Prius Stealth Camper – Electrical: Adding a second 12v battery, inverter, microwave


so I had a special request about going over the electrical system so I’m making a video today on how that works out so first step is I’m gonna clear all this out one thing I found that was kind of interesting is this is one of my window inserts and put it right here everything disappears yeah I got I made room here for my drone and all its parts fit in there real nicely so I’m gonna pull everything out and get back alright next step is pull the carpet out and take the lid off the storage box beneath you’re gonna need a lot of work just take it all the way you kind of see what we’ve got here I’ve got the inverter here some great storage tools things you don’t really need to get to every day so I’m gonna pull this box out what you have to do to do get the box out in your car you’re gonna have a setup focus boxes right over here in this corner so you can take the top off down the bottom there’ll be one screw and mine was just finger tight but you could use a storage what you’ve ever gonna have underneath though here you’re gonna have the stud that’s that that was screwed onto and that was the only thing I really had to modify so I took a hammer and just bent the screw over cuz it’s welded to the car so that made room for another battery yeah I’m gonna take this piece out here you have to pop this piece loose this thing you’re gonna reuse this what you have here is the original battery that comes with it just tuck back in here and you’re gonna have to add on to that now it’s a proprietary battery and it would it’s it’s an interesting battery you can’t buy it at the local parts supply one everywhere and they sell all I told you it of sells it it’s a unique battery in that it’s both a deep cycle and a starting battery and I’ll show you right here actually print the ratings for both on their cold cranking amps and hours so I ended up they do some one battery online it’ll work but I decided since it was the same price I decided just to get another Toyota battery so I just went down to the dealership and paid them the 200 bucks for another battery so I set the battery down in there and behind here you can take you build a seat behind here there’s a flange with an island and what I did was took T’s two bands of zip ties and zip tied it in there and it’s really firm but wait to do that to the end because you’re gonna need to get access to these two terminals here you remove this cover here dealing with the live batteries so be careful so Toyota uses these very special little terminals they’re smaller than the rest could not find any of these clamps anywhere and so I hate buying stuff from the Toyota dealership so you can use this one but on the other one I had to come up with a different solution so there’s the that’s the negative and it’s just grounded here to the chassis back here be gentle with these screws that’s the sheet metal is very thin if you do strip it just by a bigger screw you’ll be fine and here’s your positive here which I tapped into right there okay so the first thing I did was over I put this battery in I ran a ground wire and you don’t have to run a ground wire to the battery you can run it anywhere to the chassis so my ground wire I tapped in this is tapped in unscrewed that bolt man it here goes up behind the battery and it taps in on this back wire right here here so what I had to do since I couldn’t get those tiny connectors and I’ve got this covered is I had to just drill a hole through this and it worked fine and then I use stainless steel screws and lock nut and washer so on the positive so the positive comes down out of here on the bottom snakes through here and then I ended up tapping the positive in right here and they do provide this nut here so I was able just to unscrew this just screw right into there the next one was to put the inverter in and the inverter doesn’t sit here but I’ve got a hardwired in so it actually sits in the bucket when you put the bucket back in so that was very straightforward again so that comes from the other battery just tapped in here and wired it end to the inverter same thing next step was coming up with a safe 12 volt system and I also wanted to have five volt USB setup so the easiest thing I found to do was to buy this ground bar and that just allows you so you don’t have to keep running ground wires to the battery so it’s pretty cool it just has all these screws down then you bring your main wire in the top of the bottom and that comes down and that goes to the ground plug over here and then this is here these box so this is your fuse box and just pull the cover off and right now I’m just using two and I just covered this up with tape and games for safety so I’ve run two things so the positive runs in the bottom here goes down around back around and goes back on here on the positive battery so anything you want to put in so anything you want to add you just add to those lugs and there’s on this particular one there’s six but you can get different sizes so then you want to get make sure you get a heavy-duty sorry for this shadow but it’s one angle wins with this right so you want to get this actually got from Walmart make sure you get a heavy heavy duty 12 volt check your ham bridges for what you’re gonna do because if you just buy one off the shelf they’re gonna be really thin wires and they’re gonna overheat you can have problems so make sure it’s a thick one so this particular one comes off of here comes into a 12 volt plug right here and I screwed you can screw into this stuff the marks don’t show when you pull the screws out it’s kind of cool and so I got a three outlet USB plug again which is you know pay extra for it it’s got the higher wattages I think it’s a 303 amp and to two amps so that goes into these cool little switches that I got it eBay and so they run by lighting so they have backlight so when they’re off so this one goes to my reading light right here these two go to over the the lights go over the doors and then this one is the light that goes over here these lights are so cool you cut them to length and you just tack them underneath the rubber strip here so I pulled the sticky stuff off and then you just kind of stick just kind of wedge him turn this off so you just kind of wedge it under here because if you don’t they just tend the the glue tends to give out and they just start falling off and sagging so in same thing over the door now this last one and this is a super heavy D you can see the thickness of the wire I’ll give you a clue this one I run this goes to the refrigerator so already fridge where I just plug this in here alright so I’m gonna start reassembling everything and putting it back to where it is so make sure you put your red cover back on for safety there and it’ll fit back on just kind of make sure where you’ve got your wires at okay so put back in ran the wires under this little holder so now you have the inverter and also I went ahead and I taped up all the electrical expose electrical connections because you’re not gonna be able to reuse this I mean you can walk around probably you know put a couple screws it tied if you want to use it that probably the best way but just so for the microwave I tried it’s a 700 watt microwave I tried a 750 watt inverter wouldn’t work tried a thousand watt inverter wooden works I found I had to bump up to a 2000 watt inverter to get the microwave to work now this is a modified sine-wave I didn’t do my homework if I did it again I would definitely get a true sign way because you can kind of find one for about the same price the microwave makes some strange sounds but it works so that may be something down the road now for whatever inverter make sure you put the switch to turn it on towards the foot because you’re only gonna be able to open the front part of the bin when you got everything in so you want right reach over there and just flip it on and then these do draw power when they’re on and the Fenians running so always turn off so also now I screwed it in and some flan slant flanges there or screwed that in and I’ll screw on this side so it doesn’t flop around here’s everything loaded back in and I find these shoebox sized ones work perfect they fit really well so the stuff I really don’t need you very often I put way up here stuff that I think I’m gonna need to get to I leave in the backs against because you can open that hatch don’t forget to put this cover back down here so we got the cover back in plug in your extension cord so now we got the carpet back in carpet tux nice under here you stick out and then here’s just a flap that goes over the battery no some people won’t like that but this is rubber-coated you could you could do better than that but I’m trying to get all the storage squeeze everything so let’s put the microwave back in one thing I did do for microwave safety is the microwave was flopping around a bit so I found this great little flange here and the microwave happens to have the same thing in a screw so we’ll attach that microwave installed here’s that flange I was talking to you about how that mates up just probably got very lucky with that now one thing you want to do is build it up you can have some storage underneath it because you need to clear your mattress so on the door opens you can get that so here we’re all back assembled yeah blanket it’s nicely there some wet wipes the microwave your food storage the fan time here the parts for that back in there and here I have a mesh bag for dirty clothes so worked out pretty well thanks for watching

