Can I use my car's accessory outlets with power tools?

alternatoralternator Member Posts: 629
edited June 2016 in Chevrolet
Is it alright to use my Cobalt's accessory outlets to power my electric drill (via a DC to AC inverter) ?

How about using other power tools, up to the 20 amperage limit of the outlet ?

The reason I ask is that my Owner's Manual says

"Certain electrical accessories may not be compatible
with the accessory power outlet and could result in
blown vehicle or adapter fuses"


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    edited June 2016
    I don't think so if you are running it from the cigarette lighter outlet. That will limit you to perhaps 200 watts draw, if tht, and a power drill would be at least 400 watts. So you'd have to hard wire your inverter to your battery. You also have to pick an inverter that matches the maximum wattage you will be demanding, and you have to allow for "starting load" which might be 2X your normal wattage.

    I"m not an electrical expert but I think this basic info is correct.

    You might find THIS TUTORIAL on the subject helpful.
  • alternatoralternator Member Posts: 629
    I only want to drill several holes in my mail box. Inverter is rated at 75 watts. Drill is rated at 2 amps. I would use accessory outlet, not cig lighter outlet.
  • alternatoralternator Member Posts: 629
    I know amps x volts = watts.

    But I have travelled many miles using a mini Holmes HEPA filter powered by same car and inverter. Holmes unit is rated at 0.85 amps.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Well it might work but I'm still concerned about the surge load when you first turn on the drill. But that circuit is fused, so......

  • alternatoralternator Member Posts: 629
    And my inverter is overload protected also, so I'll give it a try.

    While I have your ear Mr. Shiftright, please tell me how to mark my answered questions? I've never found an answer to that.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited June 2016
    Good question @alternator - my minivan has a "real" 110 outlet in the second row. It won't run my little hot pot for making camping coffee and probably wouldn't work with a small heater or hair dryer. It does run my laptop nicely.

    About marking your questions, I think you want to play with the star at the top of your discussions. "Unstar" it to quit following that discussion. The Bookmark function in the right sidebar may help too - that'll show you all your starred discussions and you can unstar them from there too..
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