110v outlets in your prius

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by problemchild, May 15, 2008.

  1. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    One more upgrade thats needed for the ultimate camping prius is some 110v power. Often I need to charge camera batteries, run laptops, run compressors, DVD movies, make a pot of coffee etc. I miss not having 110v in my car. I used to have an expedition 4x4 diesel truck until fuel prices skyrocketed. Im adjusting to my new featureless surroundings. My truck was loaded with stuff making off road camping a luxury. Ive decided to upgrade my prius with a few items that I miss.

    Tonight I bought a 1500 watt inverter I will connect to the car. Im removing the useless spare tire and dropping in a big yellowtop optima battery. Hooked to that will be the inverter. I soldered up a remote switch that will tie to the end of a lighted 110v extension cord. The light tells me if I accidentally hit the power on the inverter.

    Heres a couple picture...
     

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  2. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    That donut spare tire is useless until you have a flat. I'd put the inverter and battery somewhere else.

    I put 1000 watt modified sine wave inverter into 2001 Prius for similar reasons. By being cautions I was able to drive it to quite remote locations. Not quite all the way to Point Sublime though.
     
  3. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Yep, that useless spare tyre, who needs it eh?
    Stupid thing, you would never need the thing 150 kilometres from the nearest town because your valve stem broke.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    Triple A and a Sat phone takes care of the spare issue. I have a compressor and a tire plug kit that has got me by for 32 years. I doubt I will need more then that. I have plugged and filled dozens and dozens of tires. Its a whole lot easier then switching spares in the rain and dark. Lets not turn this into a spare tire thread.
     
  5. seasalsa

    seasalsa Active Member

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    A friend did the same thing, only he mounted the battery and inverter in a padded fiberglass instrument case so it is self contained and portable between vehicles.

    Works great for weekend camping trips, he hooks it to a charger when he gets home.
     
  6. holy_crap

    holy_crap Junior Member

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    The Expedition came in a Diesel? I thought only the Excursion came with the big D.

    Learn something new every day i guess...:rolleyes:
     
  7. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    Nope

    I had a 2500HD diesel set up for expeditions. We would take off for 6 weeks and explore as many national parks as we could get to.
     
  8. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    UPDATE AND INSTALLATION PICS

    I got the inverter installed tonight. I did not buy an extra battery I hooked it directly to the prius battery with a 60 amp fuse block in between. One good thing I discovered is the small battery is low output and drains quick. But with the power to the car turned on the prius HV battery comes online and charges/feeds power to the small battery. So you dont need to add an extra Optima battery to use the inverter.

    Im not sure where I read it but someone here stated that the prius system only charges at 13.6V. This is not accurate information as I discovered while watching the meter the small battery was charging at 14.9v.

    So to wrap it up the car has more then enough power to run a big inverter and anything you want to plug into it. I tested it with a coffee maker that pulls 1000 watts and it made a cup of coffee in 3 minutes. It does seem to pull the main HV battery down fairly quick though.

    Here are some more pictures.
     

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  9. KTPhil

    KTPhil Active Member

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    Looks like you just did.:rolleyes:
     
  10. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

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    So that's a Xantrex Xpower 1500 ?

    I've read up on inverters in the last few days and came across some decent reviews for Xantrex, but got the impression it's "consumer level" and some better ones are available for more money, like $300-400 or so.

    I'm expecting my new Prius next week and my first project is a 12 Volt "Priups". I've read that the 12 volt is only good for 1000 watts max however. So I'm thinking of the Xantrex Xpower 1000 ( Canadian Tire ) which is going for $150 Canadian.

    At $150, I think it's probably good enough for my application, which is to act as a backup for whatever vital appliance or two we might need in an extended power failure. I'm not sure 1 KW will handle the furnace motor however...
     
  11. Doc Willie

    Doc Willie Shuttlecraft Commander

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    Could you possibly write up detailed instructions for this? And label the last picture. I am not sure what all the wires and components are.

    Us Compleate Idiots would be most thankful.
     
  12. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Isn't it the same story the world over with almost everything from matches to wives to houses to cars, you can always get a better one for more money.
     
  13. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    The main battery will feed power to the small battery almost right after you turn the inverter on. So I dont think its an issue with a 1500 or 2k inverter. If you go bigger you would need a bigger cable from small battery to ground.
     
  14. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    The last picture is looking straight down at the small battery. You see two fuse holders, one big and one small. The big one feeds the inverter and the small one feeds the 40 amp 12v outlet swap/mod I did for the front 12v power outlet (see this topic area).

