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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
So I have been feverishly compiling all of the ingredients for spectacular Raiders tailgating over the past few weeks - settled on a 37 inch vizio lcd hdtv to mount to the rear seats (pictures soon - this should be done by the end of next weekend) but I haven't figured out how I will power it yet. The power consumption per Vizio's website:

# Power Specifications:
# 120V, 3.1A, 50/60Hz
# Power consumption: 111W (average)

I am inclined to buy a power inverter and hard wire it to the battery, and would prefer to run a switch for the inverter to somewhere up under the steering wheel (but don't really care where that switch is). This way I don't have to leave the inverter on and the tv drawing juice while off (it has a nice little VIZIO logo that is white when on, orange/amber when off but plugged in).

My question is: how do I know what size power inverter I will want? Is this as simple as seeing the 111W average consumption, assuming it peaks at like 150% of that (round it up to 200W) and then I guess double that to compensate for anything additional like a 360/laptop/satellite dish (if over the air HDTV channels ever cease to suffice) and voila, I have my preferred inverter size?

Using that math, a 500W inverter should be plenty, right?

- 111W average for the tv (tv will be the constant)
- 186W peak for the XBox 360 (will rarely be included in plans, but want to account)
- 0W for over the air digital antenna :thumb:
- Laptop = definitely less than the 360 and they would never have to coexist

Am I leaving anything out? Would love more thoughts on this - I have heard the generator argument and all that, but I would rather the Element be a big fun generator all by itself, and I will leave it running during the tailgates. I am working on coming up with a detachable exhaust extension so I can run it up the side of the E and have a "portable stack" for tailgate asphyxiation avoidance :D all thoughts are welcome! Thanks!

MadBomber
 

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I was about to ask you if your numbers were right on the TV because I have a 37" Vizio and it's rated 2.2 amps on the back. It looks like Vizio has changed specs a few times since I got mine.

The TV changes current draw depending on volume and picture brightness. More to the point is California's new energy regs on big screens that probably ended up with your "111W average" being about 2/3's of what's real.

If you're outdoors, figure on using near maximum brightness = maximum current draw from the inverter. The BEST mobile TV antenna I've found looks like two loaded whips in a vertical V - sold at truck stops nation wide for mirror mounts. Adding your own base is as easy as discarding the original clamp and using the nut to mount it on a base of your own choice. You can easily move this around to get the best signal once parked since a few inches one way or another can mean all the difference in the world.

I'd caution you to expect about 10 minutes of play time with the E's stock battery if the engine isn't running. Added fun idea that advertisers use all the time? Get a cheap security camera and hook it to one of the Vizio's extra inputs. You'd be amazed how much fun your peeps can have staring at themselves on TV.
 

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Power = Voltage x current

Power then is 120 volts x 3.1 amps = 372 watts

Is this all the time or just upon power up I don't know. I always use the current rating and voltage. That 111 watts seems too low to me.........
 

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Seriously, a small generator is the only way to go here. You'll consume more gas running the E, put more wear and tear on your E and spend pretty much the same amount of money by the time you buy the inverter, installation materials and account for your time to install it.

A generator is purpose built to just sit there and run, plus all you have to do is pull it out and fire it up, no installation necessary. It will consume A LOT less gas and you won't have to worry about suffocating your friends with it's exhaust.

Ultimately, the generator also produces much less pollution.

I can't figure out why you'd want to do anything else. Oh, and make sure you buy a Honda generator. Wouldn't want an EOC member to catch you with some off-brand.
 

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The inverter will not be 100% efficient converting the 12v to 117 vac. In other words, it will need more watts feeding it than it can output. The extra watts become waste heat.

So if your TV draws 200 watts, and the inverter is 80% efficient, the battery will need 200 / 0.80 = 250 watts.
Since watts = volts * amps.... so at 12v that would be 20 amps. That would be a direct wire to the battery using 10ga or heavier wire. The battery in the Element has a reserve capacity to run that for about 20 to 30 minutes. So the car had to run. Not sure if the alternator will put out enough current at idle. You will likely ruin your battery too because it is not intended for deep discharge usage.

If you want a switch in the passenger compartment, recommend you use add a relay to your system. Turn the relay ON with your switch, and let it handle the current switching.

So it sounds like a PITA to do with an inverter.

Alternatives...

If you are dead set on an inverter, consider a Redi-Line DA-12A Generator instead.

And after all this... I vote for the generator. They are 1000w, nearly silent and very light. Look at the Honda EU1000i or Yamaha EF1000iS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Maaan I knew the generator talk

Would come up (because it must be the most sensible lol I can admit that). I guess I can pass around a collection plate and get the 800 bucks for a Honda generator - but even those don't have pristine reviews which makes me leery of the generators to begin with. Don't wanna pay 800 bucks a year to keep replacing it...

I was considering this as an alternative:

http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-HW1...1_fkmr2_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1280863464&sr=8-2-fkmr2

Of course none of these generators make it possible to drive around with the tv on :(

MadBomber
 

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Actually your probably better off with that Honeywell. It has free shipping, and after tax it will probably about the same price. The only benefit to the Home Depot brand would be that Home Depot will take anything back whenever. They are 100% customer service oriented.

Here is an even cheaper one, save ya about $100..........

http://www.amazon.com/Generac-5791-...ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1280864544&sr=8-6
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks again! Honeywell it is...

Actually your probably better off with that Honeywell. It has free shipping, and after tax it will probably about the same price. The only benefit to the Home Depot brand would be that Home Depot will take anything back whenever. They are 100% customer service oriented.

Here is an even cheaper one, save ya about $100..........

http://www.amazon.com/Generac-5791-...ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1280864544&sr=8-6
Based solely on the fact that the other two cannot ship to Cali for carb-compliance purposes. Friggin hippies!!! Ordering now :) I really hope the thing holds up! I hate reading a bad review because even after 50 good ones, I am going to think about that bad one every time I go to start the thing lol.

Thanks again though!

MadBomber
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got the generator yesterday

Based solely on the fact that the other two cannot ship to Cali for carb-compliance purposes. Friggin hippies!!! Ordering now :) I really hope the thing holds up! I hate reading a bad review because even after 50 good ones, I am going to think about that bad one every time I go to start the thing lol.

Thanks again though!

MadBomber
TV is installed and whatnot, just gotta figure out why the generator leaks the fuel all right back out of these two little hoses that stick out the bottom of the thing at the base of the backing (that you unscrew to access the oil plug). Me and small engines like this never get along haha and we are off to a fast start!

Still considering the inverter and keeping a few batteries on hand (and an emergency jump starter) and pricing alternators (both upgrades and replacements if I decide this is worthwhile enough to expect to have to replace one occasionally lol)

Pics as soon as it's running! I gotta get it all together by the 28th for the first preseason tailgate (I will be in a special section of the parking lot for the shooting of Food Network's "Tailgate Warriors" so the pressure is on!!)

MadBomber
 

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How about you mount an LED projector in the ceiling and a drop down screen in the middle of the car. Get tinted windows and use virtually no power from your battery and avoid the generator.
 

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Start by forgetting about the inverter option! With the biggest battery that will fit in the Element, you will get slightly less than an hour of run time, with this amount of a load.

It has been tried in a friends Explorer, with a double battery setup. He gets about 1 1/2 hours of operation, before the truck won't start. His battery's are twice the size of the one in the E, times 2.

He is installing a battery isolation box, that will keep the starting battery with a full charge, isolated from the load. He has to run the engine to keep the T.V. going. It's cheaper to run the gen set!

Dom
 
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