Power inverters are a must have for anyone on the go. Salespeople, truckers, and people who just want to get from point A to point B without having to rely on their car’s engine or battery for electricity can all benefit from adding one to their vehicle. But installing a power inverter can be challenging, even for the most experienced DIYer.
How to Wire a Power Inverter in Your Car
Before you can install an inverter, it’s important to figure out exactly what type of device you plan on connecting to your inverter. This will help you determine the size of the inverter that you need to purchase and how you should wire it in your car.
If you’re going to be using the inverter for a short period of time, a portable unit that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter is probably all you need. This will allow you to switch it out easily and take it with you when traveling. However, if you want to use it more often and with larger electronics, you’ll need to hard-wire the inverter.
When wiring an inverter, it’s a good idea to add an overcurrent protection device. This will protect your battery from short circuits that could damage it or cause other problems. It can be in the form of a fuse or circuit breaker, and it’s usually placed on the positive cable between the inverter and battery.
You’ll also need to find a convenient location for your installation. The best place for an inverter is usually a trunk or rear seat, but under certain circumstances, this may not be the most practical spot to put one in your car. You’ll also need to think about heat dissipation.
What to Do Before Starting the Installation
Once you’ve determined where you’re going to mount your inverter, you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to tap into a spare battery or use the main car battery. If you’re using the spare battery, then you’ll need to make sure it’s charged up so that you can use it in case of an emergency.
After you’ve got the right battery for your inverter, then you can start the actual installation process. You’ll need to connect the negative and positive cables, as well as any other cables that will be required. Then you’ll need to make sure the connections are secure and tight.
Depending on the model of your inverter, you’ll need either ring or clamp terminals for this step. For ring terminals, you’ll need a pair of 5/16″ ring terminals. For clamp terminals, you’ll need a set of ring-end crimps.
Then you’ll need to run your cables from the inverter to your car battery. The best way to do this is to route them in a conduit and not to lay them close together, where they could be crimped under paneling or worn into corners.
Once the cabling is all installed, then you can turn your inverter on and use it to power your devices. This can be done with a simple switch that’s located at the inverter, or you can have an electrician come and do it for you. In either case, you’ll need to have a qualified person inspect the wiring to make sure it’s safe and working correctly.