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RoadTrucker® Power Inverter FAQ


Introduction to Power Inverters

The Power Inverters at RoadTrucker® are selected line of high-performance brands such as Thor, Cobra, and PowerDrive by RoadPro, and MobileSpec. An inverter is generally used to convert direct current (DC) power from low voltage sources like a 12-volt battery into alternating current (AC). It converts the power that comes from a vehicle’s battery to power electronics you usually use at home like TVs, kitchen appliances, audio and video gadgets, and other larger electronic devices.

There are several inverter units for your convenience: 12 Volt Power Inverters, 12 Volt Inverters (use lighter Socket), Thor Pure Sine Wave, and 12 Volt Power Inverter Accessories. Make sure your electronic equipment gets the power it needs while on the road. No need to wait until you get home to recharge your laptop or cell phone. Make mobile lifestyle easier for us with this power-on-the-go .

Powerful inverters include Thor 3000 Watt 12 Volt Modified Sine Wave Power Inverter. With 6000 watts peak power, you won’t need to rely on DC-powered electronics or a generator to power any tools or electronics. Very ideal item for long haul truckers, RVers and campers, and utility truckers. Another recommended unit is the Thor 750 Watt 12 Volt Modified Sine Wave Power Inverter. Lightweight and compact, this one is designed to smaller AC demands such as cellular phones, laptops, mp3 players, iPods, and other entertainment gadgets. Applications include trucks, mobile office, boats, and campers.

In the Thor Pure Sine Wave category, RoadTrucker® offers five units: 300 Watt, 600 Watt, 1000 Watt, 2000 Watt, and 3000 Watt. Now these inverters are specially used to operate sensitive electronic devices like radios and medical equipment that require high quality waveform with little harmonic distortion. Thor pure sine wave inverters have high surge capacity able to exceed rated wattage for a limited time. But for electronic devices that don't require sensitive calibration, modified sine wave inverters are a more cost-effective option. Also, pure sine wave inverters have full protection features like Overload, Short circuit, Ground Fault, and Over Temperature. Another advantage also is a cleaner, smoother output, and much less heat produced.

In the 12 Volt Inverters (use lighter Socket) category, the units are very convenient and can be plugged into a cigarette lighter socket. The inverters such as Cobra 200-400W and RoadPro 200W space-saver cup-holder design is ideal for vehicles with small space interiors. All inverters in this category have built-in USB port that are very useful for professional drivers and travellers.

So what kind of power inverter is the right one for the job? And how to install and operate one? Below is a little Technical Information on Power Inverters. Take a look at RoadTrucker's Inverter Comparison Chart too. PDF Manuals are also added in individual product pages for your reference.

Thor LogoCobra LogoPowerdrive LogoMobilespec Logo

Can I install the power inverter myself?

  • For PowerDrive Inverters: Yes. Installation guide is provided in each manual. Installation is either via connecting to cigarette lighter socket (for use lighter socket category) or connecting power cables to the vehicle's battery.

  • For Cobra Inverters: Yes. For CPI480, you may plug using cigarette lighter cable to operate inverter at loads up to 150 watts. Note: Do not use the cigarette lighter cable for loads higher than 150 watts. Connect the inverter directly to the battery instead. For CPI200CH, connect to lighter socket. No need for power cables. And for the rest of Cobra units: The CPI880 and CPI1000 have connecting cables included while CPI1575 and CPI2575 both need a cable (not included) to directly hook up to battery.

Is the inverter safe to operate anywhere?

  • For PowerDrive Inverters, No. The case of the units may become very warm under high power operation reaching 140°F. Make sure there is at least 4 inches of unobstructed air space around the entire surface of the inverter at all times. DO NOT operate the RPPD100D near flammable fumes or gases such as the bilge of a gasoline power boat or near propane tanks.

  • For Cobra Inverters, No. Never install the inverter in a boat’s engine compartment where gas and battery fumes are present. Power inverters contain components that can produce arcs or sparks. To prevent fire or explosion, do not install the inverter in areas or compartments containing batteries or flammable materials or in locations that require ignition protected equipment.

Which one should I use? Pure sine wave or modified sine wave inverter?

The difference between pure sine wave inverters and modified sine wave inverters is important especially when it comes to usefulness and cost. Pure sine wave has a cleaner running system that delivers the smoothest and most even wave output. This provides a lower harmonic distortion factor, with less or without static and other noise. This type of inverter is mainly used when you operate sensitive equipment like medical devices and radios. With Pure Sine Wave Power Inverters, sensitive electronics will run better with more efficient processes and less audible noise.

On the other hand, Modified Sine Wave Power Inverters are generally much cheaper in cost than pure sine wave. However, there is a difference in efficiency and noise reduction. These inverters will reliably run electronics (laptops, tools, entertainment gadgets, etc.) that are not as sensitive as those that need pure sine wave. Popular inverter units such as Thor 12 Volt Modified Sine Wave Power Inverters have protection features that will help avoid damage to inverter and electronics as well.

Note: There are certain types of equipment that will not work at all with modified sine wave and will cause damage if you do so. In this case, you must use the pure sine wave inverter.