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Old 09-02-2016, 10:37   #1
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How do I connect my new inverter

Hi there!

I just received my new Victron Inverter 350 wat.

I would like some advice about how to connect it to my 12v system. It comes with a red and black cable already wired into the unit.

How should I connect it into my system and should I put it on a switch so I can turn it on and off?
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:50   #2
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

WADR:

1. If you don't know the answer to this, you should get a marine electrician to install it and work along with him to learn. None of us was born an electrician.

2. The manual should have a series of different wiring diagrams which allow you to choose how both the inlet and outputs of the inverter work with the AC and DC system on your boat.

I installed our Freedom 15 in 1998, before the internet. I read the manual tons of times and figured out what to do based on how I wanted to manage the systems.

Basic choices:

a. Inverter to main AC panel or use of subpanels: does everything AC connect to the inverter or only selected loads; requires management if all your AC loads are connected and the sum of them exceeds your inverter capacity - don't want your water heater on the inverter or just turn it off when inverting.

b. Confirm that your inverter either has a built-in ATS or needs a manual switch to avoid BOTH incoming AC and inverter AC from ever operating at the same time.

These are the major issues. You could also do some searching on "inverter" on this forum and read more about these issues.

Good luck, be safe first and foremost.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:25   #3
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

Read the manual. This looks like a small, single use, inverter that would not be connected to the panel. I see from their ad that it has a built in switch and provision for remote switching. Make sure you fuse it.
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:09   #4
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

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Originally Posted by bcboomer View Post
Read the manual. This looks like a small, single use, inverter that would not be connected to the panel. I see from their ad that it has a built in switch and provision for remote switching. Make sure you fuse it.
Correct, it is a pretty small unit. The slightly smaller model can be plugged directly into a cigarette lighter socket.

Mine will only power a couple of laptops etc.
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:25   #5
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

A 350 watt inverter? That's not rocket science. If you want it permanently installed, AND assuming you have a free breaker on your DC panel, then just connect it to that, NOT extending the DC wires. That is because DC at low voltage is less efficient than AC, so locate the inverter close to the DC panel, and yes, definitely through a breaker so it's protected, and so that you can switch it off when you don't need it. They draw power even when not used.

Then install an AC socket somewhere, and run three-conductor, sheathed cabling from the inverter to there, avoiding the bilge and wet places, and using grommets or other protection where you run through partitions or bulkheads. Follow ABYC standards:

American Boat & Yacht Council Standards for Boats E-11 | Ancor

Read the manual carefully and follow instructions about grounding (and about everything else).

If you don't have a free breaker on your DC panel, then it's more complicated. You will have to figure out yourself the best place to tap into DC power, or hire a pro if you have any doubts. Install a breaker so you can switch it off, and so the circuit is protected.

Edit: If you ONLY want it to power laptops, better buy DC power supplies for the laptops, and skip the inverter. My new low power Asus laptop uses a tiny cigarette lighter adapter.
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:31   #6
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
A 350 watt inverter? That's not rocket science. If you want it permanently installed, AND assuming you have a free breaker on your DC panel, then just connect it to that, NOT extending the DC wires. That is because DC at low voltage is less efficient than AC, so locate the inverter close to the DC panel, and yes, definitely through a breaker so it's protected, and so that you can switch it off when you don't need it. They draw power even when not used.

Then install an AC socket somewhere, and run three-conductor, sheathed cabling from the inverter to there, avoiding the bilge and wet places, and using grommets or other protection where you run through partitions or bulkheads. Follow ABYC standards:

American Boat & Yacht Council Standards for Boats E-11 | Ancor

Read the manual carefully and follow instructions about grounding (and about everything else).

If you don't have a free breaker on your DC panel, then it's more complicated. You will have to figure out yourself the best place to tap into DC power, or hire a pro if you have any doubts. Install a breaker so you can switch it off, and so the circuit is protected.

Edit: If you ONLY want it to power laptops, better buy DC power supplies for the laptops, and skip the inverter. My new low power Asus laptop uses a tiny cigarette lighter adapter.
Thank you, that all makes sense to me. Cheers
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:17   #7
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

350W is nothing at all. If you try to power something as common, and useful aboard, as a hand-held drill motor, you'll cook the inverter. Given the relatively low cost of inverters these days why not go for 3kW so the beast will be at least moderately useful?

