09:06AM | 05/26/07
Member Since: 03/28/05
9 lifetime posts
I know this is probably out of the scope of the usual type questions on here but I am thinking about getting a 12v to 120v power inverter for my 1999 Pontiac Montana so I can power my 15 AMP table saw via an extension cord to the van. The house I just bought doesnt have electricity and I would prefer not to buy a generator that I would have to lug around so I was looking at maybe getting a 2300 continuous watt automobile power inverter.

My question is has anyone done this before and would it even work? Would this drain/ruin the battery or potentially destroy the alternator?


07:54PM | 05/27/07
Member Since: 01/09/07
197 lifetime posts
I think you may have difficulty finding an automobile inverter that can adequately power a 15A 120V table saw.

The ones I've see are designed to power small loads, like radios, TVs, PA equipment, etc. Most inverters take their power from the cigarette lighter, which has a much smaller feed wire than a 15A (#14) electric cable.

Your typical car alternator is only 75-100 amps. At 12V, that provides only 900-1200 watts -- your table saw needs 1800 watts. So you would probably have to have a high-demand alternator installed in your vehicle to provide the needed power. That could cost you more than just buying a generator. (And saw motors typically have a large surge when first starting -- house wiring can handle this; I'm not sure about such an inverter.)

P.S. Why would you buy o house without electricity? And why wouldn't getting an electrical connection be one of the first tasks after buying it?


12:55PM | 06/05/07
Member Since: 03/28/05
9 lifetime posts
Sorry for the delay in answering your question. I read your response a few days ago but havent had much time to reply until now

To answer your question, I bought a house that has significant fire damage and at this point there would be nowhere to put a temp service inside until I am able to gut everything and reframe (thus the need for power tools including tablesaw). There is also very little room outside and the space there is at a premium. For me, a portable generator wouldnt be all that bad an option, I was just looking for maybe something even easier that I didnt have to lug around.

I do know the higher wattage inverters attach to the batteries and not the lighters because of the amount of current required. I was just wondering if you have a car/truck running and use a power tool for maybe 10-20 seconds at a time, how it would effect the battery and alternator if at all and if anybody had experience doing this. Your explanation did help in that I can see a standard alternator alone probably is not going to be enough.


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