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inverter questions

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by kencraw, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Jun 25, 2012 at 5:31 PM
    #1
    kencraw

    kencraw [OP] Member

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    My 2012 Tacoma didn't come with the OEM in-bed inverter, but I'm thinking of installing one myself. A few questions I've had trouble answering with my simple research online:

    1. How is the OEM inverter installed? Do they run 12V to the back of the truck bed and then have the inverter there, or is the inverter under the hood and they run 115V AC to the back of the bed?

    2. Is the OEM wiring in my truck (2012 double-cab 2.7V SR5 package)? (Sometimes they put it in all the vehicles and only hook up the wires for the vehicles they want)

    3. It's my understanding that the OEM is only 400 watts. Not great for any big tools. Has anyone done a full 1800 Watt installation? If so, did you put it in the engine compartment or at the back of the truck bed? What gauge wire (my research suggests 4-gauge for a 10' run @ 150 Amps)? How does the battery/alternator handle such a load?

    4. Along those lines, what is the stock alternator amperage? (Best guess I could find is 100 amps) And how many amps should I allocate to an idling engine (so I know how many it could source for my inverter)?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. Jun 25, 2012 at 5:33 PM
    #2
    98tacoma27

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    That's all I got...
     
  3. Jun 25, 2012 at 5:40 PM
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    Leggo

    Leggo slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.

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    my truck came with a 130 amp alternator.
     
  4. Jun 25, 2012 at 6:10 PM
    #4
    Maticuno

    Maticuno Resident Pine Swine

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    The larger alternator generally comes with the towing package. If you're going to be running an 1800W inverter you are going to want dual batteries. The stock inverter is located under the center console, but I can almost guarantee there is not enough room under there to put an 1800W inverter. I could be wrong. If you plan on using the inverter a lot, try to find a pure sin wave inverter. Your electronics will last much longer when they aren't exposed to a modified wave.
     
  5. Jun 25, 2012 at 7:28 PM
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    ItalynStylion

    ItalynStylion Sounds Gooooood

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    It's true. I've been kicking around the idea of putting in a larger inverter too. I might take mine out one day and see what dimensions we've got to work with.
     
  6. Jun 25, 2012 at 7:49 PM
    #6
    badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, the big inverter thing just doesn't pencil out. If you need to run tools on electric, you are way ahead to just carry a small portable generator.

    To run an 1800 watt set up, you would need 2 good size batteries, and a high output alternator. I would not use #4 for a 150 amp load either. #2 would be a better choice. Even with all that your tool usage would be limited.

    You could also consider an OBA system and run air tools.

    Both the generator and the OBA have significant additional benefits over an inverter.
     
  7. Jun 26, 2012 at 6:41 AM
    #7
    kencraw

    kencraw [OP] Member

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    As I continued to investigate, I started to come to the same conclusion. A high-output alternator alone makes the deal sketchy. Add in the extra batteries and you're up a creek, dollar wise. Thanks for confirming that Badger and giving some alternatives worth considering.

    The next question would be, giving up on running power hungry tools, what's the largest inverter one could put in without overly taxing the stock alternator/battery? Anyone have any idea how many amps the car uses during normal operation? (I know that it varies greatly based on what you've got turned on, everything from the stereo to the A/C to the headlights, but a ballpark...)
     
  8. Jun 26, 2012 at 7:11 AM
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    ItalynStylion

    ItalynStylion Sounds Gooooood

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    Think about it this way. A normal outlet in the house supplies 15A before it trips. Some circuits are on 20A but most are 15. Normal AC power is 120V. If you do the math that's 18000w for full "home level" power. But do you really NEED that much power? Probably not. You could run a table saw or a good size shop vac on half that much power (not at the same time). Pulling 15A from the 130A alternator really isn't a big deal. I've had stereo's with that much draw before.

    Now, where you'd put a 1800watt inverter I don't know. It would likely have to go under the seat. In my case, that spot is spoken for so I'd have to get a wee bit more creative.
     
  9. Jun 26, 2012 at 7:23 AM
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    98tacoma27

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    Some stuff. Not a lot, just some.
    http://www.donrowe.com/inverters/cobra_2500.html

    [​IMG]

    Supplies 20A for $219 (on sale until tomorrow). Requires two sets of cables, which can be ordered with it. Somewhat compact: 12.0" x 8.9" x 3.54" No need for an extra battery/higher output alt if you leave the truck idling (not sure how you feel about that).

