12v appliances go a long way towards making it habitable and providing some approximation of the comforts of a home, while you’re hauling around a tractor trailer. A semi truck gives off enough juice to power a whole range of portable appliances, but it requires a power inverter before you can plug in to the current. Some drivers get by with a 1200W or 1500W inverter, which puts a low limit on the amount of appliances that can be plugged in, and also runs the risk of starting a fire if it becomes overloaded. A 3000W power inverter can run a wide variety of tools, as discussed by a member on the forums:
I have powered (at one time) a commercial floor sander when I refinished my trailer floor a few years ago.
Now, I just have a coffee pot, TV sat receiver, assorted 120v accessories. I was thinking about getting a small fridge and microwave as well.
On our forum, a member took the time to explain how he installed a power inverter in his semi truck.
If you have any doubts about your ability to install a power inverter, please let a professional do it. An improper installation is a serious fire safety risk.
Battery cable (or Welding cable) soldered into copper lugs.
Be sure to use solder flux and plenty of solder.
I always “fill” the lug with molten solder and then push cable into it while HOT.
It might be necessary to keep heat applied for a few seconds to make sure the solder impregnates the cable.
BE SURE to keep from moving the cable or lug for several minutes until the solder has cooled.
DO NOT cool the lug with water.
I always have used this type of “Quick Connect” and installed it under the bunk; between the battery and inverter.
You can buy these at NAPA Auto Parts stores. This one is larger than needed, because when I went to purchase one, the NAPA store didn’t have a smaller one in stock.
These “disassemble” by inserting a flat screw driver between the “catch” and the contact. Then remove the contact from the unit.
AFTER your solder has cooled, you can re-install them by pushing them into the unit.
MAKE SURE you follow “polarization”.
Once you have the “Quick Connect” installed, it will only snap together ONE WAY, so if you have your polarity correct when you first put it together, it will ALWAYS be correct.
In the absence of RED shrink tubing, I have always used RED zip ties to mark polarity.
The reason the inverter end is RED wire and the battery end is BLACK wire is when I originally constructed this, all I could buy was RED battery cable.
I have had to replace the battery end twice and have discovered that WELDING CABLE is about 40% cheaper than battery cable, and is by far a superior product; more flexible than battery cable.
If there isn’t already a hole in the floor under the bunk, you need to drill at least a 1″ hole. A “throw-away” 1″ wood bit works good on aluminum flooring.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to add a rubber grommet or liquid silicone (even better: use both!) between the wire and the hole, or else vibrations will quickly cause the wire to be damaged, possibly starting a fire.
FIRST: Hook the POS cable to the POS terminal CLOSEST to the truck. NOTE: the RED zip-ties marking polarity.
NEXT: hook the NEG cable to the battery post FURTHEST from the truck.
ALWAYS hook the NEG cable LAST, or unhook the NEG cable FIRST. The same applies for the INVERTER end of the cables.
Credit to the original thread and author here.