Using an inverter for small loads

Can anyone help me with some advice on using an inverter that I have wired into my truck.

The inverter is a 1200 watt, modified sine wave and has been used in the past for running TV's and lights etc.

I changed over to a Honda E10 for these items now but still have the inverter wired up.

I want to run a 240 Volt cable from the inverter and using a 4 socket power board charge smaller items when camped including phones and chargers for cameras etc.

My concern is that using it for such a small load (1200 watts max output) charging a very small battery will cause some strife, I would like to use it as its quiet and can do the business without having the genny running.

I might be wrong but it theory it should also not even put a dent in the deep cycle battery.

Anyone use anything similar, it sounds a bit like using a shot gun to kill a fly
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Reply By: GT Campers - Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 17:29

Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 17:29
If you are worried about frying small batteries when charging them - don't be. It's no different to charging from a power point at home.

But what you are proposing is a VERY inefficient way of charging (12 > 240 > 12) so will suck plenty of life from the battery powering the invertor. Much better to carry spare batteries and charge the dead ones off your vehicle when it is running
AnswerID: 483013

Reply By: Ross M - Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 19:21

Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 19:21
G'day 4 runner
You can use a big invertor for that purpose but the bigger inverter has a higher threshold to turn it on.
While a small inverter will turn on the switchmode operation with low load eg camera battery charger, the big inverter may not turn on until it sees a few small items all connected at the same time.
The bigger inverter is made to provide a higher 240 current output and so it has bigger internals to operate the internal switching. Thisl means it will use more 12v just to begin operation and then the 240 load will increase the 12 amps use accordingly.

If the battery can take the load of big stuff then it will be ok on small items as long as it actually begins its switching operation to create the 240v output.
As long as it starts it will be just as good as a little one but may use a bit more amps from the battery.

Ross M
AnswerID: 483026

Reply By: Polaris - Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 19:47

Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 19:47
It's not a good idea to have an inverter hard wired into a vehicle.

While I do agree and understand that your primary use will be while camping, in the event of an accident there is the potential that the vehicle could become 'live' with 240V.
This could have fatal consequence for any rescuer. No second chance with 240V.
AnswerID: 483032

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 07:19

Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 07:19
hey 4 runner, one thing you may need to be careful of is the length of your lead as at low current the plug in connectiones of the lead to the inverter and lead to the powerboard etc will create quite a bit of voltage drop and yoou may not end up with enough bang at the other end. Much better to just plug the powerboard into the vehicle at the inverter and charge from there.

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AnswerID: 483046

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 11:14

Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 11:14
Many will know I have a hobby horse about people being unaware of the dangers of portable souyrces of 240V AC.

Thus I strongly recomend against using inverters where they are not needed.

Almost all battery powered devoces can be charge direct of 12 volts.

A 12V Dc powered charger can be had for almst every battery powered device available.

mobile phones is a no brainer, 12v chargers for those are all over the place.

there are dedicated and generic dc powered chargers for lap tops

Lots of the latest phones and cameras cahrge via the USB connection and 12v powered USB chargers can be had or charge them from the lap top that is in turn charged from its DC supplied charger.

As for ya TV and lights, well Tv's that run 12V native are far from uncommon and if you arent running LED lights you have rocks in your head.

so you can power down that generator too.

many of the small item charges will be drawing less than the idling current of ya 1200watt inefficient is the word there.

12 Volts, has realy come of age in the last couple of years, get with the programe and have a quieter, easier and safer time.

AnswerID: 483072

Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 16:06

Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 16:06
I remember asking a very similar question to this on this very forum and getting similar advice to that from The Bantam and others.

I consulted the techsperts at a well known electronics store and for about $60 or $80 they supplied me with a 12v charger for my laptop with about a dozen other plugs and leads that worked on everything else I needed.

No more 240V at all in my whole camping kit and it all works a treat. It was worth three times what I paid for it, in hindsight.


FollowupID: 758308

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