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Invest in plug-and-play power

Backup power is no longer just a nice-to-have, writes SEAN BACHER as he reviews the RCT Megapower inverter

At first sight, the RCT Megapower 2KVA/2000W inverter trolley doesn’t look like much. Its dimensions are about the same as a gas heater that uses a 9kg bottle. The only real difference is that, when one tries to move the inverter or pick it up, as it weighs close to 80kg, thanks to the two large batteries and coil inside.

When I first unpacked the inverter there were no instructions, and I tried my best to find some on the Internet, but that was a no go. I quickly realised that the labels are self-explanatory, leaving little room for error.

At the back it has two 220 volt three-prong outlets – the same as the ones found around a house. A main trip switch acts as a surge protector and trips if the inverter gets overloaded. To the right of that, a solar trip switch and solar connector are a great feature, as one can keep the batteries charging during the day even if there is load shedding.

Two 12 volt, two USB outputs and a main power switch are placed at the front.  An LCD shows stats like the voltage coming into the inverter, the output voltage, the amount of charge in the battery and the battery status. Two switches allow one to cycle through various other readings, such as wattage and load.

It really is a plug and play device.

Pure sine versus modified sine inverters

The RCT Megapower is a pure sine inverter, so its output voltage is similar to that from a power utility provider. Pure sine wave inverters are always needed if one is connecting equipment such as computers  and TVs.

They are capable of producing cleaner, smoother, quieter, and more reliable electricity to operate appliances and electronics without interference.

In pure sine wave inverters, the AC power produced by the inverter very closely matches an actual sine wave. In modified sine wave inverters, when looking at the wave, it has a stair-step, square pattern. That choppy wave can negatively affect more delicate equipment. It is not recommended to use a modified sine inverter to power computers and the like. Additionally, in many cases, one hears a hum from a modified inverter when it is running.


The RCT Megapower offers 2,000 Kva (kilo volt-amperes), so it isn’t designed to run appliances like microwaves, kettles and toasters. However, it holds up extremely well when it comes to staying connected to the outside world. I connected four CCTV cameras, a printer, a mass storage device, fibre, two 19-inch LCDs and three notebooks, and it didn’t show any signs of being overloaded. I then connected two lamps, which it also handled with ease. 

In fact, after running all this for 24 hours, the batteries only dropped by 20%. The inverter could easily run for a full two days before the batteries run completely flat. That said, many inverter manufacturers don’t recommend running the batteries until they are drained.

When a load shedding period comes to an end and electricity is restored, there is sometimes a surge – when too much electricity is pushed through the grid. As one can imagine, this is no good for any appliance. My fridge’s compressor blew due to a surge. After the technician installed a new compressor, he took it upon himself to plug the fridge into the inverter. I thought it would be too much for the inverter and cause it to trip. But no, it increased the load by a mere 15%.

The technician also suggested I get a specially designed fridge surge guard. I found the Ellies Fridge Safe. When it detects a voltage irregularity, it disconnects the fridge and only reconnects it once the voltage is back to normal.


Inverters are the way to go as a relatively affordable backup power source. Unlike generators, they are quiet, don’t need diesel to run, don’t need to be serviced and won’t be overcome by their fumes.

The RCT Megapower is very simple to use: just plug it in and forget about it. The included safety features ensure your peace of mind, as you don’t have to worry about it bursting into flames.

  • Available from Takealot here or directly from RCT Zone here, for R20,000.

Sean Bacher is a Gadget contributor. Follow him on Twitter on @seanbacher

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