Power Inverters

Oct 3, 2006
Oklahoma, Tornado Alley
okay at work we have 2 Brands of power inverters, we have Victor and one made by generac (who yes does make generators) i'm considering getting a 300 watt unit to keep in my truck and run it off of my in-cab battery (its an Optima Redtop, that we moved into the cab to save space for the bigger engine under the hood) does anybody have any other ideas other then the two we sell at atwoods? or suld i keep shopping around till' i find a better unit then Victor? i'd appritiate some input, the last Victor unit i got still works, i was looking to put a unit in the truck to run not only my laptop, but maybe tools, or perhapse A/V equipment while chaseing, thanks ya'll
Careful there Tony; you need to ensure that whatever Inverter you buy can supply enough power for what you want to do with it. You mentioned tools specifically; I doubt a 300 watt model would be sufficient for most power tools.

To assess your needs you need to find out what the power consumption is for the equipment you plan on using, and then get an inverter that will supply that kind of power. Keep in mind that the inverter needs to be somewhat "overrated" for the kind of power you need since the figure quoted is the "peak" power supplied, not the average load. For instance that 300 watt inverter you mentioned might only have a recommended average load of 200 watts. 300 watt models are good enough for running a laptop or a small TV, but don't plan on running any big loads off of it.
you have a good valid point there john, i ended up getting an 800 watt running 1600 watt starting (peak) unit, i did a little research before i chose which unit to get, and i ended up with a motor trend 800/1600 which I've used a couple of times, and I've run everything from triple laptops from a surge protector to a Makita Hammer drill, and on the box and on the website they both list up to a 17" color TV and 4 head VCR combo, and they also list a slue of power tools and other equipment such as lighting and Radar sets :cool: i appreciate the input and thanks for the reply man
:) I have found that I need at least 750 watts to run my equipment efficently. I run a laptop with a high def screen and my threat net both off of A/C power. The problem is that those A/C power cords are very inefficent and tie up way too much power. I used to have a 400 watt inverter but it struggled to the point that it would have power surges and loss of power for brief periods of time.
Also you need to remember to keep the hardwire from the inverter to the battery as short as possible to minimize power loss that way. I would sugest some hardcore COAX cable which will minimize engine noise as well as power loss.
i think it came with 10 awg wire leads that are about 3' long, and my battery is in the cab, i upgraded the cables from 10 awg to 8 awg and went for a 5' lead so i can put the inverter between the seats, the 8 awg wire is larger and higher current, i also got rid of the cheesy clips that came with the unit and used a set of jumper cable clamps on the end, i decided on the 800 because not only do i use it with my laptop but also when I'm out working, for running a radio and power tools, though 90% of the time i just use the trucks radio hehe
I got a pretty hefty inverter from eBay for pretty cheap. It was a no-name brand, but has worked well for two seasons now (going on its third). Its (off the top of my head) 700/800 watts; more than enough to power my laptop and any other small device. Spent less than $50 for it after shipping. Check them out (big red ones).
I have purchased all of my inverters brand new off ebay and have never had any problems. The "big red one" Tony referred to is the 750/1500 watt Vector inverter I think. This is what I use and is more than enough to power everything. I also picked up a couple 350 watt inverters as well on ebay for very cheap as backups.