The Best Power Inverter for your Semi Truck

Getting to drive and own different types of trucks is an inevitable aspect of one’s career as a truck driver. This is one of the things that makes the lifestyles of truck drivers so interesting.

Driving the same truck throughout your career could be boring, and would prevent your work as a truck driver from being fun. Apart from adding some “spice” to your truck driver experience, adding perks to your ride would also help make long drives a less tiring.

Some of the additions that drivers have made for their trucks include DVD Players, mini refrigerators, and some even place cooking materials which can also be done for practicality purposes for them to stay well-fed even when they drive in places where there are little to no convenience stores, or in places when outside food is expensive.

One of the perks that truck drivers do is to add power inverters. This is obtained either through going to a truck shop which specializes in the giving of one or by buying one and installing the power inverter onto their trucks themselves.

In the case of the latter, this is only best done if you would want to save, and if you know to work your way around your truck. Some study on the types of inverters, as well as knowing what is best for your car would greatly help to make sure that your money would not go to waste.

In this publication, we are going to make things much easier for you, as we are going to guide you on the basics, from calculating the total usage to make sure that your truck does not get overloaded, as well as the types of power inverters which you can make use of in your semi-truck, as different types of semi-trucks can only accommodate certain types of semi-trucks.

Overview of our Favorite Power Inverters for your Semi Truck:

Product

Rating

Watts

Outlets

Color

Buy Now

Foval 150W

150W

1

Red

BESTEK 300W

300W

2

Red

Ampeak 400W

400W

2

Black/Orange

Quesvow 1000W

1000W

3

Red

Key Considerations in Choosing a Power Inverter for Semi Trucks

Electrical Capacity

The rating, which is produced in watts is often the basis of electrical capacity among semi-trucks. With a higher wattage rating comes a higher electrical capacity for the said power inverter.

In choosing one, however, you would have to consider the over-all operating needs of your semi-truck, aligning them with the specifications of the inverter that you are going to choose. Not doing so could result to your inverter being too powerful, which could end up costing you more energy, or too undersized, which could result to the eventual failure of the inverter, which would be a waste of money, as most of the time, overloading cases are beyond repair and would require you to purchase a new one.

To prevent such an unfortunate scenario, the first thing that you should do is to list down or enumerate the devices that you have inside the truck, and from here, calculate the wattage of each of these devices.

The wattage ratings are usually either placed on a sticker attached to the device and in some instances, are also found in the instruction booklet which comes with the purchase of the devices. Because of this, it's best to not just throw away the manuals of these devices, as in this case, it would come in handy.

Also, always correctly indicate the measurement of the watts, whether it be in kilowatts, megawatts, and in certain instances, you have to make sure that the units are all uniform, or be converted into Watts. From this, add 250 watts more, which would serve as a buffer, and ultimately, would help you to know the minimum wattage rating that your inverter should be available.

Apart from unit uniformity, also be reminded that these calculations are in continuous watts, and hence do not reflect the surge in power upon start-up. This is usually twice the requirements for continuous power requirements and should be available, fractions of seconds into the startup.

The surge power that is given by a unit should be checked through the specifications of the inverter. Once this has already been determined, purchase the inverter that can handle the increase of loads.

Safety Rating

Inverters are capable of generating power levels that could give you an electrical shock, which could, in effect, either injure you or worse, quite possibly kill you. Safety should always be made a priority in the use of the truck.

Make use of the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing given in the US, specifically the UL Standard 450. Only choose inverters that comply with UL 458 standards. These are not difficult to find, though, as most online sellers specify such, and a lot of authorized dealers and truck shops do the same.

Despite this, it would always pay to be careful. One way to make sure that the Safety Rating is certified true and correct is to get it from higher-end, more reputable shops whose prices are competitive and are not suspiciously cheaper.

Advanced Disconnecting Technology

It greatly matters that you can get inverters that can shut down in an intelligent manner. There are inverters that come with auto-disconnect features whenever the battery voltage levels would begin to plummet below 12 V DC.

Make it a priority to find one that is able to serve this purpose, as there are a lot of inverters that lack this feature, which would cause a lot of problems by damaging the battery life of the truck, or cutting it short instead of extending it and making it operate more efficiently, which is one of the things you want in an inverter.

Wave Type

There are two different wave technology types that can be found among Power Inverters, and this includes sine and modified sine waves, which is a clear depiction of how the inverter pulses. Inverters that do so in the sine wave are more expensive but can provide a smoother flow of output.

This can be a lot less problematic and are used more often in products that are sensitive to fluctuations in electricity, such as tablets, computers, and television sets. The other type, modified Sine Waves are erratic and could interfere with electronics by increasing their noise and as a consequence, impair or make the functioning of the device significantly less optimal.

