power supply for laptop computer

Submitted: Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:14
ThreadID: 4801 Views:1603 Replies:9 FollowUps:14
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Hi everyone (especially computer buffs )
I am in the process of installing a laptop compter in our vehicle for mapping. the power supply to the computer is 15 volts DC ,do i connect to a inverter or is there a simpler way ?
PS. who said mapping is easy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks Robbo
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Reply By: Andy - Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:21

Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 22:21
Hi Trevor,

I have recently enquired about powering a laptop in the car also.

One guy said you should be careful, as each manufactuer uses slightly different voltage. He advised to get hold of an Auto/Air adapter to suit the laptop. I am getting prices of around $249.00.

Let me know if you find a cheaper way.
AnswerID: 19455

Follow Up By: Ray M (Vic) - Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 23:37

Thursday, May 08, 2003 at 23:37
KERIO Auto Air N/Book Adaptor from DSE cat no m9695 $148
can be set for various voltages.Hooroo
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FollowupID: 12260

Follow Up By: David N. - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 07:07

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 07:07
Yes, the Kerio is very good and will also work in aeroplanes which have the in seat power socket.
Bad news is it was on special last month for much less- but you didn't want to know that, did you?
Good news is the Targus?? brand one is about $200 and does the same job.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Ray M (Vic) - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 10:42

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 10:42
Why spend $200 on the Targus when the Kerio is $148

I paid $58 for my Kerio at DSE but I did spend $2056 total. They told me it is the cost priceHooroo
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Follow Up By: Furgus McGregor - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 20:11

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 20:11
I bought a Kerio at Dick Smith last month on special for my Fujitsu notebook in my caravan
T-terrific as it charges my lead acid 12v gel cells for the flood light properly without attention
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FollowupID: 12337

Follow Up By: tony from Mobile Desk Solutions - Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 19:44

Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 19:44
I the years that we have been supplying mounting solutions for laptops in vehicles I have always found that you get what you pay for with inverters. The Dick Smith / Tandy cheapies are usually a waste of money. I would only use a quality power supply and choose one over rated for my needs. These things produce heat and it needs to be transfered and disipated so a tiny unit with no heatsink is just asking for trouble. Also something to consider is most plug into your lighter socket and most wiring to these sockets is not thick enough to be safe for long term power drain. I recommend to our clients to get the inverter hard wired back to the battery or main fuse box with heavy gauge wire.
Lastly you should also remove your laptop battery (if charged) while youare using an inverteror mains power supply. This will definatly prolong the life of your battery.
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FollowupID: 12428

Follow Up By: David N. - Sunday, May 11, 2003 at 21:28

Sunday, May 11, 2003 at 21:28
Tony,
Why do you say to remove battery when charged.
Aren't they smart chargers in the laptop and therefore surely they wouldn't overcharge- or am I missing something???
Cheers
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Follow Up By: tony from Mobile Desk Solutions - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 08:59

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 08:59
Hey David,
Yep , most are smart chargers but the problem is at what point do they kick in to start charging. Some may have a bios or software setting to telll the chargers when to kick in but if the battery is not discharged properly this MAY happen when its only used 10% of its power. Ths will cause the battery to develop a "memory" and it will not charge properly. Only Li-Ion batteries will not do this. Check to see which type you are using.
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FollowupID: 12530

Reply By: ken - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 00:18

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 00:18
I bought one from Dick Smith which cost about $100. Works very well but you have to keep an eye on them - they are prone to shutdown when you start the car, depending how they are wired. I originally bought a very expensive jobby that after a year would only work in the engel - bit inconvenient really so that had to go.Inverters are also very handy for charging things like digi cameras, sat phones and electric shavers!!
AnswerID: 19464

Follow Up By: joc45 - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 01:32

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 01:32
Jaycar also flog a universal one for about $90.
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Follow Up By: Andy - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 06:51

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 06:51
Grouse!!! I'm off to Dick Smith.

cheers
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FollowupID: 12262

Reply By: Phil G - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 08:29

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 08:29
My Tosh laptop runs on 15 volts as well, and it runs fine on a cable with no adaptor! The battery may not recharge as well, but it runs fine.

An inverter is your second option. Mine won't run off a 100watt inverter. They seem to do better with the 150-200watt inverters. This has the added advantage of being able to use the inverter to run ther stuff like camera rechargers.

The Jaycar/Dick Smith adaptor is your 3rd option, but why spend so much money on an adaptor that only serves one purpose.
AnswerID: 19475

Reply By: Steve from Armidale - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 08:52

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 08:52
I just plug my laptop (and anything else I need to charge) into my 240V inverter as I drive. No extra adaptor to carry, and works like a charm.
AnswerID: 19479

Follow Up By: theratt - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 14:46

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 14:46
i agree why stuff around with adapters i have a 300 watt inverter
runs the laptop and has a heap of other uses, 240 volt drill ,cameras ect
all works fine
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Reply By: Member - Rohan K - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 08:59

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 08:59
Trevor, I do the same as Steve - use the inverter. Mind you, if the inverter doesn't get good air circulation it can get pretty hot pretty quickly. Then, when I get where I'm going, I have a fully charged 6.5 hour laptop battery to play with.

