600W Power Inverter - How To Connect Up

HI Everyone,

Some time ago, in anticipation of the arrival of our new van, I purchased a 600W modified sine wave inverter. I mainly wanted this to power the small automatic washing machine that is in the van while free camping. Its capacity is OK as the WM is rated at 280W. But how do I connect it up? The 2 deep cycle batteries are located under the dinette seat and enclosed in black plastic boxes. The WM is about 2 to 3 metres away at the end of the van. The inverter comes with 2 alligator clips but I would have to lift the dinette seat, remove plastic covers to access battery terminals. What is the best way out? Is there a ready made cable I can buy that maybe connects the inverter to a 12V outlet in the van instead of the alligator clips.?
Thanks in advance.

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Reply By: skeeterau - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 20:26

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 20:26
The inverter will work best close to the battery as there will be a power loss with long wires.
I have made up 8mm twin core wires from my inverter on a 50cm lead finishing with an anderson plug.
If i were you, I would wire up some 8mm wire direct from your battery, cut a small hole and then mount an anderson plug where you can reach it. Once you have done this you can just plug your inverter in when ever you wish to use it.
Having the anderson plug will also enable you to use it on the front of your van or even from your car if its fitted with an anderson.
Just run a short 240 volt extension lead to your washing machine from your inverter.
I would just like to say that even know your inverter is quite large enough to run the washing machine, I think the inverter will struggle to keep up enough power. I think inverters should only be run whilst the battery is charging for example running the engine on your car when its plugged in to your anderson.

Good luck with this,
AnswerID: 485390

Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 22:56

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 22:56
Generally the aligator clips and the leads supplied with these small inverters are completly inadequuate.

Bear in mind at full rated power that 600 watt inverter will be drawing 50+ amps from the 12 volt supply.

Ya gona need heavy cables and something like a 50 amp anderson plug to connect it.

I hope ya got big batteries too.

AnswerID: 485413

Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 06:46

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 06:46
Thanks Darryn & The Bantom for your comments.

Yes I will get a special cable made up.
There is a 12V outlet in the kitchen area - would that be OK to plug the inverter into with a suitable cable?
The van has 2 batteries - 2 X 100 AGM.
Also 180W solar panel.
So if use WM during sunlight hours - while batteries are being charged that should help with power consumption - I would have thought 280W is not a huge demand.
The only other alternative is to use a generator to wash with - but I am sentitive to the noise they make and would only use that as a last resort even though we have a quiet Honda 2.0I.

Thanks again guys for your help,

Cheers Glen
FollowupID: 760671

Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 07:57

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 07:57
Inverters, even the little 100w jobs are best connected directly to the battery, hardwired with proper heavy wiring and plugs like anderson plugs sized appropriately.
For the great unwashed current demand of the inverter can be roughly estimated by dividing the rated output by twelve.
In this case 600 divided by 12 equals roughly 50 AMPS, due to inefficiencies within the inverter and wiring add another 10% at a minimum so again in this case current demand could reach 60 amps. No normal freely available 12v socket will handle these sorts of currents continuously except anderson plugs.
FollowupID: 760678

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 08:50

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 08:50
no matter whick way you look at it, 280 watts is still a big chumk of current at 12 volts....arround 25-30 amps once it gets thru your inverter.

gopd you have nice big batteries, but ya 180 watt solar pannel will only produce its rated power during the middle of the day, in summer and only if you are somewhere like Allice Springs

So running ya washing machine for an hour may take an entire day's output from ya panel at times.

Are ya sure a bucket would not do the job just as well.

I have no problem running a length of DC cable away to the inverter...ya just have to make sure its heavy enough.

FollowupID: 760680

Follow Up By: GT Campers - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 14:06

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 14:06
mate to be blunt, there is no way you will be powering a washing machine from a 12V plug in your kitchen... and I doubt, even if hard-wired, that a 600W invertor will cop the start-up current of a washing machine, even a little toy one.

Free camping... say, what do you do with the water from this washing machine?
FollowupID: 760703

Follow Up By: GT Campers - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 14:07

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 14:07
oops.. should have been a Reply, not Follow-Up
FollowupID: 760704

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 14:39

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 14:39
There are some very small light weight traveling washing machines out there that in comparison to the domestic machines draw very little in the way of current.


they provide very little in the way of facilities and cycles and only wash very small loads.
Some of them wont even spin dry, and you have to manually change the water.

with one of these what is proposed may be marginaly practical.

FollowupID: 760707

Reply By: P2D2 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 15:29

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 15:29
As usual the incorrect and wrong and lacking in correct information technical advice posted here by those that thank they know is alarming.

There is no such thing as a 'modified sine wave', the unit is modified SQUARE wave.
A washing machine fitted with motors requires a sinusoidal wave form. Using a modified SQUARE wave inverter will cause the motors in the washing machine to draw around 25% more power which is dissipated in heat, the motor will usually be noisy and will go from working with high power consumption to not working at all to burning out.

Sell the inverter you bought to some other poor person and buy a SINE wave unit with a remote on/off switch and digital readout unit. The Projecta Intelliwave unit can be located in a convenient position close to the batteries and fit the remote on/off and digital readout unit and a power point in a location of your choice.

The 600W unit will easily power your washing machine and the 300W quality sine wave inverters would easily do the same.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES earth the inverter.
AnswerID: 485449

Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 17:31

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 17:31
Thanks everyone for the good advice. I think on reflection we will use the Honda generator for washing.
The WM is a small Lemair 2.2Kg one - 280W
P2D2 I was just quoting from the specs plate on the Inverter:
It says
Power Inverter 600W
Modified Sine Wave
Rated Power 600W DC Voltage 12V
Surge capability 1200W

Thats why I referred to it as Modified Sine wave - thats what the manufacturer calls it.
I bought it retail in Australia - not from overseas on internet or anything.

FollowupID: 760730

Follow Up By: P2D2 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 18:32

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 18:32
Wamuranman realise you were quoting what the inverter said. It is shonky calling them a modified SINE wave inverter. To modify a sine wave would require a change in the laws of physics. When buying inverters you need to ensure the inverter you buy is electrically isolated and to power motors need sine wave. Personally would never use a modified square wave inverter.

Is very handy to be able to run the Lemair off an inverter for when you pull up at a park or find a tap and want to do some washing quickly. Majority of the time we use the Lemair for spinning. Continually wash in a 20L drum and then find a tap, rinse the washing, fill up the drum with clean water, put the clean clothes back in the drum, then when we stop spin the clothes in the Lemair and put the spin water back in the drum for the next days clothes.
The 600W Projecta inverter would easily run your washing machine.
FollowupID: 760734

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