Laptops and 12V inverters

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 15:23
ThreadID: 9773 Views:2028 Replies:14 FollowUps:12
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Tandy have a 150watt inverter for $49. can I run my lap top from this in the car? The unit puts out a modified Sine Wave.
I have Oziexplorer on the laptop and this is connected to my E-treck, but the laptop runs out of power after about 2 hours.
Any suggestions would be great
Thanks
Vince
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Reply By: Member - Raymond - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 15:37

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 15:37
Hi Vince
I run my laptop of a somilar unit from Radio Parts and it has worked fine for years
Raywanderin' in retirement. victor 2010
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Follow Up By: Vince Scollen - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 15:40

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 15:40
Thanks Ray. I guess for $49 I can't go to far wrong
Vince
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Reply By: Member - John - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 15:47

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 15:47
Vince, had the same set up, but after reading about having 240 volt inside cabin, decided to look at alternatives. Tandy/Jaycar have a 12 volt unit, trying to find out Part Number and price. This will be a lot less dangerous than 240 Volt. Just my two cents worth.
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Follow Up By: Flash - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 16:54

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 16:54
KERIO Auto Air NoteBook Adaptor (M9695)
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Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 15:49

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 15:49
I was advised by consensus in this forum that a Pure Sine Wave inverter was the way to go, So I bought a 150 watt one from Jaycar for $285 and it works well.....but maybe your $49 one will work just as well. Normally when things are that cheap then that is just what you are getting.........

Cheers,
Willem

Always going somewhere
AnswerID: 43121

Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 18:09

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 18:09
Is that a Self Portrait Willem?Regards Bob
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Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 21:56

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 21:56
Caricature done by Cartoonist Mick Joffe of Sydney as part of a collection called(with tongue firmly in cheek)...Endangered Territorians....1997Willem

Always going somewhere
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Follow Up By: Janset - Saturday, Jan 17, 2004 at 22:18

Saturday, Jan 17, 2004 at 22:18
Hi all.

A friend of mine runs his laptop off a 150 watt inverter from Dick Smiths. I tried mine on his inverter and it worked O.K.

Later I saw one going on special from Tandy's for $49 so I got that instead and all is well.

I was worried a bit about the sine wave thing also, but as it was pointed out to me, the 240 output may be a modified sine wave, but that power still has to go back through the laptop transformer where it is converted to the prescribed DC voltage and that is not a sensitive component/instrument so no problems should result. So far all is still well, and it is cheap!.

As for the 240 volts in the vehicle, (I promise not to stick a piece of wire in the plug to see if is alive :-)...... Common sense should prevail, don't leave the inverter at floor level where it may get flooded, mount it high and out of the way.

Regards
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Reply By: chrisfrd - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 16:01

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 16:01
G'day,

From my point of view, you are fine with this. Only really cheap-crappy non CE approved inverters should be avoided.

Try and get a 12V to 19V converter for your PC though.. Jaycar sell one I think.

The device is a DC to DC switchmode regulator that bumps up the voltage, but at the same time increasing efficiency.
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Reply By: Rob H - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 16:21

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 16:21
Hi Vince

Refer post 9526 for fuller discussion.

My recommendation then and now is the DC-DC jaycar or similar charger.

Rob
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Follow Up By: Leroy - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 17:01

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 17:01
but you then don't have the option to p0w0r other 240v appliances.

Leroy
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Follow Up By: Rob H - Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 11:13

Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 11:13
Which is why I have a $50 inverter as well as the charger :)

cheap inverters aren't good for Laptops - my set up cost much less than a sine wave inverter.

Rob
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Reply By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 18:14

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 18:14
We just use the inverter (300w) for charging camera, phone & rechargable batteries & a Targus 12 volt cig lighter power supply for laptop. You can't run much of a 150 watt inverter.Regards Bob
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Reply By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 18:57

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 18:57
The $49 unit will be a modified square wave (why would you modify a sine wave - doesn't make sense).

My advise is the cheap inverters will work, but shouldn't be used long term as your powerpack for the laptop will have to work harder to get less power, and therefore take longer to charge the laptop battery, and increase the risk of problems.

If you will use it infrequently then it's hard to justify the cost of the sine wave inverter,. but for regular use then the sine wave type are worth the extra (and are more versatile).
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Reply By: Member - Jack - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 19:49

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 19:49
This is interesting!!
Can anybody point me to a site that explains how to repack batteries.
A quick search by Google just came up with those that do it, without revealing any of the "secrets".
Thanks in advance.
JackNo trees were harmed in the making or sending of this message.
However a great number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
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Reply By: Cumbo - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 19:56

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 19:56
Vince

I bought a pure sine wave inverter 300 watt from Bisbane just before christmas.

I dropped out of ebay bidding for it at $215-00 and emailed the seller and asked if he could sell me one prior to departure on holidays.
Reply was that he would sell one for $175-00 plus $20-00 postage to Sydney.

Completed the deal and it arrived the next day.