    I will try to find an online source for the fuse holders and post a link. I bought them at JK electronics in Westminster Ca. The big fuse holder is a boat fuse holder and uses the large fuses (1 inch sq.). But you can use any big amp fuse as long as its rated for 60-80 amps. I found that 60 amps wont tax the system to hard if it were to blow. Its what I had on my truck for 4 years.

    You need to hook up ground (battery12v-) to the inverter and positive (battery 12v+) to one side of the fuse holder. Then hook up the positive of the inverter to the other side of the fuse holder 12v+. Make darn sure you dont let any of the bare wires touch the car or metal tools touch the car. Put tape over the positive ends as you work. Dont mix up 12v+ and 12v- as you work. Do one wire at a time.


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    West Marine: Maxi Fuses Product Display


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    Inline Maxi fuse holder with crimp terminals


    BLUE SEA 5006 MAXI Fuse Block: Compare Prices, View Price History and Read Reviews at NexTag
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  15. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

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    This would be nice if true. However, this site ( Prius - UPS Project ) indicates that his testing showed there was no way to get more than 1000 watts out.

    I wonder if the 2004-2008 have more capacity than his 2003 though ?
     
  16. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

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    Yes, and then you have to decide what you really need. Perhaps if I needed to be sure my system would be highly reliable I'd pay $400-500 for an inverter, or just buy a commercial Honda generator for a few grand.


    We had a nasty ice storm here in Ottawa 10 years ago. My downtown power never blinked but some rural areas had no power for 3-4 weeks. At that time it was very hard to find generators locally, but I imagine one could still find cheap inverters at various stores.

    So I'm gonna buy this cheap $150 inverter and my backup plan is to buy a new one if it breaks or if and when my needs change. It would be very nice to have a 3 KW inverter connected to the 200 volt battery, so perhaps I'll consider that in future, but at least a 12 volt inverter won't mess with my warranty.
     
  17. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    What I think they mean in that article is sustained power. You have two batteries that can feed the inverter for aprox. 20 minutes of run time at 1500w. After that the car can only recharge at 1000w. So you have a 20 minute window for making coffee, running a compressor, using a small microwave etc.

    I ran two cups of coffee back to back and the line voltage never dropped below 14.8. The ground strap from battery 12v- to the frame did get a little warm but so did the feed cable to the inverter. It would not hurt to size up the ground strap from the battery 12v- to frame.

    I will try running the microwave off it this weekend. It pulls 1450w. That will be the real test. I think some devices dont like modified sine waves so we will see how it goes. It would not hurt to have a big yellowtop optima in line.
     
  18. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    I drew a simple diagram for those who need it. The 3rd or middle ground wire is the inverter chassis ground.
     

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  19. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

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    Hmm, in theory I would think that you are right. If the battery, cables and inverter could handle 150 amps for 5 minutes at 12 volts, that would be 1800 watts input.

    But he says:

    "
    11.48 V., 89-90 A. with heater on high setting (~ 1 kW) In this mode, the inverter ran very warm and would shut itself off every 5 minutes or so with an alarm. More telling is the Prius dropped the battery voltage, further limiting the output power to ~1 kW. There is no advantage to trying to draw more than 1 kW as the voltage will drop to keep it at 1 kW total.
    "

    So I presume he couldn't get that power for 5 minutes, perhaps not even a few seconds. But perhaps he was limited by his inverter, since he used a 1 KW inverter. Hmmm, I think his testing was flawed, and only proved his 1 KW inverter was limited to 1 KW.

    Perhaps I should go with a 1.5 - 2 KW inverter then, paired with the big deep cycle battery I use for my battery backup sump pump. I suspect that will handle motor starting loads for furnace, sump pump and septic pumps better.
     
  20. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    He is talking about his installed inverter not the prius inverter correct? The only thing I would worry about is the prius stock ground to chassis cable. It is very short (good) but also very small diameter. I chose to run my inverter ground right to 12v- not the chasis. I think if you run the 12v- to chassis you would need a bigger cable to ground from battery. I think its a 6guage at 6-9 inches. Can someone do the math on the amps it can handle.

    I ran 2- 3 minute runs back to back with my 1000+ watt coffee maker and line voltage never dropped below 14.8v. I dont have a way to test amps. I guess I could plug in my microwave for 10 minutes. It pulls all of 1500w.
     
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