The Best of Inverter 101 Video Q&A

Our Canadian Energy Inverter 101 video is by far one of our most popular videos on YouTube and currently sits at 400,000 views. Over the past 4 years we have generated a lot of great questions and answers and thought we'd condense them down to one "Best Of" blog post. Please enjoy!

Please note: Questions and answers have not been edited for spelling or grammar and are exactly how they appear on our YouTube channel.

Q: I just ordered a 2,300 watt inverter, with 4,700 starting watts. I bought size 3/0 wire, since that's as big as lowes had. I'm not sure what to go off of for fuse size? Running, or starting watts? Where does one get these fuses/holders? Thanks.
A: The fuse should be sized to meet or exceed the running or continuos watts so if the inverter is 12 volt the fuse will have to be at least 250 amps BUT the cable must also be sized to handle the amperage based on what the total cable length is.

Q: Is there a good way to add a battery cutoff to this setup? I appreciate the tutorial and have that set up currently but would like to be able to easily transition to use of inverter and an easy way to cut power to inverter when desired.Thank you in advance!
A: Yes - it's never a bad idea to have a disconnect in between the battery and inverter, in addition to the fuse you could add in a battery disconnect switch like the Blue Sea 9003e or a Type III Manual Reset Circuit Breaker. Either of these will work well for the application, you just need to make sure the rating of the device.

Q: Hello Sr ,I have a 2000 w inverter but I have a problem, when I turn it off star beeping so I turned buck on stops the beeping but heats up too much what can I do to fix it. can you help me thanks in Advance have a good day like your videos. ..!
A: If the unit heats up while operating there may be an issue with cooling under load, I recommend referring to the trouble shooting manual, next step would be to get it to an qualified repair depot for diagnosis.

Q: What size power cable do i want for my 2000 watt inverter that is 14 feet from my battery
A: 2/0 cable will give you a 3.67% voltage drop whereas 4/0 cable will give you 2.25% voltage drop between the batteries and inverter so the larger cable is preferred. Most manufacturers recommend not exceeding 8 feet of cable between batteries and inverter so ideally it is better to mount the inverter closer to the batteries and run your AC cable and outlet the distance, that's assuming you have an inverter that is hard wire capable, this will also save you a significant amount to money in cable. Hope that helps!

Q: How important is a fuse on the positive (red) cable? I've always ran the cables straight to the batteries and thank God have never had any issues least of all a fire break out in the truck. Should I go back and re-do my connection with a fuse?
A: Well as they say, there is never an issue until there is an issue! We see a lot of DIY installs that don't use a fuse, but any install manual for UL458 approved inverters will recommend installing a fuse In the DC circuit, any DC or AC circuit should be fused. There are many different style fuses available that can make installation quite simple, some you can mount directly on the battery terminal which means no modification to existing cables. Hope that helps!

Q: I have 2 batteries connected in parallel do I connect the inverter to one of the batteries or positive to one and neg. to the other?
A: Connect the positive cable to one battery and the negative to the other battery. Hope that helps.

Q: I have a 10,000 w inverter. Due to a situation I will need to run this continuously for up to 10 hrs. at a time, but not on full load.Would 2 batteries be sufficient. Would it be better to use car or marine batteries
A: You will want to use Deep Cycle batteries to power your inverter. The size and quantity of batteries will depend entirely on how much power your inverter is outputting, this can be determined by adding the power in watts that each AC appliance uses then multiplying by the number of hours each device will operate. Hope that helps!

Q: I have a 2000W continuous power output inverter, with 4000W surge capacity. Is the 200a fuse the right one or should I get something bigger?
A: yes a fuse of 200-250 amp would be correct, the purpose of the fuse is to protect the circuit so as long as it will sustain the continuous DC load. Hope that helps!

