Power for laptop as chartplotter

Blue5

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Went out last week with the laptop and chartplotting software, good results except for the battery life of PC.

Guess the options are

1 spare battery

2 plugged directly into 12v socket with an inverter.

I rather fancy option 2 but has anybody had similar experience and would like to share their observations also is the size of inverter critcal as again if this method were adopted I was wondering about getting inverter big enough for other electrical items onboard, TV, hairdrier (not for me) etc

Thanks
 

raquet

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I use a laptop like this but you don't need an inverter. You can get 12v chargers for most (perhaps all) laptops. I'd happily give you a web site but I got mine in France. An inverter will, of course, allow you to run other mains devices but I am always a little unhappy about mains voltages in an essentially wet environment. Shore-power is one thing but at sea the situation is different (on my boat wetter). Searching the net for ‘12v laptop charger’ gives lots of options.
 

fireball

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For a standard laptop a 150w inverter is usually more than enough - check on the bottom of the laptop to see what power it requires - mine says 19v 3.42A - ie approx 70w
Some power adapters don't like modified sinewave though - my crapard hell laptop brick didn't.. but the acer one copes with it.

150w isn't enough to run a hairdryer though - but it would be enough to charge digital camera batteries etc.
 

gary3029

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I also bought one of those from maplins. Works a treat. What I do though to conserve boat battery is to remove laptop battery. This stops it charging so wasting boat battery. Not had a problem so far
 

Talbot

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I have one of the Maplin high power units as well. I use it on the next lower voltage setting to that specified and find that the it is fine for direct powering of the laptop, but doesnt charge the battery as hard, so lots less waste heat, and less power waste.

Make sure all your charts and programmes are on the hard drive, not on a CD as that is a real power drain.

If you are using a USB input make sure you disable the "hibernate" function cause usb and hibernate dont seem to work together
 

Tomkat17

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I went down the route of a 150w inverter to power the laptop. However this was not enough as the laptop drew more power on start up/battery recharge, which caused the inverter to alarm and switch off. I now have a 300w inverter which handles everything the laptop requires. I prefer the inverter which gives you more options on electrical equipment.
 

lw395

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Seems like far too many amps to me! 150w x 10hrs to cross the channel= a very large battery.
You're never going to SAIL anywhere like that. Get a nice little garmin and some charts!
A chartplotter is brilliant for fast pilotage, e.g. the Little Russel arcade game, but you need a waterproof one on deck in the real world, unless you want to sit below and shout orders to your large crew on deck?
 

Talbot

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[ QUOTE ]
Better to use a 12-18 volt (or whatever your laptop runs on) type inverter rather than a mains one...far more efficient.


[/ QUOTE ]

That is not an inverter. It is a DC/DC Converter. An inverter is not needed from DC to DC, only when changing from AC.
 

Talbot

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Provided you are using XP, go to start/control panel/power options/hibernate and make sure it is not enabled.

Personally I run my laptop in the always on setting when using AIS and thus avoid all the incidental little problems that crop up when usb is switched off.
 

temptress

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HI,

For the Laoptop I would recomend using a DC to Dc converter. You should be able to get a 12 Car style from Maplin for a few quid - however I would recomend going for a more expensive/better quality version as these tend to last longer and have acheap one as a spare.

Also keep the internal laptop battery in the laptop - this allows laptop to continue to function shoul you have a drop (or spike) in the voltage say from starting the engine or fauly regulator while motoring.

An inverter converts DC to AC (generating HEAT and using WATTS) the laptop powersupply then converts the AC back to DC again generating heat and using WATTS. A very ineficient way of doing things.
 
G

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[ QUOTE ]
HI,

For the Laoptop I would recomend using a DC to Dc converter. You should be able to get a 12 Car style from Maplin for a few quid - however I would recomend going for a more expensive/better quality version as these tend to last longer and have acheap one as a spare.

Also keep the internal laptop battery in the laptop - this allows laptop to continue to function shoul you have a drop (or spike) in the voltage say from starting the engine or fauly regulator while motoring.

An inverter converts DC to AC (generating HEAT and using WATTS) the laptop powersupply then converts the AC back to DC again generating heat and using WATTS. A very ineficient way of doing things.

[/ QUOTE ]

I woulod advise NOT to keep battery in ... co's such as Acer actually advise not to keep battery in if powering externally. By all means carry a fully charged battery but leave it out - as even when fully charged actions and demands of thye notebook will at times call on the battery and in so doing initiate charge mode ... drawing amps that really you don't need.
Most Notebooks - especially older ones and not so old will run happily of 12v direct without battery fitted. I ike the old IBM Thinkpads .. 600E especially - they are compact and rugged. Cheap as chips on ebay ... and they run of 16V normally (thats their power pack and battery charging) .. and more than happy on 12v direct.

Inverters are fine where 240v is required ........ all else get a DC -DC converter ......... and my cheapo is now 6 yrs old and still delivers ....................
 

fireball

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Na - if the laptop is drawing 150w (flippin eck what are you doing with it? Running a NASA space shuttle?!) then your inverter will draw ~ 150w ... the ~ is because it will draw slightly more due to conversion inefficiencies ....
 
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How long did the battery last? Was the CPU fan on all the time? Is the screen saver a power-saving blank screen or animated pattern?

My laptop draws a lot of current at the moment because the serial to usb port drivers have a fault that causes the cpu to run as 100%. I have a new driver to try next visit to the boat but this software fault accounts for 2 amps of wasted power.

One point to consider with invertors is that once over 150w you lose the convenience of plugging it in via a cigarette lighter socket.
 
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