My install and review of the AIMS Prius 2kW Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Backup Power Generator

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by AHetaFan, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    As far as I know this inverter is available only from the AutomationTech Inc eBay store.
    items in AutomationTech Inc store on eBay!

    I bought this inverter so I can run appliances such as refrigerators, induction cook tops and microwaves which draw more than the 1000 watts that can be provided from the 12 volt battery system. I could easily connect two of these 2000 watt inverters to my Prius if I need that much power. I understand from reading this site that the Prius can sustain up to 3000 watts continuous.

    The inverter came with black and red #10 wires encased in black convoluted sleeving for most of it's length (I purchased additional convoluted sleeving at Home Depot and encased the rest of the length). There is a fuse block with a 30 amp automotive style fuse in the red wire (rather than the barrel type visible in the eBay picture). Both ends have large loop terminals on the ends and there are male and female plugs about 18 inches from one end to enable easy connection and disconnection of the inverter. Total cable length I estimate to be about 5 feet give or take a foot. I don't know if this was made up special for me or not (I had indicated my intention to mount under the front passenger seat). Before purchase I had understood the length would be about 3 feet and that I would have to add the fuse so I was delighted to discover I would not need to make any changes to the wires supplied.

    The inverter itself is as pictured on eBay. Here are some corrections to the eBay description though they may have already been corrected on the site by now. The dimensions are 18 ½ “L X 8 ¼” wide X 4” high. Weight 13 lb 3 oz. It does not come with a remote and I am told it is not remote capable. The green power LED described in the AIMS Owners Manual that came with it did not work (I had this repaired by AIMS under warranty). It does not have any indicators other than the green power LED. It does not have the red fault indicator described in the AIMS Owners Manual that came with it. I believe these inverters were custom built to order for this vendor with the idea that they would be mounted out of sight under the rear floor.

    I have the Prius Plugin model so the underfloor storage other models have is filled with battery except for a compartment behind the tire well intended for storage of the cargo cover, charging cable and whatever else you can fit. I already have that compartment filled. When I discovered that the inverter was larger than expected before purchase, I had to come up with a new mounting location. I did not really want it in the rear but I took to searching everywhere in the car to find out all of the possibilities short of sitting on top of the rear deck. It is possible it may fit under the traction battery between the floor of the spare tire well and the charger mounted under the battery. To be sure I would have had to remove some brackets and such that hang down in the way of sliding the inverter in for a test fit. I leave that for somebody else to confirm because I really wanted the outlets available in the back seat area and I wanted to be able to easily remove the inverter from the car when not using it. I chose to mount in the center rear seat passenger floor area against the seat.

    Connecting the inverter was easy. I pulled the maintenance plug and made sure nobody would press the power button. I removed the rear decking over the traction battery and the right rear seat back so I could easily get at the battery connections and run the wires. I removed the cover over the terminals which is located at the edge of the battery nearest the right rear passengers seat belt. After verifying with a meter that there wasn't any power at the terminals I removed the nuts from the studs, added the new wires and reinstalled the nuts. The black wire goes where the existing black high voltage wire is attached and the Red wires goes where the existing white high voltage wire is attached. At the inverter end black goes to black and red to red. I removed the rear bench seat and ran the wires so the plug for disconnecting the inverter would be located just slightly hidden under the edge of the seat and attached it to the carpet with stitching through the connectors screw holes. The wires run along side the existing high voltage wires because there is already a channel just large enough in the underside of the bench seat to accommodate them. I stuffed the extra cable in the channel between the battery and the right rear wheel well. To prevent accidental contact with the high voltage connections on the back of the inverter I wrapped the conductive area where the wires attach in electrical tape. In addition I took a dried fruit container and cut it down to form attachment legs then attached it to cover the terminal connections on the back of the inverter. I drilled a hole in this and ran the convoluted sleeve of the 18 inch pigtail in and wrapped it in tape so it can not come out. Later I went back and wrapped the entire length of the cabling in orange tape to maintain the color coding that all high voltage wiring is encased in orange.

    I attached the inverter with straps and side release buckles to the existing seat belt brackets. The female side release buckles extend just beyond the edge of the seat and the straps leading to them from the seat belt brackets are stitched to the edge of carpet under the seat. This prevents lateral movement and allows stuffing the buckles out of sight under the seat when the inverter is not in the car and yet they can still be easily retrieved with fingers reaching under the edge of the seat when I want to reconnect the inverter. The male ends of the side release buckles are on a strap that runs across the inverter long ways to hold it in place and allow tightening the strap. This strap is attached to the inverter with three straps encircling the inverter. I raised the inverter off the floor by pop riveting some aluminum bar to the inverters mounting bracket. After everything was finished and tested I wrapped this in self stick felt where it contacts the seat to protect the front edge of the bench seat.