Q: So a 2k inverter provides less than 20 amps at 110 volts. A 200 amp fuse will never blow. I know there is something I don't understand so Im hoping you can fill in the missing pieces in the old noggin here? Cause I have a 3k inverter and Im trying to find out the correct size fuse. And can I use a breaker instead of a fuse? Thank you.
A: The 200 Amp fuse we are referring to is on the DC cable side, the rough conversion is, for every 1 Amp AC the inverter is putting out, it will draw 10 Amps DC @ 12 volts from the battery bank.  20 amps AC X 10 = 200 Amp DC draw on 12 volt battery bank. You can use a breaker but in this case it would have to be rated at 200 Amps (DC) or 300 Amps (DC) for your 3000 watt inverter.
Q: Coming out of the inverter on the AC side will be #10 wire cause 3k watts is rated for 25 amps. The cable run is only 10 feet. I have a 4 cicuit panel with a 30 amp main. Do I need protection (fuse) for the #10 feeding the panel from the inverter? Thanks again for letting all us strangers pick your brain.
A: We prefer to limit our advice to the DC side of the inverter but typically you would not install fuse protection in between the inverter AC output and breaker panel, some of the higher end inverters may have AC output fuse protection built in to the inverter.  It's always better to be over protected!

Q: How do you hook up the inverter to the A.C. side of things? I understand hooking it up to the DC side, but now I need to run my 3 A.C. outlets on my boat off the inverter. Seems like you guys only did half the installation here (the DC side), there should be a video on how to connect the inverter so you power your outlets as well.
A: Connecting the the AC to the inverter is completely dependent on what type of inverter you have and the wiring configuration of your vessel ie. is there an existing AC distribution panel that powers the circuits that you can connect to. Almost all battery chargers are regulated and will control how much charge goes into the battery, most inverter/chargers will have multiple settings for charging different types of batteries such as flooded, AGM or Gell. We recommend that you refer to the inverter installation and operating manual to determine how and where to connect the AC to the inverter and how to set the charger to the appropriate battery type. Hope that helps.

Q: how about how to connect my 3000w inverter to a solar panel and how to resize the cable I can use for battery bank,';? I need more idea for this thank you sir,'.
A: The solar panel needs to be connected directly to the battery through a Solar Charge controller, cable size will depend on the how much voltage and amperage the solar panels are feeding to the batteries and the length of cable. The maximum DC draw of a 3000 watt inverter is approximately 300 amps @ 12 volts so it should be connected to the batteries with a minimum 2/0 cable or larger depending on the length, there should also be a fuse in between the inverter and batteries (closer to the batteries) on the positive cable. I recommend using a using an online cable sizing chart to calculate the exact size of cable required for the solar panels and inverter.

Q: how long a 12v battery last and does how to recharge the battery
A: It depends on the capacity of the battery and how many amps are being drawn out of it, recharge time varies with depth of discharge and the output of the charger.

Q: do i absolutly need copper wire cause i bought wire already but it's not copper so i am not sure that will do
A: Copper is one of the best conductors and readily available so it is industry standard. If you choose to use a different material for your cables you will want to check the manufacturer specs to ensure it has the proper voltage and amperage carrying capability for your application, as well as its compatibility with terminal connectors. Hope that helps.

Q: Can your Battery source be a regular car battery, in other words not a deep cycle? And do you have to have a battery set aside from your other batteries for the inverter itself?
A: Yes, you can use a regular car battery but its life will be shortened if you are continually discharging and recharging it. No, you can connect the inverter directly to the vehicle starting battery but there is a strong possibility you will discharge the battery to the point that it will not have enough power to start the vehicle. Hope that helps.

Q: How do you protect the battery from over discharge? Is the inverter low voltage shutoff high enough to protect the battery from permanent damage? Thank you!
A: Typically you size the battery pack to the requirements of your inverter draw and the recharge sources available. Most inverters will shut down at 1.75 VPC or 10.5 volts on a 12 volt battery, depending on the rate of discharge this could mean 100% depth of discharge which is not good for a lead acid battery. Higher end inverters have adjustable cut off voltage settings which can lower the depth of discharge, but you would have to consult your inverter manual to see if your unit has this functionality.
Q: agreed but the inverter in your video, and most other retail inverters have no such adjustability on LVC.. There is a separate component that will perform that function, but I wonder how practical it is since there could be considerable voltage droop under load. I think you're right though.. Size the battery bank so the DOD is less than 25% or 50% every day... For those of us who just want a standby emergency power source, need some other method.
A: There are Low Voltage Disconnect devices available but most will not handle the high amperage draw of an inverter, this would mean you need to connect the LVD through a relay which becomes a complicated wiring job and more costly. With a good quality, properly sized deep cycle battery, you should get several hundred cycles out of the battery even if you are reaching the low voltage shutdown point of the inverter. Hope that helps.

