What will charge my 13 inch MacBook when free camping

Hi, I have acquired a 13 inch MacBook Laptop, and require advice on what I need to correctly charge the battery via car 12V source. There are multiple inverters available, ie various sine wave types, wattages, prices etc. etc Can members with first hand experience or technical knowledge advise what the minimum requirement is, and what should I have to pay. I dont see that I will be doing anymore than charging the laptop battery. Can I get away with the smaller "drink can" type inverter for $40-50 ??
Thank you Barry
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Reply By: Member - Cruiser74 - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 18:48

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 18:48
Hi Barry,

I have a 15 inch Macbook Pro and on a recent camping trip it actually drained my battery very quickly. It surprised me as I was using a 300 W inverter simlar to this


I had it plugged into the 12v socket in the vehicle while I was importing some photo's with my camera and it was beeping at me so I whacked it straight onto the battery with the clamps and it was fine but after 20 mins or so had completely drained my battery. I've used this before for just general charging when the appliance is off and never had any issues. I didn't expect it to drain so quickly when it was on. I wouldn't trust the can type and get something like mine. Charge it when the laptop is off but don't use it when it's plugged in unless you run the vehicle. Maybe I was doing something wrong. I didn't think such a small appliance could drain a battery so quickly!

AnswerID: 483479

Reply By: AndyMort - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 19:10

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 19:10
Have a look on eBay and you can get cigarette lighter adaptor for about $35. The MacBooks are 16.5v DC and by using an inverter you are going from 12v DC to 240v AC and then back to 16.5v - no wonderit is draining your battery. A cigarette adaptor simply ups the voltage to 16.5 volts and is much more compact
AnswerID: 483480

Reply By: Ross M - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 19:25

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 19:25
G'day Barry22
As mentioned, the dc to dc converter is an efficient use of the 12v to the 16.5v you require. Good prices too.

Just a word about inverters, some appliances and switchmode chargers in modern stuff don't like cheap inverters which output a modified square wave. It isn't modified sine wave as claimed.
Sometimes this rubbish wave form will not allow the switchmode appliance to begin switching and so uses heaps of battery with the inverter trying to keep the power up to it or it burns out the appliance.
Always do a quick connect and check to see if the appliance runs correctly. If not don't keep trying.

Ross M
AnswerID: 483481

Reply By: patsproule - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 19:55

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 19:55
I have a 17" MBP and charge it using a 300W inverter that is connected to our 105AH aux battery. I usually find that running the inverter for an hour a night to charge it doesn't pose any problems re excess battery drain. It leaves enough to run the fridge overnight anyway. Wouldn't be able to do this for a few nights in a row though. Having said that, I usually try and charge it when on the move, running the power supply lead through to the back where I store the Mac. We only use an ordinary old modified square wave inverter and the mac power supply doesn't seem to mind. Same with all my video camera batteries.

AnswerID: 483483

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 21:42

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012 at 21:42
I'm guessing you have the magnetic power socket. If so, maybe this 12V power adaptor is what you need (No first hand experience though):
Macbook adaptor on Ebay
AnswerID: 483501

Reply By: Member - Craig F (WA) - Thursday, Apr 19, 2012 at 10:07

Thursday, Apr 19, 2012 at 10:07
I run mine on a dc-dc "Auto Laptop Power Supply" I got it from Jarcar for $70.
You can adjust the Voltage to suit the application, it fits most netbooks and small laptops. Be mindful that the voltage and polarity of the tips are different from one to the other computer so best to take it in with you.

AnswerID: 483524

Follow Up By: ozjohn0 - Thursday, Apr 19, 2012 at 14:21

Thursday, Apr 19, 2012 at 14:21
Jaycar have variety of DC - DC Chargers to suit most 12 volt appliances.
The one I have is suitable fror a range of voltages from 12V to 24V.
I just dial up 19V for my lap top, plug it into the a cigarette lighter socket and all's well.
FollowupID: 758801

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Apr 19, 2012 at 19:11

Thursday, Apr 19, 2012 at 19:11
Are you guys talking apple computers? Last time I looked they had nothing to suit my Macbook pro.
FollowupID: 758846

Reply By: Kalex - Saturday, Apr 21, 2012 at 10:44

Saturday, Apr 21, 2012 at 10:44
Check out this place:
AnswerID: 483729

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