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Power Inverter considerations?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by Snowzilla, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    Any considerations in staying under a certain wattage to avoid melting the tiny cigarette lighter wire?

    (1-2 cell phones & maybe a small 9" lcd tv occasionally)
  2. calhoun

    calhoun Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    You will blow the fuse before you melt the wire. Find the fuse sized and muliply by 12 that will be the maximum wattage available.
  3. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    Thanks Calhoun. :salute: My electrical formula skills must be rusty. Getting ready for a road trip. Wanted to know my limits before purchasing one of these things.
  4. Q101ATFD

    Q101ATFD Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    I think Snowzilla is asking for the maximum AC wattage to get in an inverter, and calhoun is telling you the maximum fused DC wattage available to the cigarette outlet. They're the same, almost....

    The current GM trucks are fused at 20A, so you have 240 watts available to the inverter. However, the power factor for AC devices is usually estimated at 50%, so you should look for an inverter with an maximum output wattage of (240 / 0.50) = 480W. Inverters are about 90% efficient, so you'll only get about 430W of AC power. That's more than enough for some cell phones, but look at the labels on your TV to see how many watts it draws - small ones are generally under 70W.

    EDIT: Just FYI, the cigarette plugs are fed by a 12 AWG wire - which melts at 234.8A
  5. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    Oh ya, Watts=Amps X Volts... Thanks Q101ATFD. Interesting stuff. Yes, I was going to see what the maximum was and back it down a little. My little TV is only 10 watts. Cell phone charger input is .15Amp. I figure this is only 16-17 watts (using algebra on the above formula). Laptop charger input is up to 1.2 Amps (132 watts). I guess my needs are small. Almost forgot about a digital camera battery chargers too.

    The only drawback from what I've read about these is noise from the cooling fan. I see where they even have ones shaped like a cup to fit in your drink holder.