50 thoughts on “Prius Stealth Camper – Electrical: Adding a second 12v battery, inverter, microwave

  1. Would a standard off the shelve deep cycle battery work with this? The Prius doesn’t draw any amps for cranking the engine from the 12v system so maybe a solar battery would work to extend the cars 12v system? Thanks for the great video!

  2. Do most Prius have the second/extra battery in the back? I checked out a few but they never seem to have it? Only certain years? Can u watch a regular (small flat screen) TV in there?

  3. You mentioned you would get a different inverter if so what one would you get or recommend? How many watts is your microwave do you have a recommendation on that as well? Thank you

  4. Thanks for the video. I use a 1000w inverter (pure sine wave) hooked to the 12v battery to run my microwave, but it's a 600w microwave. You can see my video here: https://youtu.be/MzLTByvJW7c  When you run the microwave, make sure the car is turned on, so you don't drain your battery. I wonder if your inverter gets overheated by leaving it in the lower compartment? I bring mine out to allow it to vent.
    You're right about the Prius 12v battery being a strange one, available mainly through Toyota. I've considered adding a second 12v battery to run the fan for ventilation while sleeping, without draining the car's 12v battery. The cycling of the motor on and off at night wakes me up.

  5. Dear Prius Stealth Camper, I wanted to know if you might be able to email a list of the items that I need in order to set up a second battery, as well as use the same usb 12V system you have? I don't think I can hook up the second battery myself since I have ZERO experience in automotive electrical, but I could handle doing the rest I believe after the battery is installed. My email is [email protected] I plan on going Prius Stealth Camping while I am in nursing school in the only school I can get into that is two counties away from mine. Any help you may be able to share would be appreciated. You by far have the best most great video out there of this setup, I know I have looked.=-) Thank you so much. I have a friend who will be able to help me, but I want to get the parts. I know you have some above.

  6. beautiful! Not being a techie, do you need extra power if you go without the microwave and refrigerator? Thinking only some lights, notebook,, etc. I assume there are extension cords with USB connections to get to the cars outlets? Great videos!

  7. and… where do you find places that allow camping out of your car? I am retired and thinking about hitting the road in my Prius

  8. Hold on. Is that a car battery recharger. The kind you use on your car battery when you need to jumpstart it???

  9. Hey mate I have a 92 Corolla that you have inspired me to make into a stealth camper as well 🙂 the dimensions between the Prius and the nearly 30 year old yota look so similar ! I am going for a more retro look with curtains on rails and going for solar because I live in Australia. Can’t thank you enough for paving the way u bloody weapon !

  10. I really like your USB 5 volt power source for lights. There are so many cool gadgets that can be repurposed for our needs these days.

  11. You have some good organization skills. I start my trips with everything in place and by about day 5, it looks like a bomb went off in my car!

