Go Back   F150online Forums > F-Series Trucks > 1997 - 2003 F-150
Sign in using an external account
Register Forgot Password?
Register Photos Vin Decoder FAQ Members Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Vendor DirectoryGarage

1997 - 2003 F-150 SPONSORED BY:

Welcome to F150Online Forums!
Welcome to F150Online.com.

You are currently viewing our forums as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join the F150Online Forums community today!





Reply
 
 
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-24-2010, 05:15 AM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
Power Inverter Installation - The Right Way

If you already know what size inverter you need and what type of inverter is right for your application, please skip this post and move on to the next one regarding installation.

There first thing you need to know when deciding to install a power inverter is how much power you are going to need and what type of power you want to supply. When determining how much power you will use, you should make a list of everything you think you will ever plug into your converter. Next, take that list and jot down which items you expect to run simultaneously off your inverter. Now, take each of the items you plan to have running simultaneously and read the pertinent power information from their respective power supplies. Total the aggregate wattage information and multiply that number by 1.5 to get a ballpark Wattage range. Let's say you plan to run a Rigid Dual 18v Battery Charger (240W), your Dell Laptop (90W) and a 100W lantern for camping. You would be running 430W of continuous power. You would want at least a 600W (430*1.5=645W). If however, you think you will be doubling your inverter as a home generator in the case of a power outage, or if you are in construction and use it with a lot of power tools, you may want to think seriously about stepping up to the highest wattage you can afford.

The next thing you want to consider is the type of inverter you need. There are 3 different forms of power that inverters output (at least the 3 most common). They are:

Square Wave Inverters: ($20 for a 300W on eBay) Cheapest Inverters on the market, limited capabilities, high interference and incompatible with some electronics. They also smell like electrical burn which I cannot stand. DO NOT BUY ONE OF THESE IF YOU PLAN TO DO ANYTHING REQUIRING MORE THAN A 300W SOLUTION! YOU WILL REGRET IT. For small jobs and the occasional cigarette adapter plug in, these will work fine to charge your camera battery or plug in the occasional laptop (though I wouldn't plug anything of value into one of these).

Modified Square Wave Inverters: (Also called Modified Sine Wave Inverters though that's a bit dishonest): ($40 for 300W on eBay) Make no mistake of it, a modified sine wave inverter is NOT a Sine wave inverter - it's just a marketing ploy that shouldn't be allowed. They are still a square wave inverter with a couple extra breaks in the wave, they just cost twice as much and are a little bit better than their cheaper adversaries above. My advise to you is to NEVER PURCHASE ONE OF THESE INVERTERS. There really is no point. The performance gains you receive from these inverters is not worth the extra investment. If you want a step up, you need to go with the Pure Sine Wave inverters.

Pure/True Sine Wave Inverter: ($100 for 300W on eBay) These are the real thing. If you want to get the best performance and the cleanest electricity, these are the only way to go. Electricity produced in your home is supplied in the form of a true sine wave. These inverters are the least likely to damage your electrical equipment and are compatible with the majority of electronics. They also cause the least interference with your radio when in operation (a big must for me). They will still cause interference with AM Radio, but all inverters will do that. However, if you have a 400W Square Wave Inverter running and compare it's interference with that of a 400W Pure Sine Wave Inverter, you will see what I'm talking about. Also, if you take a 150W Square Wave Inverter and plug in a 100W light bulb, you will watch it flicker. If you plug that same light bulb into a 150W Pure Sine Inverter, it will shine as smooth as butter. Hands down, these inverters are the safest and best inverters out there. If you are going to be plugging anything of value into your inverter, a Pure/True Sine Wave Inverter is an ABSOLUTE MUST. Also, if you are going to be hard wiring your inverter for a permanent installation or if you are going to be running anything over a 300-400W system, a True Sine Inverter is a must.

Now that we know which inverter size we need and the inverter type, on to the important part: Installation...
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-24-2010, 06:04 AM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
Installation

I recently installed a power inverter in my F150 and wanted to share my installation methods with the community. The reason I chose to document the process was because of several threads I've come across where the installation methods used were dangerous or sloppy. I'm going to show you the "correct" way to install a hidden power inverter.

The first thing you need to know is what gauge wire you need. I've seen several threads on here (and other forums) where insufficient wiring is used to supply power to the inverter. Then they run the 12 AWG to an inline switch (which is probably a 10A switch) and back to the inverter. OUCH! Please don't do this, there is a better way (rather a few better ways).

