Hooking up inverter

Hooking up inverter

Postby RockridgeRockridge is online! [OP] » February 16th 2021, 12:22am

Since the van is down for a while, I might get around to installing the inverter I bought. Can I just hook into the convenience center or should I go battery direct?
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby AstroWill » February 16th 2021, 4:04am

What size inverter?

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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby Rod's Trucks » February 16th 2021, 5:27am

What do you plan to run off this inverter?
I would suggest, unless it is a little baby inverter that is designed to charge you computer or operate your shaver, you should consider hooking directly to the battery... and with large gauge wire.

Most convenience center outlets are fused at no more than 15 amps.
That is barely amperage enough ( if it will even do that) to operate a 100 watt device off an inverter, assuming no voltage drop in the wiring.
Most automotive wiring for convenience outlets is not very large, so voltage drop becomes a significant issue at the higher current draws. Any marginal connector will probably overheat and melt some local insulation, if run at that level for any significant time. Exhibit A:is the commonly failed connector on our heater fan resistor pack..
When it comes to wires carrying significant current ( amps), bigger is better...unless you are trying to save the weight of the extra copper. :)
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby RockridgeRockridge is online! [OP] » February 16th 2021, 2:17pm

Just going to charge my laptop, cordless told batteries, small stuff. I have heavy cables for it.

Thanks
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby MI_Ghost » February 16th 2021, 5:15pm

Rockridge wrote:Just going to charge my laptop, cordless told batteries, small stuff. I have heavy cables for it.

Thanks

For that small stuff I used a 40 watt plug in inverter for years.
The phone and laptop you can get regular 12volt cords.
You really only need a hard wired inverter if you plan on drawing more than 5 amps (refrigerator, electric heater)
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby Rod's Trucks » February 16th 2021, 6:00pm

Rockridge wrote:
"Just going to charge my laptop, cordless told batteries, small stuff. I have heavy cables for it."

In that situation you will not need much in the way of heavy wire, but I would suggest sizing the wire adequately for the maximum load the inverter is capable to produce, and be sure to fuse that wire run properly.
For small loads like that, I use a simple inverter ( Phillips brand), that plugs into the convenience outlet. It will run a hot pad that my wife likes to for her back, on long trips.
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby RockridgeRockridge is online! [OP] » February 20th 2021, 1:02am

I bought a good-sized one, 2000 watts. You never know.

At one point I envisioned a mobile office in my van with a printer/scanner/copier etc. Easier to just swing into a copy place and get it done.
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby AstroWill » February 20th 2021, 1:05am

Oh yeah, heavy cables directly to the battery for a 2000watt inverter. Should let you know in the manual what sized cables are recommended for the length of the run. If not there are online calculators as well.

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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby RockridgeRockridge is online! [OP] » February 20th 2021, 1:28am

PXL_20210220_002736290.jpg


Weird there is nothing in the directions about a fuse on the positive cable.

Unit came with the shiny cables, about 18" long. Supposed to mount it under the hood!?!
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby AstroWill » February 20th 2021, 2:34am

I assume that 2000watts is peak and not continuous? What is the continuous rating? How long is your one way trip wiring distance?

Not really surprised, definitely should be fused as close to the battery as possible. They only include short cables like that because the size has to increase with the length of the wiring. They don't want to have to include larger cables, that costs more :)

Edit: And no, you wouldn't want to mount it under the hood ;)

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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby RockridgeRockridge is online! [OP] » February 20th 2021, 2:52am

I think I'm going to build a riser for my center console. It's from a Toyota Sienna and works great but it would be greater if it was higher. So maybe 5 or 6 feet depending on how the wire ends up snaking through. Make a drawer or something with the leftover space. Maybe put the inverter and a narrow storage bin on a drawer slide...
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby WinnieVan » February 20th 2021, 3:02am

Check of MRBF fuses for the run off the battery... these are definitely the best... as they are right at the battery.

https://amzn.to/3dCXeOu
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby N6KB » February 20th 2021, 5:08am

Convenience outlets cannot supply much more than 10 Amperes. I have a radio that transmits fine on the low power setting, but crashes on high power, which takes 14 Amps, using the convenience outlet. The most DC power you should expect from the convenience outlet is perhaps 12 Volts times 12 Amps equals 144 watts. Factoring in the inverter efficiency of perhaps 90% you're down to 130 Watts of AC power available. And inverter efficiency ratings are usually for near full power capacity of the inverter. When you run them at much lower power levels they are not going to deliver maximum efficiency. So if you use a 600 Watt inverter to deliver 100 Watts of power the actual efficiency is lower that whatever the efficiency claim is. You won't get 130 Watts of AC power delivered from a 1000 Watt rated inverter plugged into the the convenience outlet. You might get 130 Watts of AC power from a 200 Watt rated inverter though.
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby 02GMC » February 20th 2021, 3:06pm

I put a 1750w inverter on the floor behind driver's seat years ago. Ran the heavy + cable under trim beside driver's carpet edge thru firewall to BATT upfitter connection underhood. Ground cable I attached to seat mount bolt at floor. I did up the underhood maxi fuse to 50amp (seems like it had a 30, been many yrs don't remember for sure).
We used this for years when traveling for kid's game consoles, small tv's computers etc. I have even run a small coffeemaker however the lights will dim a little if parked idling doing that.
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby RockridgeRockridge is online! [OP] » February 20th 2021, 5:28pm

Electronics are not my strong suit so thanks for that info.

Coffeemaker! now we're talking!
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Re: Hooking up inverter

Postby MI_Ghost » February 22nd 2021, 2:59pm

Rockridge wrote:I bought a good-sized one, 2000 watts. You never know.

At one point I envisioned a mobile office in my van with a printer/scanner/copier etc. Easier to just swing into a copy place and get it done.
2000 watts is in the range of home Solar/Wind power. What size battery bank are you looking to build?

Just be aware that the stock alternator and battery will likely not be able to keep up with it.
My semi truck runs a 1000 watt inverter on a 4-12v bank of batteries.
I have a 110 mini fridge and 0.9 cu. ft microwave.

That inverter is going to put off a lot of heat.
Make sure it is well cooled.
Do Not mount in a closed small space.
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