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  #41  
Old 09-02-2008
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I had a similar problem with my previous Dell laptop. I tried about 6 or 7 different inverters all much larger than required. The paperwork that came with my Dell actually said it wouldn't work with many invertors and I never could get it to do so. My Gateway, or HPs never had a problem on any of them. You may be out of luck or have to find a different brick. The fact that a larger one works on the same invertor points me to your brick.
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  #42  
Old 09-02-2008
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Facts

This post has a lot of interesting information and I cannot resist answering some of the facts reported here:

1) DC to DC converters are not efficient: this is wrong. As already stated, DC to DC converters achieve the conversion goal in one step instead of two. There is no theoretical reason for them to not be more efficient than an inverter + a laptop adapter.

2) DC to DC converters are noisy: this is wrong. 99% of the power supplies available today uses some kind of switching. This is the case of every single inverter and every single laptop adapter. A well designed DC to DC converter should not be noisier than the inverter + adapter combo.

3) Two brand new inverters were faulty: this is unlikely. The most likely cause and solution has also been reported: very likely the inverter did not see enough load and was going into a power down mode. The small light bulb solution is an elegant solution to this problem that I have also observed on a modified sine wave inverter. It is often difficult to get an inverter to detect a cellphone charger and this is why I prefer using the infamous cigarette lighter to charge cellphones on board (this is by the way another version of a DC to DC conversion).

4) DC to DC adapters work in plane if you have the correct 12V plug. Airlines don't use the automotive cigarette lighter plug. I believe that this special plug is becoming obsolete as some airlines have started to offer direct 110V sockets even in economy class.

5) Receiving weather fax requires a noise-free environement: this is true. I know which devices are generating noise on my boat and I need to turn them off when receiving faxes. The one device that can definitly says on is my DC to DC converter !

Hope this helps.

Last edited by TheFrenchFrog; 09-02-2008 at 08:14 PM.
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  #43  
Old 09-02-2008
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"Airlines don't use the automotive cigarette lighter plug."
Actually a number of them do, including American Airlines, here in the US. Your skymiles may vary.[g]
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  #44  
Old 09-02-2008
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Smile DC to DC Conversion best for running laptops on board?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFrenchFrog View Post
This post has a lot of interesting information and I cannot resist answering some of the facts reported here:

1) DC to DC converters are not efficient: this is wrong. As already stated, DC to DC converters achieve the conversion goal in one step instead of two. There is no theoretical reason for them to not be more efficient than an inverter + a laptop adapter.

2) DC to DC converters are noisy: this is wrong. 99% of the power supplies available today uses some kind of switching. This is the case of every single inverter and every single laptop adapter. A well designed DC to DC converter should not be noisier than the inverter + adapter combo.

3) Two brand new inverters were faulty: this is unlikely. The most likely cause and solution has also been reported: very likely the inverter did not see enough load and was going into a power down mode. The small light bulb solution is an elegant solution to this problem that I have also observed on a modified sine wave inverter. It is often difficult to get an inverter to detect a cellphone charger and this is why I prefer using the infamous cigarette lighter to charge cellphones on board (this is by the way another version of a DC to DC conversion).

4) DC to DC adapters work in plane if you have the correct 12V plug. Airlines don't use the automotive cigarette lighter plug. I believe that this special plug is becoming obsolete as some airlines have started to offer direct 110V sockets even in economy class.

5) Receiving weather fax requires a noise-free environement: this is true. I know which devices are generating noise on my boat and I need to turn them off when receiving faxes. The one device that can definitly says on is my DC to DC converter !

Hope this helps.
Nice post! I had completely missed the fact that after converting DC to AC we were then converting AC back to DC in the brick. So, yes the power efficiency with an inverter and a brick is probably worse.