Do an archive search and you find quite a few threads on lap top power and inverters.

BTW, I got a 150w modified sine wave from Jaycar for about $100 and have not had a problem with it, or with powering the PC.

Be good, or be quick.
Rohan (Sydney)
AnswerID: 19480

Reply By: Member - Bob - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 10:24

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 10:24
Trevor, sell laptop, buy old PC, buy 15" display ($500), buy 400W inverter, pocket change.
AnswerID: 19487

Follow Up By: Rodney Verella - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 10:43

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 10:43
Bob that is about as useful in a mobile setup as a politician in a crisis
Some prefer the correct solution and quality not slow junk and wires to get you all tangled up in a vehicle. Have you got the keyboard mounted on the steering wheel with the screen setup directly in front of you.
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FollowupID: 12272

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 18:05

Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 18:05
forget the inverter - buy a Mini-ITX PC and a LCD screen - both run off 12 volt - 17x30x5cm is a pretty small pc for something that has the lot (even firewire for the digital video camera)
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FollowupID: 12421

Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 14:19

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 14:19
Rodney, I agonised over how to get the best result. The laptop could not be mounted in a manner that I felt happy with. When the screen was in the right place the keyboard wasn't. Nor was the laptop's display adequately visible in dalylight. I needed an adequate screen size as looking at a map on a PDA is like watching a peep show through a keyhole. The proponents of PDAs obviously haven't seen how much better a full screen display is than the cigarette box sized image they have. So I purchased a 15" Samsung display which has performed perfectly. I have the display plugged into the laptop which sits closed out of the way. The mouse is an optical mouse which sits on the centre console between the front seats (I rarely have to use the keyboard once Oziexplorer is running). The display is mounted on a bracket that rises up from the transmission tunnel. It is midline, and rises about 15 cm above the level of the dash so doesn't encroach on my view of the windscreen, but is easily visible to driver, and three passengers. Despite your concerns, cabling hasn't been a problem. Two cables run forward along the transmission tunnel to the display, two cables run back from the GPS which is mounted on the dash. The inverter and power board are located in the rear of the vehicle. The lap top sits in a pocket behind the drivers seat. This arrangement performed faultlessly on a recent trip to the channel country and Territory on all types of track. I then thought, if this works so well, why not use an old Wintel box instead of a laptop? After all, why pay for a display that isn't used. The computer could be easily located in the rear of the vehicle, an perform just as well as the laptop, as mapping isn't one of the most processor intensive activities. So what I suggested is a low cost option for those that find the cost a laptop prohibitive, and the viewing area of a PDA grossly inadequate. So it may in fact be the "correct" solution for some people.
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FollowupID: 12550

Reply By: KiwiAngler - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 17:59

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 17:59
revor

This is the unit referred to above:

http://www.kerio.com.tw/con_products_energy_knightII.html

It is excellent and I have run my Toshiba Satellite 3000 off it for about 3 months now. Not sure what previous poster is meaning when he says 'cant charge battery' I dont have that problem.

Got mine from Dick Smith Powerhouse Parramatta North 3 months ago for $98...not sure if they were on 'special' or not doesn't matter....if they have them...HAGGLE them down to the $98 price...they are very responsive to the customers needs (and the gaining of the customers $$$$)
AnswerID: 19521

Follow Up By: Furgus McGregor - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 20:16

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 20:16
I use the Kerio to charge my 12 volt lead acid gell cells for my spotlights
Does proper job and I do not have to watch them to make sure they do not overcharge or charge properly
If your Australian wild life was not upside down I could sleep at night like most normal people.
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FollowupID: 12338

Reply By: macca - Friday, May 09, 2003 at 22:58

Friday, May 09, 2003 at 22:58
Have to agree with the inverter camp. My 300w inverter runs the bosses laptop without worry about flat batteries and recharges all other elecs we carry. (camera's, mobiles, razors, and all other lifes luxeries) and so cheap to buy too!!
AnswerID: 19551

Reply By: Member - Nigel - Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 18:01

Saturday, May 10, 2003 at 18:01
I was gonna go the way of a special power adaptor (Kerio or Jaycar) but ended up getting a good deal on a 150W Pure Sine Wave inverter which can also be used on the video camera - previous 150W DSE inverter wouldn't power the video camera and made the laptop charger very hot. Sine wave is the way to go for inverters (mine is a Jaycar type).

Of course a dedicated 15v is more efficient, but not as flexible.
AnswerID: 19606

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