In the case of trucks, both can be used, and the issue is primarily on whether or not you could afford one type or another. Also, the list of devices which you would commonly use also greatly counts.

A sine wave inverter will help to give the best experience to you, with this type of device, however. Also, should the budget for an inverter to be a great one, however, choose the sine wave as much as possible, as all devices, regardless of what you already have will be powered well.

Installation Procedure

Most technicians are indeed, qualified for the job, and a lot of them will not find difficulty in installing a relatively basic device. If you want to do it on your own, however, it’s a great idea to get an inverter from a company that offers quick training programs for customers who are deeply interested, or at least, have some prior knowledge on installations and other pertinent fields, like electronics and automation.

In this way, through training programs, there are a group of people who are capable of answering questions you may have that has to do with installation. One thing that DIY-enthusiasts would want to remember, however, is that over 300 watts, you would have to deal with fusing and hard-wiring, as the amount of electricity which travels can be a lot.

Having wires with little capacity to be able to handle such power may result to overload and subsequent damage to the device. Apart from adequate knowledge, it is important that in installing the inverter, it matters that adequate ventilation is given, which would enable heat from the device to safely dissipate rather than accumulate.

Apart from ventilation, the distance between the inverter and the battery, as well as plug-ins and the inverter, and the distance between these devices and the inverters, as well as its configuration should have to be considered.

Because of this, some owners opt for the more convenient route, which is making use of a warranted, factory-installed inverter instead. An OEM is recommended to install the inverter in the purchase of a truck, or at least, have an authorized dealer do the job.

In the case of this, they have more extensive knowledge when it comes to the rigid specs, where they know the science of things and understand the pertinent theories behind how these would work, beyond the mere specifications of the said device.

Dealers in the aftermarket also have the necessary experience, and hence if you're a first-timer, it's best to let others do the installation process first and just observe. It may cost you a little bit more than letting yourself, or your workers do the task, but at least they have the expertise and time needed to make sure that your installation does not work or fail.

Tested and Proven Reliability

As cliché as it may sound, but “you get what you pay for” applies whenever you decide to get an inverter. While you will have to shell out more cash for an approval for “Regulatory Listed” bodies like the ETL or UL with a UL458 rating, it goes to show that the inverter has been approved and inspected by an agency that’s dedicated to safeguarding devices with any issues that deal with electricity.

The UL 458 is where chargers and inverters made for mobile applications are listed, and getting certification for this means that requirements in terms of thermal capacity, environmental standards, and vibration intensity are all approved and well-scrutinized. You can’t expect such rigorous testing done on products that are not approved or screened or given the UL458 approval.

In the case of the wirings for both AC and DC connections, they are automatically met by those inverters that are listed by UL458, with the primary standard having both the ground and neutral well-bonded in the inverter.
This is where a lot of cheaper inverters get cut short, as they don’t bother doing it as it can hurt their costs in production, despite compromising the safety of the users.

While they can be functional, it also screams loudly for you to beware of the dangerous effects, from shocking users and the like. Also, those that are already installed by the manufacturers of the truck are UL approved, unlike those you can readily buy in truck shops that offer such.

Finding a good one is rather easy to find, as even in the marketing phase they are already advertised as having undergone the necessary measures for quality control. Those that have already been internally tested will surely last a much longer time than those just end with the manufacturing of it.

A good quality inverter will surely last beyond the warranty period that is indicated on the device. While it's normal for inverters to shut down now and then, these inverters of high quality can do so without the damage.

Those that comply with the UL458 rating and certification will also prevent problems from arising, such as getting hair and particles into the device which causes overheating. One of the mechanisms that have been employed is through the error code which helps to detect this automatically.

Blowing out or cleaning off the dust would not be enough to keep the device operational. Without intelligent mechanisms, cheaper devices would leave you puzzled should the inverter cease to function properly.

Also, getting high-end inverters could help to prevent multiple overloads and wearing out eventually by having a shut-down whenever it receives more wattage that it can handle. Dealing with shutdowns is one of the key differences between a good quality inverter and one which is low-end.

Getting a Well-Rounded Safety Check

​​​​Investing in any power inverter would require you to do a safety check first, regardless of where it comes from. Getting a safety check will also help convince your boss that a power inverter may be necessary for your truck after all.

Getting a power inverter would also be subject to insurance plans, as well as regulations for equipment in your own company. If you don’t work your way properly for your plans, then chances are you might get yourself into some legal trouble.

Make sure to properly read all stipulations and rules, as well as restrictions they have set whenever inverters are not allowed, or if some limitations to wattage have been set. Apart from legal trouble, not following all these could cost you your truck, and might even render the insurance invalid, should trouble arise upon its installation.

