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Inverter causing dome light to pulse . . .

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  • Inverter causing dome light to pulse . . .

    At first I thought it was because I had wired it to the cigarette lighter wiring (I removed the socket), so I bought some 12 gauge wire and connected my inverter directly to the car battery (which shows 12v with the car off, and 14v with the engine running). It's fuse protected as well (of course!).

    After all that, it is still causing my dome lights to pulse and does not draw enough power (I get the overload/low batt light flashing). I'm assuming the problem must be rooted in my inverter (or is it?). Should I just forget it and buy a new inverter, or are there some things I can try?

    Any input is welcomed!
    My Worklog: 2008 Mini Cooper + Mac Mini

  • #2
    Also, in case it helps it's a Belkin AC Anywhere 300w inverter (it accepts 11-15v input).

    Edit: I also checked the fuse on the inverter and in my new wiring, and even swapped them for new ones just in case, but I get the same result.
    My Worklog: 2008 Mini Cooper + Mac Mini

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    • #3
      You may be overloading the inverters' output. Does the problem still exist if you unplug all the AC devices from the inverter while it is still on? If not, then try plugging in a single 100W lightbulb and see if that brings the problem back. If that works, you have a problem with the AC wiring or you may need a higher output inverter. If the light bulb causes the problem to return, or the problem is there when nothing is plugged into the inverter, then the inverter is bad.
      ~Jimmy

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      • #4
        It must be the inverter then, because I don't have anything plugged in to the inverter yet. I actually just tried opening the hood and connecting the inverter directly to the battery with only 3ft of 12 gauge wire and got the same result.

        Sad! Looks like I'll be shopping for a new inverter . . .
        My Worklog: 2008 Mini Cooper + Mac Mini

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        • #5
          What sort of pulsing is the inverter inducing? Is it a high frequency flashing or is it a low type (couple of hertz). If its high frequency, try to connect a ceramic capacitor close to the inverter. I am not sure about the rating, but as far as I know a small one (100pF) should do. It should short the high frequencies out.

          I am not sure how much power the capacitor needs to handle. It all depends on the frequency and RMS of the induced signal.

          Hope that helps for the pulsing, I have no solution for the overload though.
          CarPC progress:
          Planning: ******** | 100%
          Hardware: *******- | 90%
          Software: ********-- | 70%
          Install: ********- | 90% (Its never really completed!)

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          • #6
            Spend the cash and buy a proper power supply...you'll eliminate all sorts of headaches (some you probably haven't encountered yet) by getting rid of the inverter. Consider what you time is worth to you, and it is probably actually cheaper to buy a power supply than spend countless hours attempting to sort out inverter issues.

            An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.

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            • #7
              I agree with parksgm here. I was having all sorts of problems with trying to use an inverter to power my laptop. Then I wised up and got a DC-DC plug. Everything works flawlessly now.
              www.computer-forums.net

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              • #8
                Each of the inverters that I used (both purchased new...one was Jensen, one was Vector) "leaked" AC current back into my car's electrical system. There was a measurable 50V AC current between the computer's ground and the chassis ground in each case...and since the audio system (external amps) are powered by and grounded to the car's electrical system, plugging the sound card into the amps resulted in a 50V AC current input into my amps. I'm pretty experienced with electrical projects, and the inverters weren't improperly installed in either case...from the investigation that I did on the forum and elsewhere on the internet, it seems that many inexpensive inverters use a "floating ground" which can result in the problem I experienced. Inverters with proper ground cost as much as a good DC to DC power supply, so I think it's almost always easier and better to buy a proper power supply. Most of the added benefit of integrated startup/shutdown control as well, which results in a much more integrated system.

                An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.

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