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Giandel 300W Pure Sine Wave inverter mini-review

May 26, 2020 — BarryK

I have owned a modified-sinewave 150W inverter for a very long time, probably about 15 years, and it has been taken on camping trips. However, has seen very little use, as it does not have enough grunt.

On a recent trip, I tried to use it to drive my LCD/LED TV (an old 55cm 1080p TV that I usually use as a monitor) and (not at the same time) my "big" laptop, without success. The TV for example, the power-LED just kept flickering on and off and the screen stayed dark -- it must be the startup current is too high. So, time for a higher-capacity inverter, and also one with "pure" sinewave output, more suited to driving electronic equipment.

Actually, I do have a DC-DC converter for my "big" laptop, 12V in, 18V out, that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket, and that works well. Also, the TV is capable of running directly off 12V -- it would be just a matter of making up a suitable cable.

So, there is no immediate need for an inverter, but I got the itch...

After some research, I settled on a 300W inverter. That suits the maximum current that my powerbox is designed to handle, and is enough for TV and laptop and something else running together. Or an electric drill.

Prices vary from AU$78 to over $350 -- for what seems like the same thing. At the top-end, there is this Redarc 350W inverter:

...I studied the specs in a PDF, and the no-load input current is stated to be <0.9A. If the input voltage is 13V, then it is consuming <11.7 watts. Efficiency is stated as 89%. Redarc is an Australian company with local manufacturing, which these days is a rarity. It does mean more expensive than Chinese products, however the quality is top-notch.

Fast forward to what I ended up purchasing, this Giandel 350W Pure Sine Wave inverter, for just AU$78.96, including delivery:


Note, this does look like a generic Chinese product. I have seen other brands on eBay and YouTube that look the same.

Before ordering, I contacted the vendor and they confirmed that they ship by Australia Post -- some eBay vendors use Fastway Couriers (now renamed to Aramex), but after they lost my parcel earlier this year, and reading about them on, I vowed never to buy from any eBay vendor that uses them.

So, the Giandel inverter came by Australia Post, and it came fast, very pleased.

Here it is, setup, running off the lithium powerbox, powering my big laptop:


Now here is something very interesting: the online specifications state that the no-load input current is 1 ampere. However, I measured it: 13.3V input, at 0.47A. Only 0.47 amperes!

Most of the other 300W cheapies claim around 0.9A standby current. Except I did find one that claims <0.4A, the Elinz INTPW300:

The Elinz inverter claims over 90% efficiency, and something important, Australian "C-Tick" EMC compliance. I didn't give that much thought at time, but the importance became obvious later, when I tested the Giandel.

There is no C-Tick shown anywhere on the Giandel or the documentation, nor can I find it on their website, -- except that it does state "Australian standard design". Which means that it is illegal to use in Australia, I think. It is probably one of those legal-grey areas.

Anyway, the importance of EMC became apparent to me when I powered up the laptop, and the USB mouse was very erratic. It would freeze momentarily, work a bit, freeze again.

I did some searching with google, and found that this interference from inverters is common with laptop touchpads, but I eventually found someone who had it happening with their USB mouse.

Look at the above photo, where the mouse cable is draped!

Simple solution, moved the cable further away, and less interference. At about 2 feet away, no interference. This is RF, high frequency radio waves.

There is an earth terminal on the back of the inverter, which might help if connected. If I had an "earth" to connect it to. What about when in a tent, could "earth" be a steel peg in the ground?

Anyway, the solution is just to keep the inverter away from sensitive electronic equipment. Probably in tent, have it on the floor.

The unit itself looks well made. Very heavy cast heatsink chassis, finned aluminium.

One very good thing -- the fan is intelligent, only comes on when the chassis reaches 40degC. So, runs silent, much appreciated.

I did consider buying the Elinz inverter. Their eBay page states that they use Australia Post:

But when I contacted them, they said that they use both Australia Post and Fastway Couriers, and a couple others. Although I was enquiring about the inverter, they did not specifically state which of those carriers would be used, so their loss, I went elsewhere. 

Regarding cabling, the Giandel unit came with two sets of cables, one with cigarette-lighter plug, the other with crocodile clips.

The cigarette-lighter socket will be fused, maybe 10A or 15A, hence the other cable set is required to obtain the full power that the inverter is capable of. My powerbox has an Anderson plug output, so I will use that to run the inverter -- the Anderson plug is rated up to 50A, but of course need to use heavy cable also. Anyway, my powerbox has a 30A circuit breaker, limiting power output to around 13x30, which is 390W, a good match for the inverter. Though of course the inverter is specified to handle surges up to 600W.

I loaded the Giandel inverter a bit more: ran the desktop PC playing a video, monitor (my LED TV), a pedestal fan, and a pedestal lamp. All up, was getting 12.8V at 12.5A, which is 159W. Could hardly feel any warmth on that massive heatsink. 

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