Chemical reactions inside a battery cause a buildup of electrons at one of the terminals. They cannot flow to the other terminal because of the presence of an insulating material in the battery. When you connect the terminals with a conducting wire, however, electrons can flow, producing a direct (DC) current that can do work. If you want to use a battery to power appliances, lights or electronic equipment that you normally plug into your household outlet, you have to convert this DC current to alternating (AC) current with an inverter.
Things You'll Need
- 2 12-volt automobile batteries
- Power inverter
- 2 battery cables
Connect the power leads of a power inverter to the terminals of a 12-volt automobile battery. Connect the red lead to the positive (+) terminal and the black lead to the negative (-). Size the inverter to power the appliance you have, but don't oversize it. A small, 200-watt inverter is enough to power a laptop charger, but you'll need at least a 500-watt inverter for kitchen appliances. The larger the inverter, the faster it will drain the battery.
Increase the length of time you can use battery power by wiring two 12-volt batteries together in parallel. This will maintain the battery voltage, which must stay the same for the inverter to operate correctly, but will double the capacity of the battery bank, now composed of two batteries.
Connect the positive terminals of the two batteries together with a battery cable, and then connect the negative terminals in the same way to wire them in parallel. Connect the leads from the inverter to the terminals of one of the batteries as in Step 1.
Turn on the inverter. Plug a computer, appliance or light directly into the receptacle to use the battery power.
Tips & Warnings
- Connect two batteries together in series, by wiring the positive terminal of one to the negative terminal of the other, to double the voltage of the bank. Use this method if you have a 12-volt inverter, but only 6-volt batteries, such as the type used for 50cc motorbikes.
- Automobile batteries can discharge a lot of power quickly. Never short the terminals of a battery by touching wires connected to them together. Not only will this quickly drain the battery, it may also injure you.
- Photo Credit batterie image by Ewe Degiampietro from Fotolia.com
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