How to Connect an Inverter to a 12V Battery

Written by david sandoval
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How to Connect an Inverter to a 12V Battery
Low-wattage power inverters use a cigarette ligher plug to connect to an automobile battery. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Power inverters are electrical devices that convert DC power --- like the power that comes from solar panels and batteries --- into AC power. Each power inverter connects to a DC power source differently depending upon the inverter power rating. The two most common ways that a power inverter connects to a battery are by using battery clamps or by using a cigarette lighter outlet plug.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Working automotive cigarette lighter outlet (for inverters under 500 watts)
  • Access to the terminals on a lead-acid battery (for inverters 500 watts or greater)
  • Power inverter
  • AC-powered electrical device

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Instructions

    Inverters Under 500 Watts

  1. 1

    Insert the power inverter plug into the cigarette lighter outlet.

  2. 2

    Turn on the power inverter. Allow the circuitry to charge up for at least 30 seconds.

  3. 3

    Plug the AC-powered device into the inverter outlet receptacle. Turn on the AC-powered device.

    Inverters 500 Watts or More

  1. 1

    Attach the red inverter input cable to the positive battery terminal.

    How to Connect an Inverter to a 12V Battery
    Many high-wattage power inverters contain input leads that resemble jump-lead leads. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Attach the black inverter input cable to the negative battery terminal.

  3. 3

    Turn on the power inverter. Allow the circuitry to charge up for at least 30 seconds.

  4. 4

    Plug the AC-powered device into the inverter outlet receptacle. Turn on the AC-powered device.

Tips and warnings

  • Some high-wattage power inverters may also be equipped with battery terminal connectors that are intended to be connected permanently to battery terminals. These power inverters may be connected using a similar method to the procedure for inverters that produce more than 500 watts of power.

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