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Unlike converters, inverters are designed to convert direct current to alternating current which can be used to power rechargeable batteries including car batteries.
If, however, the inverter fails to come with cables or the cables are unavailable, could jumper cables be used instead?
So, can I use jumper cables for the inverter? Even though an inverter can be used to charge the car battery, it is still important to learn about the proper way to do so and the cable size to use for such a process. yes, jumper cables could be used for inverters, however, these are not the designated cables for this purpose and should not be considered a normal practice.
It’s a mistake that could cost you considerably to assume that any cable can be used for inverters without considering the amount of electrical load they can withstand without heating up.
Yes, some jumper cables, particularly the high-quality types made from highly durable materials as well as the cables used for home breaker panels have been cited by some as possible substitutes in the absence of the inverter cables. You should however be careful and do a detailed finding before commencing such an adventure.
One of the key things to consider is the quality of the jumper cables. When all you have are cheap poor quality jumper cables, constructed with poor-quality wires, such jumper cables may not be able to handle the electrical load without melting down as a result of the heat. It is best in such a situation to avoid using such jumper cables.
Starting a car engine draws the highest amount of battery charge, this is estimated to be around 250 amperes. You need to make sure the jumper cable about to be used for the inverter is capable of handling such an amount of current without heating up.
Not all jumper cables cab tolerates such amperage, some will simply succumb to the heat, leading to catastrophic consequences.
Sometimes, you may not find out on time about the jumper cables not being able to handle such current flow until it’s too late. In order not to be taken unawares, an eye should be kept on the ends of the cable for signs of heating and the process should be stopped immediately if any is seen.
Also, the temperature of the connection can be tested by using a thermometer, or by simply placing your hand around the robber coated parts of the jumper cable. This way, you can feel it when it heats up and make an early diagnosis which could help avert a bigger catastrophe.
Remember as always to protect yourself with rubber gloves as well as goggles. When charging a car battery, one of the possible this that could go wrong is the battery exploding.
The acid content of the battery should never get in direct contact with the skin or eyes, else, it could cause permanent damaging effects.
Overall, it is best to make use of the approved cord to avoid putting yourself or your car or car battery in harm’s way.
Aside from avoiding cheap jumper cables which are most of the time thinner than the expensive types, old jumper cables are also more liable to melting away more easily when they heat up and should also be avoided. Given the current load, when using jumper cables for inverted, the cables connected should be firmly secured by having them bolted.
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can an inverter be used to charge a car battery?
Of course, an inverter can be used to charge a car battery and other rechargeable batteries. The most common types of inverters available are rated for car batteries (12-volt batteries).
Most car batteries are rated 48 to 50 Ah while inverter batteries are usually within the range of 120 Ah. Therefore, inverters charge the car battery faster than the regular car battery charger.
How can an inverter be used to charge a car battery?
To charge your car battery with an inverter, simply make sure the connection between the inverter and the car battery is properly set up, it is pretty the same as when the car battery charger is being used. The inverter just like the car battery charger is then connected to a power outlet to get the battery charged.
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What size of cable should be used to hook up an inverter?
Aside from the inverter types which could be plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter socket, most inverters with high power ratings will require to be directly wired to the car battery. The question however is what type of cable and cable size is required to carry out such wiring.
If it were to be small inverters with owner ratings of 450 watts or below, the question of cable size would not arise as these types of inverters do not require to be wired to the car battery, however, the more powerful types do.
Small inverters with power ratings of say 150 to about 250 watts usually come packaged with the cables to be used in wiring them to the car battery.
When an inverter’s power or wattage is beyond 500 watts, then such will need to be directly hard-wired to the vehicle’s battery.
So, how do you decide on the size and length of wire to be used in running this connection? Well, the most important thing to put into consideration would be the distance between where the inverter is situated and the car battery. This decides mainly the length of the wire. You can check the owner’s manual for such information.
The general recommendation is that the wire should be considerably thick, the thicker the better, this is to ensure that the wire is capable of withstanding the heat generated with current flows through it.
Also, the target should be the shorted wore length as possible. The general rule is that the thicker and shorter the cable is the better.
Note that not all inverters make use of a single cable set, that is a cable set consisting of a single positive clip and a single negative clip, some come with more than two or two cord sets.
Therefore, the recommended cable size for inverters with a single set of cables may not be the same for those with double or more. This should be put into consideration while researching the cable size for your inverter.
One other thing to put into consideration would be the brand as well as the model of the inverter. This is because the recommendation in terms of the cable size for inverters varies considerably between different brands of cables and cable models.
Do not take the matter of finding the right cable size for your inverter lightly. This is because, without the right inverter size, the inverter cable can become a potential fire hazard. When the wrong cable size is used, the cable is unable to handle the charge flow and may overheat, which could result in a fire outbreak.
The cable size is determined by several factors including the type of inverter in question, particularly the power rating of the inverter amongst others.
Can jumper cables be used as battery cables?
To save a few bucks, sometimes, we simply make use of what is available without considering the consequences of our actions.
Installing jumper cables as battery cables is one of such practices commonly found amongst car users who do not wish to spend an extra dollar on battery cable, believing the two can be used interchangeably.
However, the installation of jumper cables in the place of battery cables is considered inappropriate and should be avoided as much as possible.
The proper way of using a jumper cable should be carefully learned and common mistakes which could have disastrous effects should be avoided.
Your jumper cable should always be stored in a dry storage place to keep the metal clamps that are exposed and do not have a rubber coating from rusting away.
Before connecting the cables, make sure the two cars are properly positioned and both have their ignition turned off and placed in neutral or park gear.
the jumper cables are such that they are color-coded, having red clips and black clips. There are two red clips, one should be connected to the positive battery terminal of the dead battery and the other to the positive battery terminal of the car battery to be used for the jump start.
It is also necessary to learn about how long after connecting the cables before you attempt to start the car. To get the battery fully charged, the car should be allowed to run at idle for some time or be driven around for about 15 to 20 minutes before the engine is turned off.
As a way of reiterating our discussion on the usage of jumper cables for inverters, the primary concern is that such connection is usually not proper but can become more secured when bolted. This is however not to be considered a normal practice.
Can I Use Jumper Cables For Inverter – Conclusion
Jumper cables may not be ideal for inverters but can be used with caution. Ideally, the cable size to be used for the inverter is decided based on the distance of the inverter from the battery, the power rating of the inverter, and other factors mentioned in the article.