Inverters

Hi People. I have no idea where to start. I need to install an inverter in to my 4X4 to charge up Laptop, Camera Batteries, Hand Held UHF, Ect. Can anyone give me advice on what I need. I will running this off a Aux battery.

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Reply By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 16:57

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 16:57
Esarby,

Suggest check out the option of using 12V chargers for all of those. For the laptop, readily available from places like Jaycar and Dick Smith. For the camera, unless it uses ordinary AA or AAA batteries, check ebay for car chargers (don't necessarily buy there, but it is an excellent catalogue to tell you what exists). The handheld UHF probably uses rechargeable AA or AAA - car chargers for these are readily available.

The alternative is a pure sine wave inverter (Should be a sine wave one for the laptop, though a rougher one will probably handle the other needs) and should be 300 watt to be sure it'll handle the loads. This sounds excessive, but the startup currents can be pretty high on some of your gear.

Either of these options should be fine running from your auxilliary battery. Using 12V chargers all round will be much more energy efficient and less expensive than the inverter option.

HTH

John
J and V
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 17:06

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 17:06
Esarby,

You may find this link useful:

Electricity for Travelling


Cheers

John
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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Follow Up By: Member - esarby (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 18:09

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 18:09
John & Val, Thanks for your thoughts. I read the article at the link quite a lot to absorb but interesting. As far as the laptop, Camera. UHF are concerned, they all have internal batteries - not AA,AAA. I would be connecting them the same as from mains plug. The laptop only has a 1 hour run on it's internal battery. I use it for uploading photo's from my camera and VOIP -JAJAH.com. That was the reason I was seeking info about an inverter.

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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:22

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:22
Esarby,


Maybe I expressed myself badly. You can certainly use an inverter to provide 240 volts, then plug your various chargers into it in the usual way to provide the low voltage required to charge your batteries. If you go up this path, I strongly recommend using a pure sine wave inverter, with at least 200W, and preferably 300W rating.

The alternative is to buy different chargers; chargers that are driven by the available 12 volts and plug into your various gadgets in place of the present chargers. This approach is more energy efficient and very likely less expensive.

As an example, assuming your laptop uses an external power supply, check the label for its output voltage and current. Typically it will be around 19 volts at about 3.5 amps. You could spend $200+ buying an inverter to run it, or for about $50, buy a replacement supply delivering those same characteristics, but drawing its power directly from your 12 volt supply rather than 240v. Your laptop will perform just as well as it does with the 240v one.

Similarly, you will probably find that most of your gear uses little plugpacks that plug into 240v and supply a low voltage to be plugged into the gear. You can just as easily plug in a suitable low voltage power supply, and provided it has the same voltage and current ratings as the present 240v one, it should work just as well.

Hope that makes better sense.

Cheers

John
J and V
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Reply By: Bruce M - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:08

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:08
Late last year I addressed the same issue you are addressing. I concluded that I needed a pure sine wave inverter of around 180 watts capacity. After searching around for what is available, including specifications, quality and price, I settled on the Phoenix 12/180 inverter made by Victron Energy, a Dutch company. The inverter cost $199 and hard wired installation cost $117. The local agent for Phoenix inverters is Snaptec (see www.snaptec.com.au).

Hope that helps.

Bruce M
AnswerID: 351209

Reply By: Member - Damien L (Cairns) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:50

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:50
G'day Esarby, I use a 300W (peak 600w) to run my laptop, etc.
I run mine off the main batt, but I have put in a switch to cut the power as all inverters still use power even when they are not being used. This protects the crank batt from going flat when sitting for awhile.
Damien
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AnswerID: 351239

Reply By: stevesub - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 11:32

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 11:32
I have used an elcheapo Disk Smith 150W plug in the Cig lighter job for years for charging batteries and running the laptop - never had a problem.

In theory, the pure sine wave is the way to go but in practice, I have found nothing that does not work on the elcheapo one remembering that we only want to charge batteries, run a laptop and a fluro light - nothing that really draws any current.

I now have a couple that I bought off ebay for around $30 that do the job for our second vehicle and boat.

Stevesub
AnswerID: 351299

Reply By: Member - esarby (NSW) - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 13:18

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 13:18
Thanks All.

It all seems pretty simple now I have the answers. Thanks.

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