  12. Wow. Out of the 5 or 6 prius camper setups I've seen on YouTube, yours is by far the best! Anyway, I've got a couple questions I hope you can answer:
    1. Can you run the fridge all day even with the car turned off?
    2. Do you think it would be safe to attempt to wire all of this up for someone who has almost no knowledge or experience with electricity? If not, what would be the best way to learn?
    Thanks!

  13. So when you're running stuff off your battery, does it refill your car battery from your traction battery before running the engine, or does the traction battery charge level stay more or less the same? I ask because I have the plug-in prius with the much bigger traction battery, so I wonder if I've essentially got the same setup without having to install a second battery. 🙂

  14. I think your Ideas are clever and studied. One question, Why? What motivates you to do this? Just curious.

  15. Question please… cuz you know a lot more about the electrical of the Prius than me. I need a CPAP machine to sleep. I have an external battery pak to operate it independently at night. It has a cigarette lighter plug to recharge it during the day. Will the recharging affect the engine starting battery if the car is off all day and the battery pak is recharging, or will it work off the big Prius battery?

  16. Did you contemplate putting the second battery in the rear passenger side footwell? Would it fit in there alongside, or at one end of, your Dometic?

  17. Very informative! So with a Prius if you use Prius battery for second battery you don't need or want a solenoid to isolate your second battery?

  18. Been living in a prius for a while and thought it was just me!!! You might find the alternator/dynamo in the prius is too small and 60-150 watts of solar is needed. But if you travel every day it might work.

    In the uk you can take out all rear seats, seatbelts and pass the MOT test which saves weight too. Personally have breakdown so don't have spare wheel etc (19kg)

    Cool video's!! A little ahead of the game

  19. awesome set up … great videos …three questions… if i only wanted to run a dometic fridge could i do that wiring directly to the 12 volt battery and not have an additional battery set up like yours? What size dometic fridge are you using? and lastly what about the off gassing of the batteries in your set up ?

  20. Hey! I'm really interested in getting a Prius for living in it. Thing is, I'm pretty tall – 6'2". I'm wondering, how tall are you / and would I be able to fit? Thanks!

  21. Can I pay you to do the electrical work for my conversion🙂 I don’t know ANYTHING or anyone tell help me with this.

  22. I got rid of that factory battery and installed a 52 amp hr Agm it fit nicely and added another to the other side paid 75$ for each and added 2 more bigger grounds. those factory toyota batteries are crazy expensive.

  23. Thank you for making informative videos! Question, could you plug in the 12v fridge directly in to the car cigarette lighter port?

  24. About to tackle this challenge. 2 Quick questions though. 1.) What gauge wire did you run between the inverter and the battery and did you inline fuse it? 2.) Did you have your Dometic fridge running through the fuse box, and if so, is a 10 amp fuse enough for it?

  25. what do you recommend for blackening out my windows? i already have mild tints, but not enough for stealth. Any DIY? or third party products. I have a prius 2013,

  26. Hey Jon, I made simple window coverings like the video showed. I had black material and silver bubble wrap already and just bought a glue gun and corrugated cardboard. I actually leave them all in except for passenger rear side window as it keeps the sun and car lights out both day and night. The big rear one sags so I drilled the base of a white stick on 3M hook I got from target ad that holds it in place. My email is [email protected] show me what u got and I’ll shoot u photos of what I did. Super simple

  27. Hey dummy, give me an affiliate link for those cut to size lights. I want some. And you should cash in on some free money

  28. Great video; you’ve got some nice aspects to your setup! I’ve spent the past two summers living out of my Prius for 6-8 weeks at a time, and it’s amazing how little we really need. Question for you though: I’m looking at getting a solar panel, but I’m not interested in the climate control or any of the features in the car itself. I assume I’d be better off with a stand-alone battery/inverter/charge controller rather than wiring it to the existing car 12v battery… would you agree? I’d definitely like a few LED lights like you’ve got, but I really just need it to charge phone/cameras, laptop, etc, without running the car. I have a cooler and jetboil for all my cooking.

  29. so this is an example of wiring up 2 batteries in parallel correct? you get more amps and the same voltage. positive to positive, negative to negative?

  30. Thank you so much for sharing! SO Well done and Very organized! even wet wipes and tools! so cool. Things I wouldn't think of

    What is the "phantom" though??
    and could you please provide links to those last wires you mentioned that hook up to the ground panel and fusebox at the end please? (through walmart.com)
    I dont know much about electrical and you said to make sure you get them for the right amperages..
    Also, the microwave please
    Im assuming "the phantom" is that little rig next to the microwave?
    would be soooooooo gratefull!

  31. I know people ask you this all the time but do you ever do services on other people’s prius’s if you have the free time? Obviously I could come to you and pay you for your services. I’ve done a lot of your diy’s but I can’t find the courage to do this one! I’ve been traveling the us and Canada and have been okay with my one battery and using electricity when the car is on but I’m starting my trip to Alaska soon (after this I’ll have driven all 50 states) and I want to upgrade my night comforts.

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