Square-waved question - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-07-2007, 09:28 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
Oregon
Posts: 863
Registry
Since I'm in the process of being dragged into using a laptop (sort of against my will. I thought old guys on the far side of 65 were mercifully exempt from this) I might as well accept it and make use of it. The wife is eyeing some games, oh yikes.

Laptop, film scanner, external hard drive (and maybe a muffler-bearing analyzer): are there any possible harmful effects to these devices from running them with a small inverter of the garden-variety type, specifically since they produce square waveforms and not sine waves? I know, this is not camping, but when the winds howl and the rains pour it gives me another option and may keep my Photoshop skills from getting rusty (or maybe lets me do what I have to do in very pleasant surroundings).

Anyone have devices go south with these inverters?
__________________

__________________
Per Walthinsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2007, 10:34 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
peterh's Avatar
 
Name: Peter
Trailer: 2005 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Oregon
Posts: 1,519
Registry
Quote:
Since I'm in the process of being dragged into using a laptop (sort of against my will. I thought old guys on the far side of 65 were mercifully exempt from this) I might as well accept it and make use of it. The wife is eyeing some games, oh yikes.

Laptop, film scanner, external hard drive (and maybe a muffler-bearing analyzer): are there any possible harmful effects to these devices from running them with a small inverter of the garden-variety type, specifically since they produce square waveforms and not sine waves? I know, this is not camping, but when the winds howl and the rains pour it gives me another option and may keep my Photoshop skills from getting rusty (or maybe lets me do what I have to do in very pleasant surroundings).

Anyone have devices go south with these inverters?
Genarally speaking laptops have fairly robust power supplies that can handle a wide range of input voltages and "dirty" (like cheap inverter) power, but this is not true of many peripherals like scanners and external hard drives.
__________________

__________________
peterh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 04:49 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
Oregon
Posts: 863
Registry
Thanks, Peter,
I checked both units I'll be using and the little Minolta 5400 scanner runs on 24v from a brick, the IOmega HD runs on 12v, also from a brick, both bricks are wall-type and the original ones supplied. Is it possible that since they are external bricks they will filter the corrupted AC sufficiently to be harmless? No problem with the laptop (hasn't arrived yet) but I can always use it on the battery if necessary. Yes, I know this is inefficient, but the trailer batteries are good sized, so it may work. Should I try it?
__________________
Per Walthinsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 05:28 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Name: Darwin
Trailer: 2002 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Posts: 3,029
Send a message via Yahoo to Darwin Maring
Laptops run on DC voltage. The first thing they do when you plug them in is to take the AC and change it to DC and they usually work on a wide range of AC 110 220 VAC at 50 to 60 hrz thus the square wave would be cleaned up to a good DC voltage.

The AC to DC power supply is usually outside the PC with the DC side plugged into the PC and the AC side plugged into the power so being that they run on DC inside the Laptop, you may be better off purchasing a DC to DC device and run the thing directly off your 12V DC receptacle in the vehicle.

When U use the inverter, U use more power than just using DC to begin with. You take DC, convert it to AC then convert it back to DC again. Just cut out the middle man and run directly off the 12VDC.

If U want to do WIFI, U will need a WIFI card that will plug into your laptop.

This way, while U R driving and refusing to stop to ask 4 directions, U can have your wife search the web for a length of flight line, a gallon of prop wash and a metric Crescent wrench 4 U.

U can also get GPS SFW for the laptop so she can yell in your ear when U make a wrong turn.
__________________
Darwin Maring is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 05:42 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Trailer: Eggless at the moment
Posts: 444
I have run my laptop on long road trips using a generic 100 watt inverter. It worked fine. I did have the brick between the computer and the power, so I didn't see any difference. We were using it to watch movies. It wasn't the best method; but it did work. I know Gina uses her lap top quite a bit and has some recommendations in her solar primer. It's linked in the document section.

I'm planning on using my laptop with or without power, so I have an interest in how others are managing this; short of shore power.

Bonnie
__________________
Plotting my next adventures...
Bonnie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 06:20 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Brian B-P's Avatar
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
Posts: 5,000
There is quite a range of designs and quality levels in those "bricks", "cubes", "wall warts", and whatever else the AC-to-DC power supplies are called. The ones which handle 100 to 240 volts, 50 or 60 Hertz, etc. probably produce nice power with whatever inverter is used. Some of the others may not be so tolerant, but I can't give a concrete example of one which would have a problem.

The problem with just using the 12VDC directly is that many DC devices don't run on 12V - none of my laptops ever have. To avoid an inverter, a DC-to-DC supply usually intended for automotive and aircraft use is the solution. They're expensive enough and batteries last long enough that I haven't seen anyone use one for a while, but there are some slick looking designs available. The travel accessory stores at airports have lots, and mass market electronics places like Best Buy usually have some.

The Targus Mobile 70 Universal AC/DC Adapter is a newer version of an adapter I have, but mine works only with AC input, and this one takes AC or 12VDC, putting out whatever DC power you need. This would likely be more efficient than the double conversion (of inverter then AC-to-DC), would not suffer from square-wave power issues, and is a tidier travel solution. There are similar products of various brands.
__________________
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
STATUS: No longer active in forum.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 06:23 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Brian B-P's Avatar
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
Posts: 5,000
More directly answering the laptop-via-inverter question: we have used a couple of different laptops in the Boler. When the battery has needed charging, we have just used the normal AC-to-DC brick that came with it, sometimes from shore power, but also from a common inverter in the van, off the van battery; nothing got hurt. I never have wired up a 12V supply in the Boler to run anything not built-in.
__________________
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
STATUS: No longer active in forum.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 07:08 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Larry&Carrie's Avatar
 
Name: Larry
Trailer: 1983 13 ft Scamp
Washington
Posts: 553
Send a message via MSN to Larry&Carrie
Ok so maybe I'm being a smart butt here, but when I'm in my scamp I'd rather have a good book. We have also found some real fun places because I REALLY don't know how to read a map. Never would have found these places with a gps..... Just me though.
Carrie
__________________
Larry&Carrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 08:30 PM   #9
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,016
Registry
I have used different kinds of invertors to walwart to comp combinations. Cheapies and expensive sine wave ones. I have no issues with either.

