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How to Connect an Inverter to a 12V Battery

Updated February 20, 2018

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.

Insert the power inverter plug into the cigarette lighter outlet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tip

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.

Things You'll 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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About the Author

David Sandoval has served as a trainer and technical writer since 2000. He has written several articles online in the fields of home improvement, finance, electronics and science. Sandoval has an Associate of Applied Science in microelectronics from Northern New Mexico College.