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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 08-26-2008
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Thanks guys -- but......... Aims replaced the first inverter, good people to deal with. Guess it doesn't rule out TWO defective units. Other problem with that is that it powers tv and friends laptop with no problems.
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brak,
I think you have the solution. I'm using the cheapo now, and charging laptop, and it is working fine. Still would like to know why the better unit will not work with my system yet is fine with others.
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If ya just gotta find out you may want the see if the manufacture has a web site and and send them an email.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsingtao View Post
brak,
I think you have the solution. I'm using the cheapo now, and charging laptop, and it is working fine. Still would like to know why the better unit will not work with my system yet is fine with others.
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Most inverters are rated to perform at 14.4volts from alternator power--not the 12-12.4 typical on battery power alone.

So if your engine is not running, that could be all it takes to stop you. Check the inverter docs, check the voltage you have going into the inverter. Some also are supplied with a cheapie cig lighter cord, and require heavier gauge direct wiring to support their full rating. There's often voltage loss in the wiring to the cig lighter socket, as well.

While it is a dedicated expense, a DC-to-DC adapter (like the Igo Everywhere or Kensington/Targus Airpower) is usually more flexible about tolerating a wider DC input range, and more efficient than using one inverter plus a seecond laptop brick. The Igo runs off AC or DC, just uses two different cords and is a bit bulkier to do that. Some computer makers offer direct "dual" AC/DC power adapters as well.
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I had the same thing happen with my Panasonic toughbook cf-51, on a cheap 300w inverter. I just assumed it was because I tried the easy approach, cigarette type adapter. I figured that not only was the adapter wire gauge small, but the run of wire from the battery (or DC panel) to the cigarette socket was likely small gauge as well. Haven't tried to wire the inverter directly to the house bank yet!

I guess the small guage wire to the socket would not explain why it did work with your friend's laptop, though!
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On our trip to the Bahamas, I had a small 300 watt inverter that would power the TV and my sons game systems. It plugged into a cigarette lighter slot. It would charge the HP widescreen laptop, but it would not run while connected. Similar to your problem.

I also had an inexpensive 1500 watt inverter ($80 online) wired directly into the battery bus. The cables and fuse mount cost more than the inverter. It would run the computer as well as the coffee maker and microwave. You don't need an expensive auto switching system to run your AC appliances.
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tsingtao,

The specifications on this inverter look OK...

Since this is the second one you've had trouble with, I suspect that either their quality control stinks OR there's something amiss in your onboard setup.

What size cable are you using to connect the inverter to the batteries? How long is the cable? Are you connecting directly to the batteries, or thru a breaker panel? This inverter can draw 20A.

Before returning the inverter, I'd be very sure that it's getting the power it needs to operate properly. Small wiring, long runs, dirty contacts, low batteries, etc., can combine to drop the actual input voltage to the 10.5 volts or below, at which point the inverter may cut out.

Bill
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What happens if you power up the pc before for connect the inverter?

If it is charging the battery what else do you need?
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Most often, you can buy a 12V cigarette lighter adapter for your laptop, save a lot of juice going from 12v D/C to 120V A/C to 12V D/C or what ever voltage it needs...

Do a search on "car charger hp laptop" I hit a few that would work.
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I am guessing that the Dell uses more power, having a 21" LCD vs. a 15" LCD. The problem is probably a combination of the inverter not putting out very clean AC and the HP being more sensitive to bad power than the Dell.
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