Using Inverters to charge computer/phone

Submitted: Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 01:24
ThreadID: 2885 Views:2270 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Hey guys;

does anyone know the implications (if any) of using a 12-240V inverter to charge a laptop battery and satellite phone from the cig lighter using their normal 240V chargers (rather thasn buying thiose product specific bloody expensive 12V things)....


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Reply By: Member - Cruiser1 - Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 04:41

Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 04:41
Not sure of implications but have used this system for a while now without problems.
AnswerID: 10971

Reply By: OziExplorer - Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 07:31

Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 07:31
I use a Dick Smith Electronics 150w inverter and have done for many years with no problems. Many others I know do as well without issues. You can also use a DC-DC convertor for your laptop which is not expensive. If you look in the archives of this group:
There was a discussion only in the last ten days how to make them and also where to buy them complete.

I don't know what brand of satellite phone you have, but the 12v adaptor for my Motorola was only $36.95. It is a bit more than the average phone 12v adaptor and don't consider it is over the top price wise.
AnswerID: 10974

Follow Up By: Adam - Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 09:02

Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 09:02
great! this is tyhe inverter I have alleviated my concern,....

FollowupID: 5926

Reply By: Lyds - Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 08:51

Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 08:51
I had heard that the cheaper inverters may cause problems with some adapters, so I bought a full sinewave inverter. I got it yesterday and the problem with this one is that if you don't draw enough power it turns off!
Great for a lamp, but can't run my ipaq pocket pc.
AnswerID: 10977

Follow Up By: Peter S - Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 10:20

Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 10:20
Some inverters have an ajustment that stops it turning off
FollowupID: 5932

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 10:39

Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 10:39
Lyds I have heard and even read in articles that these cheaper invertors can cause problems with some invertors, however, they are extensively used and have not heard of any problems. You may find that with that invertor you bought, if you get a 10w pygmy bulb and use it in conjunction with your iPaq charger it will not turn off. Major problem with a 10w bulb the filaments are not very durable so don't know how long it would last if you are using it mobile. As a matter of interrest. a 100w 240vAC load on your invertor equates to around 10amps on 12vDC, so make sure your wiring is up to scratch.
For those using the cheaper invertors, if you measure the voltage on them with a normal AC voltmeter, they will only show around 180vAC. This is normal, as you need a proper RMS volt meter to measure the voltage on them. The output is actually 240vAC. Lyds, on your sine wave invertor, with a normal voltmeter it should read 240vAC.
The Dick Smith invertors are made in Taiwan by a large company and is a major supplier of invertors world wide (URL below). You can buy these rebadged and in different colour cases in around 30+ brands with some amazing difference in prices, and they are all the same inside from the ones I have seen.
FollowupID: 5933

Follow Up By: Lyds - Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 17:46

Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 17:46
Thanks again Ozi.
FollowupID: 5980

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - David - Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 14:02

Friday, Jan 10, 2003 at 14:02

We use the DSE 150 watt number as well competly wired into the vehicle with low voltage switches to fire it up from the drivers seat or rear of the vehicle. We use our laptop continiously, charge Sat phone and video batteries all at the same time. No worries, works great.

AnswerID: 10998

Reply By: Member - Nigel - Sunday, Jan 12, 2003 at 15:44

Sunday, Jan 12, 2003 at 15:44
I have charged my laptop from a 150W DSE inverter and found the switch mode charger got hotter than it does on mains. Due to wanting a bigger inverter I've sold the DSE one now and waiting for my 500W sine wave inverter to arrive.
AnswerID: 11122

Reply By: sean - Monday, Jan 13, 2003 at 22:20

Monday, Jan 13, 2003 at 22:20
We have an estimated 1800 or so hours of laptop use on cheap inverters over past 5 years with no problems to the laptop - but lots with some brands of inverters

Have found that it is best to use the smallest inverter that will do the job because the cheap inverters are always drawing power, and the bigger the rating, the greater the battery drain. The cheap 300W units can really drain batteries if left on when computer is not in use. The larger units also have fans while the smaller units do not. Also some of the cheap units have cheap contacts in the plug socket and arc out.

I best cheap inverters I got were from TJM. They are small and have given me no problems.


AnswerID: 11237

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