Q: I have an inverter I bought used and it is not this brand everything is hooked up and working fine but the light goes from green to orange after use...what causes this? please help thanks in advance.
A: if the inverter is functioning properly it could simply be an issue with the LED indicator light but this is only an assumption, we recommend contacting the manufacturer of the inverter for a copy of the manual.

Q: How would you ground it if you were using it at home ?
A: Inverters are designed for mobile applications carry a different CSA or UL approval than those for home or cottage use and are not neutral to ground bonded so we do not endorse the use of mobile inverters in a home applications. Hope that helps!

Q: Good information - finally - in a sea of poorly informed other youtubers often offering dangerous info. Wil you make more?
A: thank you so much. We really appreciate that. We are always making more so you bet!

Q: What is the minimum amp rating of you car alternator to provide 200 continuous dc amps to the 2000 watts inverter.? The car battery is 635 cranking amps but does nit provide any other info And the alternator is 230 amps. What is the minimum engine rpm. Idle? 7000 rpm? Thank you sir. I just bought a 5000 continues watts pure sine 12v inverter. The manual does not provide the requiet amp rating of the 1wv dc alternator.
A: Unfortunately we are not able to provide that information as it will be dependent on the vehicle make model, type of alternator, pulley sizes, ambient temperature, etc, etc. Remember, in addition to the 200 amps you will require to operate the inverter the alternator must also supply the vehicle electrical loads, battery specs are not as important as it will only sustain the inverter load for about 30 seconds if the alternator is not operating.

Q: what about earth stud? can i connect it with the negative??
A: No. The ground stud should be connected to a ground point on the chassis of the vehicle. Hope that helps.

Q: How far should your batteries be from your inverter to avoid battery off gases from igniting? While also taking into consideration the length of cable to avoid voltage drop to the inverter. Example: 12V 3000w inverter with 2/0 awg cable feeds to 12v battery bank. Would 3ft be safe?
A: because every application is different and depends on the configuration and ventilation it is difficult today what is a safe distance, the other option is to install sealed batteries that do not vent. The recommended cable size for a 3000 watt inverter is 4/0 with a minimum size of 2/0 so you should be ok if running 3 feet but we always recommend you refer to the inverter manual for the proper sizing. Hope that helps.
C: The inverter is a cheap Canadian Tire 3000 watt modified sine wave inverter. The manual is way below par in specs on wire gauge. Next time I'll buy from you! Cheers

Q: At 3:03 mins, you said you were putting the ground cable on. I'm a total novice... You meant the negative cable, right?
A: At 3:36 of the video he is referring to the chassis ground, that's the smaller black wire coming off the inverter at a 90 degree angle, this ground connection comes off a designated terminal on the inverter to common ground on a boat or RV or the chassis of the vehicle it is being mounted on. The main positive and negative terminals off the back of the inverter go to the battery. Hope that helps.

Q: Nice video, thanks for putting it together, can you tell me what is the 'proper' gauge wire that you are using there? I know it depends on the wattage of the inverter you are using, is it 0, 2, or 4 AWG?
A: 1000 Watt inverter 2 gauge cable maximum 5 feet and the 2000 Watt inverter 2/0 cable maximum 5 feet. Hope that helps! 

Q: what fuse i have to use for pure sine inverter 1500w ? and what is the best fuse i have to use
A: You will require a minimum 150 amp rated fuse, the type will depend if the inverter is low frequency (transformer based) or high frequency, a T Class fuse will work for either application so you don't have to guess, our Part for the fuse block is FB1 and fuse TF200, the other option is an AMG style fuse if the inverter is high frequency.

