OK to plug laptop into inverter? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-01-2014, 02:33 PM   #1
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OK to plug laptop into inverter?

We will be at a no electric site next week and would like to be able to watch some DVDs at night. We plan on a cheap DVD player and the laptop on battery, but can we use an inverter to plug the laptop into the house battery? My concern is that laptop might be damaged by that configuration, or am I overly concerned?
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:58 PM   #2
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We have used a small, 100 watt/150 watt cigarette lighter inverter to charge our laptops over the last decade. Sometimes we use it while sitting in front a wireless center with the inverter plugged into the car, other times in the trailer. We have two inverters, car and trailer. I believe I paid $20 for one.
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:11 PM   #3
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I can't confirm this, but I have heard that some laptop power supplies are sensitive to the less then perfect sine wave that cheep inverters put out.

That said, I know lots of people that have the same experience as Norm and Ginny.
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:46 PM   #4
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Laptop bricks (aka chargers) turn AC to DC to charge the laptop. Worst case risk is the charger; should never cause a laptop damage. I've never heard of either being an issue with a UL-listed inverter.
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:14 PM   #5
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Doesn't your laptop play dvd's?
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:30 PM   #6
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we have a 400W Tru-Sine inverter which we have used for our electronics in our Scamp for 10 years now. I sprung for the Tru-Sine over the Modified-Sine inverter because of the RF interference inherent in the Modified-Sine inverters.
I do believe that Tru-Sine is worth the extra cost, especially since you won't need a very large one to run most devices today.
Whether Mod can harm a particular device or not, it is for sure that Tru is safe for about all devices and supplies cleaner power.
Another choice would be to use a car charger supplied with the device and add a couple of extra power points to your trailer.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:22 PM   #7
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Have you checked for a 12 volt supply for your Laptop that plugs into a cigarette lighter socket?
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:44 PM   #8
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I'm with Floyd on this one. I bought the Morningstar 300W version.
Can do 300watts all day, or 600 watts for 15 minutes. Enough for a laptop, or my wife's party lights we want to hang on the awning. And the true sine will run an electric blanket. Many have found most of the MSW inverters won't.

Found it on Ebay, new in box for $203. Best I could find online otherwise was $228 shipped.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:51 PM   #9
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Many Laptops have 19 volt chargers. Our latest computer, a Samsung Chromebook, has a 12 volt power supply, suggesting it could be charged directly from a 12 volt outlet.

The Samsung has worked very well and is great for road work, no hard drive meaning it's a little more rugged. Also it's battery last a long time. The disadvantage is that it doesn't run many of the PC programs from my past but it does more than enough for us. Plus it is very inexpensive, I've seen them for $200.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:55 PM   #10
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While I currently use a 12 power supply for my MacBookPlus laptop, I've used an inexpensive 250 watt MSW inverter for previous models with no problems. A pure sine wave inverter is best and will run anything within its rating, about the only things that I know of that have problems with the less expensive MSW inverters are modern electric blankets & some tool & camera battery chargers.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:58 PM   #11
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I looked it up and for $5 there's a cigarette lighter charger for our Chrome book/

http://www.amazon.com/HQRP-Charger-C.../dp/B00CEHGLNW

Samsung makes another larger Chrome book that uses a more traditional 19 volt power supply that plugs into a cigarette lighter. It makes me think there are probably chargers, that run off 12 volts, like this for most computers.

http://www.amazon.com/Chromebook-13-.../dp/B007D3ZVQU
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:45 AM   #12
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There is a battery as a buffer between computer and the inverter and charger. You can use any sort of inverter to charge your laptop.


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Old 10-25-2014, 09:50 PM   #13
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If your laptop actually runs on less than 12v, and many do, you can wire directly into your battery system and the battery in the laptop will buffer. We lived on a sailboat for 8 years , totally solar powered. Laptops are remarkably tough, even cheap ones. The little DVD players, on the other hand, are not.
We never plug in. Have 60watts of solar. One 12 V gel battery. All LEDs. Lots of fans. No fridge. And no worries.
Mostly we use our power to keep phones and iPads charged up.

Everybody's happy


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Old 10-25-2014, 10:50 PM   #14
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Check with the manufacturer of the inverter. If you buy from a US manufacturer you can do that.
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Old 10-25-2014, 11:10 PM   #15
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I also went with a true sine wave inverter. Two computers I've had wouldn't work at all with a modified sine wave inverter, and one of them the "brick" power supply/charger got very hot.
FYI, all external computer power supplies are made with switching power supplies, at as far as I've seen. Doesn't make sense to not use a switching power supply. Some are more sensitive to sine wave actual shape.

I also think the best option is a 12 volt car charger. They're not very expensive. I have car (12 volt) chargers for all my portable computers. Save space, weight, and efficiency. Every time you go from on voltage to another you loose at least 5% in heat. Going from 12 volts DC through an inverter to 120 Volts AC is a 5% loss in power, then going from 120 Volts AC to 19 Volts DC is another 5% or more. So you're using more battery power to heat two devices when going inverter to power supply than when you go through just one.

Another little trick, when you go someplace in the tow, use that travel time to charge your electronics. Saves your house battery for stuff needed in the trailer.
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Old 10-26-2014, 06:32 AM   #16
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Tony,

Here's an example of a 12 volt charger for a Dell computer. This type of charger is available for most computers. If I recall correctly Dells run on 19 volts so these little chargers step the voltage up from 12 to 19 volts. Not expensive and will allow charging in your trailer or tow vehicle.
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Old 10-26-2014, 08:11 AM   #17
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My new Macbook Pro must be 12v. The cigarette adapter I bought for it is just the adapter and a wire to the laptop - no transformer box. A lot of them must be going that way.

As others have said, your power brick for a laptop can take some "dirty" power from a cheap inverter and use it to charge your laptop battery without issue.
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Old 10-26-2014, 08:33 AM   #18
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I just looked around on the interweb and found several 12v to 19.5v converters for under or around $20. Cheap enough and even though I plan on having a pure sine inverter anyway it is a no brainer to go with a $20 DC to DC converter for the efficiency. For one thing, my new pure sin wave inverter will be in the camper, a 12v converter can be used there or in the tug.
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Merritt View Post
My new Macbook Pro must be 12v. The cigarette adapter I bought for it is just the adapter and a wire to the laptop - no transformer box. A lot of them must be going that way.



As others have said, your power brick for a laptop can take some "dirty" power from a cheap inverter and use it to charge your laptop battery without issue.

AFAIK all MacBooks are 18V.


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Old 10-28-2014, 04:20 AM   #20
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Don't "assume" because it just has the cigarette lighter plug on the end that it runs on 12 volts.
With modern electronics they can pack enough into the plug to raise or lower the voltage as required.
For instance the adapters with a USB plug on them reduces the voltage to 5 volts. Here's a link to one site explaining just USB charging.
http://www.extremetech.com/computing...our-smartphone
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