Reviews of our Favorite Power Inverters for your Semi Truck 

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 4.2A Dual USB Car Adapter


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Quality

This power inverter has durable metal housing and a fan to prevent from overheating. It’s the perfect travel size and has enough ports to charge multiple devices all at once.

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Price

Nothing to fault here - this is a good budget buy that still offers value and quality.

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Our Rating

The Bestek power inverter is functional, compact and can charge more than one device at a time. It can be attached safely to both the car’s cigarette lighter socket and the car battery. 

Our choice for the best power inverter to charge a laptop in your car is the Bestek 300W power inverter. With two AC outlets and an additional 2 USB ports, multiple devices can be charged at once.  The inverter delivers a continuous DC to AC power at 300 watts when connected to the car battery and safely provides up to 150 watts when plugged into the cigarette lighter socket.

We love the size of this device: it’s about as large as an iPhone and is incredibly portable. It has a safety feature to ensure safe charging without short circuits or overheating and provides fast charging for any suitable device.

Remember to plug the device out completely when not in use - even if it is switched off and the car is off, the power inverter can still draw power and drain your car battery. Never place the inverter in sunlight or near heat-sensitive items.

PROS

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    Durable metal casing
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    Built-in voltage protection
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    Multiple outlets

CONS

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    For DC 12-volt and car use only
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    Not compatible with high-power devices
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    Modified sine wave

Foval 150W Car Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Converter with 3.1A Dual USB Car Charger


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Quality

Weighing just about 8 ounces, this super-portable inverter is the size of a credit card. With an aluminium shell, durable metal housing, a silent fan for cooling and surge protection devices, Foval’s 150W offering is great for charging essentials on any trip.

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Price

For the power this inverter offers great value for money

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Our Rating

Convenient sizing, portability and pocket-friendliness make this Foval 150 W inverter a top pick for your car. The inverter also comes with a 16 inches long cable that lets you comfortably work in the rear seat while being plugged into the car cigarette lighter port.

The inverter comes with two usb ports and an ac outlet, that can give a total current output of 3.1 Amps. It also comes with a built-in fuse for protection against charges and is built to override overvoltages, overcurrents and other abnormal scenarios.

The built-in silent fan prevents overheating. The portability of the inverter makes it a versatile choice for camping, hiking and road trips.

PROS

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    Portability
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    Built-in overcurrent and overvoltage protection
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    Silent fan

CONS

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    Low power device
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    Current output restricted at 3.1 Amps

VOLTCUBE 150W Car Power Inverter 12V DC to 110V AC Converter with 3.1A Dual USB Car Adapter


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Quality

With an attractive blue coloring, durable metal casing, low-noise fan to prevent overheating and fuse protection, the 150W inverter offering from Voltcube is well-suited for charging devices on the go.

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Price

A neat price for a neat, pocket sized car inverter

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Our Rating

The Voltcube 150W inverter is pocket-friendly, portable and comes with multiple outlets (2 USB, 1 110V AC). This makes it the perfect choice for charging on the go. The 17 inch long cable that comes with the inverter also enables working comfortably from the rear seat. 

One of the USB ports offer 2.1A output, enabling fast charging. The inverter comes with overcurrent protection, and is not meant for operating power hungry appliances like hair-dryers, curling irons and heaters. 

PROS

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    Portability
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    Built-in overcurrent and overvoltage protection
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    Fast charging

CONS

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    Low power device
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    Not suitable for operation with 24 V DC outlets
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    No overvoltage protection

Enkey 150W Car Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Converter with 3.1A Dual USB Charger


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Quality

Another versatile inverter in the under 20 dollars price range, this dual USB charger is equipped with robust construction, comprehensive protection and noiseless cooling.

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Price

With such a low price, this is great value for money.

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Our Rating

This car inverter provides multiple 110 V AC and USB outlets for use with multiple devices. Robust metal casing, noiseless cooling systems and overcurrent protection make this a very safe device for operation inside your car. The voltage protection capabilities enhance versatility. 

PROS

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    Portability
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    Budget-friendly
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    Overcurrent, overvoltage and overheating protection

CONS

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    Cannot be hooked to car batteries
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    Not suitable for power hungry operations

Ampeak 400W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 3.1A Dual USB Converter


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Quality

No bigger than an iPhone, this Ampeak offering comes with multiple outlets (dual USB 3.1A, two 110 V AC), overcurrent, overvoltage, surge and overheating protection. Additionally, since it is capable of supplying 400 Watts, this inverter is suited for running moderately power hungry appliances.

