Using a really old 140 watt inverter in 2012 V's 12-volt ?

Discussion in 'Prius v Accessories and Modifications' started by Kereneni, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. Kereneni

    Kereneni New Member

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    I've got a 140 watt inverter (25 years old) with one three-prong outlet.

    On an upcoming road trip, I'd like to plug the inverter into the 'cig lighter' to charge my laptop while driving.

    If helpful, the inverter is a Radio Shack 12VDC to 111VAC inverter.
    Input: 12V nominal (10-15V)
    Output: 115V/140W continuous, 200W 5 minutes, 400W 0.1 second

    Any concerns?
     
  2. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Should be fine, I wouldn't worry at all.
     
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  3. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    As long as the inverter isn't broken, it should work in any car's 12V outlet.
     
  4. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    First, realize that inverter is 140w which means it could attempt to draw well over 14 amps if loaded. Some designs may draw a lot of amps on startup as well. So don't even think about adding much load just because you have an AC output. Second, most low cost inverters put out a modified square wave and call it AC. True AC is a clean sine wave. Never put a motor load on a modified sine wave and some transformer loads like in power supplies may get hot. The best thing to do is to test and ensure the Prius' limited amp outlet can take it and the load does not get hot.


    . modified sine wave2.jpg
     
  5. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Don't even dream of pulling 140W for even a few moments. The inverter may be fine, but the Prius 12V 'cig lighter' outlet is likely to blow its fuse.

    These outlets were originally meant for only 10A, or 120W. While some vehicles have these upgraded to higher currents, the Prius doesn't seem to be among them.

    Anything over 100W on the inverter output is likely to require 120+W on its input, the reasonable limit for the car's 12V outlet.
     
  6. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Definitely check the laptop's power supply requirements. Mine is only 85 watts, but yours might be much higher.

    As long as the computer can work on the output of the inverter, and it won't pull too many amps, you should be OK. Just don't get carried away and plug more stuff into the inverter.

    Honestly, though, we haven't taken our inverter long in decades. Charging the laptop overnight seems to get us through the day fine since our phones are now so capable.
     
  7. Centerpunch

    Centerpunch Active Member

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    Another idea would be to purchase a car adapter for your laptop. They’re available for most popular models.

    That way you’re not adding the losses from converting 12vdc up to 110vac and back down to low laptop voltage (which is maybe 20vdc).

    There are ones designed for specific laptops, and also semi-universal models like this one.
     
  8. Kereneni

    Kereneni New Member

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    Thanks, everyone, for your responses. Didn't intend to ghost this thread - I shot out of town the very next day.

    I'm thinking better safe than sorry, and I may just try to re-home my vintage inverter to a friend who will likely welcome it into his cache of such things. :)
     
  9. Air_Boss

    Air_Boss Senior Member

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    Worse, some put out a sawtooth wave that will absolutely kill most electronics.
     
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