I did some research based on the experimental evidence that was reported by Sailboy21. The Lind electronics site was a very interesting start. I knew that almost all power supplies in use today are switchers as I have had too much experience with them in my PCs. What I did not know is the quality of filtering and integration now available and the leaps these things have made in efficiency (86%+). I am very happy this whole subject came up because it challenged my way of thinking. The links that were very useful are:
DC-DC basics:
DC-DC Converter Basics
Wikipedia:DC to DC converter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So IMHO, either solution inverter or DC to DC will work. For a PC only, the DC to DC solution is the most elegant. If however you need an inverter to run your coffee pot or other AC devices, as well as your computer (not at the same time, please) then the inverter is the more economical solution.

If anyone has more information on the airline plug and current availability question (#4 above), I would love to hear about it. Then I could us a DC to DC on the plane and the boat.

Last edited by SelkirkGrace; 09-02-2008 at 11:48 PM. Reason: Adding supporting links
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  #45  
Old 09-03-2008
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During my trials today I recorded the audio on my SSB tuned to 10.000Mhz. During daylight hours the signal is never real clear anyway, however if you listen for the hum (not the static) that is from the DC-DC power supply powering my laptop. The amount of noise it generates is directly proportional to the load. There is no noise during no load, but when the laptop is loading a program the interference gets pretty bad. Since I use my laptop for weather fax this situation has caused me a lot of grief. I think my new xantrex inverter is leagues above anything I have tried before, but it sure did cost an arm and a leg. 2 gauge battery cable sure is expensive these days!!!!


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  #46  
Old 09-03-2008
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Consider 12v power supply

As everyone here seems to have done, I have used a 100W invertor to supply my lap top via its 240v power supply and it works fine. So itlooks like your invertor is faulty.

Before you fork out for a new invertor though, consider buying a 12v power supply to replace the one from your laptop manufacturer. There are several makes on the market - I use Kensington.

The box will boost the 12v supply up to 19v or so and provide all the regulation, overload protection, thermal protection etc that your laptop power supply does.

The difference is that by not boosting 12v up to line voltage and then letting your laptop brick bring it back down to 19v, you will waste far less precious amp hours in heating up bricks. My invertor almost glows and the 240v HP power supply gets seriously warm. The Kensington brick just gets gently warm.
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  #47  
Old 09-03-2008
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If you are getting that much interference I can only think of one or two items:

1. Length of the DC power cable(s) to the inverter. Shorter is better and less noise will be induced. I have my inverter installed directly above the batteries that power it.

2. Consider using suppression ferrites on the both sides of the DC cables that power the inverter. This will minimize the interference generated from your powered electronics on the inverter (and possibly remove it). You can pick these up from Grainger or any electronics supply store...As even a better measure using surpression ferrites on the actual cables / power brick supplies will greatly help (and how I also rigged the 12 VDC powering of the TV whose cables run along with the VHF, and other NAV equipment. I have yet to detect any noticable introduction of static etc to any of that equipment with TV on.

YMMV however...
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  #48  
Old 09-20-2008
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Try www (dot) batteryheads (dot) com I found a DC-DC converter for my Panasonic CF-28 for $39.95.
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  #49  
Old 09-20-2008
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Did you try this with the laptop running on battery power? If it still makes such noise on battery power, it isn't the dc-to-dc power supply but the laptop itself...which is far more likely IMHO. The HDD interface and controller could be one possible culprit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailboy21 View Post
During my trials today I recorded the audio on my SSB tuned to 10.000Mhz. During daylight hours the signal is never real clear anyway, however if you listen for the hum (not the static) that is from the DC-DC power supply powering my laptop. The amount of noise it generates is directly proportional to the load. There is no noise during no load, but when the laptop is loading a program the interference gets pretty bad. Since I use my laptop for weather fax this situation has caused me a lot of grief. I think my new xantrex inverter is leagues above anything I have tried before, but it sure did cost an arm and a leg. 2 gauge battery cable sure is expensive these days!!!!



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  #50  
Old 09-20-2008
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My suspicion is that your sine wave inverter doesn't like the starting surge drawn by a switching type power supply in your computer. A switching power supply can appear to be nearly a short circuit on startup, and your sine wave inverter probably doesn't have the kind of overload capacity of a cheaper stepped inverter. Your friends computer probably has a power supply of a different design, that limits inrush, so it works just fine.
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