Just got back from holidays and it performed impecably, charging laptop, dig camera phone and other equipment.

Company was unitec. Dual points on the inverter and I mounted it on the cargo barrier.

Not much more dollars and I think a better product for your equipment

CumboTD42
EFS
TX4400
Safari Snorkel
Rola Racks
Milford Barrier
Engel 39l
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Reply By: John - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 21:24

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 21:24
Vince
Be a bit carefull the 150 watt unit will not run the newer generation laptops for long without overheating.
I had to go to a 300 watt unit for my Dell as the 150 watt unit I had would get hot anf shut off after a short time.
I am now going to buy a Kerio auto/air adaptor as stated in prior posts as a better and cleaner alternative to stepping up from 12 volt to 240 and then back down to 20 volts less wires and crap to contend with and safer than 240 volt kicking around the vehicle.

Regards
John
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Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 22:05

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 22:05
I have not had a problem with my 150watt inverter as suggested by the technician at Jaycar for use with my Pioneer Laptop 11/2002 model. Have only run the laptop for a couple of hours though but will be trying it out for longer periods in the future. My inverter is mounted in the glovebox and is only about 25cm from the battery. Works well.

Cheers,
Willem

Always going somewhere
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Follow Up By: ToyMotor - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 23:17

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 23:17
Willem writes:

..150watt inverter as suggested by the technician at Jaycar ...

You spoke to a technician at Jaycar? Must have been his day off!! ;-)

Cheers

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Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 12:41

Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 12:41
Toymotor........ I presumed he ws a technician...could have been a salesperson only with more knowledge on the subject than myself. Anyway I took his advice for what it was worth.

It must be slow day when you pick on such insignificant things to comment on.

Cheers,

Willem

Always going somewhere
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Reply By: John - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 23:19

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 23:19
Hi Willem
My Dell Inspiron 8200 has a 15 inch screen and a Pentium 4 chip,
These newer generation higher performance lap tops do require more power than the older ones.
My 150 watt inverter does run my computer but it does get very hot after a couple of hours. running to long at max power draw.
This is exacebated by high ambient temperatures, hence the inverter shut down due to temp.

The bigger the inverter the less hard it has to work, thats the theory anyway.
But for $49 dollars if It does not work for Vince then it has not cost him a lot.
No harm done.

By the way Willem where do you live, what town ?.

Regards

John
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Reply By: Member - Timothy - Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 10:07

Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 10:07
Only one point to add, but I have read that modified sine wave inverters
are very hard on laptop batterys.

I've used one on two big trips, and the battery was essentially stuffed
( approx 30 % capacity) after the first trip.
Perhaps a coincidence. ??

It's not been a problem for me , as I seldom need true portability,
but if it's true, then you need to balance the possible price of replacing laptop battery with price of more expensive, pure sine wave inverter.

We travelled 8,000 ks using just a 150 watt
for phone, camera , laptop with no problems.
It didn't seem to effect the capacity of phone or camera battery
so may be wrong.

timothyDefender Extreme
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Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Friday, Jan 30, 2004 at 09:56

Friday, Jan 30, 2004 at 09:56
Tim, I use a 150 watt modified Sine wave inverter (Jaycar). I have used the setup on 5 or 6 trips over the past year, often for 6 or 8 hours at a time. My battery is still in tip top shape and charges to full capacity and still gives me the full 6 1/2 hours if I need to run it from the battery.

I think maybe your battery was on its way out anyway.

Mind you, if I were to choose again, I'd go for a 300 watt inverter. The little 150 watt does get a bit hot at times.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
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Reply By: William - Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 11:20

Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 11:20
The majority of lap top power supplies or any switching power supplies do not function properly on modified sine wave.
DSE have a Kerio adaptor for charging laptops.
I could not recommend this highly enough. I know heaps of people that now use them. DSE Electronics
Kerio Taiwan website

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Follow Up By: Scott_G - Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 18:50

Friday, Jan 16, 2004 at 18:50
We got supplied the Kerio charging units from work and I must say it is the first time in all these years I have had success in charging and keeping our laptops going on the road. The tech guy in the office says since the guys in the field have received the Kerio adaptors he has 50% less work from the field guys because of complaints and flat batteries.
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Reply By: paulp - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2004 at 21:49

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2004 at 21:49
Most computer UPS produce square wave simulated sine for power so don't worry at all about that cheap inverter. Don't forget your laptop converts the AC to DC anyway - it will smooth it out enough.

I have run my Compaq from a 300W inverter for a whole month at a time and have had no troubles providing I do not plug the unit in with a flat laptop battery. Charge the battery at home first and use the inverter to power the laptop rather than charge its battery. When running normally with the hard disk spinning and screen my laptop draws about 180 watts, but when it charges the battery from flat it uses nearly 500 watts which is wayyyy to much for your average inverter.

If you get a bigger inverter than 300 watts throw away its cigarette plug and connect it direct to the car battery with some decent high current wire as it will draw too much from a lighter and (best case) blow your fuse.

Paul
AnswerID: 44674

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