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Old 12-01-2010, 07:39 PM   #1
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Powering laptops off 12V?

Hey everyone,

We're working towards getting more power efficient & off-grid...getting solar, installing LED lighting etc. One thing I need help with is powering laptops off the 12V supply. I'm thinking this would be much more efficient than turning on the inverter. Anyone do this? Do you just use a DC/DC converter plugged into the cigarette lighter (and power one laptop at a time), or are there other options which can power multiple laptops?

Nina
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:04 PM   #2
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Your power loss to the inverter is very insignificant. Laptops don't use enough power to make a difference. Just charge up your laptop off the lighter socket to make it really simple.

A mistake most people make is to believe that LED's are more efficient. They are not. You can look this up. Look at the power consumption versus the AMOUNT of light emitted. You measure the "quantity" of light in lumens. If you want to be able to see at night use fluorescent lights. Choose lower wattage FLUORESCENTS to save power. People all over are being fooled about LED's. High power LED's are a waste of money.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:04 PM   #3
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I have one of these and it works fine charging from 115VAC or 12VDC.

"iGo" Laptop Travel Charger - Slim at iGo, Inc.

They also have one for Netbooks that costs less in case you have a Netbook.

"iGo" Netbook Travel Charger at iGo, Inc.

You just need to select the correct Tip and you've got the best of both worlds.

Dick
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WOODYDEL View Post
Your power loss to the inverter is very insignificant. Laptops don't use enough power to make a difference. Just charge up your laptop off the lighter socket to make it really simple.

A mistake most people make is to believe that LED's are more efficient. They are not. You can look this up. Look at the power consumption versus the AMOUNT of light emitted. You measure the "quantity" of light in lumens. If you want to be able to see at night use fluorescent lights. Choose lower wattage FLUORESCENTS to save power. People all over are being fooled about LED's. High power LED's are a waste of money.
I have converted to all LEDs. The light is better than I had with incandescent lamps and it uses about one sixth the power. I agree the first LEDs that I tried a couple of years ago put out very little light, but the ones I have now are great. I also use a flashlight a lot in my work. I used to go through AA batteries every other day or so, now I can go close to a month nd the quality of light is better.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:26 PM   #5
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You are trying to do something unconventional in a conventional motorhome. The clean way to do it is to install 12VDC receptacles where you will be using the laptops. If you use an inverter you will have extension cords running from the inverter to the laptops and some of the small inverters don't have the best power quality.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:51 PM   #6
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DOE

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Originally Posted by John Hilley View Post
I have converted to all LEDs. The light is better than I had with incandescent lamps and it uses about one sixth the power. I agree the first LEDs that I tried a couple of years ago put out very little light, but the ones I have now are great. I also use a flashlight a lot in my work. I used to go through AA batteries every other day or so, now I can go close to a month nd the quality of light is better.

Even the department of energy is concerned with the con job about LED output. Every requirement of any lighting system can be met with fluorescent lighting. LED's fool you with their "hot" light. You look into it and go blind. That is not a measure of efficiency. By the time you buy enough LED's to supply enough light throughout the motorhome to see, you would be better served to buy a couple of T 105's and put the rest of the cash left over in the bank.

LED'S are not worth what you pay.

This is what the DOE THINKS in just one example:
http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildin...eplacement.pdf

Let's put it this way, if what they charge for LED'S was in line with how much they cost to make THEN they might make sense. If you already have convinced yourself the LED'S are great I'm not going to pick on you but for every person who has not made that leap, I'm going to do my best to sway them. Numbers do not lie.

Next time you pull up to a street light take a look. How many indestructible LED'S are burnt out? How much do you think municipalities are paying for those LED'S?

There is only one reason manufacturers make these things. They are easy to make and you overpay for what you get.


