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Old 06-26-2013, 03:26 PM   #1
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Inverter Install Questions

Right off the bat, I'll just say that I'm a complete novice when it comes to working with electronics. And by novice, I mean I can plug a toaster, TV, drill, and other various items into a wall socket (when required).

So I want to install an inverter so my kids can have their iPods, 3DS', etc plugged in during long trips.

I purchased the following:
RoadPro RP-203EC 12V 12' Extension Cord with Cigarette Lighter Plug
Whistler Pro 200W Watt Power Inverter

What my plan is (and I'm asking if this is possible) tap into the rear cigarette lighter thing (in the rear by the sub).

Is it possible to splice into the cigarette lighter from behind (by joining the extension cord to the cigarette lighter wires and stuff) so the red extension cord will be hidden, and run it inside the side plastic interior, exiting under the rear seat, where I can plug in the inverter (which I plan on mounting under the center of the bench seat on the floor).

Yes? No? Maybe? So?

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Old 06-28-2013, 06:52 AM   #2
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Anyone?

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Old 06-28-2013, 01:33 PM   #3
Knows a couple things...

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An inverter converts your Jeep's 12 volt DC system to 110vac like comes out of your wall socket. Then the part the kids would plug into it reduces that 110v down to, usually, 12 volts DC which is what is already in your Jeep's electrical system.

Instead, I'd look at just getting car adapters from the iPod etc. manufacturers so they can plug them directly into the cigarette lighter jack.

If you really want a 12v to 110v inverter, I'd look for something a little bigger than 200 watts which is minimal & doesn't provide much power. 300-450 watts would be better & instead of plugging it into a cigarette lighter jack, I'd connect it directly to the battery using 12 gauge wiring.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:04 PM   #4
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I agree with what Jerry says. Also, according to your inverter, it requires 20 amps, and I'm fairly sure the cigarette lighter plug is either 10 or 15.

You have a '13 Sahara that comes with a single 120v outlet in the center console. Why not run a small extension cord from it to the back seat? It's rated for up to 150 watts.
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:55 PM   #5
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Either way, the cord you have selected cannot supply suffecient amperage to the 200W unit. It maxes out at ~10A.

+1 on a manufacturer car adaptor or a hardwired 400W unit. For just the kids on trips, I'd look at the first option. If you do a lot outdoors and camping wise, the inverter may be well worth it.
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:49 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info guys!!!

Bad_Dog, my wife has the Sahara. I have a Freedom Edition without heated seats, so no 120v outlet for me in the console

I'm a tad confused though (as I said, I'm not good with electronics at all). I wanted to do a test run with the extension cord and inverter yesterday, so I just ran the extension cord under the carpets to where I wanted the inverter. My son used his iPod for our whole trip (about 2 hours), all being plugged into the inverter. It worked great.

Obviously, that was only 1 iPod plugged in. So are you saying that it won't handle 2 iPods plugged in?

Thanks again all!
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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Without exact specs it is hard to give exact figures, but a 10A draw would allow about 120-140W ideally. According to several reviewers of that cord, it is ~20ga, which has a low ampacity (generally <10A). Your inverter is 200W constant, a draw of (ideally) 16.67A, which factors no loss (laboratory conditions) or peaking, which should be a 50% margin.

You will be able to run anything causing a draw up to 10A (Volts x Amps = Watts, use 12V for auto), but beyond that will melt the cable, assuming the power plug is rated at 15A. If it is rated at 10A, it will protect the wiring (like it is supposed to), but will still restrict the energy that reaches the inverter to a maximum of 10A, although the inverter can accept more. Unfortunately, 10A is usually all you can get from a cig outlet. Wiring directly to a power supply can allow full utilization of your inverter in a safe, protected way.

Hope that helps.

For reference, my samsung tablet charges on 120V/.35A input and 5V/2A output. My iphone is 120V/.15A in, 5V/1A out. If using an inverter, the plug must be supplied with the first number, in this case 42W and 18W, respectively. If charging directly, like through a cig plug to usb adaptor, you only need worry about the output numbers, 10W and 5W, respectively. Even with your cord, I could run both as you have it now. You would not be able to get into larger or startup draw loads.
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:24 PM   #8
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I have the 1500w/3000w peak cobra unit. mounted it underneath the passenger seat with 4ga wire directly to the battery. I couldnt be happier. only problem is it will draw enough power to suck a battery dry in less than a minute depending on what load you put on it. we hooked a small A/C unit to it and laughed as the meter dropped

it has 3 outlets and even a USB outlet.

http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-CPI1575-.../dp/B00701HVS6

thinking about getting the remote for it and mounting the entire unit in a hidden location like inside the dash and running wires to an outlet somewhere in the jeep.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:11 AM   #9
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Thanks guys. I'll have to break out some google to try to understand what you all just replied with haha.

