Inverter rec needed

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  #1  
Old 11-27-08, 08:09 PM
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Inverter rec needed

Going to have to buy a power inverter in the 350-400W range to power lighting on my wrecker for local Christmas parade in two weeks and could use any and all recommendations. Already have a 125W unit that powers my on-board laptop but that will not provide enough power for the number of light strings planned. Hate to just pick one and have it be a dog that will crap out during the parade - major embarassment.

Haven't browsed the stores yet to see what's on the shelf and would like to get it locally vice having to order. Most likely stores would be AutoZone, Sears, Advance Auto, and Wally World/Sam's.
 
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Old 11-28-08, 07:19 AM
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I know you were looking at buying locally, but how about if you have the power inverter shipped to the store? Wal*Mart has several on their site. One is a Whistler 400 watt unit for 27.67, and the other is a Whistler 800 watt unit for 59.32 I'll PM you the link.
 
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Old 11-28-08, 07:30 AM
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you might want to check Harbor freight I've seen some decent looking ones there

I don't know how often you get north here but they do have the store on Clark road
 
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Old 11-28-08, 08:00 AM
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I used the 800 watt job to run a TV on vacations before. Have had it for some time = about four or five years and no problems. It's not like it's in use all the time though.

I originally tried to run the converter/tv off a power outlet in the Windstar Van and kept blowing fuses. So I ran wires from the battery with an inline fuse to a power outlet I added under the seat. From that point on everything worked really well.
 
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Old 11-28-08, 08:19 AM
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oo-oo; I forgot about Harbor Freight. Been racking my brain on who would carry them on the shelf and forgot about them. Oh, and Northern Tool, also, duh.

Hook up should be no problem; I have an aux battery that sits on the rear deck right under the light bar support.

Interesting, I browsed the Harbor Freight ones and there are two or three that are in the right range and $, but I notice the 400W unit says "for up to 30 minutes"; none of the other ones has that caveat.
 

Last edited by the_tow_guy; 11-28-08 at 08:41 AM.
  #6  
Old 11-28-08, 08:49 AM
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Have you given any thought to a small (2000 - 3000 watt ) generator. It should easily fit on the wrecker bed. Living in hurricane land, it could find other uses during the year.
 
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Old 11-28-08, 08:55 AM
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Actually that thought ran through my head and I do have one; unfortunately it's a little 5k diesel powered unit that weighs about 400 pounds. Also I was thinking "noise"; the parade route is 2 lane with spectators right at the edges.
 
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Old 11-28-08, 11:33 AM
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I think you should post a picture of the TG Tow_Truck, decked out in Christmas.
 
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Old 11-28-08, 03:58 PM
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Waaaaaay ahead of you. Daughter will be home for Christmas break by then so guess who gets to do a lot of the work. Tow Guy Jr. is going to be my co-pilot instead of sitting and watching the parade.
 
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Old 11-28-08, 07:24 PM
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just purchased the 3000w from harbor freight and will see how it works, have a 750watt i picked up from napa and it works very well, the trick is wiring direct to battery with in line breaker and using plenty large guage wire. that keeps voltage drop at a minimum.

murphy was an optimist
 
  #11  
Old 11-29-08, 05:54 AM
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Will you have the power?

Just a thought and you likely already have it covered being you have a tow truck and likely a good charging system. And you have the Aux battery

Will your charging system maintain the draw of 400 watts at a low RPM of a parade?
400 watts at 14 volts I get about 30 amps from the alternator
Plus the power to run the truck. I suspect the amber lights will be going.

Or is that aux battery isolated from the charging system. Which it likely is being it is a tow truck and you know what you are doing.

Just a consideration that you likely already thought thru
 
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Old 11-29-08, 09:13 AM
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Already thought about that and the answer is.......don't know. Planning on connecting the inverter and all the lights (unstrung) for a test some time this week or maybe tomorrow. I have no problem at night with all lights on plus the beacons and the hvac fan blowing on high. For the parade the blower fan will be off plus I'll be running on parking lights thereby saving the power draw of the headlights. I will probably also set the idle up a bit (cab control manual) and I don't think there will be a deficit.
 
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Old 11-30-08, 01:54 PM
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Passed the test

Okay, looks like we'll be good to go. Connected the inverter up and plugged in 1-300 light string and 4-100 light strings. Started the truck and turned every possible light on - head lights, hi beams, beacons, flashers, rear work lights - plus the blower fan on high and the lowest the voltage dropped to was 12.1 volts. In the configuration I'll be driving - headlights and blower off - we were getting 13+ volts. Also had a brain storm while trying to figure out how to illuminate the wheels - chem lights.
 
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Old 11-30-08, 01:57 PM
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Or the necklace string things they sell at every amusement park....they even snap together if I remember right. Thread them in and out the wheels.
 
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Old 12-13-08, 06:44 PM
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Okay, here's the pics

Okay, so here's what the beast looked like in all its blazing glory for the Christmas parade:



 
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Old 12-13-08, 07:20 PM
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Worthy of a TG Tow_Truck. But where's all the snow, you know, Christmas - snow???

We'll get you in a parade up here in Iowa.
 
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Old 12-13-08, 07:46 PM
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I think the quote is lit up like a christmas tree.
good show tg

life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies
 
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Old 12-14-08, 06:12 AM
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Hey, we had snow; I'll post a pic of Tow Guy Jr playing in it when I get it downloaded.

FWIW the chem lights for the wheels looked pretty good, but I think next year I'm going to try Gunguy's idea; probably cheaper and can be made round as he noted.

The inverter I had purchased worked flawlessly.
 
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Old 12-14-08, 06:25 AM
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John! OMG! It looks great!
 
  #20  
Old 12-14-08, 06:38 AM
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Wow TG, that looks really awesome!
 
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Old 12-14-08, 06:51 AM
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I think I saw you down near Roswell, NM, T_G. Didn't know you went that far west. Or that your truck had anti-grav units......lol
 
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Old 12-14-08, 08:23 AM
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The lighting job was pretty impressive, but I confess the long-exposure digital pics enhance the effect somewhat.

And for those of you that think we miss snow down here; nyah, nyah, nyah-nyah, nyah:

 
  #23  
Old 12-14-08, 06:00 PM
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Great job Tow Guy. Your land yacht puts those harbor yachts to shame.
 
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