Advice on buying an inverter

Discussion in 'Prius v Accessories and Modifications' started by Papafar, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. Papafar

    Papafar New Member

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    Wondering if there are any problems using an inverter in our new Prius v. In my Sentra, I was using a 100 watt unit just for the computer. We go camping and I would like to plug in a light for in the tent at night for reading. Do's and don'ts would be appreciated
     
  2. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    Just remember that 100 Watts is a drain of about 8 amps at 12v (more since the inverter does heat up a bit). That can discharge your 12v battery in just a few hours, so keep your Prius in "Ready" mode while using the computer or the light and all will be well.

    JeffD
     
  3. Papafar

    Papafar New Member

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    Thanx for the quick response. Sure is a lot to learn about the v. Wish the dealers would give more than the cursory explanation about what the buttons are for. Guess that is why they created forums so people such as yourself can advice learners like me.So if I understand you correctly, just start the v and leave it in park? I read about a guy who ran his for several days after hurricane Sandy. I wondered how he did it and now I know.
     
  4. ImeanGreen

    ImeanGreen Prius v Five BP Brigade #236

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    Here is something to go by with in this thread My install and review of the AIMS Prius 2kW Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Backup Power Generator | PriusChat
     
  5. Drafty01

    Drafty01 Junior Member

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    I'd use the Compact Fluorescent Light eco bulbs. Only a few Watts to run one - or a few - of these. Get the "warm white" ones though. The "daylight" ones can be a bit harsh at night.
     
  6. Papafar

    Papafar New Member

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    The article is amazing! I have a friend who is going to eat up the idea thanx. As for me, just want to have some lights and power for a computer and portable dvd player. I should have been more specific with my question. But now I know that the 100 or 150 would be okay. Finally, any recommendation on which inverter manufacturer is best?
     
  7. Papafar

    Papafar New Member

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    Great tip. Never thought of a small fluorescent. Easy to pack as well.
     
  8. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Do note, that thread is about tapping into the high voltage traction battery for more than 1kW.

    Another popular choice, for people needing more than 100 W but are not comfortable working with the high voltage, is to wire an inverter to the low voltage system at the 12V battery. That battery alone cannot support much, but the car's internal high voltage to 12V converter is good to about 1kW. A lot more people used this path than the high voltage path.
     
  9. Bear E

    Bear E Junior Member

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    --- I used a 100watt inverter during SuperStorm Sandy . 3 days; while not enough to run major appliance, it kept FIOS phone,internet, and small tv online till power was retored. -See also the 1500watt option offered to Japan Prius owners after Earthquake/Tsunami devastation. I'm hoping to hear details at TGB4 convention - BearE
     
  10. Papafar

    Papafar New Member

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    Bear with me sometimes I can be "thick as a brick". So you plugged the inverter into the 12v outlet, plugged your stuff into the inverter and then just let the Prius run? Or am I missing something?
     
  11. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    The 12v outlet (AKA cigarette lighter) can only source about 5a (about 60 watts) without getting too hot. If you want to use a higher power inverter (up to 1000 watts), you need to directly wire one to the 12v battery in the "Boot" (through an 80 amp fuse).

    JeffD
     
  12. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    See this post which I made after Sandy last year.
     
  13. Papafar

    Papafar New Member

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    Questions: Please explain, "you need to directly wire one to the 12v battery in the "Boot" (through an 80 amp fuse)." Are you saying that you clamp the inverter directly to the battery? How did you attach an 80 amp fuse? Is the car running all the time you are using the battery?
     
  14. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    Yes, you buy an "inline" fuse holder (one with heavy wires attached to each end). You connect it to the positive terminal of the 12v battery and attach the "Hot" lead of the inverter to the other end of the fuse holder (don't forget to get a box of appropriate fuses). The neutral connection of the inverter goes to any good ground on the Prius body (or the negative battery terminal). You need to have the Prius in "Ready" mode and in "Park" (not neutral) so that the engine will come on periodically to keep the HV battery charged.

    JeffD
     
  15. Papafar

    Papafar New Member

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    Now I am really confused. Went in to the dealer and asked him about the best way to hook up an inverter to the hybrid battery and he said it can't be done. I then asked about plugging into the dc out and running the car to keep the battery charged and he said that would not keep it charged. running the car only keeps the hybrid charged. Using the dc plug would simply drain the regular 12 volt. What am I missing here? Sorry to be such a bother.
     
  16. Drafty01

    Drafty01 Junior Member

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    That response from the dealer must instill a ton of confidence huh? I like Jeff D's comment. I would like to run a few hundred Watts, as we cut power outages here quite often. It would be great to keep the refrigerator running, and possibly a few CFL lights, laptops etc. It would be pretty simple to set up a large fused (or can a circuit breaker be used) plug just under the small side cover in the boot/trunk/rear.

    I guess it would be better to have a pure sine inverter for the fridge, but for lighting a modified sine wave would work just fine.
     
  17. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    Your Prius has two batteries:
    1. A 12v Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), lead acid battery used for starting up the computers and accessories.
    2. A high voltage (200v in a Gen2/Gen3, the "C" has a slightly smaller one, and the Gen1 was even larger) NiMh Traction Battery that stores energy to provide the "hybrid" functions.
    We have been discussing connecting an inverter to the 12v battery which is kept charged by the Prius power electronics (also called an inverter) when your Prius is in "Ready" mode and not in Neutral (disables charging the HV battery).

    It is possible to attach a high power inverter (1000-3000 watts) to the big HV battery, but it is quite "Techy" and must be done carefully (the HV battery can electrocute you if you are not careful) so I don't suggest that you try.

    Many Prius owners have used a low power inverter connected to the little 12v batter to power small electronics. The limitation is that the 12v system can supply about 80 amps and you don't want to blow that fuse as it will disable your Prius (not an expensive repair). You can therefore directly attach up to a 1000 watt inverter directly to the 12v battery (Use a 80 amp fuse in the positive lead).

    The power outlets (AKA "cigarette lighter") can supply about 5-8 amps safely so a 100 watt inverter can be safely plugged in, but just be careful to have your Prius in Ready mode so that you don't drain the little 12v battery. Again, it is best to also be in Park or be driving your Prius while using your inverter so that you don't drain the HV battery.

    JeffD
     
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