Hardwiring a Power Inverter - Detailed Example - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-26-2008, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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2003 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: South Central
Posts: 165
Hardwiring a Power Inverter - Detailed Example

I know this has been posted prior, this is simply the documentation of how I did this. Thanks especially to the forum: https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showt...power+inverter

In essence, I wanted to hardwire from the battery to a power inverter inside the cab of my Wrangler TJ (2003). This inverter was to be operated from a separate switch on the center console, and the inverter powering a standard outlet mounted in the lower center console. Below is the basic wiring diagram:


1) Mount the inline fuse near the battery in the engine compartment

2) Run 6ga wire from battery, through inline fuse, across back of engine compartment to opposite site. Electrical tape, wrap with conduit and wire tie to secure

3) Drill hole through EXISTING rubber grommet through firewall, and run wire into the cab

4) Remove cover below the steering column, mount inverter with wire ties, wire negative to inverter

5) Remove center dash cover, remove heat/cool and accessory subsections, mount switch in place of cigarette lighter. Run positive to switch, then second positive back to inverter

6) Remove lower center forward console, cut and mount outlet, run power cord from inverter to outlet

Items required / where purchased / cost:

- 20 ft 6ga wire : Home Depot $40

- 10 ft plastic conduit cover : Advance Auto Parts $3

- Electrical tape : Advance Auto Parts $1

- QPower ANL Type Fuse holder : Local Car Stereo shop $25

- 80amp ANL Type fuse : Ebay $2.50

- 1 pack wire ties : Advance Auto Parts $1.50

- Vector 750W Power Inverter (soft start / auto restart / low power shut off) : Ebay $70

- Conduct Tite 300AMP battery isolator switch : Advance Auto Parts $7

- Standard 3 prong dual outlet : Home Depot $1.50

- Shallow outlet box : Home Depot $1

- Outdoor grade outlet cover : Home Depot $4

- 8ft 3 Prong Power cord : Home Depot $9

Total cost / time: $163.50 / 13 hours

Some lessons learned:

- 6ga wire may be overkill, but will easily handle a 80amp load over 10ft. Be aware, because of thickness it is hard to cut / bend, so plan ‘runs’ wisely

- Picture shows 200amp fuse, this was for testing only. Replaced with 80amp fuse to ensure any overload blows at the fuse, not at the battery

- 750W inverter is large enough to handle most applications, and about the biggest I could cram under the steering column. Also had the built in features mentioned above that I wanted.

- Given the switch is direct wired from the battery, it too must handle a 80amp load. Given switches >50amp are hard to find, this is the next largest I could find.

- Depending on how you mount the inverter, you could do away with the switch and simply use the on/off switch on the inverter. I simply wanted to have an easily accessible way to turn the inverter on and off without digging under the dash to find it.

- Outlet is not a GFCI, this was a conscious choice. Given relative protected area of mounting I didn’t feel it necessary.

- Location of outlet mount is only location in center console I could find with the space for a shallow box outlet. Even checked rear portion of the console but no such luck.


Well worth it, so nice to be able to simply plug in laptop / cell phone / small appliances and use them inside the cab with a flip of the switch!

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post #2 of 11 Old 05-03-2009, 08:32 AM
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1995 ZJ 
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There's no need to switch the power wire feeding the inverter. Every inverter I've installed has a simple "ON/OFF" toggle mounted on it and all you need to do is remove the cover to the inverter, access the red and black wires coming off the back of the toggle switch, and tap into those wires with an ignition-switched relay or a dash mounted toggle, depending on whether or not you want it to work only with the key. With my wife's DD, a minivan, I was concerned about the inverter being left ON so I went the relay route. In the cargo area, however, I installed a Dayton spring-wound 30-minute timer next to the outlet and ran the wires from that up to the connections I made with the relay. Now, 99% of the time the inverter works only with the key but when we go camping and I want access to 110vac without digging for my keys I simply give the timer a quick spin and I have 30-minutes of use without worry that if I walk away my battery will be drained.

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post #3 of 11 Old 06-02-2009, 12:52 PM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
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Thank you for the how to!
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-02-2009, 01:19 PM
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Nice looking job. Clean wiring and I like what you did with the ac plugs. One thing though Vector recommends #3 size wire for 700W inverters that are 10 ft from the battery. I'm guessing the wire you used was THHN and was also wondering how hard it was to work with, very stiff?
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-15-2009, 01:59 PM
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
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Do you need a heavy duty battery? How long does the battery last for smaller appliances like maybe a space heater? Totally new to this but am considering the idea of an inverter in my TJ. Thanks for the write up!!
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-19-2009, 06:36 PM
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1985 CJ7 
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just got a laptop, been using an inverter for a bit (cig lighter plug). is an inverter pron to power surg or is it all good? does the plug for a laptop work as a surg protector?
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-16-2010, 08:57 PM
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You might want to re think your set up. Watts / volts = amps so 750/120= 6.25 amps output, so how is a 80 amp fuse going to protect your setup? What is the input rating in amps? That will determine the wire size and fuse required. I don't think your going to have any where near 80 amps input. More like 15 or 20 amps with a #14 or 12 gage wire is all you'll need.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-17-2010, 11:16 AM
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I am fairly sure the OP discussed the 12 volt supply fuse at 80 Amps. 750/12=approx 63 amps. Assuming a little in-efficiency, 80 Amp 12 volt fuse seems right. Since he named an ANL fuse from a car stereo store, I'm even more certain.

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post #9 of 11 Old 11-01-2010, 09:20 PM
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one tip... go to a welding supply store for your wire... it's more malleable and offers less resistance... it usually has 75-100 small strands inside so it has fewer gaps between the strands... granted it's only available in black, but you can buy crimp on lugs for it at the same place and put red heat shrink over it... and you can crimp them on w/ a center punch for a good solid crimp, compared to just smashing it flat w/ a hammer...
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-20-2010, 10:39 AM
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I am thinking about doing something similar to my ZJ... I did hardwire an inverter in my truck (04 Silverado) to be able to charge my laptop or drill batteries. Since my truck has the same fuse block as the diesel version, there is a empty fuse spot for the glow plugs or something... So i just wired my inverter to that. Factory style fuse, and it comes right off the battery!
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post #11 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 08:56 PM
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One thing to remember is a battery wont last long running an inverter without runing the engine at the same time.....

So a little trick I do is to use a constant duty solenoid in the power wire to the inverter after the inline fuse controlled by a toggle switch getting its power from the ignition (not accy) run position because in this position the engine us usually running.

this way when you turn the toggle switch on to turn the power on to the constant duty solenoid and thus the inverter you in essence turn on the inverter too and dont need to find the little switch on the inverter (just leave it in the on position) and the toggle switch wont do anything unless the key is in the run position (presumably with the engine running) and the engine / alternator is charging the battery as you use the inverter.

THis way when you use the inverter you shouldnt drain your battery.

Of course you can use it with the engine off too but common sense would suggest not doing so unless you dont care if your battery goes dead in the process.


"It aint bragging if you can do it!"

1996 YJ-5 400 SB Chevy, Proflow EFI, NV4500 Trans with 6.34 low, Dynatrac HP Dana 60 Rear / Dana 44 front and 4:88 gears Featured in Sport & Utility June 1997.
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