The Don Rowe Blog

Oct 23

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How To Install A Power Inverter

posted by Patrick Fallon

There are a few considerations you’ll need to take into account before any installation of any power inverter begins.  You’ll want to know what size inverter you’ll be using as well as what type of inverter will best suit your particular application.

First And Foremost:

Determine how much power you will need and what type of power you want to supply.  Know every item that might be plugged into the inverter, know the pertinent power information from the respective power supplies; then combine the aggregate wattage information and multiply that number by 1.5.  This way, you’ll get a close idea of the Wattage range.

Next, the type of inverter has to be decided upon—will it be a Modified Sine Wave or a True Sine Wave inverter?  Once all this information is established, you’ll be ready for the installation.  If, however, you harbor any doubts about inverter installation, seek a professional to avoid any possible fire or safety hazards.

Installing A Power Inverter In A Car:

1:  Connecting Power Inverters For Smaller Loads:

With current loads of 150 watts or less, connecting your power inverter is as easy as utilizing your cigarette adapter.  Obviously, this will limit what equipment you can use.

2:  Connecting Power Inverters for Heavier Loads:

For loads that are over 150 watts, you’ll connect the inverter directly to the car’s battery.   With the use of a heavy stranded copper battery or welding cable, you can extract power from the battery.  The gauge of cable depends on inverter size and length of cable used, shorter is always better.  If you are unsure about what cable gauge to use, check with the inverter manufacturer or an inverter specialist.  Be sure, however, to install an inline fuse or circuit breaker near the battery’s positive terminal.  This needs to be a mandatory safety precaution to ensure that the inverter and/or your car are not damaged due to any possible fire caused by a potential short circuit.

By using power rings, the connection of the cables to the power source will be fairly easy.  Make sure all connections you make are clean and have good surface area connection.  First, connect the negative cable to the inverter and then to the battery.  Second, connect the positive cable to the inverter and then to the battery.   Do not be alarmed when the final connection to the positive terminal makes a spark, this is to be expected as the inverters internal capacitors quickly energize.

Grounding The Inverter:

There are two things to keep in mind regarding the ground wire:

1:  Verify the inverter manufacturer’s recommendation on ground wire gauge.

2:  It must make direct contact with the vehicle’s bare metal.

Voile`; you’re done!  Test your inverter by plugging in a small household device.

A power inverter is a major convenience when you are travelling and you know you have the required power for cell phones, tablets, laptops, DVD players, etc.  And here’s something to keep in mind:  use your inverter only while the vehicle is turned on – this will prevent battery discharge.

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