    I tested the inverter and observed it avoids a surge when it is powered on by fading up to full voltage. After it has come up to full voltage I can plug in my Kill A Watt EZ which shows 119 volts 60 Hz and it maintained this within specs with two 1000 watt electric heaters attached. After a while with this max load the inverters high speed cooling fan will kick in for a bit then turn off to keep the inverter cool. The fan is not quiet but it moves a lot of air and shuts off in short order. I have not run the inverter for an extended period of time but my observation in this cold weather is that the case of the inverter stays cold to just detectably warmer over the area near the fan.

    This seems like the ideal backup power solution for power outages at home and allows running home appliances while camping for RV like capability without the generator noise.

    Addendum:
    As a result of the discussion below I added dust covers for the Anderson connectors and 2 in-line fuse holders with 15 amp Semiconductor fuses. I removed most of the excess wire length in the process.
    2 COOPER BUSSMANN fuse holders HEB-AA
    2 FERRAZ SHAWMUT semiconductor fuses A60Q15-2
    1 STA-KON Crimping Plier WT111M
    2 Dust caps for Anderson SB50 50 amp Genuinedealz > anderson connector, battery plugs, plug in style, battery cable, connectors

    A manufacturing error has been found where DC- has continuity to the chassis. You should check your inverter for this issue. With the inverter disconnected from both input power and load use a meter to test if the black DC negative terminal is grounded to the chassis by measuring for continuity between black DC negative terminal and the ground terminal on the front of the inverter. You should read > 1 Megohm of resistance between either the black negative or red positive DC terminal and chassis ground. If you have continuity between either terminal and ground contact AIMS tech Support for instructions: 775-359-6703 ext 227.
    You may fix this issue yourself if desired. The fix is detailed in this post: My install and review of the AIMS Prius 2kW Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Backup Power Generator | Page 7 | PriusChat
     

    Attached Files:

  2. armoredsaint

    armoredsaint Anti-Eco Company Car

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    pics of the car fire later?;)
     
  3. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    :eek: The heaters were just for load testing and pics. Won't be using them in the car.:)
     
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  4. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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  5. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    Thanks! Good idea on the transfer switch. Not sure exactly how you wire that in. I should download the manual and check that out.
     
  6. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    Very good writeup - thanks!
     
  7. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I have also been thinking about this project since early January, for a regular Prius, but other activities have taken priority so far. It always helps to have someone else go through it first.
     
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  8. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    I should have resized the pics. Didn't realize the forum doesn't reduce them automatically. They take forever to display. Oops.
     
  9. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    The Reliance transfer switches are pretty neat 'cause the come pre-wired with a whip to run to all your critical circuits, and also most units come with analog Wattmeters to balance the generator load on the two breaker box power legs. You wire the whip wires to your existing panel circuits that you deem critical to live in a civilized fashion. Each Reliance unit has circuit flip switches - when power goes out, the idea is you can flip one, some or all switches to energize those circuits you need running, and you're done (once the Prius or a standard generator is hooked up).
     
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  10. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    Oh So True!
     
  11. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    Can you edit the post and substitute smaller files?
     
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  12. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    Working on that now.
     
  13. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    Fixed. Easier than I had feared it would be.
     
  14. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    That sounds cool!

     
  15. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Great to see no one is discouraging you... I was under the understanding that 1000 watt inverter was the limit, but I guess that's a) via the 12v battery not the HV battery, or 2) only applies to Gen2 Prius, or c) all of the above

    Looking forward to seeing what ya'll have to say...
     
  16. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    This AIMS inverter has the following specs (from the E-Bay listing):

    Applicable to 2004-2012 Prius, PriusV and Plug-in Prius
    PWRI2000S240VDC
    AIMS 2000 WATT 240 VOLT PURE SINE POWER INVERTER

    FEATURES
    2000 WATT CONTINUOUS POWER
    3000 WATT SURGE POWER
    COMPACT AND LIGHTWEIGHT
    DUAL AC RECEPTACLES / OFF SWITCH
    LOW BATTERY VOLTAGE WARNING / SHUTDOWN
    OVER TEMPERATURE INDICATOR
    OVERLOAD PROTECTION
    HIGH INPUT VOLTAGE PROTECTION WITH AUTOMATIC SHUTDOWN
    OVER LOAD INDICATOR
    COOLING FANS THERMALLY CONTROLLED
    AC OUTPUT SHORT CIRCUIT PROTECTION

