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Power Upgrade For Rear Cigarette Lighter Port(Installing an Inverter safely)

256 Views 6 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Griffin Norris
I am outfitting my 2000 SE CRV for a roadtrip this summer, and I am trying to install an inverter to power all sorts of things, but the rear cigarette lighter port only supports 100w max, which isn't very much. Does anyone have suggestions on how to either run wires for an additional, higher power plug, or replace the existing ones? Is there a maximum wattage that a connector like that can take? I am looking at 300W inverter. Thanks!
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You will need an entirely different kind of power plug if you want to exceed 100w 12v auxillary power port.
Reason: the old cigarette lighter socket style sockets are NOT rated for higher power. In fact, I would NEVER trust any of these old cigarette lighter sockets for anything over about 20 watts, because the electrical connections sometimes are bent or warped and that in turn causes possible shorts or arcing with high wattage loads.

We continue to see reports from owners about burnt or open socket connections in 12 power sockets from forum members.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You will need an entirely different kind of power plug if you want to exceed 100w 12v auxillary power port.
Reason: the old cigarette lighter socket style sockets are NOT rated for higher power. In fact, I would NEVER trust any of these old cigarette lighter sockets for anything over about 20 watts, because the electrical connections sometimes are bent or warped and that in turn causes possible shorts or arcing with high wattage loads.

We continue to see reports from owners about burnt or open socket connections in 12 power sockets from forum members.
How would you recommend I get 120 v in the back then? Is there some sort of special connector? Or should I attempt to mount the inverter on the wall or something? Thanks for the quick reply!
 

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How would you recommend I get 120 v in the back then? Is there some sort of special connector? Or should I attempt to mount the inverter on the wall or something? Thanks for the quick reply!
As I stated earlier, go with a different power plug and socket approach if you want the inverter to be portable and easily removed. I would consult with the inverter manufacturer on your options here. Higher power inverters typically use special connectors or old school binding posts to connect power to them, which is much more reliable than the cigarette socket and plug connections.

But why not permanently install the inverter in the CRV? In which case you can simply hard wire it in, but you will need to find a 12 power source that can handle the maximum load of the inverter. Just be sure you have the inverter on it's own fuse, and the fuse is sufficient in size for the inverter.

We have some folks in the forum that will be more familiar with where to get a 12v power tap to serve your inverter, who I am sure will respond once they see this thread discussion. Worst case, you power cable from the battery under the hood, and route that cabling to the rear of the cabin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As I stated earlier, go with a different power plug and socket approach if you want the inverter to be portable and easily removed. I would consult with the inverter manufacturer on your options here. Higher power inverters typically use special connectors or old school binding posts to connect power to them, which is much more reliable than the cigarette socket and plug connections.

But why not permanently install the inverter in the CRV? In which case you can simply hard wire it in, but you will need to find a 12 power source that can handle the maximum load of the inverter. Just be sure you have the inverter on it's own fuse, and the fuse is sufficient in size for the inverter.

We have some folks in the forum that will be more familiar with where to get a 12v power tap to serve your inverter, who I am sure will respond once they see this thread discussion. Worst case, you power cable from the battery under the hood, and route that cabling to the rear of the cabin.
So something like this? Amazon.com

I could splice the wires off of the plug, and route them through the headliner. my only concern would be cooling if it was flush mounted. Any suggestions on that front? Looking at the fuses for the rear of the vehicle, there is nothing close to the amperage required by the above inverter. I have a few spare 30 A inline fuses, so would there be any problem with just running some 8 gauge through the firewall, up the a pillar, through the headliner and down the C pillar? Is there usually a ground bolt near the cigarette lighter? Or would I have to run a ground wire back to the battery? Thanks!

Font Rectangle Parallel Pattern Plan
 

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So something like this? Amazon.com

I could splice the wires off of the plug, and route them through the headliner. my only concern would be cooling if it was flush mounted. Any suggestions on that front? Looking at the fuses for the rear of the vehicle, there is nothing close to the amperage required by the above inverter. I have a few spare 30 A inline fuses, so would there be any problem with just running some 8 gauge through the firewall, up the a pillar, through the headliner and down the C pillar? Is there usually a ground bolt near the cigarette lighter? Or would I have to run a ground wire back to the battery? Thanks!

View attachment 160128
I was thinking more along the lines of this one, which has actual power bind posts to it in my first response.

For the unit you linked, no power posts, so if it was me, I would eliminate the 12v socket plug entirely on the power cable into the inverter, and then hardwire the inverter cable with a cable extension up to the battery in the engine compartment. Attach a small eyelet or blade contact to each wire and then install the eyelet/blade connection under the small bolts on the battery terminals, and tighten it back down. That gives you a rugged electrical connection, and then you route the cable somewhere through the firewall and up through the headliner to the rear of the vehicle and then connect to the inverter there. Be sure to put a 30 amp fuse in the 12 power line to the inverter. Way better than trying to tap off some existing fused path in the vehicle.

Personally, being an electrical engineer by profession (now retired) I would not use the chassis for the ground path, but rather route both a power and a ground wire up to the engine compartment. I don't trust chassis for small wire grounding, as if you do not do everything perfect, you will end up with a ground fault later at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was thinking more along the lines of this one, which has actual power bind posts to it in my first response.

For the unit you linked, no power posts, so if it was me, I would eliminate the 12v socket plug entirely on the power cable into the inverter, and then hardwire the inverter cable with a cable extension up to the battery in the engine compartment. Attach a small eyelet or blade contact to each wire and then install the eyelet/blade connection under the small bolts on the battery terminals, and tighten it back down. That gives you a rugged electrical connection, and then you route the cable somewhere through the firewall and up through the headliner to the rear of the vehicle and then connect to the inverter there. Be sure to put a 30 amp fuse in the 12 power line to the inverter. Way better than trying to tap off some existing fused path in the vehicle.

Personally, being an electrical engineer by profession (now retired) I would not use the chassis for the ground path, but rather route both a power and a ground wire up to the engine compartment. I don't trust chassis for small wire grounding, as if you do not do everything perfect, you will end up with a ground fault later at some point.
Thanks so much for the help! Once I get back in town, I will order the parts and post an update. It is always nice to have the counsel of someone much more experienced than myself to consult with!
 
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