The inverter will only be used to charge 2 iPods. Sometimes 1 Nintendo DS. That's it. No laptops or tablets.

I don't want to melt anything!
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:38 AM   #10
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You don't want to burn any wiring (read: FIRE!) nor do you want to blow any fuses. If you create too much of a draw, you will do either of the two.

For example, think of a blender... On setting 1, the lowest setting, you're pulling 50 watts (I'm just making up these numbers), which equates to about .42 amps. On setting 5, you're pulling 250 watts, which equates to about 2.08 amps, and so forth.

So you can plug-in a blender and only use 50 watts, meaning you're not using it to its full capacity / using a lot of electricity (amps / watts). But if you turn the blender all the way up to 10, and pull, say, 800 watts, you're now pulling about 6.7 amps. The more wattage, the more draw (amps) you'll be making.

Most phone chargers are less than 1 amp. One amp = 120 watts, at 120 volts (volts * amps = watts).

Now, having said all of that, I don't exactly know how inverters work, whether they are pulling 200 watts constantly or if it builds-up to 200 watt, depending on what devices you have plugged-in and drawing. I'm going to assume that it's on-demand and not constant. Mostly what they do is to convert the 12 volt signal into a sine wave that mimics a 120 volt alternating current and thus, you get 120 volts. Okay, sorry if I went over your head, but this place is to educate and help.

If you're going to use two devices for recharging, each at about 1/2 amp (I'm only guessing here, I have no idea what an ipod charger or DS charger pulls), you're pulling 180 watts from the inverter.

For such low-wattage / low amperage items, you should be okay, keeping in mind that if you draw too much, you're facing a burned wire or blown fuse (most-likely the result). So, I wouldn't plug in a TV or a hair dryer.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad_Dog View Post
You don't want to burn any wiring (read: FIRE!) nor do you want to blow any fuses. If you create too much of a draw, you will do either of the two.

For example, think of a blender... On setting 1, the lowest setting, you're pulling 50 watts (I'm just making up these numbers), which equates to about .42 amps. On setting 5, you're pulling 250 watts, which equates to about 2.08 amps, and so forth.

So you can plug-in a blender and only use 50 watts, meaning you're not using it to its full capacity / using a lot of electricity (amps / watts). But if you turn the blender all the way up to 10, and pull, say, 800 watts, you're now pulling about 6.7 amps. The more wattage, the more draw (amps) you'll be making.

Most phone chargers are less than 1 amp. One amp = 120 watts, at 120 volts (volts * amps = watts).

Now, having said all of that, I don't exactly know how inverters work, whether they are pulling 200 watts constantly or if it builds-up to 200 watt, depending on what devices you have plugged-in and drawing. I'm going to assume that it's on-demand and not constant. Mostly what they do is to convert the 12 volt signal into a sine wave that mimics a 120 volt alternating current and thus, you get 120 volts. Okay, sorry if I went over your head, but this place is to educate and help.

If you're going to use two devices for recharging, each at about 1/2 amp (I'm only guessing here, I have no idea what an ipod charger or DS charger pulls), you're pulling 180 watts from the inverter.

For such low-wattage / low amperage items, you should be okay, keeping in mind that if you draw too much, you're facing a burned wire or blown fuse (most-likely the result). So, I wouldn't plug in a TV or a hair dryer.
Thanks for the input!

Definitely no TV's or hair dryers! Haha. So what I'm gathering then, is that the extension cord is the weak point in what I've purchased?
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by LoveJiuJitsu View Post
Thanks for the input!

Definitely no TV's or hair dryers! Haha. So what I'm gathering then, is that the extension cord is the weak point in what I've purchased?
Yup.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:57 AM   #13
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Thanks Bad_Dog!!!!!! I'm glad the setup I purchased was dirt cheap lol.

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