Q: What's the difference between a Pure Sine Wave and a Modified Sine Wave Inverter? One's half the price of the other for the theoretically same power output. Thanks.
A: The power supplied by the national grid in North America is 120V 60Hz AC (or alternating current). The current effectively 'switches direction' 60 times every second. There in no positive or negative like there is with batteries. The waveform is smooth and gradual conforming to what is called a 'sine wave'. Pure Sine Wave inverters such are the most efficient and highest quality inverters available. Pure Sine Wave inverters produce little distortion and are able to run even the most sensitive electronic equipment. Designed to roughly emulate a sine wave waveform, modified wave inverters are cheaper than their pure sine wave cousins. They mimic the sine wave shape in large steps. Most simple appliances like power tools, light bulbs, heater elements and electric motors will run with a modified wave inverter...although they will get hotter and use more power. As these inverters don't produce clean sine wave power, they are not recommended for use with electronic equipment like TVs, stereos and computers. Clocks and other timing devices (like digital washing machines) can run either too fast or too slow.

Q: In an install like this, is a battery disconnect switch needed?
A: It's not needed because we are working with low voltage but doesn't hurt if you want to install one. Hope that helps.

Q: What's the difference between an inverter and a converter?
A: converters and inverters are electrical devices that convert current. Converters convert the voltage of an electric device, usually alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). On the other hand, inverters convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

Q: Can a 600 W inverter power such things as a fan, a light or a tv?
A: you bet. You will require an Inverter that turns DC battery power into 240 VAC house power. Be sure to choose the correct inverter as most North American applications are 120 VAC 60 Hz while Europe and many other countries are 240 VAC 50 Hz.

Q: Good info. For now using 800 watt inverter. Pretty much the same process?
A: Yes thats correct. The formula is watts/volts=amps so 800 watts/110 volts=7.27 amps AC (we'll round up to 8). For every 1 amp AC it will draw about 10 amps on a 12Volt DC battery, so 8 X 10 = 80 Amp DC draw. We prefer to use fuses on the DC circuit as they will blow faster but you can use a circuit breaker, fuses or breakers should be sized to match the DC cable in the circuit and should be rated at enough amps that meets the surge capacity of the inverter.

Q: I intend to put a 1000-2000 watt inverter in my truck, the best place for me to install it is below the drivers seat or behind the rear seats. I'd like to have remote plugs (remote from the inverter that is) 2 plugs in the center console and 2 plugs in the bed of the truck. How does one go about running the cables to have outlets in multiple locations and not just on the unit itself?
A: you will need to purchase an inverter that is hardwire capable, the Xantrex HF and HFS models have this capability in both the 1000 & 2000 models. Hope that helps!

Q: Hello.. please which product of battery is the best?
A: we recommend one of our CanadaProof Batteries which can be found on our site at CDNRG.com.

Q: Can we connect Inverter Direct with solar pannels without batteries. For tubewell. is this possible? ??
A: No you must have batteries in the system as the solar panel will not sustain the inverter load. Hope that helps.

Q: I've seen different installations of the fuse between the inverter and the battery with some saying the fuse should be within a foot or so of the battery. In my car (a prius) I want to use anderson connectors between the battery and inverter with a short length of wire on the battery side and longer wires on the inverter side so I can just unplug the inverter and use it elsewhere or just have it out of the car when it's not in use. Is it ok to put the fuse on the inverter side of the connector? Good video by the way.
A: the purpose of the fuse is to protect the cable and power source from short circuits so the fuse should be as close to the battery as possible. There are some styles of fuses that can mount on the stud post of a battery but your configuration may not allow that, always a good idea to have a fuse in the system but not always possible. Hope that helps.

Q: I am going completely off grid does an inverter or a converter power off the battery
A: inverters are powered off 12, 24 or 48 volt battery packs while converters are powered by 120 Volts AC. Hope that helps.

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