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Unread 07-07-2008, 02:33 PM   #1
Jebussaves0
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Hardwired Power Inverter Write Up

OK, so after some trial and error along with plenty of research I hardwired a Vector 750 Watt power inverter into my 2002 Sahara. I hardwired a contura switch purchased from www.otrattw.com to the inverter itself to operate it. The nice thing about this is that it can be wired to the dash illumination that comes on when your headlights are on (aside from the clean look). The inverter can handle just about anything I can hook up to it short of a mini-fridge. Since I'm fine with using a cooler, this works just fine for me.


Step 1) Mount a fuse holder somewhere in the engine compartment as close to the battery as possible.

Fuse Holder:


Step 2) Run two lengths of 4 AWG wire into the cab through the pre-existing grommet in the firewall, one from the fuse holder and one from the (-) terminal of the battery.

Wire Ran:


Driver's Side Grommet:


Step 3) Go back inside, get a beer, and take the inverter out of the packaging. To have it hardwired where you never need to touch/see/smell/worry about the inverter, you are going to need to wire it to a remotely located switch as well as a remotely located outlet. There are two ways to go here...

(A) Cut out the outlets in the inverter and run 14 AWG wire or romex to your conventional outlet mounted elsewhere.
(B) Buy extension cords from Home Depot than are pronged on one end and just have wires on the other to run to the remote mounted outlets

While (A) may seem like the more permanent and "durable" solution... it's not. I tried it and believe me, it's not worth it. Just buy the extension cords.

Step 4) Take the cover off the inverter and look at the wires leading to the small rocker switch that turns it On/Off. Mark the lead wire with a Sharpie and proceed to cut out the rocker switch. You will be extending these wires to your aftermarket switch. Go ahead and solder & heat shrink some 18 AWG wire to these two wires for now. It will be easier to run the wire later than mess with the connections when the inverter is in the Jeep.

***Note there are more wires leading to the switch on this picture, I took two inverters apart and in each there were only two... either way it's just more solder work, that's all.***

(Picture credit to Sebastian22)

Step 5) Go back to the Jeep figure out where you want the outlets located. I used the side of the stock shifter console as a mounting location and it works/looks great there. You will need a plastic shallow mount outlet box from home depot as well as a 15 or 20 Amp outlet. I chose 20A. Measure twice and cut once a rectangular hole in the plastic for the outlet. Drill 4 holes to mount the outlet box.

Step 6) While the box is still test-mounted to the console go out to the Jeep and run your extenstion cords from underneath the steering wheel (where the inverter will be mounted) to the outlet box in the console. Cut any excess and proceed to strip and attach the wires to your outlet before tightining everything down to your console.

Step 7) Reinstall the shifter console with the extension cords hanging off of it.



Step 8) Remove the access panel underneath the steering wheel. Mount the inverter to the A/C duct (or dash frame if the Jeep is not A/C equipped) using zip ties. Make sure to install it so the switch wires go towards the middle of the dash and the (-) and (+) terminals are facing the driver's side door.

Mounted Inverter:




Step 9) Remove the center dash bezel and install a contura switch into one of the locations in the stock switch bezel. I chose one with a little lightning bolt on it because it seemed to fit the application . Route your two wires coming from the inverter and connect them on the switch as "12v power in" and "power out to device". Make sure to ground the switch properly as well, the ground near the clutch pedal worked nicely for me.

Step 10) If you want the switch to illuminate with the dash when the headlights are turned on you can tap into the wire going into either the stereo head unit or the A/C control panel. Either way will work, just make sure you are splicing the ORANGE wire.

Switch w/ Dash Illumination light on (lower light):


Step 11) Reassemble the center dash with the switch panel. Plug your extension cords into the inverter. Connect the 4 AWG cables that have been hanging in your cab to the inverter.

Step 12) Only now should you install a fuse and then run the last short length of cable from the fuse holder to the (+) terminal of the battery.

Fire it up and enjoy a power inverter set up that looks like it was from the factory!



I want to offer a HUGE thanks to James from www.otrattw.com for the help over the phone as well as Slithering Joe from these forums for some advice as well.


Last edited by Jebussaves0; 01-07-2009 at 06:06 PM..
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Unread 07-14-2008, 04:00 PM   #2
Slithering_Joe
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I stumbled over this thread. Nice writeup and thanks for the plug.

Nice shifter too.
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Unread 07-14-2008, 05:27 PM   #3
Jebussaves0
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Thanks! Being as my last car before the jeep was a '68 Plymouth I still toy with the idea of installing one of these...

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Unread 07-14-2008, 05:58 PM   #4
leben_sie_gut
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Yeah, great write-up. I'm looking to do something fairly similar myself...thought about keeping it contained in the engine bay, just to air up air mattresses, run work lights, etc.

Mine's still new enough to make me hesitate from chopping up the interior plastic, although yours does look very good.

Jeb, I've loved those shifters since I saw Stacey put one in the Little Red Wagon on trucks.....they're pretty high though, about 270 I'm thinking? It'd be pretty simple to modify the shifter to accept it though. Maybe someday.
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Unread 07-14-2008, 06:46 PM   #5
Jebussaves0
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Yeah the pistol grip handles are quite pricey(that's whats kept me from doing it). If you already have a hurst shifter though there isn't any modifiction to install it however since the shifter handle is already bolted to the shifter using 2 bolts.