Step 1 - Open your installation manual. If you are installing a 300W Pure Sine Wave Inverter, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND going with 8 gauge wire. 10 AWG should be sufficient, but 8 is better. I have seen multiple threads where guys are using 12 gauge wire for 300W and 400W applications. This is asking for trouble. Now that you know which wires to purchase, decide where you want to install your inverter as well as your toggle switch and any outlets you may want to install. Map these locations out and purchase sufficient supplies for the job. (Note: The closer you put your inverter to the battery the better).

Step 2 - Route your wires: I chose to route my power lead under the truck and through the floorboard. I cut holes in the grommets pictured below to run my wires through the floor and into the center console. You can also punch through the firewall on the driver side on these 97-03s, but I preferred this route for my application.







I installed an expedition console in my F150. One of the best advantages of this mod is that it gives you a place to hide your toys. I purchased this 300W Pure Sine Wave from eBay for ~$100.



This inverter fits perfectly inside the back of the center console.



The ideal location for the inverter would be under the forward most portion of the console as that is closest to the battery and provides the most airflow. If you don't have the center console mod, I would encourage you to get one. If you don't want one, no worries, you can install your inverter anywhere you choose (I would probalby put it under the passenger seat if I didn't have a console.) Wherever you choose to install your inverter, be sure to secure it. A loose Inverter is a fire waiting to happen. Next you need to choose a location to run your ground wire. The shorter the distance the better. If you are running the ground wire more than a foot or two, I would suggest twisting your ground wire and power lead around each other as this will cut down on interference from the inverter.

Now that we know where to install our inverter and how to route our wires, the next step is to PROPERLY install a toggle switch for the inverter...
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-24-2010, 06:26 AM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
PROPER Toggle Switch Installation

Now on to the most important part of the installation...

If you are planning on hiding your inverter, a remote toggle switch is a MUST. However, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES run your power lead straight from the battery and into a toggle switch and then into your inverter. You can install a relay or do the following mod which I chose to do. WARNING, DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR WAY AROUND ELECTRONICS. ALSO, DON'T COME CRYING TO ME WHEN YOU BREAK SOMETHING OR DO THIS INCORRECTLY. I'M ONLY SHOWING YOU HOW I PREFER TO INSTALL THESE.

Step 1 - Take your new power inverter and **** on the warranty.

Step 2 - CAREFULLY Open up your power inverter. Do not touch the capacitor unless you want to get shocked. Locate the wires leading to the on/off switch.



Remove switch from front plate of inverter and cut wires (take note of the positions of the wires on the back of the toggle switch as you will have to remember this later).

Now, get some wire (18-20 AWG is fine, even speaker wire will work) and extend these wires pictured above to whatever length you need to reach your installation point of your new toggle switch. Solder these wires and cover with heat shrink tubing to ensure a safe/secure connection. It should look something like this (don't use butt connectors though, they are just temporary).



Reassemble Inverter with the wires coming through the hole created by the old on/off switch:



Run your new toggle switch leads to the toggle switch installation location of your choice. I chose to put my switch on the panel behind my steering wheel just below the instrument cluster.



Now onto the next part... Power Receptacles.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-24-2010, 06:44 AM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
Receptacles

There are many options you can do for AC Receptacles. I chose to install some flush mounted receptacles in the cubbie on the frontmost wall of my center console. I used the exact same receptacles that most inverters have on them. You can purchase these from Digi-Key HERE for about 65 cents a piece plus shipping.

If you are doing a fully hidden install like mine, you can use extension cords from your inverter and cut the end off them. Then strip your wires and install female spade connectors to the inside wiring and attach them to the back of the flush mount plugs. I installed my plugs in the front of my center console cubbie as shown below:





I used computer monitor cables to attach to the back of these outlets. I cut square holes on the console cubbie to insert the outlets and had to dremmel the back wall down a bit as the plastic was a little too thick for these outlets to seat properly (I probably took the thickness down to about 1/8-3/16 in. so that the outlets could seat properly).

After that, I plugged everything in, reassembled my console and this is how it turned out:





That's fozzie, the supercool wonderdog, he wanted in on the action.

