MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Xantrex xPower 400 Plus Power Inverter

Tool photo.

Have you ever wanted to run a TV, stereo or other appliance while on the road or camping? For anyone who travels, an inverter will allow you to plug in/recharge all of your gizmos by taking 12 VDC and stepping it up to 120 VAC. Invariably, I find even if I buy a gizmo with a car adapter, I can never find it when I need it; a small inverter will recover its cost on the third car adapter you skip buying.

I'm sure some inverters are better than others, but I figured out that the most important single factor may be to insure that the one you buy will fit in whatever cubby you have in your vehicle when it has a wall-wart plugged into it. Mine makes the arm-rest in our car not quite close...I wish it were slightly smaller! But now there is no longer any danger of forgetting my battery charger in the hotel bathroom.