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can a dc to ac power inverter mess up a car? Answered

my family is going on a long trip this thanksgiving and I wanted to use a power inverter that i have to power a portable dvd player(actually its an old laptop with a dvd drive) on the trip (its battery is toast and I have no car charger) my mom thinks that the inverter will find a way to mess up her Toyota minivan and won't let me plug it in is she right? can a power inverter mess up a car?


I have to agree. The worst it will Probably do will allow noise to enter your DVD player, and if it is spark plug noise (believe it or not, the speakers, etc CAN pick up those frequencies), and it will whir or buzz as the car goes faster and slower. A proper filter would eliminate much of that. Now, if the minivan is not all that old, it may even have what looks like a second cigarette lighter socket, and that is made and wired for just this scenario.

I don't see how it could. I use an inverter regularly, with no ill effects. The worst case scenario (that I see) is that it could blow the fuse to your cigarette lighter. I can't immagine a decent inverter hurting anything else. But if Mom is still being "unreasonable", pull a battery out of another car, and run it off that. On something that small it should last a long time.

I'd have to say while using another battery is a great idea, all it takes is wee tiny bot of acid to leak and there goes the carpeting.... and I'd hate to see what could happen if they had an accident .... And I have seen what happens when a 24 mm wrench falls on both battery contacts ((( Explosion, acid spraying plates flying and then fire to top it all off and this only took seconds ))) So I'd say it's safer to use the battery in the van ((( but a car battery fully charged should run a laptop for about 12 to 14 hours before the inverter shuts down ))

That's true, I should have mentioned the appropriate cautions. I blew a motorcycle battery up (in my face!) a couple of years ago, and I agree, due caution is essential!

ouch in your face, thats gotta suck... and I though when mine blew up in the back of a pickup, that it was bad, but I had glass protecting me from the acid and I know what it feels like to get it on skin but in the eyes that's gotta hurt ...

Yep, quite unpleasant. I was installing it in the bike and it went off like a bomb. I ran in the house and jumped in the shower. No permanent damage, but my face was quite red for a couple of days. My jeans and shirt didn't fare so well. They had holes in them, when I went to wash them the next day.

Thats good to hear, and it's a good job you washed your jeans and shirt, I gave the wife a shirt that had some acid spilled on it and boy o boy was I in trouble when that came outta the washing machine.. <>

Yeah, I've learned to wash my own clothes (but I'm still a male chauvenist pig), especially when there might be an unpleasant surprise involved.

He he he. I was almost unfinished un bolting the negative lead when the nut shifted and the spanner did a nice arch and the other end rested nicely on the positive teminal. Same effect sparks galore and some nice spot welding as well.

No problem at all, I do the same thing, it's a 400 watt inverter powering an old dell laptop, and the only problem I ever had was one night I forgot to turn it off and well I had to call the 1-800 number for a boost in the morning, but that was my own fault... (( yes I bypassed the automatic relay which turns it off with the key / ignition system, or it would of turned off and all would of been fine, but sometimes it's an annoying feature )) And most laptops only use 70 watts or less and if your not charging a battery it's only like 45 watts which is nothing for the alternator in most vans (( less then one headlight )) Also the worst an inverter would do to a van plugged into a lighter socket is a blow fuse which is easy to fix (( and unless your pulling more then 200 watts it should be fine, since most lighter sockets are built to output 20 Amps ))

. A poorly designed inverter might cause problems with newer, all-electronic cars, (they can be very noisy, electrically) but it's not very likely with a modern, "name brand" one. And cars aren't that susceptible to electrical noise - they have the ignition system onboard and things don't get much noisier than an ignition.
. The bigger concern is whether or not your inverter will have an output that is clean enough for your laptop. Not a big worry with most modern inverters.

. Ie, if you use a decent inverter, you shouldn't have any problems. You might want to keep a spare fuse handy ... just in case.

several years ago my family drove a used 98 ford windstar for trips and the first vacation i used my inverter the van broke well what exactly what happened was when we got in the car to return home we found that it was jammed in park and a fuse was blown so every one assumes it was my inverters fault but I'm not convinced (mostly because i spent my money on it, and the ford windstar wasn't known for it quality) the inverter was used to power a nintendo64 and there was also a 5in TV plugged in via a car charger i guess what I'm wandering is if an inverter could mess up a car with out exploding how would it happen

. Other than the possible electrical noise (which shouldn't be a problem) all I can think of is pulling more current than the wiring could handle. It's not that much different than plugging a search light into the cigarette lighter. . . If your previous rig was plugged into the cigarette lighter, it should not have affected the transmission. The fuse for the CL should blow before it can damage anything else.

Short answer: NO!

. I bet Mom won't be too impressed with short answers. heehee