As for cutting the plastic, it really wasn't as bad as I thought. I'm pretty notorious for doing things the wrong way before getting it right but this really was a no brainer.
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Unread 10-09-2010, 08:08 PM   #6
1jack5
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Hey, I know this is old but I really like this set up, I have been looking for one. can you give me a link or picture of the extension cord you are talking about?
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Unread 10-09-2010, 11:00 PM   #7
hamilton5
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I.... Don't think your supposed to run a negative to the battery, your supposed to ground it to the chassis. Decent install tho, love the hose clamps to mount the fuse holder :\
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Unread 10-09-2010, 11:08 PM   #8
RARECJ8
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nice and clean. awesome.
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Unread 10-11-2010, 01:01 AM   #9
sfcjcl
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Cool and Looks Great!!

Looks great and you did a fantastic job explaining it. I've been looking at installing one myself, picked up a set of Kirby Rear compartment panels from a guy here in El Paso real cheap. I was looking to install a 1200 watt inverter in the rear of my Unlimited and was wondering if anybody has any suggestions on what gauge of wire to use? I was thinking about using a high quaility extension cord and just cut off the ends and add an inline fuse, but I need some help with this part.
Thanks
John
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Unread 10-11-2010, 04:42 PM   #10
RARECJ8
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i like to use welding cable but thats easy since i have a spool of red and black. seems thicker is better than thin... most welding supply shops have bulk cable to buy by the foot. i loike the OP idea to relocate the recepticle. wonder if the inverter guts gets hot in the under dash location? cannot be worse than under the hood heat anyway. interesting, the mfgr says to mount it away from heat, but use the shortest supply leads possible. for now, i just use some repurposed jumper cables but that requires hood to be up. i keep the inverter in an old lap top case but its handy and portable to use in different applications/rigs. a buddy has hard mounted his in rear of his ZJ, but it runs off the rear mounted aux battery, so not a long reach to the inverter.

good luck and again, nice job to the OP.
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Unread 12-13-2010, 11:25 AM   #11
KEH1997
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I'm considering doing this on my TJ as well. Do you think it would be fine to mount the inverter in the engine bay and run the extension cords through the firewall to the cab?
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Unread 12-13-2010, 07:46 PM   #12
mylt1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEH1997 View Post
I'm considering doing this on my TJ as well. Do you think it would be fine to mount the inverter in the engine bay and run the extension cords through the firewall to the cab?
no, because most inverters are not weather resistant plus the heat from the engine could also cause damage. heat is one of the biggest killers of electronics.
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Unread 12-15-2010, 05:51 PM   #13
Jebussaves0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamilton5 View Post
I.... Don't think your supposed to run a negative to the battery, your supposed to ground it to the chassis. Decent install tho, love the hose clamps to mount the fuse holder :\
Actually it's perfectly fine to do so. The inverter has a separate grounding post that is connected to a post in the cab but that's really just insurance at that point. Besides, if you follow the wires, the negative terminal of you're battery is grounded to the chassis .

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfcjcl View Post
I was looking to install a 1200 watt inverter in the rear of my Unlimited and was wondering if anybody has any suggestions on what gauge of wire to use? I was thinking about using a high quaility extension cord and just cut off the ends and add an inline fuse, but I need some help with this part.
I would go with a high thread-count 6 AWG wire for that inverter. If you wanted to be really conservative you might run 4 AWG but 6 should do you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RARECJ8 View Post
i loike the OP idea to relocate the recepticle. wonder if the inverter guts gets hot in the under dash location?
After driving damn near cross country with the inverter running non-stop to charge my phone & iPod, it never once had an overheating issue. It certainly get's a little warm (you can feel slight radiant heat when you're wearing shorts) but it's a far cry from hot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mylt1 View Post
no, because most inverters are not weather resistant plus the heat from the engine could also cause damage. heat is one of the biggest killers of electronics.
Ditto


P.S. -- It's been several years since I originally did this write-up/project. I think the biggest mistake I made was using cheap, low thread-count, wire. Somewhere on my to-do list is to but some welding cable and redo it the right way. Good luck modding!
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2002 Jeep Wrangler Sahara | 4.0L 5spd D44/D30 3.73s | Hurst Shifter | Hardwired Power Inverter | Hummer-Style CAI | 1" Rusty's BL/MML | AA TC Shifter Bracket | 2" BB | JKS Quicker Discos | 33x10.50R15 BFG KM2s | Alpine CDA-9886 HU | OTRATTW Switch Panel | G.P.F. Rear Bumper | Metalcloak Overline Fenders

M416 Trailer | In Progress
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Unread 12-23-2010, 01:59 PM   #14
KEH1997
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Forgive me for being ignorant, but what is the reason for using an inline fuse if the inverter already has a fuse built in?
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Unread 12-23-2010, 02:14 PM   #15
Slithering_Joe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEH1997 View Post
Forgive me for being ignorant, but what is the reason for using an inline fuse if the inverter already has a fuse built in?
For the event the wire ever shorts to ground anywhere along the way from the battery to the inverter.
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