INVERTERS???

Submitted: Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 10:43
ThreadID: 133628 Views:3835 Replies:9 FollowUps:32
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HI wondering if using 600watt inverter will use more battery capacity than a 150watt inverter if only charging phones and low voltage items.Also is it not good idea to charge laptops from inverter as they already 12v . I already have 600w pure sine inverter and charge phones, laptop, tablet and camera batteries of 100ah battery.
Any good advice in Laymans terms be great.I have read many articles on here about inverters but still a bit confusing,Thanks
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Reply By: TomH - Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 11:53

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 11:53
Dont believe ALL laptops run on straight 12 V because they dont.

One of mine is 10.5 V one is 19V and both require converter packs to both run and charge off either 12 or 240 v Most tablets and phone chargers are 5volt, the same as USB power.
My Sony camera battery charger is also 5V and my Sony video camera charger is 8.4V output.
AnswerID: 605231

Reply By: garrycol - Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 16:38

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 16:38
the amount of power used in charging your items will be same with either item but in addition to that power use, the 600w inverter will use more than a 150w inverter to simply run the inverter itself with nothing connected but in the scheme of things it will be a pretty small amount.
AnswerID: 605235

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:32

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:32
"it will be a pretty small amount."

That's if you consider 5% of their maximum rated output small.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:42

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:42
I did say in the scheme of things
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 16:48

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 16:48
.
Hi LL,

Inverters have inherent losses of generally two types. The first loss is a "standing loss" which occurs even without a load on the inverter. It is not large, probably less than 5% of the inverter's capacity and does not increase with the load. The second loss is related to the load placed on the inverter and is typically about 10% to 20% of the load depending on the inverter type and quality. So the total loss is the sum of these.

Accordingly, you would waste less energy if the inverter was no larger than necessary for your maximum load. But it may be prudent to select a bit larger to allow for future possibilities.

All that I connect to my inverter are computer and camera chargers. It is "pure sine wave" and 230v, 360 watt capacity. I never come close to full loading and the small 'standing' loss is insignificant.

I prefer to use the 23vac chargers that are supplied with the devices rather than purchase a whole second set of 12vdc powered chargers of perhaps doubtful performance and quality.

So, to answer your specific question, yes your 600W inverter would waste more energy than a 150W inverter supplying the same load. However, if using it whilst driving with the vehicles alternator supplying the power, the losses are of little consequence and it would hardly be worth the cost of replacing the inverter. Even if you are using the inverter with a stationary vehicle it is not a big deal.

There are some who decry the use of an inverter with a travelling vehicle for fear of a 230v electric shock but I do not consider that there is a significant risk if it is all correctly installed.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 16:51

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 16:51
Why didn't I simply say what Garrycol said above? lol
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 21:08

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 21:08
Just on laptops - mine runs on 19V. To charge it I can use either.....the supplied 240V charger, via a 600W pure sine wave inverter* that I have for various appliances....or......a Powertech a multi output 12V unit (6 different selectable output voltages, 15V to 24V) ...as is usually the case while touring, plenty of electro-options can be very handy at times....just a question of how much stuff one can actually take !
*I'm no electro-tech so I just got the smallest output inverter that I thought I could get away with - as mentioned by the experts above, a moderately larger inverter 'taking it easy' probably only uses a littler more energy than a smaller one working hard (sounds like electro-logic to me :-)......
AnswerID: 605242

Reply By: TerraFirma - Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 22:24

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 22:24
Laptops and Tablets are best charged using 12v cigarette adapters etc, no need to create 240Vac unless it is something specifally 240v
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 23:12

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 23:12
Maybe but the cost of a 300/600W pure sine wave inverter is about the same as the specific computer 12v charger that has the various specific voltages for different laptops - generally these do not produce the voltages for other appliances.

So the inverter can be used to charge just about anything using the original charging equipment where the 12v computer chargers are quite specific in their use so the inverter is more versatile for about the same price.
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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:23

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:23
The question was with regards to battery useage and in a world where power is a premium such as camping one uses 12v where possible because that is what they have. Tablets and Laptops are low voltage devices, the only reason they are powered by 240VAC is because that is what we have in our homes, not in the outback. It makes no sense to generate 240VAC just to facilitate a home charger when the device you are powering uses 5v for example. When power is a premium such as using a 120AH battery when camping if your battery goes flat just because you are running an inverter it would be silly. If you have an abundance of power then use what you want but that was not the question. a 300-600W inverter would not power any serious 240VAC appliance anyhow so that argument of it does everything is not valid. In summary using an inverter vs 12v whilst connected to a 12v battery, the inverter uses more power.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:50

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:50
Someone else has indicated power losses from an inverter are in the order of 5% - who know what they are in a 12v converter changing 12v to 19.5v for a laptop - who knows but there will also be a couple of %. Small bickies in the scheme of things even for a 120Ah battery system.

