The AC output is from an h-bridge.... so there are two 'hots' out of
phase... no neutral, no ground. If you plug a strip into the inverter,
and something like a lamp or an appliance with some exposed metal on
it, and that metal has a 60v square wave on it and it hits some metal
in the car, there will be sparks. I think.
But of course, that depends on whether or not the car cigarette port
still has power when the car is off. I've had cars that it was still
powered, and I've had cars that it was not powered when the car was off.
I'm glad that my cell phone charger has a little light on it when it's
1) Most of those little buggers run a little on the "warm" side. With a
load of a small laptop (60 watts nominal) they get too hot to comfortable
touch in about an hour. The tiny fan likely just barely keep it from
2) Most folks (like us) pull out the inverted when we shut down the laptop.
We certainly don't leave laptops in the open in a parked car.
3) Even at full load, 10 amps is on the order of leaving the inside lights
on. I agree it's hard on the battery but the odds are good at still being
able to start next morning.
All of the plug-in inverters that I have encountered (admittedly
UK-only) have had very conservative low-voltage cut-outs. Well, coming
back to a car with insufficient battery energy left to start wouldn't be
much of a selling point...
So conservative that I had to abandon the idea of using one as part of a
portable power source, with a battery that I wanted to be able to
discharge more deeply..
(Amazon.com product link shortened)¢R0FX412W1BDT&tagÞalt14850-20&linkCode=asn
Problem I've had with them is that the lighter sockets are crap for
high current connections and often overheat. After all, getting hot
was not an issue for their original intended purpose. However, most of
the appliance plugs which fit them are not designed to get very hot,
Where I wanted to regularly run an inverter, I fitted insulated
binding posts and spade terminals instead of the lighter plug.
I couldn't find any low voltage plug and socket which could
handle 25A (in my case) without getting wastefully (and possibly
dangerously) hot. This would mean choosing an inverter with a
flying lead inlet rather than a built-in plug.
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