Power inverters?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by Sadieh, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. Sadieh

    Sadieh New Member

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    I want to use a power inverter in my 2011 Prius to plug in a crock pot and a coffee pot. Is it possible and what type and where would I hook it up? THANKS
     
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Yes it is... Connect it to your 12v battery and keep it at 1000w inverter or less. Having a new super strong 55ah 12v battery would be a way to ensure the systems lasts a long time.
     
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!

    make sure your cr is in 'ready' when using it
     
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  4. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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  5. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    For clarity, the high voltage to 12V inverter in the Prius puts out about 80A maximum, and the Prius electronics use about 20A in Ready mode, leaving you about 60A of continuous capacity, which works out to 800-850W at ~14V. Therefore drawing more than 1000W from the inverter for very long is probably a bad idea and will drain the 12V battery on your Prius. Using a 1000W coffee maker is probably okay if it's the only thing connected and only on for several minutes at a time, with breaks between to let the 12V battery recharge a bit.

    For a power inverter, I'd get 50% more continuous capacity than you expect to use, so I'd go for a 1500W or even 2000W continuous inverter; just don't draw power from it close to that capacity.

    You would want to connect it directly to your battery in the trunk with a fuse.

    Easier might be a Coleman stove and a french press for coffee. This is what I use when camping.
     
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  6. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Just because you might be able to do it, doesn't mean that it is a good idea.
    It really is NOT a good idea. The power requirements are too high......and the Prius system capacity is too low.

    There have been some extensive threads about this on here already.......with some detailed information about how to go about it.
    Oddly enough, I don't remember anybody actually reporting back that they were successful.
     
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  7. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Is this to account for very brief peak loads? Or because inverters run best below 50% of their output? Or both? Or something else?
     
  8. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    I thought of doing just that, but while researching it I learned that I would want a pure sine wave inverter and those cost a lot more. Then all the wiring costs, it all added up. Then I came across a inverter generator with 2000W capacity for $300 on Craigslist. It's a quiet generator that looks like a suitcase and is small and light. It burns very little gas with small loads, more with bigger loads. You actually hear it Rev up when the load increases. It powers 1000W loads just fine, easy to travel with. Just another way to do it.
     
  9. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Had the pure sine wave vs. cheaper inverter going on in my head for years... Never pulled trigger on pure sine wave 'because of price, but would love to know more substantive reasons.

    Currently, I've done so much research and learning with DIY powerwall building on YouTube that I trust their expertise more than the long-term commenters on PriusChat who are at an income level that can afford newer cars and higher quality electronic gear even when it's not necessary. And as rich as they may be in terms of their bank account, compared to the majority of us poor folk who are far richer in making the most of what little we have, I'm not seeing many people doing DIY solar and powerwall work on Youtube who express the same opinion as all the no-saying snobs on PriusChat.

    Of course as time goes by the ebay prices for pure sine wave inverters in China, especially for the 24v to 120-240v are so low it's makes the debate no longer a debate, because when it comes to that kind of gear, pure sine wave is suddenly affordable.
     
  10. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    Just like everything else, truth is really independent of opinions/beliefs. Certain loads will not do well on a modified sine wave AC. Those include inductive and capacitive loads like motors and appliances that use motors, some computer power supplies, some medical equipment power supplies, etc. Many things will run on modified sine wave, but you really need to be aware of what you are plugging into that modified sine wave inverter (the plug looks like you can plug anything in, doesn't it?). Many folks run regular non-inverter generators that do not produce a sine wave to power their homes during power outages and do okay, so I guess it's your own risk tolerance that determines what you will use.

    As for cheap Chinese pure sine wave inverters... I would vet them real well before calling them what they claim to be on the packaging. An oscilloscope would help greatly here, but I have seen many reviews of these types of products that suggest they are either not pure sine wave or can handle a lot less power than they claim. Buyer beware. Most of the time you get what you pay for. Parts count is much higher on the pure sine wave machine, so if it's as cheap as the machine with fewer parts and simpler engineering... well, you draw your own conclusions. I don't think there is a conspiracy to gouge people when they buy a pure sine wave inverter, I honestly believe these things are more costly to produce. I may be wrong, of course.
     
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  11. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Thanks, great points all around... I've found huge savings in buying direct from China, but only when I've done my homework and have identified the exact product I want to buy in the US based on reviews and then ensure that the one from China is the identical and not a cheap knock-off. The simpler the product, the more reliable this money saving effort is... For example, replacement of plastic parts for my laptop, or pro-audio sound cards, and replacement computer tablet screens where I'm basically buying them direct from the manufacturer who build them for a US seller. Those are the ones that have worked well for me in this regard.
     
    #11 PriusCamper, Nov 16, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
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  12. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    Mostly it has to do with the cheapness/overrating of power inverters. They can usually run at 100% of their rating, but only for brief times, sometimes only a minute or two before overheating. I would consider the real maximum continuous rating as the peak power inverter can truly run continuously, with testing done over 48 hours at a high temp (35 or 40C) to prove it, but manufacturers usually rate their power ratings over this. Heat is the enemy of electronics and you'll get more longevity running below max capacity. I haven't looked at power inverters, but most switching power supplies are usually most efficient in the 50-80% load range.
     
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  13. run2w8s

    run2w8s Junior Member

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    It appears that I destroyed my sophisticated electronically controlled crockpot using a cheap modified sine wave inverter from Walmart. Was trying to use the crockpot while I was driving my 2010 Prius.
     
  14. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I think I'll just repost this, having no great ideas to improve it. :)

    In my experience, "modified sine wave" is one of those terms like "100% juice with added ingredients".

    You look at the output, it's essentially a square wave, except it rests at zero a little bit between half-cycles.

    The closest it ever gets to a sine wave is there on the back of the box, where somebody from the art department drew a sine wave next to it.

    [​IMG]

    It'll usually run hand tools sort-of, but they'll sound weird and buzzy and may run unstably, especially if they contain their own electronic motor controls, as more hand tools recently do.

    I would be quite cautious about trying to run laptop/phone/etc. chargers from one, because most of those things are switch-mode power supplies in their own right: they try to regulate their own output by rapidly cutting in and out from the supply coming in. The interaction could be weird when that incoming supply itself is abruptly cutting in and out, rather than varying smoothly.

    I think I've got something like three old MSW inverters lying around that I haven't used in years, but also haven't taken to Goodwill or the Re*Store because I don't relish inflicting them on anybody else.

    Back in the day, true sine inverters were a lot more expensive than MSW, but the price gap has narrowed enough now that I don't see much of an argument for MSW.
     
  15. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    DWC eh? Driving while cooking. Still a distraction :ROFLMAO:
     
  16. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    DWC'd with a bread machine in back once. Tasty.
     
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