The trick, for me, is to utilize the laptop battery as much as possible, then recharge it with the comp off, then go use the laptop again, battery only. This draws less then if you try to use the comp inverted, you don't have to have the power to light up screens, run processors etc. (Your laptop battery will do this later)

I have a small 9ah battery that can be charged directly (DC to DC) off my cars accessory port (Cigarette lighter for the old skool folks ) and I then charge the comp off of that, rather than the house battery.

Since the comp is not anywhere near a necessity, if I have no way of charging it, I am not going to die of withdrawal..

I have not had to go without with this system, however.

As far as WHY I take it with me... at night, I am not much of a reader, video or TV watcher, and the net provides my evenings entertainment. With a broadband access Rev A "Air Card", I have the net available almost anywhere, anytime. Finding Hot Spots is not a concern for me.

There are also often times (Quite frequently, actually) where on weekends, my choice is to work in my office, at home, or at least get something out of my saturday and work in the trailer while out having somewhat of a life. Spending saturday in my office, where I have been all week.. does not appeal, especially since my wallet gets no thicker from doing so.
__________________
Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 08:37 PM   #10
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,016
Registry
Quote:
(sort of against my will. I thought old guys on the far side of 65 were mercifully exempt from this)
Oh, Per... you will like it.

I no longer own any desktops, as a matter of fact, I set the 3 I had up on the street last weekend (Sans Hard Drives) and cleared MUCH space in my house. Mastering a touch pad is SOOOO liberating.. no clutter, no junk.. and it goes everywhere.

Fred is not real happy about it tho...
__________________
Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 10:21 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,307
Registry
Without getting all technical on you, it won't be a problem. The transformer in the "brick" power supply for your laptop will make it sin wave is short order. Voltage and frequency are more important than wave shape of the AC power.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2007, 12:49 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
Oregon
Posts: 863
Registry
Thanks y'all for the encouraging replies, and thanks, Byron. Gina, time will tell whether I can break away from the mousey thing, maybe a Bluetooth mouse is going to happen. I think I will approach it much like you do, enjoying doing what I have to do in pleasant surroundings right outside or inside the Burro.

Our older desktop set crawls with Photoshop and large scanned files, and this one will be much faster, but what set this off was that I've struggled with scanning software from a well-known German company for more than five years. Periodically I got fed up with its utter lack of reliability and predictability, despite expert tech support at home and indifferent support from the manufacturer. Son: "They are really lousy at writing code."

Suddenly something stirred deep in my consciousness: wasn't there some other kind of highly-touted software available for this. Hmmmm... Then I found it, downloaded it and voila! my scanners hummed, my tasks got done, and I stared progress straight in the eyes.

Software from a small company in Phoenix, but it works like a charm, is extremely capable and configurable and has a really good interface. I'm a happy scanner.

The only thing is, I must apparently learn to cope with the latest and the greatest thing from the laptop manufacturers: shiny, mirror-like screens. Whose "brilliant" idea was this anyway? Waxpaper, anyone? Steel wool?
__________________
Per Walthinsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2007, 06:56 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Myron Leski's Avatar
 
Name: Myron
Trailer: 19' Escape
NM
Posts: 664
Registry
Per...why the heck do you need a scanner, anyway?? Don't tell me you are shooting and scanning slides or negative film, are you? Yah, you may be old but you can't be THAT old!

My laptop is an old NEC Pentium 3 with pathetic RAM but I got it (used on Ebay) specifically to process pictures on the road. It works fine. No scanner needed.

I shoot with an equally old Nikon D100 (with all my old --hell, ancient Nikon lenses) that takes a Compact Flash card. So I bought a SanDisk Compact Flash PC Card Adapter $14--? that plugs into the laptop LAN port (still with me, old timer?) and ANY picture software will read and transfer picture files onto the hard drive of the lapT. Or, just use Windows Explorer.

A variety of card readers for any camera are available. Got mine at Staples. Scanners?

Oh, wait, I get it. When you're out there deep the Oregon woods and you finish a roll of Velvia or Kodacolor 100 you just run over to the nearest drug store for processing, wait half an hour, then take your film back to the Burro so you can scan it. Ahhh-ha-ha-ha-hoo-hah!
__________________
Myron Leski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2007, 07:13 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Donna D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
Posts: 24,433
Quote:
A variety of card readers for any camera are available. Got mine at Staples. Scanners? Ahhh-ha-ha-ha-hoo-hah!
Often the assumption is made that people are using scanners to scan recently taken pictures...and maybe they are...or family snap shots from the 1950s perhaps for archiving or sharing across the web. But I have two scanners and use they both frequently...because I scan documents. If I can get the originial documents in their source files..then too I wouldn't need my scanner but most often everything I get is in printed form...sigh.
__________________

__________________
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
Donna D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Square Peg in a Round Hole? melissab Modifications, Alterations and Updates 11 12-15-2009 11:21 PM
60 Square feet of Wisdom Pete General Chat 17 11-21-2009 06:21 PM
Square footage of 17' Boler Karen Fisch Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 3 03-22-2006 06:31 PM
Square Eggs Legacy Posts Camp Cooking, Food & Recipes 4 07-02-2003 11:05 AM
Square footage of 17' Boler General Chat 0 12-31-1969 07:00 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.