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Discussion in 'Model S' started by Toasty, Nov 26, 2016.
Whats the largest Power Inverter you can use in a Tesla?
200w, 400w, 1000w 1500w?
Doing this as a survey is a strange way to go.
The DC-DC converter is 2500 watts. Obviously some of that is needed for the car systems. If you were talking using an inverter on the go you're going to struggle to find an available circuit big enough to support a large inverter, do consider that limit maybe 150 watts. For stationary power you could hook to the main circuitry and probably support 1000 watts. However be very careful as using your Tesla in that way is called out as a reason to void the warranty.
The last time I tried using an inverter I couldn't get it to work and read in the manual you aren't supposed to use one.
We used one on the lighter plug and it blew the fuse after a while. As I recall the fuse was 15A.
If you use the lighter plug, you're limited to 15A (so about 150Watt)
However, if you wire it in to the battery then it depends on a bunch of other factors. Mostly it will depend on how long you plan to draw high currents for. The DC-DC converter is actually amazingly large (@DarkMatter just said it's 2500W, I actually thought it was only 1500W, but either way, it's huge) And yes, the car needs some of that (and nobody really knows how much) But I suspect the car systems aren't likely to use more than a few hundred watts (though it will depend on what's running, things like the rear defroster, and all the seat heaters draw large amounts of current from the 12V system (don't worry about the heat/AC, those are on the high voltage system))
However, that neglects the 12V battery which acts like a buffer, so even if your inverter is drawing more power than the DC-DC converter is supplying, it's ok, as long as it's for relatively short durations.
Personally I installed a 1000 watt inverter in my Tesla. wired directly to the 12v battery through a 100A fuse and using 4AWG wire. The inverter is wired to the relay in the fuse box that controls the 12V outlet so the inverter turns on and off with the car. I installed 2 120v outlets, one in the centre console (opposite the 12V outlet) and it looks factory stock, and the second outlet in the frunk.
I have also heard a rumour that someone installed an even bigger inverter, but one with a high voltage input (inverter designed for a sollar array) Which would be an interesting project, but requires a lot more planning, and would likely take up a fair amount of space in the vehicle.
Hard wire it direct to the DC to DC converter if you trying to get close to the 2500 watt threshold.
On the DC to DC Converter, Wire red "+" to the LV + red terminal and black (ground) to GND with 2 gauge insulated wire and fused with at least 100 Amps. I haven't tried it as I don't want to void my warranty - once off warranty I may give it a try. This is the picture from a 2013 December build P85. The newer models have the DC to DC converter centered behind the trunk. Also get a clean sine wave inverter for clean power.
Also do not touch anything in orange - it will be the last thing you do. I ran 12 volts to my trunk for an power outlet using the conduit that I circled below - also ran a power to the security cameras this way as well.
I like the solar panel inverter idea - would love to see the schematic.
Maybe. As I mentioned earlier, the battery provides some buffering, so it's often better to hardwire to that instead of to the DC-DC converter itself. Either way, they're connected by some pretty solid wiring, so either one should be a good place. That said, the DC-DC converter has moved. It's no longer in the passenger wheel well, and it's much harder to access now. I actually mounted my inverter where you have the DC-DC converter in that picture (1000w inverter is large enough that on a fully loaded car with the old large frunk it's hard to find anywhere to mount it, and I knew there'd be room there where the DC-DC converter used to be, there were also nice mounting studs there for me to use too.)
Unless you're running the wire a long way, or exceeding 1000w, 4AWG wire is plenty and easier to work with than 2AWG
For a good idea of distances vs capacity of various sizes of wire, take a look at a chart such as this:
My wires are about 4' long so I might have even been able to get away with 8AWG but was cautious and went with 4AWG (I also happened to have 4AWG lying around) Fuse is also important as you point out, and should be rated for slightly higher than what the inverter can draw, so 100A on a 1000w inverter is good, and it's also below the capacity of the wire run (also important) (and I also happened to have the 100A fuse lying around...)
I'm curious why you think adding wiring for an inverter would void your warranty, but adding wiring to the trunk wouldn't? It's the same thing.
Either way, your warranty isn't void, however Tesla could hold you responsible if your modifications are proven to be the actual cause of a problem. As long as your modifications don't cause the problem you're asking them to fix, they can't void your warranty for it.
I haven't seen a schematic myself, but I suspect your best bet there would be to take HV power from the junction box under the back seat. It does however require knowing what you're doing with HV wiring as that part can really mess up your day if you don't do things right.
Thanks for that wire chart. I also like your idea of using the old converter location.
It never dawned on me that my 24 gauge run for the camera is not different than the inverter install!!! Head slap!
I only have 500 more miles to go an I roll over 50K. Debating trading vs extended warranty