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Author Topic: Best car inverter?  (Read 9095 times)

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Offline Walstib62

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Re: Best car inverter?
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2010, 09:18:45 AM »
Correct. That is why I said it is best to match the inverter's output rating to a specific load. In other words, to maximize battery life, there is not 1 singular inverter that will work optimally for all load variations. And the total load must be considered in order to prevent overloading the 12 volt supply circuit rating.   

Offline Myco

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Re: Best car inverter?
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2010, 12:15:52 PM »
 ;) I gotcha. thanks
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Offline junkyardt

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Re: Best car inverter?
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2010, 04:13:09 PM »
ok, so since we're talking about specific loads i'll provide some details and hopefully someone can help me out, cause i'm not an electrician or even remotely electrical-minded and when i try to consider various specs and put it all together i find it kind of confusing.

i have a 2003 Toyota Camry Solara and first of all, it has 2 cigarette lighter sockets. the one on top is unmarked and is apparently just considered the 'cigarette lighter' in the car manual. the other is below it and is termed the 'power outlet', even though it appears to just be another cigarette lighter. all this time i've been using my phone charger through the top one, should i have been using the bottom one? and if i were to get an inverter, should i plug that only into the bottom one, or wouldn't the top one work just as well? i'm confused as to why i have 2 of them.

next, in the manual it has a notice "to prevent the fuse from being blown, do not use the electricity over the total vehicle capacity of 12V/120W." i was thinking about this one someone else linked to earlier in the thread:

http://www.amazon.com/Duracell-Mobile-Pocket-Inverter-100/dp/B000U0M7PG/ref=sr_1_10?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1277060596&sr=1-10

now that's rated 175W, but it says not to go over 120W in my manual, so obviously i don't want to use the full capacity of that inverter, right?

now as far as what i want to run...i want to charge a laptop battery and the laptop charger says it's 90W and input AC 100-240V, output DC 19.5V. so with the 90W i wouldn't be going over the 120. but what about the part where it says not to go over 12V? how am i supposed to do that if chargers require over 100V AC?

also, i'd like to charge a videocamera battery, that charger says input AC 110-240V and output 11V, doesn't say a word about wattage. then there's an external hard drive i'd possibly like to run just long enough to offload files, and that doesn't say a word about wattage or anything.

i'm just trying to figure out of any of these 3 things on their own are going to be a problem for the inverter and/or for my car's electrical capacity (definitely wouldn't try using more than one thing at the same time).

Offline 12milluz

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Re: Best car inverter?
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2010, 04:47:24 PM »
For reference: wattage=voltage x amperage
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Offline junkyardt

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Re: Best car inverter?
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2010, 05:11:12 PM »
cool, didnt know that. that works perfectly for my 90W laptop charger for the output, 19.5V x 4.62A = 90.09W. so then i only need to worry about the wattage for the output of whatever i'm plugging in, not the input?

Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Best car inverter?
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2010, 06:07:31 PM »
The good news is laptop power supplies often draw less than their rated requirement.. I'd guess the draw will increase if the battery is completely dead, and especially if you are running the laptop. Also, computers do use significantly more power as CPU consumption increases..

The bad news...  Most of these inverters are cheap crap, though some of them are prettied up to look nicer than others.  So it is literally a crapshoot.  As I mentioned, I'd be very hesitant to plug any hard drive in that you care about.  I think there is a lot less risk charging a laptop vs. using the laptop.

If you burn out an inverter, the output may destabilize and fry whatever is plugged into it.  I always unplug the inverter when starting the car/boat/whatever.  The starter can cause bad spikes in the 12v system.

I've watched one of those somewhat fancier inverters with a built-in fan fry from nothing more than powering a laptop.   Meanwhile, a cheaper unit, sans fan, chugged along just fine with the load.   You just never know.  Having a spare is important, if the a/c is critical.

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