The convenience of using a small inverter and using the provided charging systems and using the inverter for other functions out weight the minimal extra power required to run the inverter.
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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:58

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:58
Perhaps read everyone else's opinion even in this thread? Why generate 240VAC when you don't have to? I am not against using an inverter but prefer 12v when possible. Most people in these forums would argue the same, so perhaps start a new thread about the pro's of using an inverter just to power a 5v device.! Have fun with the responses LOL.
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Follow Up By: Member -Ted (Vic) - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 11:52

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 11:52
So how do you charge a tablet that requires 19 volts on a 12 volt system without an inverter?? 5 volts and 12 volts can use the 12 volt adapters that usually come with the devices. 19 volts ?????

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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 14:07

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 14:07
Ted - you have hit on my point to charge laptops from 12v you need a special adaptor that changes to 12v to one of the specialist voltages laptops use - these cost about the same as an appropriate sized inverter so why not use an inverter that can be used for other things as well.

I used to have a dedicated 12v to laptop voltage converter and it worked great but would not charge my new laptop which uses more power so when I went to get a new one I saw the inverters and went that route. Dedicated laptop 12v charger was about $90 where my 300/600w pure sine wave inverter was $65.

My little inverter will charge my laptop, phones, other small batteries, run my little TV, charge my drill batteries and a whole lot of other things but the dedicated 12v to laptop charger will only do the laptop.
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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 15:51

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 15:51
Using an inverter for a laptop is fine if you don't want to buy a universal laptop charger that supports 19v devices. I wouldn't personally because I am in the IT industry and have a universal charger. I run a 40 foot boat with 12v everything and some solar panels so the use of an inverter is not necessary. You would want to hope your inverter didn't fail while away, only one point of charge/ no thanks not for me, read the comments within this thread I am not alone. Each to their own but silly to generate 240v from 12v when the device you are using is D.C. Anyhow.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 18:10

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 18:10
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That's fine if you are "in the IT industry" and are provided with a "universal charger".
But what if you don't have a universal charger but do have several OEM chargers and a small inverter. Would it not make sense to consider using that?
And I cannot see the problem of an inverter failure anymore than a universal charger failure while away.
But as you say Terra..... "Each to their own".
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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 18:52

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 18:52
Alan read my response again. It says quote ''Using an inverter is fine if you don't want to buy a universal charger' end quote. Finally Alan laptops are one of hundreds of low voltage devices. For the last time for people that have not read this thread, everybody is moving away from 240v whilst camping unless absolutely necessary. For those that love their inverters enjoy , this thread was about power consumption whilst connected to a single agm battery, now please concentrate on the posters question.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 19:32

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 19:32
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OK Terra, don't get tetchy!

I must be missing something here........ I cannot find the words "agm" or "single battery" anywhere except your use of the terms. Certainly they are not in the original post above. As you say... "please concentrate on the posters question".

"Finally" or not, as a technologist, it may be expected that I would be aware that "laptops are one of hundreds of low voltage devices" but I am unsure what that has to do with anything here.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 19:34

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 19:34
You can buy a universal laptop charger that will fit multiple laptops, charge phones, tablets or anything else that uses a usb socket, can plug into a 240v wall socket or 12v cigarette lighter socket for around $60. Mine runs my 19v laptop, and charges my phone at the same time. I even plug things like my gps mouse into the laptop and charge it via the usb ports at the same time. Mine's a Belkin but I've seen several other brands. The usb charging port isn't good enough to keep up with a tablet doing gps though as its only a 1 amp output on that port and the gps sucks it dry.
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Follow Up By: LAZYLUX16 - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 22:25

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 22:25
I think I still need inverter as have to charge camera batteries and havent seen adaptors for them to cig sockets yet..Also can not find charger for my notebook in Australia.But from USA $90.I already have 6 cig sockets throughout my Hilux.
All the comments have been quite good and interesting.
End the the day camping gone too high tech. I never had one electronic or electrical device before and managed to go around Oz without issue ..And nowdays plenty of Caravan Parks if ya need power But in saying that many do not allow Tent camping which is a bit sad!
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Reply By: vk1dx - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:06

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:06
We have finally eliminated all 240 Vac requirements from the car. I installed multiple USB sockets for charging the "toys" and purchased a 12V DC cable for the laptop.