Last edited by DonkeyShark; 09-24-2010 at 06:52 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-24-2010, 06:55 AM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
Not sure if I posted this in the proper thread, if the mods want to move this to a more appropriate thread, feel free. I just usually post here since I have a 2000.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-24-2010, 07:12 AM
Senior Member
1999 Ford F-150
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Iowa
Vehicle: 1999 Ford F150
Posts: 219
Nice writeup man. Im wanting to put a nice Inverter on my race trailer to run the 120v lighting, refrigerator, and maybe a computer. Obviously im going to need a heck of an inverter. My question is how much amperage will the truck supply the trailer via the trailer connector. Say if i turn my truck to run to give my trailer batter some extended run time. I have a 800 amp cold crank deep cycle on the trailer, and I have a 1000 amp cold crank in the truck.

Also what type of dog is that. Looks like a bichon freez/ shi tzu mix
__________________

99' F-150 Super Cab Step Side 5.4l/4R70W/9.75 /OBX LT/ true duals/Gryphon Custom tune/ 900lb AAL/2000lb air bag/Cranked torsion bars/ 03 FX4 rims/ 255/75/17 BFG MT KM/ 02 Lincon Navigator seats

2011 Mustang GT Premium 5.0/Auto Kona Blue
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-24-2010, 07:35 AM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burns331 View Post
Nice writeup man. Im wanting to put a nice Inverter on my race trailer to run the 120v lighting, refrigerator, and maybe a computer. Obviously im going to need a heck of an inverter. My question is how much amperage will the truck supply the trailer via the trailer connector. Say if i turn my truck to run to give my trailer batter some extended run time. I have a 800 amp cold crank deep cycle on the trailer, and I have a 1000 amp cold crank in the truck.

Also what type of dog is that. Looks like a bichon freez/ shi tzu mix
It sounds like you are off to a good start with the 1000 amp cold crank in the truck and the 800 deep cycle in the trailer. The size of your inverter will depend on the wattage requirements of the fridge, computer and lighting. If you run light bulbs, the wattage is more important than the voltage. You could run a 25W bulb and a 100W bulb in the same 120v outlet and their demands are quite different. If your fridge doesn't tell you how many watts it's using up, it should tell you the amperage. Remember the following equation when converting to amps into watts: Watts = Amps x Volts. Also worth noting, if you are using a desktop computer, they have a much larger power appetite than laptop computers as far as power consumption is concerned. You can often find 250-500W power supplies in desktop computers while a typical laptop only requires 90W. If you add up all the watts you need, I would probably double it to determine the proper inverter for your setup (you never know what else you may need to plug in).

The most important thing for you would be to make sure you go with a true sine wave inverter (the spendy ones).

Also worth keeping in mind, some electronics require a surge of electricity at startup. This requires a quick burst of higher than recorded wattage on the electrical device. Anything with a motor is subject to this rule as it is more demanding to start up a motor than it is to keep one running. Most inverters make room for this as they will be rated at something like 1000W continuous power but have capabilities of supplying bursts up to 2000W. However, it doesn't always work as designed, hence my suggestion to aim for 1.5-2.0 times your calcualted needs. Be sure to check that the advertised power supplied for the inverter you are getting is for CONTINUOUS power and not peak output. All the big name brands follow this guideline, but some of the cheaper ones do not. Big names = AIMS, Samlex, Wagan, PowerBright, TrippLite, Xantrex, Whistler, Cobra, etc.

My dog is half poodle and half chihuahua. He's pretty awesome.

Last edited by DonkeyShark; 09-24-2010 at 07:45 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-24-2010, 07:53 AM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
I would guess that one of these inverters would be sufficient with your application: AIMS or PowerBright. AIMS has a better reputation, they definitely make a good product, but there's nothing wrong with PowerBright either. You may be able to get away with something smaller, I'm not sure of your requirements, but a 3000W inverter will supply a lot of power. Also, with your setup, you'll have to use 0 gauge wire. I wouldn't try anything fancy with the toggle switch in your application like I did on my 300W inverter.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-24-2010, 09:20 AM
Senior Member
1999 Ford F-150
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Iowa
Vehicle: 1999 Ford F150
Posts: 219
The PSU on the desktop is 375w rated. Plus running a 22in LCD and speakers. I have 4 flourecent fixtures, each with 2 bulbs. I think they are 4fters. My trailer has a automatic switch to switch from shoreline to generator when i kick the geny on. But the ultimate goal is to not have to run the generator all the time.

