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I am wondering if any of you guys know a good power converter for vehicles. I want to be able to plug a saw or whatever into an outlet on my truck. I know some of the pickups are comming with them already installed but would like a good reliable aftermarket one.
 

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PMAC said:
I am wondering if any of you guys know a good power converter for vehicles. I want to be able to plug a saw or whatever into an outlet on my truck. I know some of the pickups are comming with them already installed but would like a good reliable aftermarket one.

I have a Maxx Power Inverter by Vector Ltd. It is a 3000 watt unit that is marine rated. The model # is VEC051GM (http://www.vectormfg.com/site2/frontpages/). I have a Solar Voltaic 12v 100 AH deep cycle battery made by Concorde (PVX-1040T,12100T) that I got from http://www.mrsolor.com I have a three stage Xantrex Truecharge battery charger model 10TB to keep the battery in good shape (http://www.majorpower.com/xantrex/truecharge.html). I have the system connected to the deep cycle battery and my truck battery/alternator system with a marine battery switch. With the 1 battery I can operate about 8 hours with most of my tools. My compressor (1 HP) has a hard time starting and I need to use both batteries. My DeWalt tablesaw will run for a good time but does drain the battery somewhat faster and you won't get a full days use out of it, that is off the battery alone, you can always start the vehicle and run off the alternator. Mine is a 105 amp alternator and will provide about 10 AMPS of AC current from the inverter. I have had this system for about 5 years now and can't imagine not having it. I operate off the back of my truck on many installations and it is great when there is no power onsite. This unit is strong enough to operate the majority of my house when I have a power outage.
But this unit is not a true sinewave inverter and there are a few things that shouldn't be operated from it. One of them is the transformerless battery chargers (like Dewalt has), motors don't work as strong as they would from household current. You can get a true sinewave unit but it will cost you about double.
 

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Thank you so much for great response. That is exactly the type of setup I am interested in.
 

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PMAC said:
Thank you so much for great response. That is exactly the type of setup I am interested in.

The Vector LTD site isn't that informative and they don't have the power inverter I told you about on there website. You would have to e-mail them and request the information for the VEC051GM inverter. I think I paid about $750 for it, it might have come down, I noticed that a lot of inverter prices are lower now. Try to get one that is MARINE rated so you don't have any issues with damp conditions, and it comes with GFI outlets to keep you alive if water gets mixed in with your work. You need to get the 3/4" thick :eek: copper cable from them also, actually I think I got the cables from MRSOLAR.COM, so get them when you get the battery, this cable is what goes from the battery to the inverter, you'll need 2 (1 red & 1 black). Don't think that you can use a normal car battery for the powers source, it will eat the battery alive, you will get only a few months from a normal battery. You don't really need the charger, but it really helps keep the battery going for years. The lifespan of the battery can be up to 8 years if you keep it charged and conditioned with the right charger. I try not to charge the battery with my alternator because it is to aggressive of a charge to get a good long life from the battery. I had to give up my inverter for a while when it blew out a MOSFET, but it was within the warranty and covered for free. I really missed it a lot while it was gone :cry:. Otherwise it has given me great service. The one thing I think I like best is the fact that it is silent. No loud motor, gas or exhaust. You could actually mount it on a dolly with a battery and bring it where you need it. Any more questions about the inverter or my setup or how you would need to set it up in your vehicle, just ask.
 

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I'd just look into a small, gas powered generator. Everytime that you transform power from one type to another there is some loss, often more than 'some'. Running a genset is also cheaper than running your truck.
As stated before, inverters can also raise havoc with electronic equipment and have a fairly high failure rate. I don't recommend them on boats, even the big, fancy, expensive ones.
 

