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Old 25-06-2022, 09:27   #1
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Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Have been looking at just getting a basic inverter to plug into my 12V just for simple charging of phones/laptops/etc while under motor.
At present, we don't spend long periods of time on the hook - mostly just day sailing in Lake Michigan.

Is there any reason not to buy a super simple "cheap" inverter like this one:
https://www.batteriesplus.com/produc..._term=PWR10017

I like having something small that I can store easily, and like the idea of being able to use in the car as well if needed.
But I don't want to be "penny wise and pound foolish" either, so very open to feedback.
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Old 25-06-2022, 09:40   #2
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Yes a couple dozen.
At any rate make sure itís for marine. A car battery charger will cause metal damage to anything in the water. You can get a simple charger inverter for a single battery with a 120V outlet around 40$. For 75$ You can plug in solar 120V charging charging, and two outlets.
Itís equipment for bass boats. They have tiny marine units. Iíve seen them on amazon and Westmarine.
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Old 25-06-2022, 09:41   #3
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

We have and use something similar to charge stuff that doesn't accept 12v and when we don't want to run the bigger inverter.

For phones/tablets you might find the 12v USB charging ports more convenient. We have several in various places. Cheaper than an inverter and easy to install.
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Old 25-06-2022, 09:45   #4
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

I have used a $50 400 Watt inverter for the last 10 years on my boat to charge phones, power my laptop, Raspberry Pi Computers, fans, HDTV , charge my handhelds, etc

It works get.

I just found the 1500 watt inverter I bought 3-4 years ago and may install that for a Mr. Coffee and maybe a microwave
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Old 25-06-2022, 10:40   #5
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aisleorwindow View Post
Have been looking at just getting a basic inverter to plug into my 12V just for simple charging of phones/laptops/etc while under motor.
At present, we don't spend long periods of time on the hook - mostly just day sailing in Lake Michigan.

Is there any reason not to buy a super simple "cheap" inverter like this one:
https://www.batteriesplus.com/produc..._term=PWR10017

I like having something small that I can store easily, and like the idea of being able to use in the car as well if needed.
But I don't want to be "penny wise and pound foolish" either, so very open to feedback.
Been using a cheaper one for 3 years to run the TV and to charge small things with no problems.

But I also have a USB power strip wired directly to the control panel with breaker for phones etc.
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Old 25-06-2022, 10:47   #6
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Some things will want a pure sine wave. I would spend a bit more for that.

Phones should be charging with dc/ usb. inverter would just be wasting power.
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Old 25-06-2022, 12:04   #7
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Only issue I could see would be if your DC socket had a large enough fuse (~40a) to handle 450W.
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Old 25-06-2022, 12:43   #8
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Only issue I could see would be if your DC socket had a large enough fuse (~40a) to handle 450W.
These type Inverters can be connected directly to the batteries.

My 400 watt inverter is and I will be receiving the 4 awg cables today for the 1500 watt Cobra Inverter I've had for a few years but never used.

https://us.amazon.com/Cobra-1575-Pro.../dp/B00AOH1AR6
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Old 25-06-2022, 12:45   #9
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Unless he's trying to run a gaming laptop he's probably drawing less than 90W for a laptop charger. It could be considerably less.
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Old 25-06-2022, 13:06   #10
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
These type Inverters can be connected directly to the batteries.
While they can the one linked by the OP had a dc socket attached. Also suggested that it may also used in a car, so I'm not thinking they will hard wire it.

My calculation for a fuse was obviously for a full 450W usage. Would get a smaller inverter if all they were going to use less was than 200W for computer charging, etc.
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Old 25-06-2022, 13:19   #11
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
While they can the one linked by the OP had a dc socket attached. Also suggested that it may also used in a car, so I'm not thinking they will hard wire it.

My calculation for a fuse was obviously for a full 450W usage. Would get a smaller inverter if all they were going to use less was than 200W for computer charging, etc.
So I was thinking it was like this

https://www.donrowe.com/Samlec-SAM-4...iABEgK1h_D_BwE

with battery lead attachments and no fuse.

Protection Features
UP-Circuit (Universal Protection) providing full automatic inverter and battery protection
Thermal protection
Low voltage alarm (10.6 VDC)
Low voltage shutdown (10.0 VDC)
Overvoltage protection (15.0 VDC)
Overload protection
Short circuit protection
Ground fault protection

They shutdown automatically when there is a problem which might worry some. Mine has always been attached this way .....

My 1500 Watt with 4 awg wire will be above my 175 amp battery fuses but still a concern
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Old 25-06-2022, 14:52   #12
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

The link is to a MSW inverter (modified sine wave)
It depends on what you are going to use it for.


See for instance:
https://invertersrus.com/pure-sine-vs-modified-sine/


Some devices and appliances that require a pure sine inverter are:
  • Microwaves
  • Laser printers
  • Variable speed tools
  • Cordless tool battery chargers
  • Some TV’s
  • Key Machines
  • CPAP machines with humidifiers
  • Medical equipment
  • Sensitive electronics
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Old 26-06-2022, 06:39   #13
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Thanks for all the help. Was not aware of the different sine waves, so that's quite useful.

To clarify, I just would plug into the 12V, would NOT be wiring directly to the battery.
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Old 26-06-2022, 07:56   #14
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Our 42í Beneteau has a 2000W modified sine wave inverter. However we mostly use a 200W sine wave inverter that plugs into the 12V power adapter at the DC panel for most of our charging needs. It has 4 USB ports and two 120V outlets. The AC outlets are a little close to double up some plugs but we get by. I find that my MacBook can overload it if it is very busy but normally it is fine. The unit has some built in overload protection and shits down for 5 minutes or so in those cases. I am skeptical of what might be done differently in the marinized versions unless they claim some waterproofing. Oursis always in the cabin.

The one problem I have had is with poor connections to the 12V adapter which is no wonder given the design. We are back from a 9 month cruise where I didnít want to make too many unnecessary changes. Now i will hardwire the inverter directly to the DC panel to avoid those connection issues.

I am also looking at replacing a couple of the cabin reading lights with new units that have built in USB charging ports.
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Old 26-06-2022, 08:21   #15
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Re: Any reason NOT to just buy a cheap portable inverter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aisleorwindow View Post
Have been looking at just getting a basic inverter to plug into my 12V just for simple charging of phones/laptops/etc while under motor.
...
I like having something small that I can store easily, and like the idea of being able to use in the car as well if needed.
But I don't want to be "penny wise and pound foolish" either, so very open to feedback.
We have a small cheap 75W inverter which is occasionally handy. But they're overkill for anything that charges from USB. A better choice there are the car cigarette lighter USB adaptors that regulate 12v down to 5v and have one or two USB ports on them.

For our little boat, I got a higher-capacity DC-DC buck converter to drop 12v to 5v, and I wired in several USB jacks around the boat. Besides powering or charging personal devices, they're great for running USB gooseneck LED lights.

For things like laptops that require more than 12v, you can often find "official" 12v power adaptors. There are also generic boost converters that will raise 12v to the 19v often used by laptops or monitors.
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