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Power Inverter Install How-To

Discussion in 'Modified 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by junior426, February 22, 2009.

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    1. junior426

      junior426 Member

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      Decided to install a power inverter in my truck for camping and whatever else I might need it for. I decided to go with an 800 watt continuous and 1500 peak model.

      Parts Needed:

      Inverter
      18' Black 4AWG Wire
      18' Red 4AWG Wire
      1 100 Amp Circuit Breaker
      6 4AWG Ring Connectors
      1 Dozen Black 6" Zip Ties
      2 Feet 2" Diameter Wire Loom
      1 Foot Shrink Tube for Wire
      3M Double Sided Tape
      Appropriate Size Hook Velcro for Inverter

      Tools Needed:

      Cable Cutter
      Razor Knife
      7mm & 10mm Sockets
      Crimper for 4AWG Wire
      Pencil Torch or Lighter
      T20 Torx Driver
      Assorted Sizes Of Screwdrivers
      T50 or T55 Bit
      1/2 Impact Gun


      The first step before anything is to remove your wire from the package so it will get a chance to warm up and staighten out. This will make it easier to work with later.

      Begin by disconnecting your battery using the appropriate sized socket. Next mount your Circuit breaker somewhere close to your battery (preferably within 6"). I chose to use some 3M double sided tape to fasten it to the battery box. Cut a small section of red wire to fit between the circuit breaker and the positive(+) battery post. Strip each end of this small section and crimp a ring connector to each end of the wire. I chose to use heatshrink on the end of my ring connectors for a more professional installation but that is up to you.

      [​IMG]

      Next I stripped one end of each of my long sections of wire and and crimped a ring connector on each. There is a small plastic plug where wires run through the firewall into the cabin. This is located under the dash a little to the left upwards from the brake pedal. Pass each crimped end of your long wires out through this into the engine bay. Route each wire through the engine bay to the appropriate battery terminal. I chose to run the negative cable between the fender and the fuse box, then wrap around the front of the battery to the terminal. For the positive cable I chose to pass it between the battery and the fusebox and then to the circuit breaker from there. I would hold off on making your connections at this time.

      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]

      Under the dash on the driver side now. Remove the torx screw holding on the E-Brake release handle and the handle should pull off of the mechanism. Then remove the kick panel; it will pull out hard. Also remove the sill plate at this time; it will also pull out hard. Route both wires behind the harness under the kick plate. Under where the sill plate is, you will notice a black square tube; this is a wiring protector channel. Use a screwdriver to pry this channel open. Run the wires inside this channel and snap down the channel cover to secure them.

      [​IMG]

      At this point move the drivers seat all the way forward. From the rear door opening remove the lower seat belt using the Torx bit and impact gun. Proceed by popping of the lower B-Pillar trim panel and rear sill plate. Continue to run the wires to the rear of the car and you will notice a second piece of this wiring channel. Pop up as much as possible and begin routing your wires inside of this channel. You will come to part of this channel where you will no longer be able to progress. At this point use your razor-knife to cut an opening in the cover of the wiring channel for the wires to exit under the rear seat. You will also need to make an opening for the wires by cutting a portion of the rear sill plate. I used a jigsaw to cut this but you could use a razor knife or a dremel to do the same thing.

      [​IMG]

      Then route your wires under the rear seat and flip up the rear drivers seat and into the cargo area. I chose to install my inverter on the floor in the dip behind the center second row seat. I used the hook side of some adhesive velcro to install it. You will need to route your wires to wherever your choose to mount your inverter and cut them to length. Then crimp on your ring connectors and mount them onto your inverter. I also used some plastic wire loom to cover the wires between the rear sill plate and the inverter and fastened them to the seat bracket using zip-ties.

      [​IMG]

      After this make your battery connections and reset your circuit breaker. Start the truck and plug something in to test your inverter. After you have verified the install, reinstall your trim panels and your seat belt bolt. I reccomend using wire loom on areas where your wires may rub. I personally used it on the section of wire between the rear sill plate and under the seat and also a small section on the negative wire where it passes between the fender and the corner of the battery.
       
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    3. junior426

      junior426 Member

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      Some side notes on this install. I did this after my 3rd seat delete, so if you're still using the 3rd row seating, you may have to come up with some different mounting places.

      Second, I way oversized the wiring for this to give me better performance, and more room to upgrade for a larger inverter down the road.

      Third, many of you will not have crimping tools to crimp these size connectors. I found that using a u-shaped piece of metal, and a large center punch works great for this.

      The inverter I bought comes with a warning alarm if the voltage drops below 11.9 volts, and an automatic shut-off if the voltage drops below 11.3 volts. Even so, I would not reccomend using your inverter without having the truck running.

      I also recommend turning the circuit breaker off during everyday driving, and to reset it if you plan on using it.

      I measured 11.8 Volts at the inverter with the truck off, and 14.6 volts with the truck running.