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I tell you what guys, I've had the same rotary inverter mounted on several trucks for years, and I'll never use anything else. A rotary inverter is basically a 12v motor coupled directly to a 120 volt generator. Your truck's battery(ies) power the 12 volt motor which spins the 120 volt generator. This gives you TRUE SINE WAVE OUTPUT, unlike the electronic inverters, because your output is coming from the same type of generator head that a gas motor would be spinning. These rotary inverters are standard equipment on ambulances for powering the electronic medical equipment. They are available used for very cheap, and are almost bulletproof. Redi-Line is the biggest manufacturer of rotary inverters. An eBay search normally turns them up in the 50-100 dollar range for a fairly stoutly sized one. One of the nicest features is that they are nearly silent, unlike gasoline powered gensets. See pic:
 

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mdshunk said:
I tell you what guys, I've had the same rotary inverter mounted on several trucks for years, and I'll never use anything else. A rotary inverter is basically a 12v motor coupled directly to a 120 volt generator. Your truck's battery(ies) power the 12 volt motor which spins the 120 volt generator. This gives you TRUE SINE WAVE OUTPUT, unlike the electronic inverters, because your output is coming from the same type of generator head that a gas motor would be spinning. These rotary inverters are standard equipment on ambulances for powering the electronic medical equipment. They are available used for very cheap, and are almost bulletproof. Redi-Line is the biggest manufacturer of rotary inverters. An eBay search normally turns them up in the 50-100 dollar range for a fairly stoutly sized one. One of the nicest features is that they are nearly silent, unlike gasoline powered gensets. See pic:
How many watts does the rotary provide? The transfer ratio is about 92% with my inverter. Gasoline generators are very inefficient compared to this, and like you said noisy. The only advantage to the gasoline powered generator is that the recharge time (fill the tank) is very short compared to charging a battery. Teetor, I rarely have to turn on my engine to get power. The single battery is usually enough for an 8 hour day. If I really wanted to I could get another battery and never run out during the day. My inverter had one problem in 5 years, I wouldn't call that unreliable. So far the only thing I can't run off of it is the cordless drill battery charger. Everything else run fine. If I got a 1:1 isolation transformer I could run the charger off of it too.
 

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Leo G said:
How many watts does the rotary provide?

From the manufacturer I use, models are available from 350-1600 watts continuous. Multiply by 1.5 times for peak output. Efficiency is right at 81%. I use the 1600 watts model (about 13 amps output), which is great for what I do. It might not be enough for running a table saw or air compressor. There are other manufacturers with bigger models.
 

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My older trucks, with normal engines have 120 VAC alternators on them. They require a separate throttle control and the installation of a Hz meter but they can pump out the power. The downside is that you have to run the truck someplace between 17 and 22 hundred RPM. That equates to highway speeds, pretty expensive at today's prices.
I don't think that you can retro to the new computerized powerplants, the setup would confuse all of the computers.
I really miss my '68 GMC 3/4 ton 327 cu. in. (not litres)! I could fix anything on it blindfolded. Today, they blindfold the engine so that you can't find anything.
 

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The rotary inverter sounds like such a simple and elegant solution, even went looking on e-bay for one! But I realized I would loose one function of the inverter setup I'm planing for my trailer, "always-on". You don't leave the dc motor running all the time I assume?

Jon
 

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J2Jonner said:
The rotary inverter sounds like such a simple and elegant solution, even went looking on e-bay for one! But I realized I would loose one function of the inverter setup I'm planing for my trailer, "always-on". You don't leave the dc motor running all the time I assume?

Jon
Unless you have an unlimited supply of batteries or a solar photaic setup to recharge the batteries during the daylight hours the inverter has a small draw of current even though it is not producing any power for you. Mine is a 1/2 amp without pulling anything from the 120 outlets. That would drain a 100 AH battery down in a 24 hour period (or so). I think MD said his rotary had a sensing device to tell the DC motor to start when it detected a current requirement. If you gotta have sinewave, sounds like a good way to go. I already have my (modified sinewave) inverter setup and I am happy with it.
 

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DGR,IABD
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J2Jonner said:
The rotary inverter sounds like such a simple and elegant solution, even went looking on e-bay for one! But I realized I would loose one function of the inverter setup I'm planing for my trailer, "always-on". You don't leave the dc motor running all the time I assume?

Jon

No, it doesn't always run.... It has current sensing and starts itself when a load is applied. It even starts when powering variable speed drills, oddly enough.

If you decide that this is something that you want to use, make sure that you get one big enough to power the biggest tool that you'll connect to it. Don't worry about motor starting inrush, as most are capable of being overloaded for a short period of time. I'm an electrician, so the biggest thing I use is a right angle drill, and occasionally a circular saw.
 
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