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Power Inverters - How do I hook up the Inverter?

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Published on Feb 7, 2012

Many small inverters (450 watts and under) come with a cigarette lighter adapter, and may be plugged into your vehicle's lighter socket (although you will not be able to draw more than 150 to 200 watts from the cigarette lighter socket). The small units also come with cables that can be clamped directly to a battery. If you want an inverter that will plug into your cigarette lighter, you must choose one that is 450 watts or less.
Larger inverters (500 watts and over) must be hard-wired directly to a battery. The cable size depends on the distance between battery and inverter, and will be specified in the Owner's Manual.
When connecting the inverter to the battery use the thickest wire available, in the shortest length practical.

NOTE: These are general recommendations for inverters that utilize a single cable set (one positive and one negative cable) only and may not be correct for all inverters or applications. Additionally, some inverters require two or more cable sets and therefore may require a different cable size than listed.
Cable size recommendations may vary among inverter brands and models; check the Owner's Manual for the model you purchase before you buy the wire for it.
The maximum length generally recommended is 10', and shorter is better. If you need more length, it is much better to put it on the AC side (as with an extension cord from inverter to appliance) than on the DC side.

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