Fixed. No need for an inverter now. No 240V.

I installed two x dual USB sockets similar to below into the rear of the centre console and two in the dash for anything "portable" and all other 12V accessories are wired directly to a separate 12 V fuse box on the second battery under the bonnet. No loose cables or wires.

Phil

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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:25

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:25
Well done I have also eliminated the need for 240VAC from my boat when away.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:42

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 09:42
Agreed, it's much better to get rid of inverters altogether where possible. It's a complete waste of power charging tablets and phones through an inverter. The cigarette lighter adaptors are a much more efficient way to charge those.

When it comes to laptop computers, if you charge them through an inverter you are wasting power twice. Once on the way up to 240 V and a second smaller lot in the computers power brick on the way back down. My preferred way is to replace the computers power brick with a brick that runs straight from 12 V. That way you only waste one lot of power which will be about the same as the loss in the original one supplied with your computer.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:59

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:59
They will not charge most modern laptops - 5v x 2.1amps is is what 10.5w - that will not power a modern laptop mine is 140w at 19.5v - might charge a phone or camera but not much else.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 12:10

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 12:10
True and that's why I "purchased a 12V DC cable for the laptop".

Everything else seems to work okay. I will say that I haven't had to charge anything other than the kids phones/toys/games (I don't use one), wife's eReader and our satellite phone. Anything else plugs into the cig lighter sockets.

Phil
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Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 12:19

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 12:19
What you use is one of these

http://www.eziautoparts.com.au/projecta-6000ma-laptop-power-adaptor.html


Battery world also sell them

Used one when we were vanning and worked well You do need the 6000 model as the smaller one wouldnt power my lappy very well.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 12:35

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 12:35
Gary, you said "They will not charge most modern laptops - 5v x 2.1amps is is what 10.5w - that will not power a modern laptop mine is 140w at 19.5v - might charge a phone or camera but not much else."

I mentioned two things, 5 V USB chargers for low power tablets and phones and also a larger charger that is powered directly by 12 V. Which one are you referring to? Laptop computers will not charge from the 5 V supplies. TomH gave you a link to the style of power brick to use with higher power devices.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 13:05

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 13:05
With laptop 12v power supplies, as well as the correct output voltage and current for your laptop you also need to make sure the device has a connector that fits your laptop.
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 13:08

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 13:08
I have a couple of those chargers that Tom has showed the link to for around 4 years now.

Works well on my wifes new and my old Asus laptops.

But because I want the biggest and best of every thing, I bought a much bigger Asus Gaming laptop.
It requires 19.5v and 9.23amps to charge, so I ended up having to use a 300w inverter to charge it on my last trip.
Next trip I will take the old one that is happy to run on 12v.

Cheers

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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 13:59

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 13:59
Laptop 12v adaptor for your laptop is best. Don't muck around with a milto all one. You may accidently fry the laptop.

I got the one below from eBay.Like this one

Phil


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Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 14:33

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 14:33
That wouldnt run any of mine Needed 6 amps and as your Presario is 3.75amp you would be ok but I originally bought a 3 amp one and it wouldnt run my small lappy I had at the time. Best way to find out is take the battery out and see if your power supply will actually run it. Otherwise it wont charge while you are using it.

In this instance size does matter
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 14:14

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 14:14
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There seems to be concern by some people that the efficiency losses of a 12v/230v inverter are to be avoided at all costs. If their mobile stored energy is limited then I can appreciate their concerns. If however, recharging is done on the move as I do then a small efficiency loss is of little consequence and I am saved the cost and trouble of purchasing accessory 12vdc-to-whatever devices to suit each appliance. There can also be compatibility issues with some products, especially if bearing the brand name 'Apple" or "Samsung, when being connected to 'any old' cigar-plug USB charger.
Of course, the efficiency and output quality of inverters is variable by product selection and their benefit is somewhat proportional to their purchase price.

Whilst declaring the transfer losses of an inverter, the losses of the cigar-plug power modules are frequently ignored. In fact, they would also have measurable losses and in the case where the output voltage is required to be higher than 10vdc then they actually incorporate an inverter function to achieve that output. It may be appropriate to actually measure the comparative performance of such devices before advocating their benefit. Often in the case of these products, they employ a simple voltage regulator that drops the 12v input to say 5 volts whilst 'dissipating' the balance of 7 volts thus more power is wasted than supplied.

