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Thread: Adding 12V AC Outlets...

  1. #1
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    Adding 12V AC Outlets...

    I've purchased the Tripp Lite PV375 375W Power Inverter with the intention of mounting it inside of my center console on my 2005 Chevy Cavalier. However, I read on the device that it can automatically shut off... Therefore, I have the problem of being unable to reset the device without tearing the center console out and flipping the switch.

    I don't know much (if anything) about electrical engineering so I was wondering what my options would be... Is it possible to take the switch out of the unit itself and mount it separately and if so, how would I go about accomplishing such a task?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Yes, it is usually easy enough to take the switch out and remote mount the switch. You'll probably have to extend the wires to the switch by soldering extensions to it.
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    I took the ends off of the unit and I see it's pretty simple. However, the wires are all soldered and I have never soldered anything nor do I even have a soldering gun and/or iron. I suppose there is always a first time for everything. Anyway, how do I know what gauge the wires are and do I need to use a different gauge for longer distances?

    Additionally, I was reading that many cigarette lighters put out about 120 watts and this unit has two AC outlets with a total of 375 watts.. Therefore, (again, based on things I've read) would I need to run a fused wire out of the back and straight to the battery? If so, how do I do this? Another thing to note, the unit has a fuse in the back of it, do I still need to run a fused wire or just a wire?

    Lastly, how do I get the wire from inside the vehicle to the battery and where (exactly) do I hook it up?

    I'm hoping to do this myself as I would love to learn about all of this stuff. However, I want to make sure everything is done properly as I don't want any fire hazards. Therefore, I would appreciate it if you could give me links to references or videos in which explains any or all of the steps above.

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    The only auto shutdown seem to be low voltage (and presumably overload).

    However it just says to turn off the switch to let the battery recharge.
    It doesn't say if it will automatically recover once battery voltage recovers.

    But since you have a master on-off for it (unless you want it on all the time?!), you won't have to worry - just cycle the power.

    If for some reason you like the extra drain on batteries and don't have an on-off switch, you have its cabling fuse somewhere near the battery so just pull that and reinsert.

    In either case, you do NOT have to access or extend its inbuilt switch.

  5. #5
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    most inverters will not auto cycle after a fault condition and will require power be removed. I would not use the cig lighter cut it off the end and hard wire it into a suitable circuit or back to the main battery just make sure to add a fuse...
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    A cig socket for a >200W inverter - I don't think so!
    Besides, if you used a cig socket, why would you bury the inverter under a console etc.

    Alas I didn't see post #3 (mine was when I submitted it!?).

    But you need a big enough wire from the battery to the inverter for both +12V and GND, though the GND could be a heavy body connection (same cable size as the +ve).

    A fuse must be fitted at the beginning of the +ve cable as close as possible to the battery. (Or maybe a circuit breaker.)

    Worst case - assume 600W peak at 10V => 60A.
    Typical = assume 375W @ 12V = 32A = 35A at 90% efficiency. So maybe a 40A fuse & cable? (Does that mean 10 or 12 gauge - I work by total voltage drop so I don't use wire capacity tables...)

  7. #7
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    The fuse in the back of the unit is a 40A fuse so I'd assume your calculations are correct.

    What would be the best way to extend the wiring to the power source? Cut the cigarette lighter off and twist together a new wire with a wire nut? Remove the factory wire and solder my own onto the device itself? Or something else?

    Also, as I asked before, how do I get the wire from inside the vehicle to the battery and where (exactly) do I hook it up? If anyone knows of any video or pictures that may help, I'd love to see them!

    Thanks

  8. #8
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    Don't use the cig lighter unless you want to torch your car. They are rated for 15A (if that) and at best 20A. Even then they are not recommended for high currents. (Not even the newer Euro style MERIT equivalents handle 20A.)

    An inverter that large should have screw terminals to add suitable cabling. (Surely it isn't a hard-wired cig plug only?! If it really does 375W, that's a law suit in waiting!)

    As above, you therefore want cabling for at least 40A and a fuse to suit the cable at as close as possible to the battery (that's to protect the cable in case it shorts etc).
    I'd suggest 45A or more so you don't blow both fuses in a fault.
    Or if using less than 40A and the inverter is buried, use a 30 or 35A fuse so you can replace that rather than the inverter's fuse.

    You won't be able to use any cabin wiring for this - if it handles 40A it will be for something else (audio perhaps?).

    So drill a hole through the firewall and grommet it for the cable(s) following normal safe installation processes.
    Alternatively find an existing hole (unused plugged hole etc) and use that.

    If you can't get 40A cabling through, you may have to consider mounting the inverter externally, hence you only need twin 3-5A cables, allbethey rated for 120VAC and hence thicker insulation.

    The only alternative is to limit the inverter draw to what the cig lighter will handle (fit a 15A fuse to the inverter), or get good fire insurance (deliberate or otherwise).

  9. #9
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    Obligatory 2k1toaster reference about cig lighter mods:

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcom2073 View Post
    Obligatory 2k1toaster reference about cig lighter mods:

    I was looking for this when i started to read through his posts.

    Here is my 2 cents. Number 1, run a proper line from the battery to the inverter. Number 2, is the inverter a sine wave inverter, if not you may destroy some PC equipment eventually. Never mind number 2 if your not installing a PC, I cant tell because your only asking for out lets.

    I would never ever connect a inverter to the cig lighter, and think its a crime that manufacturers of inverters do that. Also even though the inverter is fused, you put a nicely rated fuse on the line coming from the battery, preferably closer to the battery. Why? because if you put the fuse more to the inverter and something goes wrong, all the wire in between the battery and inverter doesn't turn into a hot fiery jump rope of death that causes your car to catch fire.
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