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Power Suggestions

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yorkphotog

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I've never really had a great setup in the car when it comes to power.. but with my job (news cameraman) it's becoming more necessary. At this point I have a 175w inverter that's plugged in to my trunk's cigarette lighter. Other gear is plugged in to the front cigarette plug.

I bought a new 400w heavy duty inverter, and it's been sitting in the box for a while because I don't know the first step in installing it. I plan to be mounting more scanners, eventually a laptop, etc. Some have suggested setting it up so that everything shuts off when the car is off, and others have suggested wiring it so that everything stays on until I turn it off.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated....not sure whether I'll be able to do this job or if I'll have to hire somebody.
 

LordJ

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You should be able to directly wire up any scanners to the car battery, there is no sence in using the inverter as it's kinda redundant for the scanners. You would be plugging in an ac to dc adapter into a dc to ac inverter...Keep the 175w for your laptop though...just easier You should be able to wire the radios up so that they get constant power for memory, but only accessory power to run them. There are a couple manufacturers of consoles for vehicles that would help for a clean install...
 

yorkphotog

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Would there be a source of constant power in the dash area of the car? I'd rather use that as opposed to running cables directly to the battery... As for the inverter, it does work fine, but it also isn't mounted, and I'd like to have it directly wired as opposed to using the cigarette light adapter.
 
C

comsec1

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direct to battery

you want to connect it directly to the battery with the proper size cable ( 6 or 8 ga.) and more important you want to have a protective device such as a circuit breaker or fuse rated for your cable and equipment.
 

imcleish

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yorkphotog,

your problem with using existing wiring is the small size of it. Did your inverter come with wires and battery clamps? what size is that wiring? those questions should point to the direction of how to wire. Typical in the dash wiring to 12 volt outlets is 18 gauge or smaller, many options exist, but too much load on the small wires will lead to extreme heat - melting - failure and possibly fire.

Don't think you would want to cook your gear....

feel free to pm me and I'll talk about it more.
 

Don_Burke

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yorkphotog said:
I've never really had a great setup in the car when it comes to power.. but with my job (news cameraman) it's becoming more necessary. At this point I have a 175w inverter that's plugged in to my trunk's cigarette lighter. Other gear is plugged in to the front cigarette plug.

I bought a new 400w heavy duty inverter, and it's been sitting in the box for a while because I don't know the first step in installing it. I plan to be mounting more scanners, eventually a laptop, etc. Some have suggested setting it up so that everything shuts off when the car is off, and others have suggested wiring it so that everything stays on until I turn it off.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated....not sure whether I'll be able to do this job or if I'll have to hire somebody.
You sound like a good candidate for a dual battery system that protects your starting battery from getting flattened.

400 watts is going to be over 30 amps of DC. It will probably run a bit less than that since you will normally not pull 400 watts from the inverter. 30 amps means 10 guage wire just based on wire capacity, probably more like 6 guage when forward voltage drop is considered.
 

yorkphotog

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Yeah, I was thinking about the dual battery idea. But then again, tons of other guys do the same thing (and more) than I want to do, with just one battery. I wouldn't plan on running gear while the car is OFF... sometimes on ACCESSORIES for a short length of time, but mainly while the car is running.
 

Don_Burke

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yorkphotog said:
Yeah, I was thinking about the dual battery idea. But then again, tons of other guys do the same thing (and more) than I want to do, with just one battery. I wouldn't plan on running gear while the car is OFF... sometimes on ACCESSORIES for a short length of time, but mainly while the car is running.
All you need to do is leave too many things on for too long once to start wishing you had protected the starting battery. The second battery does not need to be very large.
 

yorkphotog

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I do indeed like the idea of a 2nd battery.. but being a newbie, and having this much trouble already -- I can't even think about installing a second battery. Where does it go? How to wire? Those are the kind of questions, that, without experience make it a difficult task.
 

n2hbx

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Do It Right

For that 400 Watt inverter, you MUST connect it directly to the battery. If you're the least bit squemish about doing it, find an audio installation shop that deals in high power car stereo and pay them to install it for you (you will probably have an easier time getting a car stereo place to do it rather than a two-way shop).
 

imcleish

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Bigger Question, Is there room for a second battery under the hood?

Otherwise you need to run wiring to it to re-charge it as well. Circuitry to re-charge the second battery and fully isolate it from the first is needed as well. I would suggest an upgrade to a Yellow Top Optima battery first, it should meet your needs (Deep Cycle Starting Battery) as it is designed to be drained and be charged over and over, in addition the gel technology of an Optima, if you have things running to a point your voltage is too low to start, shut everything off for 15-25 minutes and then start the motor!!!! has saved my bacon on occasion.
 

enine

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Yes, the second battery is very handy provided you have room for it. Any truck or truck based SUV will usually have room, as you go down through the crossover and minivan based suvs and cars you loose space. Posting the vehicle type will help.
You can seperate the batterys via a large relay, switch or isolator. I've wired mine oem style with larger fused branch circuits coming off the second battery then smaller fude blocks with individual fuses for each load. Just cleaning up everything before I do any real pics.
 

Renegade631

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I dug this up looking for my own installation ideas.

I was thinking of running a 2nd battery, in my GMC Savanna, but someone told me I might need a new alternator to do that. I was looking into installing a 2000 Watt Inverter to run a Key Duplicator and charge the batteries of my power tools (I was working for a locksmith at the time).

I now drive a Taurus, and no longer need the key duplicator, but I'm still planning to connect a lot of electronics, Laptop, GPS, 1000 Watt Stereo System, at least 2 scanners, CB/PA, and chargers for various tools in the trunk.
 
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