How-To Install An Inverter Into A Vehicle

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Like it says – Illya Plavljanich

You know we all want this – have you ever wanted to just plug an AC appliance into your car but it didn’t have any jacks? Well here is an article on how to add 110 volt AC Power jacks to your car!

Tools Needed

  1. Power Inverter – in this article we used a 750 Watt from Home Depot
  2. Drill and a few bits ranging in sizes
  3. Ribbed wire sheathing
  4. Wire strippers
  5. Wire
  6. Screw drivers
  7. Liquid electrical tape or heat shrink
  8. Soldering iron with fine tip
  9. Faucet washers or rubber gaskets
  10. Some basic knowledge and common sense
  11. Dremel kit

Some supplies I picked up:

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First get the inverter ready by removing the control panel if you want the controls in your dash – make sure to keep track of where the wires go.

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You can remove any LED lights with the soldering iron; be very careful not to damage or overheat the LEDs. Its best to heat the solder points from the backside of the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and gently pull them out. Then you will extend the lights with wires – I used phone wire for the stiffness, so it was easy to poke the wire back thru the PCB to resolder it.

Heat the points here circled – be careful not to run the solder together from each side:

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Now don’t forget what wire goes where:

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I marked the power wire with tape to make sure I got it back the same way, it shouldn’t matter really, but it’s always best to keep things as they were in case you have issues; this way you don’t need to re-think anything.

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{mospagebreak}

Remove the area from your dash that you plan on transferring the switches to, if possible, and work on them on a bench.
Carefully measure and cut for the switch and LEDs with the Dremel, drill and utility knife.
And as you can see, I’ve already got my wires soldered back on and ready to go. Come on catch up!

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If you use the liquid tape, make sure you put three coats on any open wires. I also taped the 110 volt connections to be extra safe.

You can mount the inverter inside the vehicle or anywhere you want as long as it won’t get wet and you are aware of condensation forming on cold metal in warm air.
To be safe, you may want to let things warm up a bit before you turn it on.
Here is a chart to give you an idea of when condensation forms.

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Now that you have all that chart memorized (lol), yeah, okay.

Once you find a location that is clean, dry and won’t be getting kicked under a seat, let’s mount it.
I mounted mine under my hood because I know my driving habits and the location is quite dry.

If you do mount the inverter anywhere that the positive (red) wire will have to be longer than 12 inches, you need to add a fuse on the line as close as possible to the battery – any stereo or automotive store will have a fuse.
The reason for the fuse is if you get a short in the wire, (a cut or gash or some kind of damage, accident, gas leaking looking for sparks) it will blow the fuse and not weld the wire to your car and explode your battery.

So it’s VERY important if you mount the inverter with any length of wire to have a fuse.

I also isolated it from some vibration by using the faucet washers as mounts:

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As you can see, I have mounted it very close to the battery; this was to eliminate the need for larger wires and a fuse. There are internal fuses on most inverters.

If you go further than the length of the wire that came with your inverter, then you will need a larger gauge wire. You can’t go too big, so make sure you have proper size wire for the DC amps the unit will draw with the number of feet you are running it; a local stereo shop should be able to tell you what gauge wire to use safely.

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Mount your plugs in a location where they won’t get wet by drinks splashing.
But keep in mind the angle – if you mount it on your inside roof, chances are your Tyco race track power pack will fall out, hitting you in the head and causing you to crash (but you’ll be thankful you put that fuse in).

The unit itself does have fuses or should have a safety overload circuit in case your friend dumps her coffee into the plugs by accident.
But it wouldn’t hurt to add another in-line 110 volt fuse that will blow at just above what the maximum load is.

I’ve seen a 5000 watt inverter fuse the safety circuit and not allow a shut off. This caused a flame to shoot out of the unit, so the fuses wont be a bad idea.

I mounted the plugs in my ashtray.

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{mospagebreak}

Now finish connecting all the wires and wrap it up.
I liked the liquid tape because I was able to cover every bit of the exposed wire joints, even on the LCDs and switch.

Now lets double check and we should be ready:

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I don’t have to reach under the seat to turn it on now, or wherever it’s mounted.

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YES!!! I was so happy to see the green light.
You may want to add a switch to disconnect power from the unit if you don’t want it connected to power at all times.
There will be a slight power drain on the battery the way I have it, but it shouldn’t be all that much to worry about.

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Lets try it out now:

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Yumm… Starbucks, no more stopping for that horrid 3 day old burnt coffee you find on the road while traveling!

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Let’s not forget all the other uses we can have now.
You drive, I’ll be playing games.

Good luck and if you need any help at all, post in this thread HERE for quick answers.

Illya Plavljanich

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