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Old 02-10-2010, 10:11 AM   #1
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Inverter

My MH doesn't have an inverter. I would like to have one to run my laptop and an LCD TV. The laptop draws less than 400 watts and the LCD is less than 200. I do not have to run both at the same time although it would be nice at times. What is the max load I can draw from a cigarette lighter type 12V outlet?
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:01 AM   #2
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While I am no expert in this and others may have better ideas, I am not thrilled with the performance of the small inverters that you plug into your cigarette lighter outlet. I've had two and used them for the laptop and to power a small lamp the DW likes to put on the dash when we are parked.

When I've checked their output with a voltmeter, AC voltage is pretty low.... 98 - 104 volts. I would not want to try and power a good TV with these. Maybe the two I've had were just not up to par.

Have you considered a good pure sine wave inverter hard wired to your house batteries?
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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Hey Pete, here's a 400W unit which is probably about the max wattage you'll be able to use with a 12V adapter plug. I've been looking at them also. Xantrex makes a really nice 2000W unit but it needs to be hard wired.
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:17 AM   #4
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400 divided by 12.6 = 31.7 amps. That's roughly what the inverter would draw when supplying 400 watts. As I recall the DC power points are good for around 7 amps and would be way too small for the load.


I have a 300 watt inverter that I have used for 7 years to power laptops when we are underway. The power supplies for the laptops seem to run a little hotter than when plugged into shore power but it hasn't harmed them. My current laptops draw about 40 watts so the existing 12 power point works okay.

That being said we have had some problems with interference to the GPS system and the wireless mouse and keyboard DW uses. It depends on how the power strip cord is placed when plugged into the inverter.
I plan to get a true sign inverter very soon.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:36 PM   #5
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Remember, it takes many more watts to power up a tv than to run it.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:49 PM   #6
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smlranger if that is the voltage they put out I would not want to run a TV or Laptop on it. I would be fine hard wiring one into the house batteries. How do you run wires in a motor home? You can't get into the walls and I don't want to run wires on the exterior of the inside walls. I think I could run from the battery's to a receptacle at the laptop station at the passenger seat by going under the coach, I may well do this.

Clay L I am not familiar with the 12.6 formula please explain this to me. If that is the case that's a lot of current. Are you sure your laptop only draws 40 watts. Mine is nothing special and it draws 374 watts according to the sticker on the bottom.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:53 PM   #7
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Hayesworld the LCD TVs don't draw much current, I haven't checked the 32 inch up front but the 22 inch in the bedroom pulls 45 watts.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Clay L I am not familiar with the 12.6 formula please explain this to me. If that is the case that's a lot of current. Are you sure your laptop only draws 40 watts. Mine is nothing special and it draws 374 watts according to the sticker on the bottom.
Thanks for the help.
Watts = volts times amps
amps = watts divided by volts

amps = 400 watts divided by 12.6 battery voltage = 32 amps

On the 120 vac side, 400 divided by 120 volts = 3.3 amps. As you see the current pulled from the battery is much high higher than the current pulled from the inverter. The power (watts) is the same however.

I just rechecked my laptop and I was wrong. I looked at my printer power supply by mistake.
The laptop draws 65 watts.

My old laptop drew 90 watts.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:29 PM   #9
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Thanks, I had looked at that conversion earlier and it didn't register. I checked farther and my laptop is 48 watts. That makes more sense.
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:44 PM   #10
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We had a 600 watt inverter in our Coach than ran 2 TV's, the DISH receiver, and our laptop with no problems. We just upgraded to a 2000 watt inverter that powers the entire Coach.
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:48 PM   #11
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wthomas1 whats your battery bank?
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVee'r View Post
Hey Pete, here's a 400W unit which is probably about the max wattage you'll be able to use with a 12V adapter plug. I've been looking at them also. Xantrex makes a really nice 2000W unit but it needs to be hard wired.
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PETE,
i have a vector 400w msw inverter. the manual states that you can only get about half of that using the cig adapter. check this website:

Vector Power Inverter 400 watt - DonRowe.com

i hardwired my fan cooled 400w vector and it was marginal to power my 25" rca and 19" ge crt tv's, vcr and dvd player. the original inverter was a not fan cooled 300w msw, and was clearly inadequate. i did away with the automatic switching from ac to inverter. my entertainment devices now operate 100% off of the inverter.
i suspect that my 2 new digital converters added too much extra load. after about 6 months of use, the internal cooling fan quit working on the 400.
i replaced the 400 with a fan cooled 750w msw vector. it has been working ok for about 9 months. i cannot use all the capacity because the coach wiring is too small, (i think #8) but it works ok with about 400w draw. i installed a temperature sensor in the vicinity of the new inverter. the area the inverter is in is usually 5-8 degrees f. warmer than room temp.
we got a wii for xmas. it operates ok off of the 750. when i permanently hook up the wii in the near future, i am going to install a small 4'' inverter powered 110v massey fan from wally world set to blow into the compartment behind the front tv for extra air.
i do not operate my computer or other power supplies from the inverter. many "bricks" will overheat and are very expensive to replace.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
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wthomas1 whats your battery bank?
I have 2 Lifeline 300 amp batteries.
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:26 AM   #14
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Lighter socket about 10 amps (100 watts inverted) tops. Above that the inverter may well refuse to work or the plug may melt or the fuse will blow

Now that is, usually, enough for a laptop.. TV's are another matter and addressed above.

If you want to run a TV and need more than 100 watts go with the proper size inverter.. Make sure it has enough kick to start the television (and whatever else it needs to run) many times a device needs a lot more power at startup (That includes the laptop but it's battery will provide)

Now. One thing to consider... There are several low cost MSW inverters out there and odds are fair that they will do the job for you and no problems.. HOWEVER, fair is not 100%

Many times I've read posts where someone talks about how their tv don't look right or don't sound right on the inverter (Sparkles, bars, waves, humm in the audio) and 100% of these folks are using MSW inverters.

Not one of 'em has a true sine wave inverter...

Guess why my inverter is a Xantrex Prosine 2.0 (True sine wave)
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