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Old 10-02-2016, 09:26   #8
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
350W is nothing at all. If you try to power something as common, and useful aboard, as a hand-held drill motor, you'll cook the inverter. Given the relatively low cost of inverters these days why not go for 3kW so the beast will be at least moderately useful?

TrentePieds
You won't cook the inverter. The inverter just won't run, and it will sound it's audible alarm.

The newer model inverters are a bit smarter these days.

I have a 400 watt inverter which has a switch on it and is fused hooked directly to my battery bank with the cables that came with it.

I use this one for a fan, one fluorecent light, laptop power and charge, phone charge, am/fm radio, etc.

I also have a 1500 watt that's not hooked up continuously. It can run the drill, wet vac, etc
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:28   #9
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

Yes, a 1.5kW inverter will run a drill motor. But always remember that the startup current of the brushed motor that is the guts of a corded electric tool may well be twice what it sez on the label. A "one horsepower" hand held tool (750W) may well draw 1.5KW at start-up.

And, yes, you can indeed "cook" an inverter. One purveyor of cheap tools in this neckathewoods is CanadianTire. They "sell into a market of ignorance" to reap the benefits of mass merchandising. I know for a fact that you can cook at least one brand of inverter sold by them. I've done it. Took a chance. Lost the bet - and the inverter :-)

Another purveyor of inadequate tools was Sears — Simpson-Sears as the Canadian operation used to be known, though in local parlance it was always "Pimps'n'queers". Their line of tools was branded "Craftsman". No craftsman would be caught with a tool branded "Craftsman" knowing that the substance of a thing is always the inverse of its label :-)

The death rattle of Pimps'n'queers is now heard across the land. What with HomeDepot and the like having invaded the market with superior products, Pimps'n'queers no longer sells tools, at least in the stores I know.

CanTire's line of tools is branded "Mastercraft". So make of that what you will :-)!

TrentePieds
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:35   #10
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

The thing to bear in mind is that a 350W inverter will pull ~30amps DC at 12v (350/12) so you need a fairly substantial supply point AND switch/breaker or fuse.

The comment about AC being more efficient than DC is meaningless in this context but the rating of a switch for DC is usually less than the same switch for AC so it is quite difficult to get switches with a 30 amp dc rating. One way round this is to use an off the shelf automotive relay which are commonly rated at 30 or 40 amps. You can then use a spare panel switch for the relay coil and feed the inverter via a fuse and the relay contacts from the 12v busbar.
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:57   #11
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Yes, a 1.5kW inverter will run a drill motor. But always remember that the startup current of the brushed motor that is the guts of a corded electric tool may well be twice what it sez on the label.

And, yes, you can indeed "cook" an inverter.

TrentePieds
Like I said, the inverters of today are smarter than they used to be. Most all will handle an initial surge of twice the rated wattage. The wattage rating on the inverter is for continuous power

My 400 watt is a Cobra.
https://www.cobra.com/sites/default/...als/CPI480.pdf


Continuous output power (1 hour) . . . . . . . . . . . . 400W
Surge rating (0.1 second) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800W
Peak efficiency (12V – 1⁄2 load) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . > 88%
Efficiency (full load, 12V) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . > 83%
No load current draw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . < 0.5A (12.6V)
Output waveform (resistive load) . . . Modified sine wave
Output frequency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58HZ – 62HZ
Output voltage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109V – 120V
USB output . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5V
Input voltage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.4VDC – 14.4VDC
Alarm voltage (unload) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10.2V – 10.8V
Shutdown voltage (unload) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.2V – 9.8V
Operating temperature range . . . . . . . . . . . . 0C – 40C
(32F – 104F)
Storage temperature range . . . . . . . . . . . . -40C – 85C
(-40F – 185F)
Protection . . . . . . . . . .Overload, short-circuit, overtemp,
reverse polarity, under/over voltage

as far as cooking one:

Protection . . . . . . . . . .Overload, short-circuit, overtemp,
reverse polarity, under/over voltage
__________________________________________________ _

On the 1500 watt unit:

Description:

Continuous AC Power Output: 1500 Watts
Maximum AC Power Output (Surge): 3000 Watts
Power AC Devices Rated Up to 1500W/High Surge Capacity Up to 3000W to Start
Converts 12-Volt DC Power from Your Vehicle Battery to 110-Volt AC Power
3 Three-Prong AC Outlets and USB Port with 5-Volts DC Output
LED Power Status and Error Indicators
Digital Display for Input and Output Values
Mounting Brackets Included
Heavy Duty Installation Cable Attaches Directly to Vehicle Battery
High/Low Voltage Protection and Overtemp and Overload Protection


https://jet.com/product/detail/a5a11...FQYuaQod1pcAdg
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:27   #12
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post

My 400 watt is a Cobra.
I was looking at the Cobra inverters, what's the build quality like?