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Price

Although not in the very lowest price bracket, the Ampeak inverter justifies its price.

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Our Rating

This Ampeak inverter is conveniently sized, conveniently priced and designed for use on the go. With all round surge protection, in-built fuses and noiseless fans, it is robust and has electrical insulation. The inverter also has an audible alarm to indicate whether the device is malfunctioning. It comes with battery clip cables in addition to a plug compatible with the cigarette lighter port, thereby enhancing its versatility.

At this price point, you will be hard pressed to find an inverter that is lighter, more portable and provides such high power output capability. Multiple appliances can be plugged in at once, making this a great choice for camping and road trips. 

PROS

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    Portability
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    Built-in protection
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    Can be attached to the car battery as well

CONS

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    Not compatible with power hungry appliances with high surge demands

​Duracell DRINV400 High Power Inverter, 400 Watt, Black


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Quality

A compact portable 400 Watt inverter with multiple AC and USB ports, this Duracell offering is built for durability and long life. It is protected against overcurrent, overvoltage and overheating.

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Price

We'd go as far as to call this inverter a bargain

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Our Rating

Equipped with a power saving on/off switch, two three-prong AC outlets, one USB port (2.1 A) and durable metal casing, this Duracell inverter is robust, portable and extremely versatile in terms of versatility. The 400 Watt capability ensures that you can operate multiple devices at once and the fact that you can hook the inverter to the car batteries as well, enhances its versatility. 

The inverter is well-equipped with voltage and current protection making it safe to operate in your car. It is well-suited for use with electronics, hand-held tools and other equipments away from conventional AC power.

PROS

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    Portable
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    High power output
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    Overcurrent, overvoltage and overheating protection

CONS

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    Not compatible with power hungry appliances with high surge demands

​Quesvow 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Converter with 4.8A Dual USB Car Charger Adapter-Red


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Quality

An attractive red color, durable construction and portability make this Quesvow 300 Watt inverter well-suited for operation in your car or SUV. The inverter is equipped with voltage, current and temperature protection.

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Price

Priced very reasonably for it's features, this inverter is pocket-friendly.

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Our Rating

This portable inverter plugs into the cigarette lighter port and has a handy long cable for ease of use. One of the USB ports is equipped with fast charging capabilities, enhancing the versatility of the inverter. An Automatic Temperature Controlled (ATC) fan ensures that the temperature of the device never exceeds 38 degrees. This makes the quesvow offering a popular choice for operating essential appliances on the go.

The inverter is well-equipped with voltage and current protection making it safe to operate in your car. It is well-suited for use with electronics, hand-held tools and other equipments away from conventional AC power.

PROS

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    Portable
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    High power output
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    Overcurrent, overvoltage and overheating protection

CONS

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    Cannot be hooked to car batteries
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    Not compatible with power hungry appliances with high surge demands

​Quesvow 1000W Car Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V 3 AC Outlets Home Car RV Solar Power Converter for Household Appliances in case Emergency, Hurricane, Storm and Outage


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Quality

This inverter is housed within a durable case, is extremely portable and can deliver upto 1000 Watts, making it suitable for operating power-hungry devices.

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Price

This is one of the steeply priced inverters but the quality of the product justifies its pricing. 

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Our Rating

This Quesvow inverter has three different AC outlets that can continuously deliver 1000 Watts. It has a peak power withstanding capability of 2000 Watts, making it suitable for high power operations.

The inverter is equipped with voltage, current and overheating protection, making it an ideal choice to be carried to camping and hiking trips. This inverter can also be hooked onto your vehicle’s batteries to provide emergency power at home during power outages.

PROS

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    Portable
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    High power output
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    Can be hooked to car batteries

CONS

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    Some report that it's power hungry

​EBTOOLS Car Power Inverter, 500W/1000W Inverter 12V DC to 110V AC Car Converter with 2 AC Outlets and 2.1A USB ports


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Quality

This portable inverter is lightweight, housed in a durable metal case and is well-suited for high power applications. Equipped with voltage, current and overheating protection, this EBTOOLS product pays great attention to safe operation.

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Price

This is a budget-friendly buy, great value for money.

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Our Rating

The EBTOOLS car inverter is equipped with multiple AC outlets and USB ports. Both cigarette lighter and battery clip plugs are present and hence the product can be used to power a number of appliances in the outdoors. The inverter can be bought in both 500 W and 1000 W configurations according to your specific power needs.

It has two replaceable 40 A fuses for overload and short circuit protection. Fast charging is possible. The durable aluminium body ensures that the product has a long life. 

PROS

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    Portable
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    Budget friendly
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    Can be hooked to car batteries

CONS

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    Suitable for 12 V DC outlets only