      Lastly, you should perform this modification at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damages or injury incurred during use or installation.

      Hope you guys like this and feel free to ask questions.
       
    4. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    5. solitary ogre

      solitary ogre Active Member

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      These inverters are very handy, but unfortunately I can not get my Makita battery chargers to work off of one. I guess it is not the same sine wave as regular residential juice. I ran my older 13" TV off of an RV battery for about 5 hours on one charge.
      Toys toys toys...........I want more of them.
       
    6. junior426

      junior426 Member

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      I thought about it initially; however I decided against it to keep it removable if necessary. It's easy enough to access it, so I didn't think it would be very advantageous.
       
    7. aldive

      aldive Elite In Memoriam

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      Very nice install; well done.
       
    8. pickupman

      pickupman Active Member

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      Most inverters supply ou with a "modified sine wave" - something between a square and triangle wave. You have to spend a LOT to get true sine wave output - they exist, but cost about 4 - 5 times as much.
       
    9. helmsa

      helmsa Active Member

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      Install looks great. I have a 400W Black and Decker (no perm install yet) that hides on the floor behind my center console. I also carry a surge protector and that is where most items will get plugged in to as I can run 4 to 6 plugs at once vs. 2 (cell charger, laptop, printer, etc.). I just haven't found a really good place to mount it permanently so I can access it easily from anywhere in the vehicle.
       
    10. macknos94

      macknos94 Well-Known Member

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      also if you already have a system you can do a spliter block and run your power and ground of that. i have mine ran off my cap. for my system it has 4 pos. and 4 neg. so thats my power source for everything compressor, system and power converter
       
    11. micachu

      micachu New Member

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      That's a good looking install man.

      Something to think about though, unless the 100 amps is a long time trip rating on that breaker, then you won't be able to power the full 1500 watt peak load without tripping the breaker. 1500 watts of DC, which is the big concern with the breaker, works out to 125 amps of 12 volt DC. Everything else looks pretty squared away.

      I've been using a 750 watt continuous and 1000 watt peak inverter for about 3 years now with never a problem. You can run small loads such as power tool battery chargers, small radios, laptop computers and small lights off of it for quite some time with never a worry about the battery. I ran mine for about 4 hours to power a small radio the last time we went camping and battery voltage never even fluctuated a bit.
       
    12. macknos94

      macknos94 Well-Known Member

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      i have a 300 amp breaker good pick up i didnt even see that and i wouldnt mount it on your battery some can get hot
       
    13. Maniak

      Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I've used breakers from these people on a few projects.. So far they have all worked great.. and they are much cheaper than buying them at electronics stores or stereo shops. They also carry a 90 amp and a 120 Amp..

      [​IMG]
      150 amp resettable break for < $7

      http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?UID=2009022409353768&item=11-3198-150&catname=

      Oh yea, we have it installed under the hood and its gets mighty hot under there in soutern Arizona summers and they work as they should.. All I did was go up one size.. i.e. need 90 amp breaker, get a 120, just to play it safe..

      ~Mark
       
    14. junior426

      junior426 Member

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      Sorry, not really sure what you mean by this? I dont understand why you dont think the 100amp breaker is enough. Maybe I am just confused, could you explain this for me?
       
    15. gotDIRT??

      gotDIRT?? Member

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    16. Maniak

      Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      True.. but watts is watts (not to be confused with the Old abbot and Costello routine of watts is volts)....

      to output 1500 watts you have to have an input of 1500 watts.. AND you aren't getting 100% power conversion (DC to AC).. some inverters are only 80% efficient.. Which means if you put in 100 amps at 12Vdc (1200 watts) in you may only be getting 8 Amps out at 120Vac (960 watts)...

      To complicate things.. when the truck is running your getting 13.8Vdc in.. and what voltage is the output? 120Vac, 115Vac, 110Vac?

      ~Mark
       
      Last edited: February 24, 2009
    17. jluv

      jluv Guest

      Cool! I use a 750 watt invertor to power a pair of PS2s, and have never had any problems. I ran 8ga wire from the distribution block that supplies the rest of my system, and use a separate fuse (I think it's a 60 amp) just before the invertor. It comes in handy for other stuff too, especially on road trips. We've charged our cameras, cell phones, two-way radios, floodlight, laptop, etc. Very handy.
       
    18. micachu

      micachu New Member

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    19. macknos94

      macknos94 Well-Known Member

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      i just did the play it safe set up system pulls a max 250 amps when the music is up plus my 1500watt converter (they are usually never on at the same time) . which is pretty loud, a little too loud. 2 optima red tops, 220amp atlernator, the 300amp breaker plus the 0 gauge power/ground wire = lots of usable power
       
    20. trodani

      trodani New Member

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      This was very helpful, I had no idea hwo to go about this, and if I'm not msitaken, i wass probably about to mess it up. I was told the fuses built into the back of the inverter were enough and i didnt need a breaker on the battery like that. Any comments there?
       

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