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Old 12-30-2006, 08:42 PM   #1
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"How many volts does your inverter put out?"
We're leaving for a 2000 mile trip next week and I got a new GPS trip maker or whatever they call it. You have to use it with your laptop. I'm not too fluent with this high tech stuff but this thing seems to be kind of neat if it works. However, I'll have to leave the laptop on, basicly for the whole trip. I certainly don't want to leave the generator on just to keep the laptop battery charged.
I thought, 'no problem', I have 2 inveters. One is 300 watt cig lighter type and the other is 1500 watt that is to the entire coach.
I have 2 things that concern me.
1 It seems I heard you should'nt charge batteries with inverter power. Any body else charge their laptop with the inverter?
2 I checked the voltage from both inverters. The 300 watt inverter only puts out 95 to 100 volts. The 1500 watt only puts out 100 to 105 volts. I've used the 1500 running the fridge, microwave and maybe the TV and never had a problem but that was before I checked the voltage with a volt meter.
Is this normal for inverters? Does anyone think I could damage the laptop leaving it on and plugged into the inverter for that long?
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Old 12-30-2006, 08:42 PM   #2
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"How many volts does your inverter put out?"
We're leaving for a 2000 mile trip next week and I got a new GPS trip maker or whatever they call it. You have to use it with your laptop. I'm not too fluent with this high tech stuff but this thing seems to be kind of neat if it works. However, I'll have to leave the laptop on, basicly for the whole trip. I certainly don't want to leave the generator on just to keep the laptop battery charged.
I thought, 'no problem', I have 2 inveters. One is 300 watt cig lighter type and the other is 1500 watt that is to the entire coach.
I have 2 things that concern me.
1 It seems I heard you should'nt charge batteries with inverter power. Any body else charge their laptop with the inverter?
2 I checked the voltage from both inverters. The 300 watt inverter only puts out 95 to 100 volts. The 1500 watt only puts out 100 to 105 volts. I've used the 1500 running the fridge, microwave and maybe the TV and never had a problem but that was before I checked the voltage with a volt meter.
Is this normal for inverters? Does anyone think I could damage the laptop leaving it on and plugged into the inverter for that long?
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Old 12-30-2006, 11:01 PM   #3
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I would think your inverters should be putting out close to 110 volts.

I assume you inverters are modified sine wave and not pure sine wave. Some batteries don't line the Modified sine wave and may not charge properly. Likewise, some power converters (laptop AC adapters) may not like the MS either. Some stuff seems to do fine with other stuff is a problem. It may have to do with the quality of the wave and the power output from the inverter.

My two cents say find out why your power output is so low and check with the manufacturer of the devices you want to run on MS and see if they will or not. Clocks, timers, microwave magnatrons, some battery charges and some other electronic transformers will run poorly on MS because they need a constant crisp sine wave cycle to operate properly.
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Old 12-31-2006, 01:22 AM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by max49:
"How many volts does your inverter put out?"
We're leaving for a 2000 mile trip next week and I got a new GPS trip maker or whatever they call it. You have to use it with your laptop. I'm not too fluent with this high tech stuff but this thing seems to be kind of neat if it works. However, I'll have to leave the laptop on, basicly for the whole trip. I certainly don't want to leave the generator on just to keep the laptop battery charged.
I thought, 'no problem', I have 2 inveters. One is 300 watt cig lighter type and the other is 1500 watt that is to the entire coach.
I have 2 things that concern me.
1 It seems I heard you should'nt charge batteries with inverter power. Any body else charge their laptop with the inverter?
2 I checked the voltage from both inverters. The 300 watt inverter only puts out 95 to 100 volts. The 1500 watt only puts out 100 to 105 volts. I've used the 1500 running the fridge, microwave and maybe the TV and never had a problem but that was before I checked the voltage with a volt meter.
Is this normal for inverters? Does anyone think I could damage the laptop leaving it on and plugged into the inverter for that long? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Max,

Most inverters have a laundry list of devices that they were designed to run and laptop computers are usually on the list. On the warning about battery chargers most I have bought include the warning as a maybe such as "Battery chargers may overheat". They then reccomend that if you do plug in a battery charger to check it for excessive heat before extended use.

Personally with four inverters of different size and make used with five different laptop computers ranging from an old 486 to the latest Centrino based units I have not had a problem with charger overheating etc. The oldest the 486 which has seen the most inverter use is still fully functional.

Currently I use the inverter built into the overhead entertainment console of my Winnie for the laptop with GPS.

As far as voltage, while you could be concerned with the less than 105 volts, the meter that you are using may not be compatible with the wave of the converters and not reading the voltage correctly giving you a false low reading.
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Old 12-31-2006, 02:37 AM   #5
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I think Neil is right on, on this issue. I too have used sseveral computers on various inverters with no ill effects. I would recommend that if the computer is not going to be on for a long period of time that youjust unplug it from the power source of the inverter; otherwise if it is on and working you should have no problem.
What GPS software are you using? I have DeLorme and like it very much. It takes a bit of using it to find all that it can do and then practice to get efficient with it but overall I am happy with it.
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:26 AM   #6
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Thanks guys. I guess I'll give it a try. It generally gets pretty warm any way but I'll try to check to see if it feels abnormaly hot.
RV Wizard, I did get the Delorme for Christmas. I do like it but it's hard to figure things out. I've spent hours trying to program the Wal Marts and Flying J's along the route only to lose them when I closed the program. I think I got it right this time.
We're going to the Anaheim area next TH. and I've never been there. I am programing lots of addresses into the Delorme and if it works good, uh, well, that'll be "Cool"

I also have another question about the inverter but I think I'll make a new thread for it. Thanks again
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:38 AM   #7
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Most inverters put out a modified sine wave, and most voltmeters will not display an accurate reading of a modified sine wave.

A "true RMS" volt meter will display the correct voltage when measuring a modified sine wave.
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Old 01-02-2007, 06:20 PM   #8
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Ditto on that. Modified sine wave is not the same as true sine wave. Check out This Link in the RV Tech Library for details on that as well as a listing of things that won't run on modified sine wave. Your voltmeter won't read right because it's not designed to measure that waveform so it will always read low. Also a mod sine wave will smoke a desktop PC but it won't a laptop. The laptop's battery acts as a buffer so that DC power runs the laptop and all you are using the AC for is to charge the battery. You should be okay with your setup.
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Old 01-03-2007, 03:08 AM   #9
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You are exactly right regarding the laptop vs. desktop. However, you mentioned the battery was the buffer.

Not that this matters much to your point. Actually it is the power supply that is the buffer. You can validate this by removing your battery and plugging in. You'll see that power goes directly to the laptop.

Power supplies are designed to be used all over the world so a modified sine wave is light duty. That power pack also acts as a small surge suppressor. No computer company will tell you that though.

This is also why when you have to replace the power supply it is so expensive.

I think I just threadjacked.
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