12 volt computer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-29-2003, 11:54 AM   #1
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12 volt computer

I have a 10.8 volt laptop I would like to run on 12 volts, will it work or will I fry it????
I made some pictures but see no way to get them off my disk into this post!!
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:58 AM   #2
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You should _probably_ be ok. The hardware inside the laptop runs at 5V, and anywhere from 1.8V-3.3V depending on how old it is. That means the 10.8V is an input to some internal power supply that converts that into various supplies needed throughout the inside of the laptop. At worst it would generate a bit more heat since the regulators will have to dissipate more, but you probably won't even notice it.

What's of possibly greater concern is that a trailer battery is probably going to be slightly higher than 12V, especially if you charged it from your vehicle. Cars charge at 14-15V and batteries are usually up in that neighborhood.

Anyway, if it were my laptop, I'd try it.

Of course, all the usual disclaimers apply, blah blah blah.
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Old 06-30-2003, 09:17 AM   #3
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Don't do it!

I would not connect the 10.8 volt computer directly to a 12v battery. There is too much of a possibility of the input voltage going up to 14 or 15 volts.

I would be far more comfortable buying a cheap (around $50) inverter and powering the computer from its regular AC power adaptor.

Try to check with the manufacturer of the computer. They would know if 12-15 volts is OK.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:23 PM   #4
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Inverters are generally about 40% efficient. So you're converting a lot of electrons into heat just to get 110VAC so you can turn it back to 10.8VAC. Plus, no self-respecting designer would not have put regulators in that power supply so a 12V load will almost certainly be ok and a 14-15 probably ok.

Having said that, yeah, $35 is cheap insurance if you don't mind sucking a lot of unused energy out of your batteries... Like I said, if it was my laptop, I'd try it; but I can get more laptops.

Better yet, enjoy the outdoors and leave the laptop at home. That's what I do.
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Old 07-01-2003, 04:08 PM   #5
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40% efficient??

Are you sure?

In my 400 watts inverter manual they claim that it is 90% efficient. This is a Canadian Tire inverter and frankly, I don't believe them that much. This is, I suppose, a maximun rate in a perfect situation.

But 40%!!! Wow!!!

Alain
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Old 07-01-2003, 08:11 PM   #6
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10% loss on the label of my inverter.

Colemen Powermate 200 watt
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Old 07-01-2003, 08:39 PM   #7
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In inverters (and UPSes), you can either have efficiency, clean output, light weight, or cheap. pick any 2.

A high efficiency unit, with a perfect sine-wave output should weigh probably about 20lbs per 100w of output. If you have a 400w unit that doesn't weigh 80 pounds (Without batteries) then it's either low efficiency or has a square wave output (which is bad for power tools and switching power supplies).

Units that say "10% efficiency" are either claiming that under no load and/or are outputting a perfect square wave which is not all that useful.

It's entirely possible some new advancements have been made in the last few years that I'm not aware of, but that used to be gospel.
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Old 07-02-2003, 03:32 PM   #8
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...unless of course that Coleman $35 inverter outputs a crappy square wave and Emmit's laptop has a switching power supply in which case that inverter will very likely cause the power supply to heat up and eventually die.. (btw, I would bet money that the $35 Coleman 400W inverter is outputting a crap signal. You don't get nice output for less than $300).

Without seeing the laptop, none of us is in a position to make any sort of guarantee as to the safety of any particular answer. I at least outlined the potential problems.
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Old 07-02-2003, 03:58 PM   #9
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Excuse me, but could we calm this down some?
I like a good discussion as well as anybody, but we are about to get out of hand, here, in my opinion. Tell your facts, ideas, suggestions then let Emmit decide.
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Old 07-02-2003, 04:18 PM   #10
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Personally, I have only an older Compaq 233Mhz laptop, but it's like gold to me. I have an inverter but my experience with inverters has been dismal, and I almost never use it for anything, and never for my laptop. I spent the money for a proper car/plane power supply for the laptop. It cost about $75.00, and plugs into a 12v cigarette lighter jack. It safely and effectively powers the laptop in either the car or the camper, and I feel such an item is well worth the money for anyone who wants to run a laptop off of a 12v system.

I am a computer systems administrator for local government, and as such I do the purchasing of laptops for the sheriff's officers. Most of these laptops will spend 90% of their lives in a squad car. A car/plane adapter is now standard issue with every laptop I buy. The guys used to run the laptops off of cheapo inverters, and the problem rate was pretty high. No problems with the car/plane adapters.
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Old 07-02-2003, 04:26 PM   #11
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Thanks, Paul. Nothing like the voice of experience! ;)
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:59 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your help

Paul E. Henning; Would you post the particulars on that item such as, Name, where I can order it, and anything else you think I might need, perhaps a web-site I can access.
Thanks again everybody, and I do mean each of you. You've been a big help. When it comes to electronics, I'm an idiot.
Aint this a great Site!
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Old 07-03-2003, 04:35 AM   #13
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Emmit,

You didn't tell us what brand and model your laptop is, but Lind makes auto/airline adapters for most laptops.

Try this URL:

http://lindelectronics.com/cgi-bin/store/s...x_gen_aaa_mfgs/
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Old 07-03-2003, 09:04 AM   #14
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Toshiba

Sorry about that. My lap-top is a Toshiba Satellite Pro 405cs/810. I don't understand any of that, I just wrote down what I see on it. Thanks again folks.
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