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squarelips

alternative to using an inverter?

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hi everyone-

 

we use an inverter on our batteries to charge our mobiles/laptops.

I am looking for an alternative now as i don't like running the inverter as ive been told its wastefull and not good for my batteries in the long term.

we dont use it all that much but is there any alternative?

what do you use for electrical appliances?

 

we dont have much money so we are looking at the next step up from using an inverter.... not a really expensive ultimate solution.

thanks for all your help!

thank you.

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Yes,

 

You can get adaptors that will allow you to connect both laptops and mobile phones to the boat's circuit without needing to step all the way up from 12 volts to 240 volts only to use something that then brings you back down again.

 

They will save you some power, although a low power inverter should not be sapping lots of extra power above that you are using, and even a laptop adaptor that plugs into 12 volts, and gives out maybe 19 volts contains "inverter like circuitry", so is not 100% without losses.

 

It just so happened Amazon has just mailed details of one they have on offer, (though only one now in stock it says!). If you have a modern Dell, though, it gets a bit harder.....

Modern mobile phones area lot easier, as nearly all will now charge from a USB socket, and simple adaptors are available for only a pound or two that (for example) plug into a cigarette style "12 volt" socket, and give out 5 volts through a USB socket. Definitely better than just running an inverter to plug a mobile phone charger into 240 volts, normally.

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A word of caution with 12V laptop chargers.

 

My experience hasn't been great, in fact my 12v laptop charger will only work with the engine running. Fine for charging whilst cruising, but not on the mooring. I can only imagine they are designed to be used to charge a laptop whilst a car is being driven, I don't really know, maybe someone else can shed a little light on this.

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Hi.

Bit confused, have been told that you can leave inverter on 24/7 with no harm done.

Do you have to turn it off? If so, when?help.gif

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Hi.

Bit confused, have been told that you can leave inverter on 24/7 with no harm done.

Do you have to turn it off? If so, when?:help:

There is no problem leaving the inverter on 24/7 provided the batteries don't get too flat. When the inverter is on, even with no appliances switched on, it does use up to an amp or so, so if you leave it on for days without charging the batteries, they will go flat.

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A word of caution with 12V laptop chargers.

 

My experience hasn't been great, in fact my 12v laptop charger will only work with the engine running. Fine for charging whilst cruising, but not on the mooring. I can only imagine they are designed to be used to charge a laptop whilst a car is being driven, I don't really know, maybe someone else can shed a little light on this.

Not my experience at all.

 

Ours all manage to both run the laptop and replenish the charge without needing the engine running.

 

Mind you, I don't think we have had one rated at less than 120 watts, so they are not on the margins for the kit we are using them on.

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Not my experience at all.

 

Ours all manage to both run the laptop and replenish the charge without needing the engine running.

 

Mind you, I don't think we have had one rated at less than 120 watts, so they are not on the margins for the kit we are using them on.

 

Then it's definately a "characteristic" of my charger. The item is this & the product details on the link page are: Input:12v, Output 19V, Output Amperage 4.74A. I'll have to try & check out it's proper specs to be sure. despite this, it doesn't seem to matter what my battery state is at, it simply will not charge the laptop on anything less than about 13.7v & I don't get that unless the engine is running. I wouldn't mind, but I bought the thing for my specific laptop.

Edited by Spuds

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I have two adapter chargers, a Nikkai A33HU 8A, and a A73HU 4.5A and both work and charge my laptop at the same time from just one switched in cabin battery. Maybe the wires that feed your fag lighter socket are too skinny. Chop the fag lighter plug off, fit crocodile clips and try it direct to your boat batteries.

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I have two adapter chargers, a Nikkai A33HU 8A, and a A73HU 4.5A and both work and charge my laptop at the same time from just one switched in cabin battery. Maybe the wires that feed your fag lighter socket are too skinny. Chop the fag lighter plug off, fit crocodile clips and try it direct to your boat batteries.

 

I'm inclined to agree. Once the charger attempts to drag 7 or 8 amps out of the fag lighter socket, the voltage might easily drop to 11.5 when the engine isn't on if the wires feeding it are thin/long/both.

 

Have you tried it in the car with the engine OFF? Do you get the same refusal to charge?

 

 

MtB

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I have two adapter chargers, a Nikkai A33HU 8A, and a A73HU 4.5A and both work and charge my laptop at the same time from just one switched in cabin battery. Maybe the wires that feed your fag lighter socket are too skinny. Chop the fag lighter plug off, fit crocodile clips and try it direct to your boat batteries.

