Inverter advice- Can it be used whilst charging

Can someone settle this argument.

Have a 1200 watt square wave inverter in back of the 4runner, it is connected to the batteries at the front of the vehicle by cable measuring about 4 meters (Very thick cable)

I have a simple on/off switch in the line which was fitted as someone had told me that there could be no charging current (ie vehicle is running and alternator is charging the battery supplying power to the inveter) If charging current reached the inveter then it would be damaged.

After using it this way found that the inverter runs out of power too quickly.

So can an inveter be used whilst the batteries are being charged/vehicle is running?

Also if you are an electrical guru is there any dramas breaking into the battery cables at the inverter to run off a line for an anderson plug for charging an aux battery on a caravan.

Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 09:46

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 09:46
I only have a little 300w inverter and run it while we are moving along.
We plug the camera batteries in to charge or charge the air pump for the bed back up. Have done my handheld UHF's and also the laptop runs off the inverter while we are driving.
AnswerID: 371291

Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 10:01

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 10:01
Absolutely , It can be used whilst charging with alternator running Ranger 1

No extra problems on second issue either, however you do have the normal issue of drawing a lot of current and having to low a voltage at the inverter.
And that inverter can draw 100 plus amps, requiring at least 16mm sq cables if cables are to be more than a meter or 2 long.

Hence it is advisable to run seperate cables back to the battery for each of those uses , as the battery becomes the reference voltage and not the inverter terminals for the caravan charging.
This approach will also lessen "noise" on the charging cables.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 371294

Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 11:00

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 11:00
Yes it can we use our inverter all day when the car is running and when it is on Solar panels. There is no reason not to use it.

As for running a line from the inverter to another plug to charge other batteries - you could but it is not the optimum setup, it really depends on how good a cable you have running to the inverter and how this is terminated (ie: are the connections suitably large enough to make a new/added connection without sacrificing connection quality). You mention that the cable is thick but I am more concerned about the switch you have inline (what sort of switch is this - as this could become a problem).

Good luck and invert away when charging!
David
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 12:40

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 12:40
Hi David

Running a seperate line to the battery is the optimum setup , as the battery is the lowest impedance source.
Where you run more than one item off a line the furthest device is subject to what are known as common mode voltages, caused by the additional line impedance.

I.E. In this case , the inverter will put larger than need be switching pulses on the line that feeds the caravan. Like most things its a matter of degree , and 100amps switching is at the high end.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 12:53

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 12:53
Robin - I do agree and understand what you are saying and yes it is the optimum setup and is how all my setups are done. I actually diverted to the inline switch and did not finish what I was meant to say which is that the direct is the best option! Thanks.
David
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Follow Up By: Member - ranger1 - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 14:38

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 14:38
Robin/David

Well all sounds good on the using the inverter side of things when vehicle is being used.

As for running a line from the inverter to the anderson plug, this was only going to be used when the inverter was switched off and not taking any load, was thinking that this would prevent another line being dragged all the way back from the battery.

The connections would not be taken from the inverter, Found a fitting which allows the battery cable to be stripped back of its insulating cover and a t piece fitted to run off the cable for the anderson plug.

Thanks for all the advice
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FollowupID: 638600

Reply By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 11:12

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 11:12
Only question I'd add is what are you using it for? It's a pretty big inverter and will draw a lot of current just to keep it running. If you only have a small load on it you could be better off fitting a smaller inverter which will waste less battery power.

AnswerID: 371303

Follow Up By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 14:41

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 14:41
Further, It's not charging current, it's charging voltage you need to be concerned with, if anything.
The only reason I can think of that COULD be of concern is the input rating of the inverter. When charging the alternator puts out anything up to 14.5 volts. The input of the inverter is probably stated at 12 volts.

Even so I don't think that would be an issue. Plenty of people run inverters while driving..
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Reply By: Tenpounder (SA) - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 13:14

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 13:14
Hi everyone. I just wonder if the original argument that started this thread was about running an inverter direct from an alternator rather than via a battery? It seems possible that someone had suggested direct connection, to which the reply was never connect an inverter during charging? Just a thought (Obviously you should never connect an inverter direct to an alternator).
AnswerID: 371323

Reply By: DIO - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 18:44

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 18:44
It is difficult to ascertain from the wording of your question, however I am inclined to think you might be suggesting that you run the inverter whilst driving . If so, consider this - your vehicle, in which you have the inverter active (poroducing 240 volts) is involved in an accident, it catches fire, occupants are trapped, emergency service workers are quickly on the scene and realise you have a vehicle containing active 240 volts. They consider the risk to their lives as too great to intervene. Everbody is horrified at what happend and soon start to raise the issue of the driver and the stupidity of having an inverter operating producing 240 volts. Not necessary. Use 12 volt DC. A lot safer and not likely to create an issue regarding risks to safety of emergency workers. Think about it !!!!
AnswerID: 371363

Follow Up By: viz - Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 21:18

Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 21:18
Prius, anybody??? Got lots of issues with high voltages, as most of the hybrid cars do. It is manageable.

I have a 150 watt pure sine wave inverter running a laptop with mapping software. It has a re-settable breaker inline, but no switch. Hmmmm. Might think about this some more. But then there is a 50 AMP Anderson plug in plain sight - that should do, with a few safety directions in strategic places.

viz
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Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009 at 00:39

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009 at 00:39
I nearly always run the 25 amp ctek charger from the genny, with the 1000w inverter going, to save heavy discharge of the batteries, and on our last trip we were cooking bread in the car as we were going along, as my wife requires special bread, so I cooked mine as well.
The only down fall of this is sitting in the same car as fresh baking bread for 40 minutes while it goes through the bake cycle!!!
Got some looks taking out a fresh hot loaf right outside the pub at William Creek at 9 am !!! LOL
When not baking bread we have the 300w inverter going to charge batteries etc and run the laptop, while we are moving.

Cheers Pesty
AnswerID: 371427

Reply By: Maîneÿ . . .- Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009 at 10:11

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009 at 10:11
ranger1,
You say: "After using it this way found that the inverter runs out of power too quickly"
That indicates the 'battery' runs out of power too quickly, this will be in it's attempt to power the Inverter and it's load ?
I would remove the "simple on/off switch" and have the Inverter wired direct to the battery (fused)

You ask: "Can an inveter be used whilst the batteries are being charged/vehicle is running"
Yes, as it's just another 'device' connected to a battery when wired up correctly

You ask: "Is there any dramas breaking into the battery cables at the inverter to run off a line for an anderson plug for charging an aux battery on a caravan"
I would not do this, I would run an independent fused charging cable to the caravan

Maîneÿ . . .
AnswerID: 371459

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