Ziptide, April 2014

April 2, 2014

Inverter  Input


I read Steve Young’s article in the February 2014 issue of Locksmith Ledger about setting up his Transit Connect with interest. I also set up a Transit Connect, after stepping up from a Chevy Silverado (

For the inverter I moved from a Harbor Freight 1800 actual, 2500 watt peak, square wave inverter to a Honda pure sine wave model of similar wattage and finally to an industrial-strength professionally installed unit on the Transit Connect. Inverters are all about batteries and inverter technology (square wave, and pure sine wave). Pure sine wave is best, though more expensive, and it may be necessary.

The vehicle battery is, of course, between the alternator and the inverter. I've never found it necessary to run the engine (alternator) while using the inverter (of course eventually the battery will need to be recharged by the alternator, or by external power). You can use the truck battery alone, which for me has almost always lasted for a day with heavy duplicating activity, using the Harbor Freight unit. Car batteries are not designed to "deep cycle". They are designed to run for a few seconds to start the engine and promptly recharge. The constant current draw of an inverter when the truck is not running will drain a car battery in a few hours. Also watch out when using a "modified sine wave" (square wave) inverter because it will overheat and even burn out motors that are not capacity start. Read the fine print on the sales brochure, and research as necessary, before buying a key machine. Make sure you have the right inverter for the machine (pure sine wave for sensitive electronics and non-capacitor start as well as capacitor start; square wave for capacitor start non-sensitive electronics).

For my new van, I had a heavy duty pure sine wave inverter system installed , with two gel type batteries, in addition to the van battery. I also added a computerized AC charger. This was not cheap, but it does the job very nicely. Since my van is stationary most of the time while cutting keys, etc., I depend heavily on the battery capacity (since I’m not driving much the alternator does not have a chance to recharge the batteries, so I have to rely on recharging from AC power back at the shop). This works fine, and I can go for a couple of days using the inverter batteries before plugging in the charger. They have never gone dead on me. The technicians who installed the inverter system emphasize the importance of keeping the gel-type batteries at a high state of charge, so I generally recharge at least every two days.

Edward G. Brooks

Wounded Warrior Support


I just wanted to take a quick moment and thank you for speading the word (See Notes from the Editor, Support for Wounded Warrior Project, Also it's nice to see a company step up to help out. I am a lifetime NRA member and have been giving when I can through them. I will be looking into the Stanley line a little closer now.

Thanks again and have a wonderful evening.

Bob Crosby

AP Locksmith

Anchor Point, Alaska 

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