If you are planning to install a 12v power inverter in your work truck, this article will give you some valuable tips about doing it the right way?
A properly sized 12v power inverter is the perfect accessory to your work truck. Imagine being able to carry real power tools on the road instead of cordless ones. Maybe your favorite tools are cordless. Wouldn't it be great to be able to keep your batteries charged while on a remote job site? Every job site needs a radio. Run an extension cord from your inverter and listen to your favorite tunes while working away.
You may have noticed that I said "properly sized" 12v power inverter above. This is the first step in having a successful inverter installation. For a work truck, I would get the largest an heaviest duty inverter that you can afford. You've probably spent a lot of money on quality tools. You should plan on spending as much as it takes for a quality commercial grade 12v power inverter. It will last longer and perform better.
Step two in the installation process is choosing a suitable location for the inverter. It should be mounted somewhere that gets good ventilation and is not exposed to the elements. The back of your pickup would be a very bad location. Bad weather would quickly destroy your expensive piece of equipment. So would the dashboard. It can get pretty hot up there on the dash.
A couple of possible good locations would be behind the seat or maybe on the passenger side firewall. Make sure that wherever you mount it, that you have enough access to plug in your tools. Also make sure that it won't have other tools thrown on it or that it will be stepped on.
The next step for a good installation is choosing the proper wire gauge. Most higher end inverters won't come with cables and that is fine. Those that do often supply inadequate wires. I recommend using 4 gauge welding cables. Don't skimp on wires! If you do, you won't get the rated power out of your inverter and you might start a fire when the insulation on the wire melts.
I always use heavy duty terminals that are both crimped and soldered onto the wires. Remember, this is for a mobile application, you don't want them working loose on you. Good and solid terminal connections mean lower resistance in the wire. Therefore more current can flow through the wires.
Possibly the most important thing to consider is the battery that you use. Nothing would be more frustrating that getting in your truck at the end of your day to find out that it won't start because you used all it's "juice" running your screw gun. The best way to prevent this is to install a separate deep cycle battery that is separated from the starting battery with a battery isolator.
You then connect the inverter to the isolated deep cycle battery. This way both batteries will charge while you are running the engine but only the deep cycle battery will drain while you are using power tools.
It's important to buy a deep cycle battery as these are designed to be deeply discharged many times without suffering damage. Your starting battery is designed to start the vehicle and then immediately begin charging while the engine is running. I'm sure you've left the lights on in your car to find out that a deeply discharged starting battery is not a good thing.
Keep a window cracked a bit while running the inverter. This will promote ventilation an help prevent overheating of the 12v inverter.
The last tip that I have is to keep the inverter clean. A clean inverter will run cooler. From time to time, I blow would blow the inverter out with a can of compressed air. I don't recommend using air from your compressor. Air compressors frequently accumulate water in the tank. It wouldn't be very good to blow water onto the circuit board of your 12v inverter.
Follow these tips and you're sure to be much happier with your inverter.
NOTE: When installing any electrical equipment into your truck follow the manufactures safety warnings.