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Help RV'ers, where to install power inverter?

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Help RV'ers, where to install power inverter?

 
Old 04-21-2018, 11:58 AM
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Help RV'ers, where to install power inverter?

Hey all: We are taking the Old Lady (our '03 ML350) on an extended road trip into the Great North (Wood Buffalo Natl Park and Yellowknife NWT) and have a 1000W power inverter incoming to power some luxuries. My question is; where to install? The online wisdom is to keep the cables as short as possible and connect direct to battery which suggests within the engine compartment, however that makes access to the plug-ins rather awkward, especially when it is also recommended that the engine be running while the inverter is in use, PLUS the inverter manual states to keep away from sources of heat and/or flammable materials - all of which negates the engine compartment.

The secondary fuse block located in the RF passenger footwell looks like a good protected location within the cabin to obtain power, but my concern is whether the wiring is up to it? The advice of anyone with similar experience would be greatly appreciated.

Not sure how many out there enjoy car camping with their W163s, but we've been doing so for years. Any early investment was the M-B accessory Sportz SUV Tent which accommodates two cots and has proven to be bomber. However, this is our first trip with the ML "beyond the grid" where self-sufficiency is a must. Our camping outfit won't change, but following the advice on the NWT government website, we are taking a full-size spare tire along with the emergency spare, extra fuel, repair and recovery kits. Anyone else who has "been there, done that" have other suggestions? I'm contemplating an OBDII diagnostic scanner...



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Old 04-21-2018, 02:04 PM
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need2speed,

If this helps...
I use a 300W inverter tapped into the 12v accessory outlet just above the front passenger side footwell (on the left side) by the centre console.
Removed the underside panel (same panel you remove when replacing the interior air filters). This 12v accessory plug is always on (unlike the one in the ashtray).
I used T-connectors and tapped into this 12v supply and added a led on/off switch into this placing the button switch (tapped into the panel cover) just under the area where the 12v plug is located.
My inverter is mounted with velcro on the passenger side of the tranny hump and connections run from there to the back for hookup.
Havent had any issues but you're running a 1000W inverter so......
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Old 04-21-2018, 02:16 PM
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Thanks for this reply :-) I've read that the accessory/cigarette lighter outlets are not capable of handling a 1000W inverter. Would be nice though!

Originally Posted by khomer2 View Post
need2speed,

If this helps...
I use a 300W inverter tapped into the 12v accessory outlet just above the front passenger side footwell (on the left side) by the centre console.
Removed the underside panel (same panel you remove when replacing the interior air filters). This 12v accessory plug is always on (unlike the one in the ashtray).
I used T-connectors and tapped into this 12v supply and added a led on/off switch into this placing the button switch (tapped into the panel cover) just under the area where the 12v plug is located.
My inverter is mounted with velcro on the passenger side of the tranny hump and connections run from there to the back for hookup.
Havent had any issues but you're running a 1000W inverter so......

Last edited by need2speed; 04-21-2018 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 04-21-2018, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by need2speed435939
Thanks for the reply :-) I've read that the accessory/cigarette lighter outlets are not capable of handling a 1000W inverter. Would be nice!
Good to know, thanks.
Man, what are you looking to power up on this trip?
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Old 04-21-2018, 03:59 PM
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LOL, the required size was determined by my wife's travel hair dryer ;-)
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Old 04-21-2018, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by need2speed View Post
LOL, the required size was determined by my wife's travel hair dryer ;-)
hahaha.
Alternative (perfect) solution. Get her a nice styled (short/shorter haircut) at a posh Salon prior to travel, and do away with a HD blow dryer thus solve your 1000W inverter dilemma.
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Old 04-21-2018, 04:10 PM
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FWIW, the inverter's manual indicates that a cig lighter outlet shouldn't be used for a load over 150W - "direct to battery" is their reccommendation. Just curious if you experience heat or high fan noise from your inverter when running a device over 150W?

Also, I was incorrect about needing the engine running as this unit as a low-voltage shut-off to prevent draining your car battery. I think I would run the car, though, if needing to power something near its max rating for anything over a few minutes or if the vehicle will remain stationary at a campsite for days.

Last edited by need2speed; 04-21-2018 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 04-21-2018, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by need2speed View Post
FWIW, the inverter's manual indicates that a cig lighter outlet shouldn't be used for a load over 150W - "direct to battery" is their reccommendation. Just curious if you experience heat or high fan noise from your inverter when running a device over 150W?
I looked into that and technically, the accessory outlet I tapped into is not a "cigarette outlet". It is a hot connection and have not had the inverter fan kick-in. What I do is carry spare fuses for this and other potential issues, as a back up.
If you do plan to "tap" the battery directly, for your application, install the proper gauge wiring and run it neatly along the side using existing cable covers and thru the firewall.
I recall there being a fuse box you can go thru. Open the fuse box cover and then go into the DS footwell. There is a panel below the steering (above the pedals). Look up and to the left of the steering (around the corner). You will see an opening thru the firewall in to the fuse box area.
Just going by my old memory.
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