There are times when you want to live off your mobile van or enjoy some extra juice for your devices on the road. A power inverter can be a valuable addition to your vehicle for those moments. While the parts are easy to get (thanks, Amazon), installing an inverter on your own can be challenging.
Here’s everything you need on how to install them in various cars, campers, trucks, and RVs.
How to install a power inverter in a camper?
Installing a power inverter in your camper van is pretty straightforward. You can connect it directly to your vehicle’s battery through the following steps:
Step 1: It would help if you modified your van to an extent, and the excess weight of the inverter can make its handling less than ideal. So, go through the fine text for your camper and the inverter. Make sure that all the electrical components are compatible.
Step 2: Ensure that there is no current flow in any appliance. Switch off the input, output, and cut-off circuits of your van.
Step 3: Secure the inverter in place. Try to keep it in proximity to the battery and close to the ground. Set up a fuse box between the inverter and the battery.
Step 4: Connect the wires with their respective terminals. Double-check the manual at each step and keep your insulated gloves on during the process.
Step 5: Insert the fuses and switch on the inverter to let it draw power from the battery. Don’t yet connect any AC appliances to the inverter.
Step 6: Check the voltage on the inverter with a multimeter. If the voltage is the same as the rating on your battery, it means the inverter is ready for use.
How to install a power inverter in a car?
If your car has a cigarette lighter, you can connect a power inverter without modifying the electrical system. Simply plug the inverter in the socket on the dashboard. It can charge your laptop or smartphone without any issues.
However, this is only valid for low-voltage appliances. The fuse connected to the cigarette lighter typically cuts off at 20A. It means that you can cause severe damage to your car if you try to run heavy equipment.
How to install a power inverter in an RV?
Most RVs have an AC distribution box that lets you efficiently run any appliance. The distribution box has connections to the RVs auxiliary batteries. To connect a power inverter to your RV’s AC distribution box:
- Remove the fuse from the inverter.
- Connect the wires from the inverter to their respective terminals and insert the fuse back into the inverter. You are dealing with AC, which can be more dangerous than DC. It might be a good idea to leave this process to a trained electrician.
- Use a multimeter to confirm the power flow for each socket. You could also use a Megohmmeter or an Earth insulation tester to determine the grounding of the circuit.
- Once you decide that the circuit is safe, you can start running the desired AC devices from your RV.
How to install a power inverter in my truck?
If you have a large pickup truck that you often take out camping, having a power inverter can lend you access to many digital devices out in the wilderness. You can run most household appliances and chargers from your truck’s standard battery. Still, you may need an additional battery set if you plan on running high-power devices such as coolers and power tools.
You can install a power inverter on a pickup truck the same way for any camper van or RV. The only difference is that you’re working with less space and without a dedicated spot to store the inverter. You may need to create and fix a custom mount for your inverter. Place the inverter far back in your truck, using extended cables to connect to the breaker.
How to install a power inverter in a semi-truck?
The batteries remain far away from the engine in a separate battery box in a semi-truck. It makes for an easier installation of an inverter. You can place the inverter in the cabin and draw the wires through the chassis, connecting them to the battery terminals.
You should pay attention to the wires outside the truck’s chassis. Therefore, it is crucial to give them ample protection to prevent short circuits. You should use more than the regular insulation on the wires and use a fuse for one end. Further, don’t connect any cables directly onto the battery; solder a terminal plug for each lot.
How to install a power inverter in a van?
Vans offer a lot of space for a convenient installation for an inverter. As such, the process is not so different from an RV. The thing you should consider most is the wiring. Open wires can increase the chances of short circuits and accidental damage within a van.
To secure the cables:
- Run them along the inside of the van hugging the panels.
- Keep them down low and covered with plenty of insulation.
- Wind them tight once you determine the correct length of the wires.
How to install an inverter in a sprinter van?
In the case of sprinter vans, the process to install an inverter is the same as a regular van. The only factor that changes is the placement of the inverter. You are better off placing it behind or below your seat for sprinter vans.
You may need to get creative by designing a particular container for the inverter. Wood is an excellent material, although you can also use polycarbonate or ABS.
How to install a power inverter in a caravan?
A caravan or motorhome can provide you with leisurely living quarters far away from the nearest semblance of civilization. In light of that, you can use a solar-powered inverter solution for a caravan.
To add a solar-powered inverter to your caravan:
- Turn off the engine and disconnect the batteries. Ground the inverter you want to install. You may need to check the voltage depending on your usage. If required, install an extra set of batteries.
