Monday, July 14, 2014

We've Been Inverted!

Up until now we've only been able to use the various outlets around the boat when plugged in to shore power. And for those of you counting, that has only been a handful of times. When just staying on the boat for weekends at this point, that's not really a big deal. We have a cheap inverter that plugs into a 12v outlet (ie cigarette lighter in a car) that has normal plugs so we can still charge phones and computers and that's just about all we need now, however, once we are living aboard we would really like to be able to use these outlets around the boat and not be stuck to only 2 potential plug-ins limited to the galley.

Our previous inverter
We decided to go with a 2000w inverter from KISAE*. We were going back and forth between the 1000w and 2000w models but decided the extra 1000w's in the 2000 model were worth the $40. We will most likely never come near to using this much energy at once (we hope) but feel like having the option is a good....option.

Image from if you couldn't tell

The biggest challenge of this installation was finding a place to put it. It really needed to be placed within 5 feet of the batteries in order to minimize power loss through the cables (again see the * at the bottom). On Hullabaloo our batteries happen to be under the companionway stairs, and with our diesel tank taking up the adjacent room under the (starboard) quarter berth our only real option was to put it in the lazzarette on the port side.

Ron has been emailing a couple that live down the lakeshore that have the same boat that did the same trip a few years ago who are not only a total wealth of boat-specific and how-to knowledge, but are very willing to help us and answer questions. They too put their inverter in their lazzarette and have had no problems with it there so we followed their advice. And boy am I glad that we did, we managed to keep it within about 6 feet of the batteries...the cables and cable paraphernalia needed to connect the inverter to the batteries cost almost $300 extra...for 2 cables 6 feet in length!! Stupid, no?

The blue control screen also detaches from the unit and can be placed in the boat so you can actually control and monitor the unit without emptying the lazzarette, crawling in and wedging your head against the back of it. Pretty handy. We wired ours into a place near the control panel. We removed an old analog (I think that's what it's called) datamarine unit that probably hasn't been used in 20 years. The kind that measures distance by flipping the numbered dials. Needless to say, our little control display wasn't as bulky.
"Fits pretty good, just needs a little filler" ~Ron
But the inverter is up and running! We thoroughly enjoyed it while watching the first 4 or 5 episodes of Breaking Bad (I know, totally missed that boat!) on a gloomy, rainy, stormy weekend. Livin' the high life now!

*I did not personally do the research for this product nor am I the least bit electronically inclined, so if you're wondering why we went with a sine wave instead of a square wave inverter or any other aspects of this project...don't ask! :) Okay ask, I'll just get Ron to respond to you!


  1. Nice. We just have a small 300 watt inverter now and have been going back and fourth about a bigger inverter or a Honda 2000W generator. Please post an update after you have used it for a while to let us know what you think.

    Fair winds,


    1. We'll probably also get a generator for topping off the batteries when solar power isn't enough, but that inverter is nice for using the outlets at any time without having to run a generator. This weekend when it was rainy and nasty we sat inside and watched movies with the laptop plugged in...pretty nice (and quiet). I'll be sure to do a review once we've used it more :)

  2. Man you guys have been busy with the projects! So awesome! When are you going to start a Facebook page and make it easier for me to see your latest posts? ;) Pretty please? -Kim

    1. I'll think about it Kim, but only because you asked! It's project time around here now, but what about when we have nothing to write about?!? I'm not quite sure we're interesting enough for a FB page just yet! Haha