Recommendation for new accessory pure sine wave inverter

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by Another, Sep 22, 2021.

  1. Another

    Another Member

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    Anyone have current recommendations, experience or suggestions for someone wanting to add a new 110v inverter hardwired into the system to power tools, electronics, etc. while out and about or even for use as emergency power backup? I know there are many brands but looking for first hand information on quality, durability and ease of installation over price. Also what is the maximum wattage one should use? Not sure how many amps you’re supposed to not exceed.
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    About a 1000 watt continuous rating (which may have a larger 'surge' rating) is the maximum that makes sense given the capacity of the car's DC/DC converter and the amount of that power that is needed by the car.

    For Gen 3, there's a published figure for the DC/DC converter capacity: 120 amps, which comes to around 1600 W. The car itself uses around 400 of that at a minimum, up to more like all of it if you've got the lights and defoggers and seat heaters and supplemental heater elements going.

    I keep seeing threads where people are wiring up inverters of double that rating or so, as if bigger were better. If it's because you found a spectacular price on a 1.5 or 2 kW unit, I can understand that, as long as you're not seriously planning to draw that much.

    I've been happy with Xantrex's Prowatt SW line, maybe because they were the first ones I found that brought the price of sine output down from the stratosphere compared to "modified sine". But now there are lots of affordable sine options.
     
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  3. Another

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    Thanks
    I’ve seen people recommending a fuse or fusible link be inserted too. Do you have any thoughts on this?
     
  4. AzusaPrius

    AzusaPrius Active Member

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    Try plugoutpower.com they have 3kw and 5kw inverters.
    They get power from the HV battery not the little 12v.

    I used code 7373
     
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  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Always and everywhere an added branch from an electrical system gets a fuse appropriately chosen to protect the branch.

    In a Gen 2 Prius, there is a convenient and obvious place to tap in, where your tap is electrically between the car's DC/DC converter and the 12 volt battery, and is protected from both sources by high-current fuses. That location is not where the cable's attached in this image, but where the arrow indicates. (The plastic fuse block has a foldable 'door' that opens there, revealing the bolted connection on the protected side of the fuse.)

    [​IMG]

    Here's a picture from a Gen 1 (used a similar fuse block) with the 'door' opened showing the connection. (Green arrow at lower right.)

    [​IMG]

    Unless your added wiring or equipment can all safely handle a fault current as large as the Toyota-provided fusible links in that cable, you then add a fuse appropriately sized for what you're adding, as close to the tap point as practicable. You can choose fuses and fuseholders knowing that the maximum fault current they'll have to withstand is limited by the Toyota fuse links.

    If you keep the car for a while, it could grow a collection of things back there, with their various separate fuses.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Another

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    Thanks Where would you recommend mounting the inverter? How log a run of cable? Is AWG 2 sufficient?
     
  7. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I tend to be kind of minimal about mounting (not a fan of making new holes in my car). When I had a Gen 1 (trunk instead of hatch), I had it hanging at the left of the trunk by the battery, just low enough for the trunk lid hinges to clear.

    [​IMG]

    In my Gen 3, it sits on top of the spare tire, under the cargo box. The tire kind of leans forward, so there's space for that at the front.

    Gen 3 does not duct the traction battery air exhaust all the way to the quarter vent; it just kind of exhausts into the space under the cargo box (where it can only eventually get to the quarter vents anyway). That's kind of handy for me, having an inverter under there.

    As Gen 2 does confine the traction battery air into a duct, that might be a more questionable arrangement in a Gen 2.

    I just run an extension cord from wherever the inverter is to a convenient spot in the cabin

    [​IMG]

    and wire from the remote control jack to the dash

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Another

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    Nice setup especially the switch and remote.
    I often wondered about cooling issues. I had thought about putting it in left cargo bay. But it’s unvented. Maybe add a grille and fan?
    Does your unit get hot even with airflow?
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    It has its own fan, which it turns on if it starts feeling warm. That has happened.

    It can also complain and shut down if it gets too warm. I don't think I've ever had that happen.

    But I'm not a super heavy user of it; it's there more for convenience than for, you know, running heavy stuff day in and day out.

    If I were planning to run a power tool for an extended time or something like that, I might think about propping up the cargo box for the duration. Or do that if the inverter complained.
     
  10. Another

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    Did the dash switch come with the optional remote or if not where did you get it?
     
  11. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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  12. Another

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    thanks for the great and detailed info.
     
  13. Another

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    In your opinion is this a good choice for an in-line circuit breaker?
     
  14. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Looks like you meant Amazon B01G2JMEUQ ?

    Looks decent to me. Appears to want ring terminal connections. On wiring of that size, unless you've got the pretty expensive properly sized crimp tooling yourself, it is easiest to stop by your local automotive electrical shoppe and say "please make me a wire of such-and-such gauge, yea long, with this size ring terminal on this end ...".
     
  15. Another

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    Yes, B01G2JMEUQ at Amazon.
    Thanks, I think I have a source for the wire.
    When I disconnect the 12v battery for the install, and then reconnect it, do I have to do anything special to reprogram anything or does the ecu and the rest just recalibrate?
     
  16. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    There's a section in your Gen 2 owners' manual about things that need various dances after reconnecting power. Some you might not naturally think of, like the power windows.
     
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