- Place your inverter in a suitable location within your caravan. Please keep it away from places with excess heat, moisture, or foot traffic. Try to provide it with good airflow.
- Upon securing the inverter, set up the solar panels on the roof of your caravan. Place the breaker box close to the inverter and connect all the cables appropriately. Don’t refrain from calling an electrician if the task seems too complex.
- Test the inverter with a multimeter to ensure it gets the proper voltage. If all readings check out, your caravan inverter is good to go.
How do I connect a power inverter to a car battery?
Before connecting a power inverter to a car battery, you should not allow any current to flow through the circuit. Remove the fuse from the inverter and disconnect both the battery’s terminals. Then, connect the power inverter through the following procedure:
- Connect the black negative (-) point to the battery’s negative terminal.
- Join the positive (+) terminal of the battery to a cable. Don’t connect it to the inverter yet.
- Link the grounding wire to the inverter’s grounding (copper) terminal, if required.
- Use a tool with an insulated grip to tighten the slugs for each terminal. You can apply some petroleum jelly to prevent any sparks.
- Draw the wires towards the inverter and secure them with tape or zip ties. Check all the connections and connect the ground wire with any bare metal on your car.
- Connect the cable from the positive terminal of the battery to the inverter. Insert the fuse back into the inverter.
- Use a multimeter to check the voltage and current across the circuit. If all is fine, you can start using the inverter to connect your devices.
How to install a power inverter in a Freightliner Cascadia?
As a popular semi-truck, the Freightliner Cascadia offers many features for truck drivers in the US. They may need the HVAC during a 10-hour halt or a coffee maker on board to save time during stops. For that, you can easily install a power inverter in the truck.
The process is similar to any other semi, but Cascadia’s secure build can cause some problems with the wiring. So, it would help if you drill a few holes close to the battery box before you connect the inverter. It can save on the cable length and keep your circuit easy to maintain.
How to install a power inverter in a Ford Transit van?
The process to install a power inverter in a Ford Transit is just like any other van. A vital factor to consider is that the Ford Transit does not have a large enough battery to run heavy appliances like a microwave or a coffee maker.
If you want to use high-voltage devices, you might want to connect the inverter to a separate set of batteries. Li-ion batteries of 300 Ah capacity should be enough, but you should go for the ones that best suit your needs.
How to install a power inverter in a car directly to the battery?
- Turn off the inverter and disconnect the battery.
- Remove the inverter fuse and check for any current flow through a multimeter.
- Connect the battery’s positive terminal to the positive point of the inverter and vice versa.
- Insert the fuse and connect the grounding wire to a bare metal spot on your car.
- Secure all cables and check the connections.
How do you use an inverter while camping?
Before using an inverter, you must connect it between the battery and the breaker. The inverter draws power from the battery as DC and converts it to AC. You can connect any appliance to the breaker directly.
Does a camper have an inverter or a converter?
All camper vehicles come with an in-built converter. However, some versions have an inverter as well. The best way to check is to operate any electrical systems such as lights or heaters with the engine turned off. If they still work, your camper has an inverter.
How to install a pure sine wave inverter in an RV?
Installing a pure sine wave inverter is not different from installing a regular inverter in an RV. Although, this kind of inverter must have a firmer base since the movement of the inverter on rough terrain will decrease its efficiency.
How to hook up a power inverter to a battery?
When you want to connect a power inverter to a battery, you may wish to disconnect any other power sources first. Only link the respective terminals once you correctly ground the inverter.
How do you hook up an inverter to a sprinter van?
When you place an inverter, connect the positive and negative terminals to their respective spots on the inverter. Secure all connections and check with a multimeter if the inverter is ready for use.
Can you install an inverter yourself?
Yes. Most inverters are simple enough to install on your own. Just keep the car/camper turned off during the procedure. Still, if you think connecting the cables is too complex a task, you should call a professional to do it for you.
Will an inverter damage my car?
Drawing too much power with the inverter can reduce your car’s battery life. If you want more power than what a phone or laptop requires, try adding a heavier battery to power the inverter.
Where do you put a power inverter in a truck?
The inverter should not disrupt your truck’s functions while being as close to the battery as possible. The best place is either below the seat or on the floorboard.
Which inverter is best for trucks?
The BESTEK or COBRA CPI power inverters can get enough power for common household appliances. If you’re looking for something north of the 2000-Watt range, you can go for the Energizer or Giandel power inverter.
- Inverter Installation In Our Sprinter Van.
- How To Install A Power Inverter In A Camper.
- How To Install A Power Inverter In A Semi.
- 10 Best Power Inverters For Trucks In 2022: Reviews and Buying Guide