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wingNwing 05-01-2008 08:02 AM

Square wave or sine wave inverter?
Has anyone had problems using a square-wave inverter to charge laptop batteries?

I know not to run things with motors on square waves inverters, but I thought square waves were fine for batteries until I fried the battery pack for my DeWalt drill. Now I'm gunshy of charging the laptops (a Compaq and a Gateway). Thoughts, please?

-Dan (Eryka's other half)

Fareast 05-01-2008 08:13 AM

I have a mod sine wave ProWatt inverter and was hoping that I would be able to charge my Ryobi tool batteries.

Mike and Paula
S/V Tivoli

JimsCAL 05-01-2008 08:16 AM

I have used a modified sine wave inverter with my Acer laptop charger and had no problems.

lbdavis 05-01-2008 10:56 AM

I would be very hesitant about using a square wave on a computer. Computers are very sensitive pieces of electronics that really like a flow of clean current.

eryka 05-01-2008 11:16 AM


Originally Posted by lbdavis (Post 307838)
I would be very hesitant about using a square wave on a computer. Computers are very sensitive pieces of electronics that really like a flow of clean current.

Agreed. Because it's a laptop battery, rather than directly powering a desktop. I wonder if that mitigates the odd wave shape? I'm thinking of doing whatever business we have on the computer, usually working off its battery, then shutting the lid and plugging it in to recharge. Would that be safer?

artbyjody 05-01-2008 11:23 AM

I have used both types - you'll be fine either way. Most laptop power bricks have wide tolerances for input as they do their own cleaning and conversion for the dc. However, the Sine Wave will be more efficient and therefore theoretically require less draw from your batteries. Other than that go for it...

Fareast 05-01-2008 11:26 AM

Other than Dan, has anyone had any expierence with charging tool batteries, for drills, saws etc?

Mike & Paula
S/V Tivoli

camaraderie 05-01-2008 11:27 AM

I used a MSW inverter for years to power my on board laptops and charge my cordless screwdriver with no issues. The PC's AC/DC "brick" takes care of any concerns about power.
Of course, I'd use a decent inverter and not some cheesy auto store model, but the computer stores would not be selling these inverters if they didn't work and were blowing up the PC's they this one from TigerDirect:

hellosailor 05-01-2008 04:51 PM

The answer is "it all depends". On precisely what circuitry is inside whatever you are trying to run. Some things, like light bulbs, are a purely resistive load and they don't care about sine-vs-square waves. Other devices with motors or inductors canget terribly upset about square wave.

And laptop batteries these days--including Compaq--are not batteries at all. The battery pack has a fairly complex charge control circuit board in it, with more electronics than the typical 'transistor' radio or other small appliance.

If you can't contact whoever makes your power adapter (brick, etc.) and you can't find out if square wave is safe for it, assume it isn't, unless you know exactly what is inside.

Idiens 05-01-2008 06:16 PM

I've taken to running my PCs off DC/DC converters.

Mainly because I can't make up my mind what size and type of inverter is the best choice.;)

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