How much run time can you get out of a 800 amp battery at lets say 1000 amp draw?
__________________

99' F-150 Super Cab Step Side 5.4l/4R70W/9.75 /OBX LT/ true duals/Gryphon Custom tune/ 900lb AAL/2000lb air bag/Cranked torsion bars/ 03 FX4 rims/ 255/75/17 BFG MT KM/ 02 Lincon Navigator seats

2011 Mustang GT Premium 5.0/Auto Kona Blue
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-24-2010, 04:02 PM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burns331 View Post
The PSU on the desktop is 375w rated. Plus running a 22in LCD and speakers. I have 4 flourecent fixtures, each with 2 bulbs. I think they are 4fters. My trailer has a automatic switch to switch from shoreline to generator when i kick the geny on. But the ultimate goal is to not have to run the generator all the time.

How much run time can you get out of a 800 amp battery at lets say 1000 amp draw?
Do you mean a 1000W draw? 1000 amperes is an insanely high draw. There aren't many batteries capable of producing that kind of power.

A 12V battery supplying 800 Amperes with a 1000W draw will last 4 hours. I would recommend running your engine every hour for about 10 minutes to recharge the battery. There's an excellent calculator HERE as well as a good FAQ summary for inverters. One key point to take note of is that your Fridge will likely have an extremely high startup power surge (3-7 times the continuous power rating). You'll want to make sure that your inverter's peak power output will handle the fridge's startup requirements. Also, flourescent light fixtures will not work on a modified sine/square wave inverter.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-24-2010, 04:20 PM
Senior Member
1999 Ford F-150
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Iowa
Vehicle: 1999 Ford F150
Posts: 219
I plan on buying a Pure sine wave 1000w continous 2000w peak inverter. When you say start the truck every 1 hour. Do you mean charge the batery via the 12v supply from 7 pin connector?

Should i just tie the 12v supply from the 7 pin connector directly to my battery?
__________________

99' F-150 Super Cab Step Side 5.4l/4R70W/9.75 /OBX LT/ true duals/Gryphon Custom tune/ 900lb AAL/2000lb air bag/Cranked torsion bars/ 03 FX4 rims/ 255/75/17 BFG MT KM/ 02 Lincon Navigator seats

2011 Mustang GT Premium 5.0/Auto Kona Blue
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-24-2010, 04:21 PM
Senior Member
1999 Ford F-150
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Iowa
Vehicle: 1999 Ford F150
Posts: 219
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonkeyShark View Post
Do you mean a 1000W draw? 1000 amperes is an insanely high draw. There aren't many batteries capable of producing that kind of power.

A 12V battery supplying 800 Amperes with a 1000W draw will last 4 hours. I would recommend running your engine every hour for about 10 minutes to recharge the battery. There's an excellent calculator HERE as well as a good FAQ summary for inverters. One key point to take note of is that your Fridge will likely have an extremely high startup power surge (3-7 times the continuous power rating). You'll want to make sure that your inverter's peak power output will handle the fridge's startup requirements. Also, flourescent light fixtures will not work on a modified sine/square wave inverter.
i meant 1000w draw not amp.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-24-2010, 07:27 PM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burns331 View Post
I plan on buying a Pure sine wave 1000w continous 2000w peak inverter. When you say start the truck every 1 hour. Do you mean charge the batery via the 12v supply from 7 pin connector?

Should i just tie the 12v supply from the 7 pin connector directly to my battery?
I would strongly recommend a higher watt inverter for your setup if you're running everything at the same time. 1000W is probably not enough.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-25-2010, 11:55 AM
Technical Article Contributor
1998 Ford F-150
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Rosenberg/Baytown TX
Vehicle: 2013 Ford F-250
Posts: 8,673
Nice writeup man
__________________
'13 F250 XLT Premium 4x4.
'13 Explorer limited 4x4. Babymobile
'04 F250 6.UHOH. SOLD!!!
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-27-2010, 12:53 AM
Member
Garage is empty, add now
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego
Vehicle: 2000 Ford F150
Posts: 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by thejake1989 View Post
Nice writeup man
Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2010, 12:53 AM


 
 
 
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:03 PM.


 
This forum is owned and operated by Internet Brands, Inc., a Delaware corporation. It is not authorized or endorsed by the Ford Motor Company and is not affiliated with the Ford Motor Company or its related companies in any way. FordŽ is a registered trademark of the Ford Motor Company
Contact Us Advertising Privacy Statement Terms of Service Jobs Forum Text Archives
Emails & Contact Details