Adding an Inverter
By Don Casey
Revised by BoatUS editors in April 2012
An inverter can be a marvelous convenience, but take care not to overlook the load it places on your boat's batteries. AC appliances draw 10 times their rated amps when running on 12 volts. For example, a 1,000-watt coffeemaker draws 8.3 amps at 120 volts (1,000 / 120), but 83 amps at 12 volts (1,000 / 12). Add about 15% for inverter inefficiency and the actual battery draw for that pot o' Joe is close to 100 amps.
This likely exceeds your starter-motor draw, so the effect on your batteries of a 10-minute brew cycle is roughly the same as cranking the starter for that long. Unless you are willing to run the engine while the inverter is in use, limit inverter wattage to five times your battery's rated amp-hour capacity. In other words, don't expect a 100 Ah battery to power an inverter larger than 500 watts.