basic inverter wiring question

11 Posts
Jan 1, 2009 12:15 pm
basic inverter wiring question

I've been looking more closely at some of the inverters available and how to go about wiring a system.  I've noticed some of the inverters seem to only offer 3 prong outlets to connect AC loads to. In this case, how would one connect something like 4 light outlets that were wired with 12 and 14 gauge romex?  Would it be necessary to add a plug to the end of the wire and run it to the inverter to plug in?  Or is there a way to directly connect the wire to the inverter and then run it to the lights? I notice a few of the inverters seem allow directly wiring to the inverter without the use of a plug.
Also, would you normally add a circuit breaker or fuse between the inverter and lighting/outlets?
578 Posts
Jan 2, 2009 10:15 am
Re: basic inverter wiring question

so this is the distinction between inverters

plug type and hardwire

plug type inverters are generally used in smaller scale or mobile applications.  if you need to plug more devices than there are plugs, the typical solution is a power strip.  you just need to make sure that the total amount of instantaneous load you put on a plug or inverter does not exceed its ratings.

hardwire inverters are usually for permanent installations where electric code is in play.  with these inverters, both the dc and ac connections are "hard wired" in without the aid of plugs.  as such these connections are generally required to be in enclosures and wires leading in and out are required to be in conduit for safety.  to get the output from a hardwire inverter, the ac wiring must leave in conduit and either go to an outlet enclosure [such as duplex or quad box] (ideally labled that it is coming from that inverter) or to an ac load panel with the inverter acting as the "main" and dedicated circuits with breakers wired from that panel, just like in a house.

hope that helps,

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11 Posts
Jan 2, 2009 06:13 pm
Re: basic inverter wiring question

Thanks for the helpful information.

Would anyone know if it would be against code if, for example, I had 6 light outlets wired using 12 or 14 gauge romex and just added a plug to the end of the wire and plugged it into the inverter?

In this example a small scale inverter could handle the load, but these smaller wattage inverters don't seem to have the option to hardwire things into place.

220 Posts
Jan 3, 2009 04:39 pm
Re: basic inverter wiring question

 the stock answer here is the "ahj"(the authority having jurisdiction) has the final say as to code requirements. my guess would be no. but that is exactly what i would do. i would attach a plug and treat that romex run as an extention cord with six lights attached. be sure that it is totally isolated from all other power and ground sources and permanently physically disconnected from all other connections.

good luck,
351 Posts
Jan 3, 2009 06:32 pm
Re: basic inverter wiring question

Romex is not approved for use as a flexible cord.
Cord caps (male plugs) are not approved for use with romex.

Why don't you get a short length of SJ cord (or some other approved power cord) ?   Use a Junction box and connect the romex and the SJ inside the box.
11 Posts
Jan 3, 2009 08:57 pm
Re: basic inverter wiring question

Thanks, I had not been familiar with SJ cord, but after a bit of reading that seems to make sense.  And if using it and wiring it to romex in a junction box is closer to (or actually follows) code, then that sounds good.

Thanks for the information.

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