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Old 04-14-2012, 06:05 PM   #1
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cigarette-lighter 12 Volt DC to 120 Volt AC Power Inverter Question

I want to run a small LCD tv and PS3 for the kids while driving without using my generator. I'm thinking I can get away with a 500w inverter, but I'm unsure of how much of an iverter the in-dash 12v cigarette-lighter can handle. Anyone have any knowledge or experience with this?

Thanks,
Lou
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:16 PM   #2
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Maximum you can draw from your cigarette lighter is 10amps (10amps * 12 volts = 120 watts) which probably isn't enough to run a PS3 and TV.

PS3's use about 100watts sitting at the menu and about 130watts playing a game.

In addition I had the problem that when Forrest River wired the dash cigarette lighter plugs they used such small wire that I couldn't draw more than about 4 amps off it before the voltage dropped so low that the inverter shut off. I could run a laptop or small fan (40 watts) but not the front TV.

So you'll probably need to get (like you said ) a 500 watt inverter. But you'll probably need to run some wire from it to one of the batteries. Maybe find some place to mount it where you can plug stuff into it easily but is fairly close to the batteries and then run some wire. The inverter manual will tell you what size wire you need to run. You'll probably be surprised at how large the wire has to be. It takes a large wire to run much energy through at 12v.

Alternately you could have a whole-house inverter installed. It's the single best thing I did to my Georgetown. I love it!
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:11 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for the response ~ great info. That will work well because the house batteries are near where I plan to mount a TV. If I go up to a 1000w inverter, am I safe to assume that I won't have an issue with drawing too much power from the house batteries (while the MH's v10 is running)?
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:43 PM   #4
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Yea, even with a 500watt inverter you should be fine to run a TV and PS3 while the engine is running. Even without the engine running for some time, the power coming from the house batteries.

My new 32" samsung LED TV draws about 30 watts. My old Westinghouse 32" LCD TV drew about 130 watts. So even at the worst case you're only talking about 260 watts. A 500 watt inverter should have no trouble with that job.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lochsa View Post
Thank you so much for the response ~ great info. That will work well because the house batteries are near where I plan to mount a TV. If I go up to a 1000w inverter, am I safe to assume that I won't have an issue with drawing too much power from the house batteries (while the MH's v10 is running)?

1000W inverter could pull upto, in the neigborhood, 80-100 Amps. I don't know the specs on your alternator, if its a 100A or 130A or whatever it is, but maxing out the inverter with the motor idling is going to make it difficult for the alternator to keep up.

The good thing is, that you'll probably not be maxing out the inverter very often. I run an LCD and bluray player in one room and a laptop playing DVD's in the other with a 400W inverter without any problems.

Are you looking at the Pure Sine Wave inverters? They start to get kind of pricey, way more so than the Modified Sine Wave ones. You'll definitely want a PSW for the TVs and PS3
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:56 PM   #6
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1000W inverter could pull upto, in the neigborhood, 80-100 Amps. I don't know the specs on your alternator, if its a 100A or 130A or whatever it is, but maxing out the inverter with the motor idling is going to make it difficult for the alternator to keep up.

The good thing is, that you'll probably not be maxing out the inverter very often. I run an LCD and bluray player in one room and a laptop playing DVD's in the other with a 400W inverter without any problems.

Are you looking at the Pure Sine Wave inverters? They start to get kind of pricey, way more so than the Modified Sine Wave ones. You'll definitely want a PSW for the TVs and PS3
I was looking at PSWs and yeah, you're not kidding about the cost. Thanks for the input.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:12 PM   #7
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You'll definitely want a PSW for the TVs and PS3
I disagree on this point. It's been the rule of thumb for years now. But almost everything runs modern switching power supplies now and they don't seem to care very much about the square wave power that cheaper inverters put out.

I installed a Xantrax Freedom HF 1800 (square wave inverter) in my Georgetown about a year ago. Since then I've run everything on it for many hours without trouble. The old Westinghouse TV did give a quiet buzz while running on inverter but it ran that way for hundreds of hours that way without failing.

The tube TV in back, the PS3, the DirecTV sat box, microwave, AC Fan (for keeping cool on mildly hot days), laptops, Cell phone chargers. None of them seem to operate any differently on square wave then they do on PSW.

If you can afford a PSW inverter go for it, there is no down side other than the cost. But it's not worth the extra money to me.

P.S. I installed a very large battery bank, which is why I can run the microwave. Don't expect to run the microwave unless you do a lot of extra work.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:16 PM   #8
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Oh I recently replaced the westinghouse TV up front with a Samsung. It runs fine on the Square wave inverter too. The Westinghouse TV was fine, I just wanted something that searched channels and changed channels faster. And something that looked better. Plus the new one uses only 20% the power the old one did.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:43 PM   #9
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Check out these guys when you go shopping for that big inverter.

http://www.theinverterstore.com/the-inverter-store-category.php?cat=WATT&from=2500&to=99999
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:49 PM   #10
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I disagree on this point. It's been the rule of thumb for years now.
I have some stuff that works fine with MSW, like my laptop with its fully regulated power supply, but I can't stand audio/video noise, and it seems to creep up especially when components get interconnected like TVs and game consoles and blu-ray players.

Quote:
P.S. I installed a very large battery bank, which is why I can run the microwave. Don't expect to run the microwave unless you do a lot of extra work.
I'm working my way to that. I've only used the microwave once, I want to get my fridge off propane and onto the solar charged batteries...
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