    Just throwing an alternative out there. If it were me, I'd just get one of these guys.
    Small, quiet, and they will run forever on a tank of gas.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Jun 26, 2012 at 7:30 AM
    #10
    ItalynStylion

    ItalynStylion Sounds Gooooood

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    ^Both of those units look awesome! For me I'd rather just have it integrated into the truck so it's out of the way and ALWAYS ready to go. The cool thing about the generator though is that you could use it for other things too :D

    PS: That 20A you posted looks like it would fit under the center console. I gotta go measure!
     
  11. Jun 26, 2012 at 7:43 AM
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    kencraw

    kencraw [OP] Member

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    I've got no problem with leaving the truck idling when I need the high end power, but I'm not so sure I agree that's enough to source the power I need:

    15A (all my tools run on a home 15A circuit, but the table saw uses most of that when doing big work like ripping a 2x4) from a 85% efficiency inverter (estimate) -> 17.6A @ 115V -> 2029 Watts -> 144A @ 14V.

    With the stock alternator of 100 Amps, even if the entire alternator could be sourced to the inverter, that still leaves the battery sourcing 40+ Amps, which feels like trouble. And it's worse when one considers what the rest of the car uses. Anyone know how many amps an idling tacama takes?

    Nevertheless, thanks for the links, and you're right, the compact generator is likely the right way to go.
     
  12. Jun 26, 2012 at 7:45 AM
    #12
    kencraw

    kencraw [OP] Member

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    If you do go measure, I'd be appreciative if you posted to this thread what the dimensions available under there are.
     
  13. Jun 26, 2012 at 7:51 AM
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    medic2230

    medic2230 @Koditten Pirate Radio member #002

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    If you have the tow package on your truck the alternator is 130 amp.
     
  14. Jun 26, 2012 at 7:53 AM
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    98tacoma27

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  15. Jun 26, 2012 at 10:07 AM
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    badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    You are correct. The problem is that the same wattage at 12 volts is a MUCH higher amperage. There is one other solution though: get battery powered tools. The chargers for battery tools don't draw all that much. My 12V charger for my Dewalt draws 20amps at 12 volts (240 watts from my inverter). The chargers for the bigger batteries may draw a bit more, but still reasonable levels for an automotive system to handle. These days, there are tons of cordless tools to choose from and they perform pretty well.
     
  16. Jun 26, 2012 at 10:10 AM
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    badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    Remember that inverters need cooling. If they over temp they will shut down. They will have shorter lives running hot too. Most of the bigger ones have fans in them, but they still need an open source for air.
     
  17. Jun 26, 2012 at 10:23 AM
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    ItalynStylion

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    Oh shit....MAJOR oversight on my part. Yeah, an 1800watt inverter will be pulling something like 150A. Can that be right?
     
  18. Jun 26, 2012 at 10:40 AM
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    badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    Yes, unfortunately that is right. That's the problem with high output inverters.


    I have a honda generator and they are great. Two advantages are that you can use the generator remotely, like to repair a fence where you can't drive all the way in. The generator can also be used to charge a dead battery if the need ever arises. I have used both the 1000w and the 2000w. The 2000 is more versatile because anything that will run on 120V - 15amp house current will run on the 2000. the 1000w however is insanely light, and will power any hand held tool very well. I use it 90% of the time.
     
  19. Jun 26, 2012 at 11:38 AM
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    deeznutz

    deeznutz Well-Known Member

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    If one were to use a 1000 watt inverter, how big of a fuse should be used if hardwiring to the battery? Is 80 amp ok or would 100 amp be better?
     
  20. Jun 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM
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    colinb17

    colinb17 If at first you don't succeed, don't try skydiving

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    just to throw out what is probably the high end of what you want to do inverter wise, I run a cobra inverter fairly frequently off of the towing package altornator and an optima yellowtop. inverter peaks at 5000 watts, and can hold steady at 3k. it has a built in digital poswer output meter (0%-100%), and my normal uses such as impact gun, air compressors, stereos, drills etc. barely push the meter up. Though i do it as little as possible, i've even run a small welder on the low heat setting for short durations (with looooong) cooling times between bursts.
     

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