Question about Black & Decker Power Inverter PI400AB

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I just bought a power inverter for use with my pc.

I just bought a Black & Decker 400 watt power inverter for use with my pc. I plug it in and the red light comes on instantly. Why and what can i do to fix the problem. Is the 400 watt inverter to small????

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  • acgcarpentry Jul 16, 2010

    It is my laptop. I have it hooked up through the cigarette lighter. Should i try the battery???? I did it already and the inverter didnt want to come on, but did through the lighter connection so thats where i left it. I did find out that if i plug something small into it so it comes on then i can unplug it real fast and plug in my pc real fast and it stays working. Wierd but IDK still.

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There are two possibilites: the first is the over 400W power draw, the other is how you have the inverter connected. Do you have the inverter connected directly to the battery terminals (the clips) not the outlet plug (cigaretter lighter)? This is needed for any load over 80W and under 400W. (the inverter can handle a load demand over the 400W limit but only for short periods (800W).)

What is the load that your PC pulls (Is it a laptop or a desktop)? The laptop in my home has either a 65W or a 90W load (depending on the battery and the AC adapter we are using). Desktops take much more power (usually).

I hope this helps.

Cindy Wells

Posted on Jul 15, 2010

  • Cindy Wells Jul 16, 2010

    What laptop are you using? The power supplies and chargers vary greatly. Screen size, memory and CPU affect what the power draw is. Since the inverter works with the plug on a small load and then swapping in the laptop, it is probably just above the 80W limit. You will need to connect to the battery using the clips. (Red to positive on both the inverter and the battery, black to negative on the inverter and the battery) The most likely reason it didn't come on was that one of the clips was loose or a terminal is corroded and not giving a good contact. (A fast cleaning agent for batteries is cola. Pour the cola over the posts and terminals and wait until it stops fizzing. Then wipe off the excess. A wire brush is a better choice for regular cleaning. I don't recommend the cola on the terminals of the inverter since it would be too easy to get the liquid into the inverter and short the unit.)

    If you look at the charger for your laptop, you usually will find the power it needs. (A piece of chalk rubbed over the text can make it easier to read for the uses with the writing molded into the plastic.) If the rating is in amps multiply by 115V to get the watts that the unit will use. Resistive loads are easiest for this inverter to run (lights). Inductive loads like TVs and stereos use more power than the above calculation indicates. (It's an issue of the circuitry involved.)

    I hope this helps.

    Cindy Wells


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