Jump to content

Looking for car adaptor to use with laptop


Followers 2

Recommended Posts

I just picked up a used laptop for cheap money that I plan on using for geocaching & traveling. Looking for a car adaptor that can be used with all types of electrical items, not just a laptop.

 

Since I can see this being used in a rental car at times, I'm wondering about it having enough room between cigarette lighter & stick shift. Also, a few that I've read said they were good for laptops, but reviews kept mentioning blowing fuses in the car. Not stuff I want to be dealing with on vacation.

 

Do you have one you like? Tell me about it, please!

Edited by wandering4cache
Link to comment

I have been using a Belkin "AC Anywhere" power inverter, Model F5C400, since April 2006. I have the 150 watt model, which looks like this:

 

7a793070464c466649743862504a6e55684e77-150x188-0-0.jpg

 

There's also a 300 watt model with two outlets.

 

This product has served me well over my last 1500 cache finds, including several long roadtrips and use in multiple rental cars. It has never blown a fuse or otherwise failed. The cord is no different than a GPS power cord and has never interfered with the stick shift or anything else. It's a long enough cord so that the box sits down on the passenger side floor, where it won't be in the way of anything.

 

Using a laptop in the car has revolutionized my geocaching, making navigation and cache selection far more efficient, and nearly eliminating the need for advance planning at home. As a result I spend more of my time out in the field having fun. I use GSAK for keeping track of the caches and Garmin nRoute for real time on-screen tracking of my vehicle on a large map that also shows all the caches. Click on a cache and then follow the voice that gives turn-by-turn navigation directions to get there. It is almost too easy!

Link to comment

I have a cheap one I got at Wal-mart for $15. I drive a stick shift and it's not in the way, even thought it doesn't have a cord on it to get it off out of the front panel.

 

My vehicle is nice in that it has 2 12v plugs, one up high for the cigarette lighter (shuts off with ignition) and another one down low that stays on always. I use it with the lower one, which is below the gearshift.

 

I have a fairly small Laptop (14 inch screen) and it works great. What I really need now is a mount of some kind, and a USB puck GPS and I'll have it made. :unsure:

Link to comment

CPI 1550 Cobra

 

1500 Watt with 3000 Watt surge. I can run pretty much anything that would be useful in my vehicle. Hardwired to battery with 2 gauge wire.

I use exactly the same. Note the heavy gauge wiring, and EVERYTHING you run direct to the battery must be fused properly.

 

Check the user manual for your laptop and any other devices for power requirements and make sure that you do not under-power them.

 

Total the current requirements for all accessories and make sure that you do not overload the source - cigarette lighter plugs are not made in many cases for accessories.

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
Link to comment

I just picked up a used laptop for cheap money that I plan on using for geocaching & traveling. Looking for a car adaptor that can be used with all types of electrical items, not just a laptop.

 

Since I can see this being used in a rental car at times, I'm wondering about it having enough room between cigarette lighter & stick shift. Also, a few that I've read said they were good for laptops, but reviews kept mentioning blowing fuses in the car. Not stuff I want to be dealing with on vacation.

 

Do you have one you like? Tell me about it, please!

 

Kensington has a really nice one, but it's a little pricey. it has adapter tips for laptops, cell phones, media players and USB charged devices, and it runs on AC/Auto and Air power. My only complaint is that it's impossible to organize the tips in the crappy bag that comes with it. On the other hand, it's always in my laptop bag, so I don't have to unplug and wrap up the one that came with my laptop every time I go mobile. I got one at a deep discount when our local CompUSA closed, but if I'd had to pay what they were asking retail for it I would probably have gone with an inverter as well.

Link to comment

The first inverter I tried was a 200W (100W continuous) cheapie one that lasted about a month. It blew out a few 20 amp fuses before it finally went. I'm now using a Black and Decker 400W. I plug it into the 2nd cigarette outlet that was designed for such use and it seems to work fine.

 

Using a laptop in the car has revolutionized my geocaching, making navigation and cache selection far more efficient, and nearly eliminating the need for advance planning at home. As a result I spend more of my time out in the field having fun.

 

and I agree with that completely.

Link to comment

The sine wave thing is this.

Most in-expensive inverters produce a modified sine wave (MSW)

AC voltage. SOME electronics just do not like MSW.

Some inverters do a better job making the MSW than others.

If you need clean AC current like at home, you use a pure sine wave

inverter. But they are usually up to three times more expensive for the same wattage.

This is what I use in my RV as I also install them in my customers vehicles

for medical equipment, which will not tolerate MSW.

In my car, I use a 400w inverter. But I won't run it even close to capacity, it is just what I had.

If you run a large one at close to capacity, you could have a dead battery in about 2-5 Min. depending on the condition of the battery. 1500 watts divided by 12 volts = 125 amps. But it's hard to pull that much current in a car.

I think Radio Shack has a little inverter with no cord, just the lighter plug on one end and a outlet on the other. That might be close to what you are looking for. If your equipment does not operate correctly with it, try another brand of inverter, if still mis-behaving, go to a pure sine wave.

 

Dang, did I really write all that? Looks like it's from Cliff Clavin. :unsure: Cheers!

 

PP4x4

Link to comment

I just use a cheap inverter. You can get a 200W one for around 30 bucks. I think even Wal-Mart sells them. It gives you 110v for your notebook, also for anything else you may have running on 110V.

Finding a 12V adapter for your notebook is either impossible, or would cost a fortune (>$30).

Link to comment

I have a 150/300 watt inverter in my truck. it works fine for the laptop as long as I'm not using anything else. Most of them will only work up to 150 through the lighter, if you want the full power, you have to hook it to the battery. You can find a good selection at most truck stops. If you plan to use it just to charge the laptop while you're not using it, 150 should be plenty

Link to comment

adding the note, I've seen some posts about blowing fuses in the car. Make sure you get an inverter that has the fuse on itself, then you won't blow the one in the car. My inverter shuts down if the battery doesn't have enough power.

 

I thought mine would shut down too, But I keep leaving my laptop pluged in and the inverter turned the next day my battery is dead! So I dumped the inverter and went with a dc to dc power supply , so far The cars battery been ok even on 10 deg. mornings

Link to comment

Update: I ended up getting a Kensigton 200 watt portable power inverter. Model K33215. I think they are recently discontinued since it disappeared off the Kensington site while making my decision. I was able to find someone selling several new ones on ebay. Other places had reconditioned ones. Got it for $40 total s&h.

 

115 volt AC power in a continuous stream of 160 watts.

Built in fuse.

AC outlet (for the laptop)

USB (for the PDA)

pass thru DC outlet (for GPS or cell phone)

 

Everything I needed. Small enough for traveling too. Thanks!

Edited by wandering4cache
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 2
×
×
  • Create New...