Question Re charging camera and laptop batteries

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:09
ThreadID: 53243 Views:2395 Replies:11 FollowUps:10
This Thread has been Archived
While travelling and away from mains power I will need to recharge my DSLR camera battery as well as my laptop battery.

The laptop will mostly be used to simply store and backup my photos.

I do have an inverter but it is of the modified sine wave type which I have read can damage some equipment.

My question therefor is:
because I would actually be connecting the camera and laptop batteries to the inverter via their respective chargers is damage possible.

The camera battery charger, charges the battery while the battery is removed from the camera.

In the case of the laptop the battery remains in the laptop while charging takes place.

The camera battery is the Li-ion type and I am unable to find details of the laptop battery, I wonder if it's these type of batteries that could be damaged by inverters.

Anyway this is all foriegn to me and any assistance would be very much appreciated. Regards Greg
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:24

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:24
Someone has a problem when they charge a battery from a Modified Square Wave Inverter and people conclude that any charger connected to any MSW Inverter will end in catastophe.

The charger could be a cheap and nasty design or the Inverter could be faulty.

Most people have no problems running chargers off MSW Inverters

btw "Modified SINE Wave" is a con job by the marketers too fool customers into thinking that their basic inverters are almost as good as a Sinewave Inverter. The output from an MSW Inverter looks nothing like a Sinewave - they are Modified Square Wave Inverters.
AnswerID: 280445

Reply By: ben_gv3 - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:50

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:50
Why go from 12v DC to 240v AC and then back to approx 19V DC????? Plus it wastes energy.

You can buy car chargers for both your laptop and camera batteries.

I have one for the laptop which plugs into the cig lighter. It is just a transformer which goes from 12v DC to 19v DC. The lappie is an ASUS not that it would make a difference.

My camera uses AA batteries (easier to find replacements then Li_ion) and my battery charger can plug into both 240V AC and 12V DC.

Jaycar and Tricky Dickies sell them.
AnswerID: 280451

Follow Up By: Member - Pixie - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 13:29

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 13:29
yeah i have one also

from memory about $150 for (i think) Knight brand

Can probably get cheaper ones now but this one had the range of voltages that I needed
FollowupID: 544682

Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 19:03

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 19:03
Less than $40
FollowupID: 544724

Reply By: Steve63 - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:56

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:56
I think a lot of the issues are not so much the battery but what the charger/power supply does with the incoming wave form. Computers need fairly clean power so there chagers and power supply tend to be able to deal with the nasties from a modified sine wave inverter. So most laptops seem to be able to deal with this type of wave form and work correctly.

Some other types of chargers do not do a very good job and it appears to shorten the life of the battery.

This is not scientifically proven but an observation of my own experiences.

These days I use a pure sine inverter for the video batteries, disposable batteries for as much as possible.

Plenty of people use modified sine inverters without apparent trouble but I have knackered any number of rechagable AA batteries that way. Many have not survived a 10 week trip even though they were basically new. As I said I think it has a lot to do with the quality of the charger.

I suspect you will get any number of opinions.

AnswerID: 280455

Reply By: Notso - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 13:17

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 13:17
I keep it as simple as possible and have a car charger for the camera battery and a 12 volt power supply from Jaycar for the notebook.

No hassles and works!
AnswerID: 280458

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 17:41

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 17:41
I use a Projecta 90 watt power supply for the laptop $69 at Battery World and have a 12 volt car charger for my Nikon Camera batteries. $40 on Ebay. If you are worried about the laptop battery take it out and just run it off the power supply.
AnswerID: 280489

Reply By: KSV. - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 18:25

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 18:25
As other mentioned cleanest and easiest way is to have dedicated 12V charges for your equipment. Trouble here is if you have another camera or another laptop more likely that you need yet another charger, while with 240 inverter solution is universal. AFAIK MSW inverter (how true that in fact they are modified square wave ones!) will not damage your battery or camera/laptop, but rather will not work at all, bow fuse or damage charger. Again as said before it is a lot to do what charger made of. No one will answer you this question due to enormous charger/inverter combinations and you have to try by yourself. Connect everything together and if your charger does not get any hotter than as from main it should be OK, many people use them without much trouble. I personally, however, ditch cheap MSW inverter in favor of PSW one after former refuse to charge my laptop, even considering that laptop power rating was much smaller that inverter one.

AnswerID: 280494

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 18:53

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 18:53
Drop into a Dick Smith store (IHNA) - they seem to have something for every need - I bought a 12 volt charger - cig plug in - switches through a number of output voltages, plus various plugs to mate with various appliances. As they say above, keep it simple.
AnswerID: 280498

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:19

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:19

If the laptop runs successfully from a modified sine wave Inverter, there will be no damage caused to your laptop.

When using an Inverter, you are still using the standard switched mode power supply you normally plug into 240 volts. This power supply will filter out any "dodgy" voltage.

Some laptops will not run from a modified sine wave inverter at all and in this case, a pure sine wave Inverter will be required.

