|Item Weight||1.7 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||6.5 x 4.2 x 2.6 inches|
|Item model number||CPI480|
|Chassis Size||Please fill in Unit Size|
|Height (inches)||5 inches|
|Width (inches)||5 inches|
Cobra CPI 480 400-Watt 12-Volt DC to 120-Volt AC Power Inverter with 5-Volt USB Output
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- 400 W Continuous Power Handling
- 5v USB output
- 2 Grounded AC Receptacles
- Thermal Shutdown and Reverse Polarity Protection
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This inverter provides household power on the go! It converts battery power to 120 V AC household power, allowing you to power up office equipment and household appliances from your vehicle. It also has a USB output, ideal for using/charging most small video games, an IPod®, a Blackberry®, mobile phones, and many more USB devices. Cigarette lighter cord and direct-to-battery cables are included. This unit is ideal for laptops, 13" TVs, video games, CD players, DVD players, cellular phone chargers, and much more!
Top customer reviews
However, for the cost, this is a nice inverter, at least in my experience. I bought it prior to a potential hurricane as part of my burst of over-preparedness, but I've since used it on a few road trips, and it has functioned well. The short cigarette lighter/power port plug isn't a problem for me, as it goes into a center console, but be aware that the cord is quite short (likewise, the battery-clamp cable is useless unless you pop the hood and use it on the engine block). The USB port is a really nice plus, because it takes over the job of phone charger from the device it bumped from the power port in the console. Edited to add: there is some uncertainly about this in some reviews, so to be clear: the lighter/power port cord does contain a fuse. The inverter itself does not, but the cord does. Obviously, if you connect it directly to the battery and burn it out, you're out of luck.
You can hear the fan, but not any more so than on other such inverters, and it's quieter than others I've had. It stays reasonably cool. The "electronic" smell went away after a fairly short period of use. It seems to provide the 150W or so of power that it says it will. It is exactly what I expected it to be, and I think the price is appropriate.
However, based on others' experiences with this model, and with my experiences with other items, I strongly suggest that when you order a piece of equipment for occasional or emergency use, you test it when you get it instead of just storing it away and hoping it'll work when you need it. Most things you buy will work as advertised, but no manufacturer has 100% quality out of the box. Always test what you get before you need it and while you can still return it.
Update 2/24/14 - New One
I received the second unit Friday, and this is Monday. I moved the old one to my second system, and set this one up in its place. Out of the packaging I noticed a couple changes to the model. First, the gray portion of the body is now plastic, not aluminum like the previous model. Still seems sturdy enough, but it probably does not shed heat as well as the first.
Second, the USB charging port has been moved from between the AC outlets to above the right outlet. This is a good thing, because a few weeks ago with the first unit, I was watching a movie near dusk. After the movie finished, I decided to plug in my light to do some things. The light seemed to be acting funny, low power and a flicker. I figured it was the ballast warming up. I did not unplug the light when I went to sleep, just turned off the inverter.
The next morning, when I went to turn on the inverter, I noticed that during my fumbling in the dark to plug the light in, I had plugged one prong into the AC outlet, and the other was in the USB port! Surprisingly, it did not kill the inverter, the USB port or burn the house down, so moving the port to the position above the outlet is a good change.
The fan on this one is just as loud, but with just the satellite plugged in, the fan cycles on for 3 seconds, off for 10, then repeats. By far this is more annoying than a constant noise that fades into the background after a while. With just the fluorescent plugged in, the fan does not come on at all, opposite of the first. I think I may swap the two inverters, so that the new one is running from the system with more draw, allowing the fan to run constantly instead of the constant cycling.
I have not opened either unit, but from what others have said in their reviews, the fuses are soldered in. Had I known that, I would not have bought either one, as I use them for my main power source, and having to break out a soldering Iron when a fuse blows is ridiculous. My generic inverter has to be taken apart to change the fuses, but once there, it is a simple swap, and takes only a few minutes.
I have had 2 of these Cobra inverters, one for over a year and, the second, exactly a year. With, the newer one I did something really stupid and killed it, totally my fault (don't tap the inverter to get the fan to quiet down on a cool morning, the inverter may break and stop producing power :) ) . The first one is still chugging along nicely. I use it to power my computer and, sometimes, a set of computer speakers and lights off my solar system. It is still a bit loud, being that it is 5 feet away, but it has performed flawlessly. It has experienced numerous low voltaqe incidents, and, thanks to my cheap charge controller that does not shut off power when the batteries are full, even more high-voltage cutoffs. I have to say that it's a trooper, and, so far, the desert dust has not managed to kill the fan.
Changed to 5 stars. The first Cobra has been running for 2 full years now, with at least a 100 watt load, for at least 8 hours a day, every day. Tough little thing. The noise is a bit loud, and the fuse is internal, but the point is that it provides the power I need to live. Good deal.
I really like the terminals on the side rather than having a bunch of cords coming out of it. They also provide a cigarette lighter cord (with a fuse inside it) along with their battery terminal clamps cable(for the full 400watts).
The fan is not that noisy comes on every once in a while as necessary (but I am also not pulling more than probably 100watts from it). If you had music going or a movie going, then the sound of the fan would be easily ignored.