    SPECIFICATIONS
    DC INPUT / OPERATING VOLTAGE: 180-260 VDC
    OUTPUT VOLTAGE:120 VOLTS AC
    OUTPUT VOLTAGE REGULATION: +/- 3%
    OUTPUT FREQUENCY: 60 HZ
    BATTERY LOW VOLTAGE ALARM: 180 VDC VOLTS
    HIGH BATTERY VOLTAGE SHUTDOWN: 250 VDC
    NO LOAD POWER CONSUMPTION: < 0.4 AMPS
    DC AMPS - 9A
    AC AMPS - 17
    FULL LOAD EFFICIENCY: 90%
    1/3 LOAD EFFICIENCY:95%
    AC OUTPUT SOCKET TYPE: DUAL TYPE 2-3 PRONG
    HIGH INPUT VOLTAGE PROTECTION: 280V
    LOW INPUT VOLTAGE SHUTDOWN: 170V
    INTERNAL BLADE FUSE PROTECTION
    DIMENSIONS: 18.5”L X 8”W X 4”H
    WEIGHT: 15 LBS
    FREE 1 YEAR TECH SUPPORT
    1 YEAR WARRANTY PARTS AND LABOR
     
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  17. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    I love it!

    Just a quick couple of thoughts and clarifications?
    You may want to rethink the fuse. High voltage, Solar panel fuses are specialized, DC current devices. Unlike AC power, a DC short can make a self-sustaining arc which means they use arc suppression techniques. This is not a 'set your hair on fire' but I would recommend searching the solar panel sites to at least be aware of their technology. A battery short into an arc is bad news.

    Is there an active cover for the socket under the seat or other means to prevent conductive material from accessing the hot leads? I'm a great believer in trying to 'idiot proof' access to such power BUT you haven't met my cousin.

    I like your mounting solution as it also answered my question about the area under the seat. Now I'm starting to think about the space at the base of the flying bridge between the two front seats. A little more invasive, it would be a better use of that space. I'm also thinking about 'seat back', possibly held by the rear-seat, head rest struts. I might also pull the passenger seat long enough to see what sort of space is available.

    On a sad point, I have a 12V powered version of their 1.5/3kW inverter I've carried around in the back of my wife's car. It worked as recently as a month ago but on Friday, it failed to generate any AC voltage. But you mentioned a soft, power up and I had a contractor cord with power indicating LEDs plugged in. I'll retest later today. If it turns out to be 'toast', I'll be looking at following your example.

    Please understand I think this is a great installation and I am envious. Having 2kW of solid power is a great asset. We started with a 9A AC and added the 12A AC circuit. But your unit has plenty of power to handle motor startup loads. Good job!

    Bob Wilson
     
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  18. AHetaFan

    AHetaFan Member

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    Interesting point on the fuse. According to the manual, the inverter has an internal DC fuse also which hopefully is designed for the DC voltage this is designed to run on. In the event of a short out side of the inverter the in-line fuse would be the protection and it is located a long way from the battery. The in-line fuse block is molded into the wire rather than being an add on attached to the wire though that probably doesn't mean anything. I might look into this more carefully though that doesn't appear to be an easy task. I do see automotive fuses and in-line fuse blocks like this on solar sites. The key I think is is the voltage where it is used. I may try to find something designed for this voltage which I can insert in-line close to the battery end.

    Currently the connector under the edge of the seat is protected only be it's design and being hidden behind the edge of the seat. You have to lift the edge of the seat a little to access it but I don't consider that sufficient. This is something I have thought about myself. In the short term I plan to tape over the open face of the plug when the inverter is disconnected as an extra precaution. Longer term I want to find a matching connector to plug-in as a dummy and remove it's terminals or at lease tape over the the wire entry holes (If anybody knows what these connectors are called please let me know to aid my search for one). I also plan to use a label maker to stick a warning label on the face of the seat above where the connector is located. Not sure how well that will stick over time though.

    I don't know about the flying bridge location. I didn't remove that to look inside but it does not look like the space will be large enough by default. Mods and sacrifices if it is at all possible I think. The right rear seat back is large enough to mount the inverter and the wires could easily travel from there down to the battery. When the seat is folded the inverter would be a bump in the otherwise level extended floor though. The let rear seat back is not large enough.

     
  19. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    Great write-up and pictures. Thanks for getting me interested again and reminding me to go ahead and purchase one of these units. I much prefer the connection to the HV battery over the 12V battery.

    I live in a hurricane alley and keep putting this off :whistle:
     
  20. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    PriusCamper, check out the link in my signature. Gen II and up can do 3000 watts continuous from the traction battery, much more for surge. The 12 volt system can do 1000 max.
     
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