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Thread: 12V Inverter Question

  1. #1
    Registered Member SciFiMan's Avatar

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    Question 12V Inverter Question

    Hey all, we now have a 2010 Mazda 5 Grand Touring. I see it has a 12v socket way in the back. Can I safely assume that we can use an inverter such as in the link below for the rear passengers and the front at the same time? For long trips I can imagine we might have one laptop going, plus another 110v charging a Nook or cell phone, plus a couple MP3 players. I wouldn't want to fry the wiring but I don't know what the maximum power draw of the entire system would be.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    Thanks!
    Falken ZE-512, Hawk HPS pads on Powerslot rotors, Mazda strut tower bar, Protege Sport Exhaust, K&N Drop-in filter, Black PIAA 1400 fog lights

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    Registered Member Olde English 5's Avatar

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    Check the fuse for that 12V socket - they're usually 15 amps. Also check the stuff you want to plug in to the inverter to see how many watts you'll be drawing. If you keep it within about 100 to 150 watts you should be ok.

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    Registered Member lakersfan1's Avatar

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    Keep in mind these 12V sockets are supplied with a tiny little 16AGU positive wire. They can't handle a crap load of sustained power. Because it's DC power, length plays alot into the power handling, so the front socket would be capable of more sustained power handling than the rear.

    I would personally just use the one in front for a DC-AC inverter. Use the laptop while plugged in, then when the battery is topped off, unplug it and cycle in your other stuff you want to charge.

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    im able to run a playstation 2 and a personal dvd player off the back plug. i use one of those plug spltters from radio shack. i have the dvd player in one, and an inverter plugger into the other. then run the ps2 off that. it made a 17 hour trip to florida and back with no problem.

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    Registered Member GNO's Avatar


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    Look at the wattage rating of the devices you plan on plugging in. As long as the sum is below 400W, you should be fine.

    When I bought a power inverter years ago, I thought it was great that I could plug in an array of different items. Eventual, I asked myself, "Why take 12VDC, convert it to 120VAC, then connect it to DC devices?" With the inverter you will be creating a lot of heat, pulling amperage, just to convert DC to AC and back to DC. All the devices you mentioned use DC. If there's a box on the wall plug or between the plug and device, the box is converting 120VAC to the appropriate DC voltage for the device. You're better off getting car or USB adapters for the devices and a splitter with USB, so that you can plug in your multiple devices. The Nook, cell phone, and MP3 players will pull very little amperage. The laptop will be pulling the most amperage, but will still be under 10A.

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    I agree GNO, only issue I see is that most laptops run off 14.8v or more, so that would still require a power adapter (booster) of some sort similar to this, but matched to his laptop brand - http://www.amazon.com/Auto-Power-Lap.../dp/B001GLX97S

    All the other devices though would charge from a USB adapter, and the less power bricks laying around the better. But I see an item like this being the most versatile for his situation - http://www.amazon.com/Rally-7413-Hol...=pd_sim_auto_4
    Aaron

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    Registered Member GNO's Avatar


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    Yep, thanks for pointing that out about the laptop, flcruising. I thought about that, but didn't expound upon the details. Thanks for filling that in. The booster will pull far less amperage than the wall unit plugged into a power inverter.

    Based off my reasoning from earlier, I'm still not a fan of inverters when you truly don't need AC power. I was hesitant to put up an Amazon link because they messed up my last order and the reorder, but here goes: USB, 12V splitter, and it lights up so you know there's power: http://www.amazon.com/BESTEK-cigaret...3657205&sr=1-2. Overall pull less amperage and get both the splitter and booster (for the laptop) for less than the inverter.

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    My opinion on this is not to use the power outlets, front or rear with an inverter. Inverters can spike when you power a devise up with them, and even if it is a 150 watt continuous power.

    I would run a 8 gauge power lead directly from the battery and power the inverter that way. Leaving the cars electrical system out of that circuit can save the BCM, which in part powers/monitors the 12 volt power outlets.

    On my car, I plan on installing a 110VAC inverter as I stated.

  9. #9
    Registered Member GNO's Avatar


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    Quote Originally Posted by cclngthr View Post
    I would run a 8 gauge power lead directly from the battery and power the inverter that way. Leaving the cars electrical system out of that circuit can save the BCM, which in part powers/monitors the 12 volt power outlets.
    At least install a relay, so that the 8 gauge lead isn't live when the ignition key is off. That way if the inverter power is inadvertently left on, you don't kill your battery.

  10. #10
    Registered Member SciFiMan's Avatar

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    Thank you all very much for the info and tips!! I will look into what devices have a DC cable available and I imagine not all will need to be plugged in at the same time. We are thinking of Chicago to Grand Canyon road trip next summer so I am just wondering. Should be able to keep the load fairly light. Thanks again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GNO View Post
    At least install a relay, so that the 8 gauge lead isn't live when the ignition key is off. That way if the inverter power is inadvertently left on, you don't kill your battery.
    A relay isn't heavy enough to handle that kind of load. There are battery kill switches available, but even those cannot handle a high amp draw through them. We are talking a minimum of 100 continuous amp load here to be on the safe side.

    http://www.bing.com/shopping/blue-se...itch&FORM=HURE
    ^^ is what I would use. Although it sounds overkill, the 500 amp switch offers a better way to keep power going to the rear of the car without the switch burning up. I've used similar keyed switches, but they don't handle high amp draw for very long because they are not rated for such use.
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    I have met the same trouble before. The 300w car 12v DC to 110v AC power inverter that I choose is bestek. This inverter can help you charge in safe way. You just need to choose the right standard. If you want to know about this type inverter, you can click bestek to learn more. Wish it is useful to you.

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