 

I can try that, no problem. I have a "lighter" socket immediately next to my fused distribution panel, so I could try that first, the wires are fairly chunky, if not I can wire directly to the power connector that feeds the panel.

 

 

I'm inclined to agree. Once the charger attempts to drag 7 or 8 amps out of the fag lighter socket, the voltage might easily drop to 11.5 when the engine isn't on if the wires feeding it are thin/long/both.

 

Have you tried it in the car with the engine OFF? Do you get the same refusal to charge?

 

 

MtB

 

No, I haven't. So simple I didn't think of it! tongue.png

 

I can do that tomorrow. Ta for the idea.

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I can try that, no problem. I have a "lighter" socket immediately next to my fused distribution panel, so I could try that first, the wires are fairly chunky, if not I can wire directly to the power connector that feeds the panel.

 

 

No, I haven't. So simple I didn't think of it! tongue.png

 

I can do that tomorrow. Ta for the idea.

The cabin battery that's supplying my laptop power is eight years old now and down to about half its original capacity and still powers the laptop with no engine running.

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A word of caution with 12V laptop chargers.

 

My experience hasn't been great, in fact my 12v laptop charger will only work with the engine running. Fine for charging whilst cruising, but not on the mooring. I can only imagine they are designed to be used to charge a laptop whilst a car is being driven, I don't really know, maybe someone else can shed a little light on this.

Volt Drop in the socket and wiring

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An inverter will draw some current all the time it is powered, with a modern one this should be small.

 

I regularly use a car lighter socket to charge my phone, work phone and sat nav through a three way adaptor. I use a two way USB output from B&Q to get 5v from 12v

 

I totally failed to get a 12v supply for a DELL lappy

 

A mate with off grid house has a switch adjacent to each wall socket. this is all connected to the remote control on the inverter. one switch on and the inverter comes on. Switch off again and the inverter goes off.

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I totally failed to get a 12v supply for a DELL lappy

 

I guess it depends which Dell you are trying for, but a quick look at e-Bay shows several.

 

One example here, but lots more.

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Er, no I can't, charger & laptop are 94 miles apart.

 

sad.png

That's probably why it's not working then

 

..................... excessive cable length wink.png

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That's probably why it's not working then

 

..................... excessive cable length wink.png

 

But the instructions clearly state cable length not to exceed 94m.

 

Ah! 9 point 4 METRES! Damn.

 

laugh.pnglaugh.png

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I want to work out what size cable you'll need for a 94 mile cable run to minimise voltage drop, but I think the pikies will be nicking at one end before you get a chance to connect it at the other biggrin.png

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That's probably why it's not working then

 

..................... excessive cable length wink.png

Have you worked out the cable size necessary for that distance? It is quite large :)

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Have you worked out the cable size necessary for that distance? It is quite large smile.png

I was quite supprised when I put it in to: http://www.kilowatts.com.au/calculator-voltage-drop.php

 

It comes up with 70mm (assumed 150,000m (94 miles), 10A, 12.5v, 5% voltage drop)

 

Obviously the down side to that is that 70mm cable is about £13.00 a metre, so it's about £2,000,000 in cable (you might get discount for bulk purchase wink.png )

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I was quite supprised when I put it in to: http://www.kilowatts.com.au/calculator-voltage-drop.php

 

It comes up with 70mm (assumed 150,000m (94 miles), 10A, 12.5v, 5% voltage drop)

 

Obviously the down side to that is that 70mm cable is about £13.00 a metre, so it's about £2,000,000 in cable (you might get discount for bulk purchase wink.png )

 

Euromillions ticket bought!

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I was quite supprised when I put it in to: http://www.kilowatts.com.au/calculator-voltage-drop.php

 

It comes up with 70mm (assumed 150,000m (94 miles), 10A, 12.5v, 5% voltage drop)

 

Obviously the down side to that is that 70mm cable is about £13.00 a metre, so it's about £2,000,000 in cable (you might get discount for bulk purchase wink.png )

 

 

 

Euromillions ticket bought!

 

Are we not heading here for a BW/CRT type "overkill" solution to a problem that could actually be solved in a much more practical and cost effective manner?

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Are we not heading here for a BW/CRT type "overkill" solution to a problem that could actually be solved in a much more practical and cost effective manner?

 

What's wrong with that? If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. tongue.png

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What's wrong with that? If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. tongue.png

The costs of any duff decisions you make are surely unlikely to be met by sharing them out around 35,000 boat owners, each paying a bit out of their licence costs?

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