Recently, I had the opportunity to use my solar panel system, which included this 400 Watt Cobra Power Inverter. While I had used it briefly in my car just to test that it worked on a short road trip a while back, that purpose was never it’s intended use. Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised at my purchase.
For starters, it was very inexpensive at less than $30; after a significant comparison analysis I found this to be the best deal for the money. It is compact, yet powerful enough to run any small DC equipment I have, such as a phone charger, my laptop, iPod touch, and even a travel DVD setup. It has two AC outlets to allow for multiple charging/powering opportunities, which is nice when I run the inverter off of my solar panel system as I point out in this backup power – real world success post.
Originally, I was worried that the built-in fan was going to be a nuisance as it is a bit louder than I would have preferred and, when it kicked on after immediately connecting it to the battery without turning off, I was not happy. Anyway, the fan eventually turned off and only came on very intermittently thereafter. In fact, I barely noticed it much after that.
As for connecting it to your car or solar power system, you have two options: a DC outlet plug (for connecting to an auxiliary car outlet) and direct wires with round connectors. This is a nice option (I don’t know if other inverters provide the same wires) as I keep the direct connect wires attached to both the inverter and deep cycle battery for quick access. The wires can be tightened securely with wire nuts attached directly to the inverter, so there is no worry about them coming loose.
While I haven’t put it through the paces yet, I never notice the inverter getting too hot to the touch or otherwise failing to do what I expected. For those who need more power there are larger inverters, such as the 800 Watter Cobra Inverter and even larger. I would, however, suggest against such purchases unless you have the battery capacity to handle them. For most situations, this 400 Watt Cobra Power Inverter does the job nicely and for a very reasonable price.