How To Install a Power Inverter in a Vehicle

Having a power inverter in your vehicle is handy in case you need to travel for a long period of time and you want to have access to your emails through your laptop, or you want to have the ability to charge your phone for emergency purposes.

If you want to install a power inverter in your vehicle, here are the steps you need to follow:

  • Choose the inverter that works best for you. Familiarize yourself with terms used with power inverter products. For instance, the maximum efficiency of power inverters varies from product to product. Some may have 88% or 96% efficiency. 88% efficiency means that 12% of the battery power is lost upon inversion. Likewise, 96% efficiency means that only 4% is lost. Another thing to look at is the Input Voltage Range. This indicates the voltage input rating of the unit, in its lowest and highest end. You need to learn of your vehicle’s alternator output in deciding the input voltage range of the power inverter to buy.
  • Choose the location of the power inverter. Always keep in mind that being an electronic device, a power inverter should never be placed in too cold or too hot places. Likewise, keep it from moisture, areas with combustible fuel vapors to avoid accidental ignition, and all types of air-borne contamination as it can shorten the life of the unit. The ideal location should be in a compartment that is cool, dry, clean, and with ventilation.
  • Mount the unit. Secure the inverter by bolting it in a bulkhead or platform. For air circulation, leave at least an inch of space all around the unit. The section where DC cables enter and the inverter face should be easily visible and accessible.
  • Install the fuse holder and battery. If you’re installing huge power inverters with 1,000 watts and more, you’ll need to install an auxiliary battery. Protect all battery wires with its corresponding fuse size. Place it within 18 inches from the battery. The location of the battery must be properly ventilated. Do not place it in an airtight area with the inverter or fuses to prevent accidental ignition. Secure the battery with a battery hold-down, box or tray. Likewise, it should not be easily movable.
  • Prep the vehicle battery. Disconnect the negative terminal of your vehicle battery. If the car has an air bag and other sensitive electronics, wait for a few moments until remaining charges have dissipated.
  • Connect the inverter cables. Route the inverter cables as close to the frame as possible. If there are wire nuts, tape the cable over them as any type of vibration may loosen the cables. Run the charging cables directly to the alternator and make sure that you don’t use the chassis of the vehicle as a conductor. When routing under the vehicle, make sure that the cables are secured with clamps every 18 inches. Keep it away from the fuel line, drive shaft and exhaust system. If you plan to route it in the engine compartment, select the coolest way possible.
  • Test the inverter. Crimp the connectors and connect them to the power inverter and their respective battery terminals. Reconnect the disconnected line from the vehicle battery and test the function of the power inverter.

Installing a vehicle power inverter is not easy. If you’re not sure if you can do this, make sure to have someone knowledgeable to help and assist you to prevent any injuries and electrical component damage.


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