I was wondering about maybe getting a 2.5kw one. It will run a small steam cleaner ok (plenty of spare capacity for that), and wondering if it will also run a 530 watt dehumidifier.

Some modified sine wave inverters will run compressor type devices like dehumidifiers (and fridges) with no problems, then others you have no chance with.

I moved a lot of Cobra gear many years ago, and the build quality then was good.

I need to keep on top of molds and spores (they've caused me some major problems - taking lead out of paint is causing a considerable amount of grief since we lost its control effect on molds and spores), so if I can do it with a good modified sine wave inverter, it will be a huge help.

Everything else I'll try and do with 12v chargers to save conversion losses.

For the OP, make sure you heavily overspec the DC supply cables to keep everything running nice and cool (helps reliability and long service life). 170 amp DC cable will allow you a lot of leeway for any future reasonable sized inverter. Beyond 170 amp and cable starts getting expensive.
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:44   #13
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

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I was looking at the Cobra inverters, what's the build quality like?
Seems okay. I paid $30.00 for it so i didn't examine it too closely.

Seems to work fine.....
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Old 10-02-2016, 13:30   #14
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Lumb View Post
The thing to bear in mind is that a 350W inverter will pull ~30amps DC at 12v (350/12) so you need a fairly substantial supply point AND switch/breaker or fuse.

The comment about AC being more efficient than DC is meaningless in this context but the rating of a switch for DC is usually less than the same switch for AC so it is quite difficult to get switches with a 30 amp dc rating. One way round this is to use an off the shelf automotive relay which are commonly rated at 30 or 40 amps. You can then use a spare panel switch for the relay coil and feed the inverter via a fuse and the relay contacts from the 12v busbar.
AC is a whole lot more efficient than DC, and in every case, IF the AC is at 110 volts and the DC is at 12

That's what I meant, but I didn't express is very well.

The point is that you need much heavier cabling to carry the same amount of power over 12v DC, than you do at 110v AC, so logically you should try to locate the inverter so that the DC cables are shorter rather than longer, and send the power to the consumer, to the extent possible, via the much more efficient 110v AC route.
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Old 10-02-2016, 13:56   #15
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Re: How do I connect my new inverter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
A 350 watt inverter? That's not rocket science. If you want it permanently installed, AND assuming you have a free breaker on your DC panel, then just connect it to that, NOT extending the DC wires. That is because DC at low voltage is less efficient than AC, so locate the inverter close to the DC panel, and yes, definitely through a breaker so it's protected, and so that you can switch it off when you don't need it. They draw power even when not used.

Then install an AC socket somewhere, and run three-conductor, sheathed cabling from the inverter to there, avoiding the bilge and wet places, and using grommets or other protection where you run through partitions or bulkheads. Follow ABYC standards:

American Boat & Yacht Council Standards for Boats E-11 | Ancor

Read the manual carefully and follow instructions about grounding (and about everything else).

If you don't have a free breaker on your DC panel, then it's more complicated. You will have to figure out yourself the best place to tap into DC power, or hire a pro if you have any doubts. Install a breaker so you can switch it off, and so the circuit is protected.

Edit: If you ONLY want it to power laptops, better buy DC power supplies for the laptops, and skip the inverter. My new low power Asus laptop uses a tiny cigarette lighter adapter.
Ummm, don't think so.

While 12Vdc won't electrocute you, improperly handled, it will certainly burn your boat to the waterline.

A 350 W inverter will draw over 30 Amps and most (spare) DC breakers (if any) in a DC distribution panel are 15 Amps. So if one connected any load greater than about 180W it would trip the breaker (hopefully).

Additionally, laptops may require some other voltage, so a cigarette lighter adapter may not work, and may damage the laptop. (One also has to be careful about polarity.)

The correct answer is, if you are not familiar with ABYC standards, (which you aren't or you wouldn't be asking these questions), you should either acquaint yourself intimately, or hire a marine electrical professional.

(Ask to see their certification AND liability insurance, and if they don't have it, send them packing, they're just some joker who is willing to experiment on your boat for your money.)

Some answers you get from internet forums are wrong, and if you don't already know how to do it correctly, you don't know which ones they are.

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Certified Raymarine Installer
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