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Old 10-09-2013, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Colorado
163 posts, read 386,043 times
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Power inverter for my car? 's

1. I WAS told to be able to use the fan I bought for my car on hot nights I'd need to keep car running or I'd have dead battery in am? Is this true cause if I gotta keep car running then may as well use AC.

2. Is there a powerful enough inverter to run one of those small floor heaters?

3. Someone also said if I got to strong of a inverter that it could fry my cars electrical?
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:58 PM
 
5,075 posts, read 9,889,104 times
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Might be worth mentioning what car you have and the type +(power output) of the converter you're planning to run. Nobody can guess the answer without that basic information.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:26 AM
 
13,332 posts, read 15,214,342 times
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What are you intentions here?

The car's battery only has a finite supply of power. Most 120V power inverters that I know of recommend the engine be running in order to use. Use of them for a short period of time will drain the battery if the car is off.

Without knowing what you want to plug in, and how much power it draws, and for how many hours it's hard to say for sure if it will kill it.

But for example

Lets say you have a fan that draws 1Amp on 120V. Well, if you put that on an inverter, it would draw 11Amps of power from your battery.

BatteryStuff Tools | AC to DC Amperage Calclator Through An Inverter

11A over a period of time will drain the battery.
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:48 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,719 posts, read 28,112,787 times
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Every power inverter has a power rating in watts. The typical inverter intended for use in power outlet (lighter socket) is 200-400 watts. That's enough to power electronics and lighting, not power tools or heating devices. A hair dryer requires 1000-1500 watts. Many of those small "ceramic" heaters need 1500W. That means you would need a big inverter that connects directly to the battery.

Oh - and the battery wouldn't last long powering a heater like that.
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:49 AM
 
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1. A heater is one of the worst things to use with the engine off, any reasonable heater consumes a substantial amount of power. It is possible to calculate this if you know how many watt-hours your battery is rated for. This is a bit dicey because if you calculate wrong the engine won't start.

2. The AC doesn't work with the engine off. You need to have the compressor running, which is belt-driven.

3. If you want to run a heater get a 12V heater, the inverter just converts to 12V inefficiently. (Although if the inverter is in the car you get that heat too.)
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:26 AM
 
358 posts, read 791,105 times
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You must run the motor for electric heat. There are gas or kero heaters for cars, but you can easily kill yourself with them if you do not crack two windows and, of course, that will let out much of he heat. Perhaps a blanket?

Properly wired, and AC inverter will not damage the electrical. Some vehicles come with them pre-installed. Very substantial inverters are available, but they requrie quite heavy wire cables and sometimes an upgraded alternator. You could mount a gasoline powered AC generator in the back of a truck. that would generate more than enough power for an electric heater. I do not know whether such a generator would use more gasoline than simply running the motor of your vehicle.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:41 AM
 
2,341 posts, read 10,725,452 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docryan View Post
Power inverter for my car? 's

1. I WAS told to be able to use the fan I bought for my car on hot nights I'd need to keep car running or I'd have dead battery in am? Is this true cause if I gotta keep car running then may as well use AC.

2. Is there a powerful enough inverter to run one of those small floor heaters?

3. Someone also said if I got to strong of a inverter that it could fry my cars electrical?
Unless you are going to have a commercial-grade inverter professionally installed, do NOT do it. Period.

The ONLY inverter a DIYer should use is one that plugs into your cigarette lighter. If you need more power than that, refer to my first comment.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:07 AM
 
870 posts, read 1,291,938 times
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There is some truth to the frying the car's electrical statement. Depending on the load placed upon it, it may cause the alternator to run at full output, which most of them (at least from the factory), are not intended to do for more than a very short amount of time (typically less than a minute). A continuous high load condition can overheat the alternator, leading the failure.

Also, most batteries in cars are of the "starting" type, as opposed to the "deep cycle" type. A starting battery is intended to deliver high current for a very short period of time - starting the motor. The alternator then comes online, replenshes the battery's charge level, and continues to run the various electrical devices of the vehicle. If the alternator can not keep up with demand, then the battery starts drawing down. A single good deep discharge of a starting battery is enough to cause failure (not a guarantee of failure, but a good probability of damage on some level, and potentially an outright failure). I've killed several batteries this way in my 4x4 trucks while using an electric winch - one good hard pull on the winch, which can peak at over 500 amps of draw, brings the battery down to about 9 volts....and the engine just barely stays running. Shut the truck off several hours later, and there isn't even enough charge to crank the engine over, nor will the battery take a charge from an off board battery charger. I now run two deep cycle batteries in parallel for the winch and other high draw devices such as the inverter, and isolate them from the starting battery.

Now, for your situation - yes, the equipment is available. You're not likely to enjoy the cost though. For reference, my small Shop-Vac (5 gallon, 2HP motor) will cause my inverter to pull over 80amps out of the battery, and that's less power than it would take to run an electric heater. Most alternators these days are rated somewhere around 100-120 amps, and they also need to be able to run the rest of the car as well, which could be well over 30 amps with all the gadgets that are cars these days.

There are other solutions for the fan issue, with the best being to have a second battery installed with an isolator. This way the alternator keeps both batteries charged, but disconnects the second battery when the car is off. This way you could drain that second battery with accessories, and still be able to start the car in the morning. Another option is the second battery with a solar charger, which will cheap it completely seperate from the car's electrical system.

Of course, none of these solutions will be cheap if you need to have someone else install the equipment and wiring. While I hesitate to say that you absolutely need to have someone else install them, as I don't know what your capabilities are (and it's a simple affair for me, but then this is precisely the kind of stuff I do at work every day). But keeping in mind that while _any_ electrical work done improperly can result in damage to other parts at best, and full on car fire at worse, the size of the wiring (and the amount of current they can carry without melt-down) greatly increases the chances of catastrophic damage if done incorrectly.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:18 AM
 
3,184 posts, read 6,527,206 times
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I would consider having another back up battery in the car and forget using an inverter.Perhaps you need a nice motor home where you have a powerful generator that will power a heater/ac/stove/hot water/everything.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:24 AM
 
1,420 posts, read 2,910,381 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docryan View Post
Power inverter for my car? 's

1. I WAS told to be able to use the fan I bought for my car on hot nights I'd need to keep car running or I'd have dead battery in am? Is this true cause if I gotta keep car running then may as well use AC.

2. Is there a powerful enough inverter to run one of those small floor heaters?

3. Someone also said if I got to strong of a inverter that it could fry my cars electrical?
1. Depends on how long the inverter is running? All night?

2. Unlikely if the floor heater is more than a couple hundred watts. I think the fuse for the cigarette lighter is 10A (maybe 20A?) so, at 12V that's 120 (or 240) watts max.

3. I doubt it if the inverter is the standard plug in the cigartte lighter inverter. The fuse would most likely blow before any electrical damage occurs. That's what the fuse is for.
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