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Thread: Laptop in a car - what should be looked for in an inverter?

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    Thundercats Ho! starbuck's Avatar
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    Laptop in a car - what should be looked for in an inverter?

    My dad wants to run his netbook in the car, and he's been looking at power inverters.

    My question is, what should he be looking for? Obviously he needs to look at the volts and amps needed by the netbook, but she he go over this spec when looking at inverters?

    Any help appreciated, especially if you've had experience in powering a laptop/netbook this way.
    I do know everything, just not all at once. It's a virtual memory problem.

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    Re: Laptop in a car - what should be looked for in an inverter?

    You can get power supplies that are intended to run from the standard power output of the car for some laptops - i.e. from the '12V' output. May not be something you can get for a notebook but if you can I'd recommend you go that route rather than an inverter.

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    Re: Laptop in a car - what should be looked for in an inverter?

    If you do get an inverter, it's really the total wattage (on your laptop PSU) that you need to try and get matched. However it gets a little more complicated at this stage, namely for 2 reasons:
    1) An inverter similar to internal PC PSU's have an associated efficiency rating, meaning it might not be able to product that amount of power for a long stretch etc.
    2) Your car cigaratte socket is usually rated at a max of 120W! Some laptops need more, and if so you might need to get an inverter that attachs directly to the battery!
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    Big, Mean and Ugly! circuitmonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Laptop in a car - what should be looked for in an inverter?

    Quote Originally Posted by malfunction View Post
    You can get power supplies that are intended to run from the standard power output of the car for some laptops - i.e. from the '12V' output. May not be something you can get for a notebook but if you can I'd recommend you go that route rather than an inverter.
    Agreed,

    I'm not sold on running an invertor to power a laptop, it means your going from a DC source, converting to AC and then the Laptops power brick is converting back to DC.
    A very inefficent way of doing things!
    Have a look at your laptop's power rating (should be written on the Power brick, typically 90W or 120W)
    and then look at buying a in-car/in-flight DC power supply
    for example...

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    Re: Laptop in a car - what should be looked for in an inverter?

    Quote Originally Posted by circuitmonkey View Post
    Agreed,

    I'm not sold on running an invertor to power a laptop, it means your going from a DC source, converting to AC and then the Laptops power brick is converting back to DC.
    A very inefficent way of doing things!
    Have a look at your laptop's power rating (should be written on the Power brick, typically 90W or 120W)
    and then look at buying a in-car/in-flight DC power supply
    for example...
    Link doesn't seem to work, but I bought a 12V power supply from Maplins a while back for about £10 which worked fine with an eeePC 900.

    [edit] looks like whole maplins site is down at the moment [/edit]

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