The Don Rowe Blog

Jan 20

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Pre-installed Power Inverters In Your Passenger Vehicle – Uses And Limitations

posted by Patrick Fallon

Factory Installed Power Inverter

Every year our passenger vehicles get more advanced with more technology and available options. Inverters are becoming more commonplace in these advancements, in some cases being a part of a vehicle’s standard features. Exciting as it is having an inverter already installed and ready to go right off the lot, I feel it is important we understand the uses as well as their limitations.

The value and application of factory installed power inverters

The inverter comes nicely installed into interior of the vehicle giving an aesthetically pleasing look. We can safely assume that the factory installed the inverter with the proper cable gauge and inline overcurrent protection. There are some useful applications for these 120-400 watt inverters. Your passengers will have access to AC power capable of charging most laptops and cell phones. Kids could power up a small TV and DVD player. You could even carry a small spotlight to use if you need to change a tire.

Limitations and cautions

It is easy to see the value in an inverter that has been installed by the factory, however we should be aware of the limitations of these inverters. The majority of these preinstalled inverters are modified sine wave. Be cautious if your electronics start buzzing or do not charge correctly, as this is an indication you need a pure sine wave inverter for those particular electronics. The 400 watt maximum is going to limit you from using any tools, coffee makers, refrigerators, hair dryers and laser printers to name a few.

Don’t have cold feet when it comes to using that built-in inverter. Think of different devices you’d like to use in your vehicle and look up their power requirements. As long as the power requirement is under 400 watts or 3 amps, give it a try. Just know that if your device requires more power or has performance issues, it is time to upgrade to a different inverter to fit your needs. If you have any questions or you are having problems with that built-in inverter, feel free to contact us at 800-367-3019 or

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