These small, cheap cigar-plug products employ switchmode technology and being packed into a small package sometimes do not have enough room for components to overcome RFI noise. I have also encountered several instances of product failure of these products which has harmed the connected appliance. In my own case it destroyed a mobile phone which convinced me to use the supplied OEM chargers via a small inverter. The exception is my satphone which was supplied with a 12vdc charger and is powered on at all times.

However, the option of 'inverter' or 'cigar-plug' is a personal decision to suit the specific needs of the user. Neither is 'right' or 'wrong' but it may be prudent to be fully informed before generally advocating either method.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 16:10

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 16:10
True Alan but the question was about power consumption off a sing;e battery comparing a 300w vs a 600w inverter. I do not believe inverters are necessary when using 5 or 12v devices. Your comments are extremely informative and helpful thanks and yes inverters have their use but nearly all of my Comms is 12v and simply run via a 12v USB outlet.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 18:01

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 18:01
.
Actually Terra, the original question by Lazylux was the comparative consumption of "600 watt and 150 watt inverters" and I did specifically answer that question earlier in the thread. (605236)

No, inverters are not "necessary" but then neither are "12V USB outlets". Either will do the job and it is a matter of what suits the user.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 20:05

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 20:05
Terra: "the question was about power consumption off a sing;e battery"

Maybe I missed it, but where in the original post was the reference to a single battery?
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 20:46

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 20:46
Yes - people on this forum tend to answer the question they would have preferred the OP to have asked rather than the actual question answered - the OPs question was about comparing 150w vs 600w inverters - 12v chargers never came into it yet that is what most of the discussion is about.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 19:59

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 19:59
Such passion.
.
Lets put a few things in perspective.
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All forms of power conversion have losses, the inverters, the plugpack power supplies and other devices.
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Yes in inverters there are standing losses ( that happen with the thing just running) and conversion losses( that vary with the load drawn).
Putting specific figures on these losses is unreliable ..... they can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from unit to unit. ... and how they are expressed.
We can not say that a 300VA inverter will have less losses than a 600VA inverter without some specific information about the specific inverters.
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It may be that one specific 300VA inverter may have more losses than a specific 600VA inverter.
.
Unfortunatly the sellers don't always publish standby currents and conversion losses, then there are issues of accuracy.
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I have modest reasonably modern inverters in catalogues that list standby currents in the 200 to 300mA and conversion efficiencies in the 85 to 90%.
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Yes then you have the standing losses and the conversion losses in the 240V power supplies for these units you want to charge ...... the losses there are harder to track down ...... remember too some of these power supplies are over sized for what they are charging so their losses may be higher than necessary.
.
It is reasonable to expect efficiencies somewhere between 70% for an analogue power supply and up as high as 90% for a switchmode.
so running a plug pack off an inverter you could easily be looking at combined conversion efficiency as low as 60% pluss standing losses.
.
Then we look at the very small amounts of power used to charge many of these devices.
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If we are looking at non standard high current USB, we are talking about 2.1 Amps at 5 Volts ..... total of 10VA. MAXimum, lower current USB may be as low as 500ma at 5 volts 2.5 VA.
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Some of the devices we are charging off USB will be drawing less than the standby current of the inverter.
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So this is most definitely something to consider.
Pretty much If you have devices that charge from USB...... the best potion is a 12 volt USB charger, either plug in or permanently mounted.
That is anything up to a tablet or a full sized camera.
.
When we get to laptops things change, most laptops charge off a higher voltage ..... even my little 10 inch charges off 19 volts.
But as mentioned there are specific DC supplies or universal laptop chargers ..... and yes they work.
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They are in them selves DC to DC inverters and can be expected to be about 85 to 90% efficient.
.
NOW lets talk about cost ...... apples for apples from the same catalogue.... retail prices.
a 360VA pure sinewave invereter is $339
.
A 150 watt universal laptop power supply is $75.
.
In this day and age, there is very little reason to introduce 240V into our vehicles.
cheers
AnswerID: 605268

Reply By: Sigmund - Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 12:32

Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 12:32
I've worked hard at keeping everything 12v but recently had to concede defeat and fitted a 600 w inverter. Its standing loss is said to be 0.45 amps.
AnswerID: 605282

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 16:29

Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 16:29
That's not bad Sigmund. At 0.45 amps it is a little over 5 watts and less than 1% of the inverter's max rating.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 18:04

Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 18:04
Yeah. It's an ABR Sidewinder unit.

Camera battery chargers and a laptop with a very unusual power input plug defeated me.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 23:58

Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 23:58
5 watts may not be a large portion of the rated 600VA ...... but it is a large portion of a 30 or 40VA that might be consumed by many smaller DC items.

But sometimes ya gota do what ya gota do.

cheers
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