Try this out. Go to your local Walmart. Stand in front of the LED tv displays. You will roast. Just WHY is there ANY heat? After all they are LED displays. One day I was looking for something in the local Walmart and was suddenly aware that I was HOT. I mean really noticeably HOT. I thought their air conditioning had failed. I just now got up and put my hand in front of my old tube type TV. No heat.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:08 PM   #7
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Go to boondocking and read my post "Solar That Really Works." I put my money in a really good solar system and then had to renovate it to make it work like the books said it should. With a properly operating solar system, except for A/C, a generator is not needed. You will have power to spare with only 400 watts of panels and 4 or 6 T-105 batteries. I run everything I have that is electrical as much as I want including the microwave on a 2000 watt modified sine wave inverter. I prefer regular lighting to LEDs. My eyes tell me it is better light and I already have it. I do not need to skimp on power.

Yes get an adaptor for your computer to plug into a 12 V socket.

I agree with Woodydel. For the same amount of light a fluorescent is just as if not more efficient than LEDs and a lot less expensive. I read that in 5 different places on line and not on forums.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:54 AM   #8
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I use a very small inverter, 100watts, for charging gadgets of "company'" hat come unprepared for the boondocking experience. Otherwise I use an aftermarket 12volt power cord make specifically for my Toshiba. Available at BestBuy or online for most laptops.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:39 AM   #9
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I agree LED lights are expensive and the manufacturers are making big money from selling them. BUT they are the future and do a great job.

The "LED" TV is actually a LCD TV backlit with LED's bulbs and the heat does not come from the LED backlighting.

Yes the $200.00 to replace every inside incandescent lamp was a lot of money but well spent in my humble opinion. 1156 / 1141 bulbs draw 2 or more amps and get to hot to touch while the same lumen output from a high power multi SMT LED bulb drwas only 100ma with no heat.

We use the small 75watt portable plug-in inverters to power the two computers we have in the RV but only when the PC battery needs a charge. Another way would be to use the manufacturer specific DC power cords available for the PC.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:18 AM   #10
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The name of this thread is
Powering laptops off 12V?

What does that have to do with LED Lights?

Nina ask a legit question, why not start a new thread for the LED discussion and try to answer Nina in her thread.

Dick
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:24 AM   #11
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I have noticed the "igo" does not list the macbook as being compatible. Does that mean I can only use my Windows 7 laptop?
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:38 AM   #12
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Looks like Apple has struck again with there closed architecture. Here is a copy of what iGO has to say about MAC's

"The Apple MacBook series of laptops are not currently compatible with iGo laptop chargers due to licensing restrictions from the manufacturer."

It's just this attitude that has doomed most folks to the PC world and made Bill Gates very rich, better doesn't always win.

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Old 12-02-2010, 11:07 AM   #13
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Just because Apple came up with a better way to connect the power supply to the laptop shouldn't be a reason for them to make it available free to the world. As far as I'm concerned, the magnetic power supply connector the Mac laptops uses is one of the best things that has happened to the laptop industry. My two previous non-Macbook laptops both needed new motherboards due to broken connections between the laptop power connector & the board.

Although not inexpensive, 12v power supplies for Mac laptops are available from The Worlds First & Largest selection of Macbook Car adapter charger,Kensington & iGO Magsafe AC/DC car / airline / boat charger adapter for Macbook Pro
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:24 AM   #14
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True story. I was walking to my mailbox one day and saw this small black metal box with a wire coming out of it laying in the street gutter. After determining that it wasn't a bomb, I saw it was a 12 to 120 inverter. The 12v plug was crushed and the case had tire marks on it, but it was otherwise intact. Took it home, cleaned it up and put a new plug on it. Plugged in a lamp with a 60w bulb and tried it out on the car 12v socket. It worked! Not seeing any specs on it, I tried a 100w bulb and that also worked. This was about 6 years ago. Since then, I have used that recycled inverter on my Dell and Asus laptops and my Cradlepoint router with no problems. The power supplies for my stuff are pretty forgiving. Your mileage may vary.
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