1. Offline

    livein New Member

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Posts:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    I'm looking an after market power inverter for my 2010 IV Prius. What is the largest capacity inverter can Prius use? I am thinking a 150W would be enough to keep the laptop plug-in.

    Thanks.
  2. Offline

    liskipper Member

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Posts:
    273
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    If all you want to do is power a laptop 150 watts is more than adequate. I believe the maximum current at the cigarette lighter would be 120 Watts (10 amps x 12 volts). Look at your transformer cube - it will probably have the requirement in amps. Multiply this by 120 to get the wattage. Belkin makes a good one that you can pick up in a computer store, or try a Best Buy, West Marine or Radio Shack. A true sine wave output is best, but the newer laptops can get away with a modified sine wave. Plan on spending under $50. It just plugs into the cigarette lighter and has a three prong socket for your laptop.
    Some laptops have a 12 volt DC to DC converter available which is more efficient and would be preferable.
  3. Offline

    eglmainz New Member

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Posts:
    887
    Likes Received:
    138
    Location:
    Chicagoland, IL
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    BEWARE: I bought a 150w Inverter, for the same purpose. but each and every time I've plugged in my laptop, I pop a fuse in the Prius. I have been through 4 fuses, and so I stopped using the inverter.

    Instead, if you are only planning on running a laptop, you would be better served by buying a DC power adapter, which will call less energy loss from inversion anyhow.

    On top of that, a DC power cord is usually cheaper to buy too, so you win on both ends.
  4. Offline

    Retsyn New Member

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    I ran a 400W inverter with two outlets to charge stuff during the power outages a couple weeks ago. It worked great. It was a cheap black and decker one that cost 40.00.
    It was however kind of loud (the fan). You might want to look into a quieter one if you're going to be using it on a semi-regular basis.
    To be clear: I had a laptop (90W) and and a Portable DVD player (?? W) charging most of the time, so at no point did I actually dry to draw 400W. The 400W inverter was $5.00 more expensive than the 150, so I figured what the hell maybe I'll feel a burning desire to make margaritas in the hatch one day ;)
  5. Offline

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Posts:
    11,465
    Likes Received:
    3,251
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2003 Prius
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    I haven't put one in my wife's ZVW30, yet. I'm running a 1/1.2 kW, modified sine wave connected to the 12 V battery and it works fine. But it looks like you want to use the cigarette style inverter.

    Your biggest challenge will be 'in-rush' load. Our Mac laptop power supply has an impressive in-rush that can overload the inverter and cause it to draw more current than the cigarette lighter fuse.

    You can solve this by either running a smaller rated inverter or adding a slow-start, termistor to 'soft-start' the laptop power supply. But the thermistor needs a housing because they run hot.

    There are other 'soft start' approaches but all of them require some modification of the power circuit. If you get an inverter that can be 'opened', the thermistor could be put on one of the output outlets.

    Post a photo and we can go over what it takes.

    Bob Wilson
  6. Offline

    JasonPro Junior Member

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Posts:
    72
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Rockville MD
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    I use this 100 Watt from black and decker and it works great with my 85W MacBook Pro. It also has a USB port to charge a 5V device. It was pretty cheap at target.

    Black & Decker Power Tools
  7. Offline

    tochatihu Senior Member

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,949
    Likes Received:
    575
    Location:
    Kunming Yunnan China
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2001 Prius
    If you're sure that the laptops are the only power goal, then the DC to DC converters are indeed the most efficient way to go. They also exclude potential concerns that your computer's AC-to-DC might not work well with modified sine wave (typical AC inverter) output waveform.
  8. Offline

    mainerinexile No longer in exile!

    Member Since:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Posts:
    403
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Maine
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base

    Wouldn't be possible to tap into the Prius generator directly and have much more than 100W or so from the DC lighter port? Maybe even use your car's generator as a back-up generator for use in an emergency??
  9. Offline

    tochatihu Senior Member

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,949
    Likes Received:
    575
    Location:
    Kunming Yunnan China
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2001 Prius
    Yes Mainer, and there are some PriusChat threads about it.

    At 12 volts dc there is a maximum of about a kilowatt available on the 'main line' between Prius inverter and the 12 v battery. By taking appropriate precautions, several Prius have been successfully tapped in this way.

    At the traction battery, 5 kilowatts or more are available. This is a much more technically demanding task, and google PriUPS to read the pioneering work there.

Share This Page