Running laptop computer from 12V

Submitted: Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 09:39
ThreadID: 10833 Views:4108 Replies:7 FollowUps:9
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Can someone help me with the best method of connecting / running a laptop computer from a 12v car battery ?
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Reply By: Leroy - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 10:05

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 10:05
You can get adapters from Dick Smith/Tandy or you could use an inverter then that could be used for other appliances also. Do a search, many topics on this.

Leroy
AnswerID: 48335

Reply By: Member - Anne - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:09

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:09
A common problem with laptops is that they run on funny voltages - mine is 19.2 volts DC. The only option I'm aware of is to buy an inverter and convert the available 12v dc to 240v ac then plug the computer's transformer into the inverter. It's a long way round, but what we've found is that - unless you want to run your computer continuously while you are going along (eg for moving map functions) - there is enough battery power in the computer for occasional navigational checks. You can then put the computer on charge through the inverter at your leisure in camp. Computers use so little current that typing up your emails or doing your trek notes etc etc in camp is not a problem. The only caution is that you need to buy a pure sine wave inverter - mine is a 150 watt jobbie from JAYCAR (www.jaycar.com.au) price $299. If I did it again I'd be inclined to get a bigger one so I could run a few other 240v odds and sods at the same time - 300 watt capacity is about $379.

Cheers

Millny (the other half of Anni)

AnswerID: 48387

Follow Up By: theratt - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:32

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:32
i had a lot of prolems with my inverter(300 watt) running the laptop , it kept tripping out every 10 minutes , they seem to work on older type computers but not on modern models , i now run power from a Kerio charger available from dick smiths , this is much more effecient and safer as you go from 12v to 18v not 12v/240v/18v
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Follow Up By: Member - Anne - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 15:23

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 15:23
As a couple of people have said - there are lots of options and it's worth doing your own searches and taking advice about your own particular laptop. I'm probably over-cautious, but I was very iffy about adapters because of the sensitivity of some computers to voltage variations. I also note that the Kerio a couple of people quoted only puts out 5 amps. Also, the inverter option does give some flexibility in using other 240v ac appliances. To each his own ...

Cheers

Millny
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FollowupID: 310233

Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 22:45

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 22:45
I run the same set-up as yours Milny and use a common power board to plug in a portable radio and external speakers as well as my laptop. I only use moving map when out in the serious stuff and not for normal highway or commuting runs. My inverter sits in my glovebox and I have removed the glovebox lid so that the inverter may cool down more. So far it works OK.

Cheers,
Willem
Little Dip Cons Park S.A.
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FollowupID: 310304

Follow Up By: joc45 - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2004 at 18:39

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2004 at 18:39
Millny,
don't worry about that 0.2v. You will find that setting the converter to 19v will be fine. There is probably 0.5v drop on the DC lead when full current is being pulled by the computer. The laptop has further DC regulators inside it, so it's not a problem. Of two laptops I've owned and run in vehicles, they run fine +/- 1volt of the nominal power supply output.
A DC-DC converter, as per Dick Smith or Jaycar is the simplest, neatest and most efficient way to go.
Gerry
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FollowupID: 310737

Reply By: Mad Dog Morgan (Geelong) - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:26

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:26
Kerio notebook adapter from www.dse.com.au cat number M9695
use this from a ciggy lighter socket BEAM ME UP SCOTTY


Hooroo
Ray
AnswerID: 48392

Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:32

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:32
We do the same as Mad Dog, never failed.Regards Bob
Where to next
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Follow Up By: Penguin - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:47

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:47
Me too. Definitely the way to go.
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FollowupID: 310228

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:54

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:54
Another alternative to Dick Smith is Jaycar:
STOCK-CODE: MP3462 - On Special RRP: $79.50
Qty 1+ $79.50 Qty 3+ $71.50 Qty 6+ $63.50

Laptop Computer Universal Switchmode DC-DC Multi-Voltage Car Power Supply

Should probally go do some work instead of playing on this forum!
AnswerID: 48397

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:57

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 14:57
Maybe OE could source some of these power supplies for their shop? Seems to be a common request.Should probally go do some work instead of playing on this forum!
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FollowupID: 310229

Reply By: Member - Bigbear - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 16:50

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 16:50
Have recently bought a notebook and purchased the 12v power supply cable at the same time. Plugs into the lighter socket and no probs. Sometimes genuine is the way to go with sensitive gear.
Have fun.
BigbearBush Bappo's 4WD Club
Get out there & have a look
AnswerID: 48414

Reply By: Member - Peter- Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 19:05

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 19:05
I've been running a laptop for moving map for 6 odd years now, tried both inverter and a switchmode power supply. The inverter is VERY inefficient and uses a lot more power than the dedicated power supply like the Kerio and Jaycar units.
Toss the cig plug and fit the Hella bayonet type plug and socket, they never give probs unlike fag sockets.
AnswerID: 48429

Reply By: Member - KG (QLD) - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 20:34

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 20:34
yep... go the kerio from dick smith... it costs more than the jaycar one but it can power higher voltage notebooks...

my dell draws 20volts and 4.9amps
my toshiba draws 14.5 volts and about 3 amps

this thing lets me run both - i tried an invertor but it was a mess of wires and it has to be less efficient to go 12v > 240v > 14-20v

my advice - if all you want to do is run a laptop, go the kerio, if you want to run other stuff as well, consider a good quality (> $300) invertor.

cheers,

KG

Are you stoned or stupid?
AnswerID: 48438

Follow Up By: RC - Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 23:12

Friday, Feb 27, 2004 at 23:12
Do you have a printer you can run from 12v also ? If so what type ?
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FollowupID: 310313

Follow Up By: Cagey - Monday, Mar 01, 2004 at 19:16

Monday, Mar 01, 2004 at 19:16
a good question.... it got me thinking (and googling)

i've seen 12v receipt printers (mobile service techs, etc) but i've never seen a 12v bubblejet... i would imagine you would be pretty limited to an inkjet or a dot matrix as the power required to warm up a toner drum would rule out laser printing...

i can see how a reasonable quality dot inkjet would be handy for printing maps out of ozi explorer, etc....

years ago i had a little canon printer that ran off a power pack (as most modern inkjets still do) - i lost this power pack so i had to chase down a replacement and i vaguely remember it only wanted about 20volts / 3 amps... if this is the case you could simply plug ANOTHER kerio into another cig lighter point and you're off and printing... (or run the lappie of battery while you have the printer powered up)

now i just gotta figure out a way to mount one up in the lux :)

cheers,

KG
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FollowupID: 310584

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