Therefore, an Inverter of 300 watts is a very practical, multi-purpose device to run the laptop and provide power for your camera battery charger, etc. A modified sine wave is adequate for most circumstances and considerably cheaper than a pure sine wave jobbie.

Just a point of issue in regards to 12 volt power adapter usage as an alternative. (but only for powering the laptop)
Some laptops (eg Dell) can be powered with a suitable adapter but you cannot charge the internal battery.

To charge a Dell laptop battery while powering the laptop, you need a Dell brand auto/Air adapter.


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 280521

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:34

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:34
Not all laptops are 12 volts. read the specs label on the underside of your computer and see what voltage and current draw the laptop uses.
FollowupID: 544747

Follow Up By: Member - Pixie - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:17

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:17
spot on

in fact some have very odd increments of voltages which may be hard to find in a charger
FollowupID: 544757

Follow Up By: KSV. - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 08:43

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 08:43
In fact very few if any laptops nowadays 12 volts or less! More common voltage is around 18-21 volts. But proper charger actually switch-mode power supply (PS) capable of increasing voltage from 12V to require level. Trouble is (as mention above) some laptop require simple PS with + and – terminals only, because they relay on internal circuit to keep battery charged. While other use more sophisticated connector and PS to charge battery “from outside”. If this is the case only brand-name dedicated 12V PS can help. They are rare and expensive. I would go to PSW inverter as most universal solution.

FollowupID: 544790

Reply By: Bega Photographer - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 10:05

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 10:05
G'day Greg.

You say "The laptop will mostly be used to simply store and backup my photos."

If you can do without the laptop other than storing the photos, then leave it home.

You can buy top quality Sandisk 2mb cards on eBay for about $14. On my last trip I took six cards making 12mb, almost the size of my previous desktop computer.

You're better off having several 2mb cards than one 16mb, so that if something goes wrong, you're eggs aren't all in the one basket.

I'll bet you wouldn't take as many photos on a trip as I do. I seldom delete any photos.

I travel on a motorbike with a cig plug wired in. I take two 12V chargers, one for the camera battery and the other for the sat phone.

Best wishes,
AnswerID: 280563

Follow Up By: Cruiser 2091 - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 12:59

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 12:59
Laurie I did say I would mostly use my laptop for storing images but I will also use it for emails whenever I can get connected.

Regarding storage of images: I will have two camera bodies and two 2gig sandisk extreme III cards for each camera.

In my case each 2gig card only holds about 100 photos (about 20MB per shot). When these cards have filled I will download them to my laptop as well as back up the files to a portable hard drive. Furthermore I can check the images on the laptop and even post process some if I wish.

Best regards Greg
FollowupID: 544827

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 19:52

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 19:52
Do u mean MegaBytes or Gigabytes cos a 2mb is pretty small these days
Most cameras come with at least 56mb or 128 mb and mine takes 8gig compact flash cards

Also beware of Sandisk cards on Ebay at least 95% are fakes. I got one from a reputable dealer and he gave me a full refund as it was a fake. There is a guide on Ebay on how to tell a fake in the different formats
FollowupID: 544926

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 23:30

Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 23:30
Thanks Graham., you're right. I should have said Gb.

Take a pocket full of 2Gb cards with you.

I've heard the story about fake Sandisk cards before and looked into it. I think that while there may be a few fakes, most would be the genuine article.

If 95% were fakes, even if 20% were fakes, either Sandisk or eBay would close the sellers down in a flash. They both have their good reputation to look after.

eBay knows the IP address of the seller's computer so they couldn't just rejoin with a new name.

FollowupID: 545212

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 08:16

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 08:16
I think you will find that a lot more than you think are fake as I researched pretty carefully before I bought one and got caught.
Anything with Chinese characters on the packet and no Hologram is a fake and look at the pics in the listings. Most of them are like that.
The IP of a computer doesnt help if you are on a dynamic address as every tmie I log on my IP is different. Only the ISP is the same. Read the articles on the Community pages about fakes.

Ebay is interested in making money not stopping it and have you ever tried to get Ebay to do anything about something like that.
They really dont want to know basically as I reported some stuff and got nothing done.
FollowupID: 545250

Reply By: Cruiser 2091 - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 12:38

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 12:38
Thanks so much to everyone who replied.

As I already have an inverter I will try it on the laptop and camera charger. I was apprehensive to do this before in fear of damaging something.

Regards Greg
AnswerID: 280579

Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 14:05

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 14:05
Greg we have a 300W modified sine wave inverter. From it, we successfully charge two different laptops, 2 different types of camera batteries, hand help UHF radios and a mobile phone. Have never had any trouble with any of them.

Yes you can get car chargers for most of these things, but I already have 240 V chargers for all of them, and already have an inverter. So, my solution (and the one you plan) works, and costs 'nothing'.

A pretty good outcome if you ask me.

Norm C
FollowupID: 544843

Reply By: Mainey (wa) - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 03:25

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 03:25
Charge the relevant batteries with the Computer turned OFF and the Camera battery out of the camera in it's own charger, supplied with the camera.
AnswerID: 280899

Sponsored Links