I have a 12V deep cycle marine battery that is charged by a 20W solar panel. This works well. However I would like to use the battery to run two 120V 170mA 15W LED lights in a shed. So as I understand it, that means I need to connect an inverter to the battery to change the current from DC to AC. My issue is that I can only find inverters meant for cars which have wires (or alligator clips) to connect to the battery (fine) but then only output power to a receptacle. Something like this.

To connect this inverter to the light and a switch, I need wires. Since I can't seem to find an inverter that has output terminals I am wondering if plugging in a extension cord then cutting it to getting wires is advisable.

Am I understanding this wrong? Don't I need wires to power those lights. By my calculations I should be able to power those two lights easily. However I am very confused as to why I can't easily find an inverter that uses outputs wires. Are my terms incorrect? Does a lack of this product indicate my thinking in flawed?

Thanks in advance.


closed as off-topic by Oleg Mazurov, Brian Carlton, Chetan Bhargava, Finbarr, duskwuff Sep 19 at 20:26

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on the use of electronic devices are off-topic as this site is intended specifically for questions on electronics design." – Oleg Mazurov, Brian Carlton, Chetan Bhargava, Finbarr, duskwuff
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The alligator clips on the inverter are the input and are meant to connect to a battery. THe output is the AC plugs. \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen Sep 5 at 4:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to EE.SE. This question seems to deal with the use of a device and seeks recommendations for purchasing. Both is considered off-topic here. \$\endgroup\$ – Ariser Sep 5 at 6:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ariser - i believe you have misread the question. In no way am I seeking recommendations on purchasing. And using devices is precisely what electrical engineering is. \$\endgroup\$ – boshek Sep 5 at 16:11

The small low power inverters (you only need 50 Watts or so) that are usually designed to plug into a lighter outlet in a car are intended for temporary use with portable appliances - like lights or computers - so they are supplied with normal outlets.

To get an inverter intended for permanent installation, with hard-wired output terminals, you would have to go up to a 2000 Watt or larger unit.

For your application, it would be perfectly OK to wire your lights to a plug that you could plug into a small inverter. However, you might want to look for 12 volt lights as intended for use in boats and RVs - You could connect these directly to the battery, without needing an inverter. Doing this would be more efficient than using your 120 volt lights run through an inverter.

The 1000 watt inverter you linked to would be severe overkill for your application - with your 30 watt load, you may waste that much power just keeping the inverter running.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for this. Quick follow up - do the inverters have any ability to act as a fuse or would you recommend putting a fuse somewhere in the circuit? \$\endgroup\$ – boshek Sep 5 at 3:39
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Fuses are always a good idea. a fuse should be placed as close as practical to the battery, as it is intended to protect the wiring. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Bennett Sep 5 at 3:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.