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Old 01-22-2015, 02:53 PM   #1
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Cheap inverter

This is hardly the right way to do things, but it seems to work.

I was at Harbor Freight and they had both the 1500 and 2000 inverters in a reconditioned state. The 1500 was only $60 so I brought both home.

I returned the 2000. I don't really know why, but testing with hairdryer etc. the 1500 did a better job. My guess is that the 2000 was more sensitive to the battery dropping in voltage.

I bought the two 6' number 4 wires with a 20% off coupon and a fuse from Napa. Ran the wire from the van battery through the firewall and just placed the inverter between the front two seats. To plug in I just cracked the front door and used the wire for connecting the van to a hook up and instead hooked it to the inverter. Started the van in morning and ran the coffee maker for 8 minuets. At night I ran the van for 8 minuets and heated up a dinner in the microwave. I am basically creating a 460 cubic inch generator. Yes it burns some gas, but with less than $100 in capital expenses it is going to take a long time for this gas expense to out run the savings in capital expense.

Of course there is right way to do this, but everyone on this board is so nice I have no fear in sharing this living in a van down by the river technique. I have been mapping out the right way with things like the thread about two rail mounted house batteries that drop down for service, replacing the Power Source PC-45 as well as the Sure Power isolator and the stereo wire used to connect to the house battery. OK, it is not stereo wire, but it certainly is too small with an inverter attached at the house battery. I think it is too small to even charge the house battery. Anyway the cost of doing this the right way added up to more than I could handle. I will report in the spring if this MacGyver technique makes it though summer.
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:12 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap inverter

Works for me (except possibly the wiring). I have a 750w Harbor Freight inverter which runs my small microwave and (or more probably "or") the coffee maker just fine. Your approach is definitely cheaper than the IIRC $1700 to $2100 I spent on the now boat anchor Xantrex 2500w Prosine inverter/charger which burned out in five years.
Looking forward to your Summer review MacGyver!
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:26 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap inverter

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Originally Posted by E350
(except possibly the wiring
The next step is to run #2 wire from the isolator to a selector from one of those boat places and mount the inverter in the back with the circuit breakers. I stopped here when I saw how much 20' of #2 wire costs. If I only knew some crack heads who could get me some...

So far the best price I find is to buy jumper cables from Auto Zone with #2 wire and make my own.
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:41 PM   #4
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Re: Cheap inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by E350
I have a 750w Harbor Freight inverter which runs my small microwave and
How do you wire your inverter, just through the cig lighter?
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:24 PM   #5
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Re: Cheap inverter

MacGyver: I already have the big welding cable lines from the house battery to where the old Xantrex inverter used to be which I hooked up to the 750w H.F. inverter. But when I get back to working on the van again, I will reroute and redo the circuit breakers for those lines too. I am one of those guys you spoke of who built a "between the frame rail and barn door threshold house and frame rail battery (and soon to be under the hood battery) tray" which lowers for service with a partial cut out in the floor with a hinged trap door for easy access to the terminals on the house battery kind a guy (although none of that is truly "finished").
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Old 01-23-2015, 08:01 AM   #6
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Re: Cheap inverter

Whatever works Nick! I too use mine as a 460 watt generator. It's much quieter than firing up the generator.

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