Power inverter install tips
Mar 14, 12 | by: Bruce Smith
To do, or not to do it yourself … that Is the question
By Don Wilson, The Tech Doctor
The popularity of power inverters is ever-increasing as auxiliary electrical power demands on pickups used in the trades take on more importance.
Inverters make the mobile office function–and they bring much needed grid-like power to tools and accessories contractors and heavy construction workers use every day.
Most inveretrs are channeled to the end user in one of two primary ways: It’s either sold to and installed by the manufacturer, or sold to a retailer where an end user (or service center) purchases it for aftermarket installation.
There are also power enthusiasts who dare to install themselves. There are pros and cons to each option, so how to choose?
How about OEM Installations?
Whether you’re dealing with a boat, RV, commercial truck, utility truck, ambulance, or even a military vehicle, inverter manufacturers usually offer installation support through their dealers.
One major benefit of the OEM install is that the consumer is able to take full advantage of the manufacturer’s detailed engineering work that has been built into the production process.
From the electrical supplier offering applications support, to the OEM’s electrical engineers specifying the best cable size, to the design staff ensuring proper compartment size and cooling, going the manufacturing route provides a highly professional, relatively safe, and efficient installation from concept through production.
In addition, the inverter OEM brings solid knowledge of the installation, which allows for outstanding customer support as needed after the sale. These installations are specified and part of a process that delivers production consistency.
On the challenging side, OEMs sometimes offer multiple choices e.g. power level, wave form, charging capability etc. for a power inverter.
The customer is faced with multiple options to choose from, which requires knowledge of how the electrical system will be used, prior to ordering.
Those who don’t know often opt for the “biggest/best”, which usually translates to higher cost.
What about qualified service centers?
The term “Qualified Installer” always make me uneasy. I always wonder: “Qualified by whom?”
My wife may ask me to change the fluids in her car, which infers she has “qualified” me as capable of performing this job.
However, does her qualification guarantee we’re not going to end up with gear oil in the crankcase? Is she able to appropriately and accurately qualify my capabilities to do this job?
I took the car to our dealership and got the job done right.
Case in point, if you need an inverter installed after the vehicle has been built, it is imperative that you find a service center that either has a good reputation, specializes in inverter installs, or has a stamp of approval from the vehicle manufacturer — or better yet, all three.