are doing the same thing as the marx generator
  5. Jun 30, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    In the voltage multiplier circuit shown, the capacitors form the heart of the step-up process, it's a low current load and no one is demanding a particular waveshape. In a DC-AC inverter, a switching arrangement around a transformer is needed, to produce a waveshape approximately sinusoidal at. the high currents involved.
  6. Jul 1, 2013 #5


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    A Marx generator (also a Cockroft Walton voltage multiplier) is a way to produce very high volts from an (already high voltage) AC source but it is not for high power and is not efficient. An inverter will produce high voltages from a DC source and can be highly efficient. An inverter uses an oscillator to drive a step up transformer. Much more suitable for any purpose other than just "making sparks" these days, I think. Though, in the early days, it was sometimes the only way to obtain high energy particle beams.

    BTW, the 'political' bit was the reference to Karl Marx, I think. (Nascent Oxygen just can't help himself sometimes :wink:.)
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  7. Jul 1, 2013 #6
    You mention the schematic - it would be easier / better to ask about the elements in the schematic - the capacitors for example probably sit on both the Solar ( DC ) Side and the Grid/Load ( AC) side of the inverter circuit for both filtering and proper clean sine wave inverter operation. There probbable is not a tranformer in the actual power circuit, but they may be there for control power and sensing - etc.
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