Installing an Inverter

DISCLAIMER: Working with electricity can be dangerous. I am not a professional electrician, nor do I have an extensive history with electrics. All the information provided has been gathered through advice and my own research and is specific to my electrical system.


All my inverter components laid out in the van

TOTAL: £336.58

The last main component to add to my electrical system was an inverter. My electrical system is 12volts and it supplies my 12V appliances with a direct current (DC). Household appliances that you would normally plug into a mains socket, such as phone chargers, TVs, laptop chargers, toasters, etc, rely on a 230V alternating current (AC), so an inverter’s job is to take the 12V DC and convert it into 230V AC. 

I decided to buy a Victron Energy Phoenix Inverter 12/800 - The ‘12’ referring to the system voltage and the ‘800’ referring to the maximum operating wattage. To calculate the maximum operating wattage, I essentially added up the wattages of all the AC appliances I’m planning to use.

Click here to see my full wiring diagram and section being described in this post.

Wiring the Inverter

A close up of the cable inputs in the inverter

After mounting the inverter, fuse holder and kill switch, I measured out all the red and black cable that I would need - using red for positive connections and black for negative. I then stripped, crimped and heat shrunk the end of each cable, apart from the ends connecting to the inverter as they did not require cable lugs as it has connections you can simply screw down with a bolt.

The first connection I made was to ground the inverter. I connected some black cable from the earth point on the inverter and fastened the other end to my negative busbar. As I have grounded my negative busbar to the vehicle’s chassis, I can connect all other ground cables to the negative busbar. 

I then connected the negative terminal of the inverter to my negative busbar with some black cable. 

I connected the positive terminal of the inverter to a killswitch, the killswitch to a 100A fuse, and then the fuse to my positive busbar. I chose a 100A fuse because the amp-rating of the 16mm cable I used is 110A so the fuse will trip before the maximum amp-rating is hit. 

Rather than use a kill switch and fuse in tandem, you could just use a circuit breaker as it would do the same job and it would mean less breaks in the cable, meaning less chance of voltage drop. 

On the opposite end of the inverter, there is an AC output socket where you can connect your consumer unit, but I’ll be doing that at a later date.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to ping me an email or drop me a message on Instagram!