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Thread: 400watt Power Inverter connected to Battery.. what wire is needed?

  1. #1
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    400watt Power Inverter connected to Battery.. what wire is needed?

    Alright basically, the last three days I've been trying to research CARPCs and ways people have assembled/rigged their setups. I don't have much money to spend on this project so I'm trying to use equipment I already have. I have a 400watt power inverter which will be used to run my old P3 Laptop. I connected it directly to the battery using the clamps that came with the inverter just to do a test run (Even plugged in a 100watt lightbulb to see if it changes perfomance). Now I want to install the inverter inside the car cabin. However, I need to do some wiring. I can't seem to find a satisfying answer to my questions. So, basically I would like to know a few things if possible:

    1. Can I use speaker wire to run power from the battery to the power inverter? (Should only be about 6 feet of wire according to my mapping) Are their different guages for speaker wire if so? (reason i ask is I went to walmart and saw a spool of "speaker wire" but didn't say a gauge that i noticed)

    2. I read somethign somewhere about using the same wire used by amplifiers to run power from a batter to the amp. Can the same wire be used? (can i jsut buy an amp kit at walmart and be done with it?)

    3. If speaker wire, and amp wire both cannot be used to run power from the battery to the inverter, what guage wire do I need? and at such a short distance should I still install some sort of circuit breaker between the battery and the inverter? The inverter has a fuse built into it with a breaker.. but I just want to be extra safe.

    Sorry for my newbiness.. I just recently (about 2 weeks ago) got into all this. Thanks for reading, and thanks for any help. - Joe

  2. #2
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    I think a trip to this thread is in order.

    NEVER skimp on power wire, NEVER.

    FAQ: Determining proper gauge wire/fuse size/battery size/alternator size

    and you should also see this thread as well:

    FAQ: Proper Wire Termination and Connection Methods
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate d_sellers1's Avatar
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    Speaker wire is going to be too thin. After you read the above threads and you've learned a bit more then I'd personally go with 8ga to 12ga. To repeat what Red said "NEVER skimp on power wire, NEVER."

    Also, I imagine that you will be needing more than six feet of cable once you get to going around and over stuff, through the firewall and wherever. Length is another thing not to underestimate on. If it's too long, you can cut some off but you'd can add to it... (well, you can but it's more trouble).

    Lastly, I would recommend not using the clamps. You'd risk the clamps popping off and shorting out your system or perhaps even starting a fire. Either get a multi terminal post (you can find these at WalMart for $5/ea), cut the clamps and direct wire or cut the clamps and add terminal rings.


    (These are just examples of the connectors...)

    Derek
    Progress [||-------]
    View my Worklog to see some of my progress.
    Downgraded Progress - Starting with another car... 09/13/06

  4. #4
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    remember that wire doesn't run as the crow flies...

    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  5. #5
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    If you have crows flying in your vehicle, then wiring is probably the least of your issues.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

  6. #6
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    hehehe - you would be surprised how many people completely overlook this part of the install.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate d_sellers1's Avatar
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    Just buying Wal-Mart's cheap amp install kit should come with enough cable and connectors need to complete an installation of a 400-watt inverter. It should also provide upgrade-ability for when you want to take your CarPC to a new level. Plan for the future and budget accordingly...

    Derek

    FYI: The ground to the inverter does not have to go all the way back to the battery. Just find a good ground point nearby your installation site. Preferably bare metal; install ground connector to a bolt in the body/frame.
    Progress [||-------]
    View my Worklog to see some of my progress.
    Downgraded Progress - Starting with another car... 09/13/06

  8. #8
    Newbie
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    Thanks guys, I'm glad I came to the forums for more insight on this. I'll probably go with the cheap amp install kit, and get a BB gun for those damn crows that keep flying out when I pop the hood.... pesty little ****s they are..

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