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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 08-26-2008
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Inverter Powering Laptop

Just bought a 300W pure sine wave inverter to power my laptop (HP Pavilion zv6000). Inverter will charge computer battery but as soon as I turn the computer on the screen starts "flashing" dim/bright and inverter shuts down. Max draw on startup is 80W on inverter and max amp draw on batteriy is about 6 amps. Tested inverter using a friends Dell laptop and it powers it fine. Question is---do some laptops/brands work on inverters while others don't?????
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What brand is the pure sine wave inverter???

BTW, generators and inverters are generally rated for resistive loads IIRC, and an inductive load can require an inverter/generator of a much larger rating...

What does your friend's laptop draw for power... it may be that your laptop has a larger screen, etc, and requires just enough power that the 300 W inverter chokes on it.
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Sailing Dog,
Thanks for the input. Friends laptop is a new Dell 21" screen, much bigger than my 15". His draws about the same watts and amp draw. Inverter is Aims 300W pure sine wave. HP "socket" adapter is rated at 180W so 300 should be more than adequate? Us my laptop as primary navigation system so want it to be a reliable as possible thus the pure sine wave. Perplexing.
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it is very unusual for a laptop to require 300W or anywhere near that. most laptop power supplies are rated at 50-80W (and a giant monstrosity sitting on my shelf with a huge screen and a little stove for body is rated 100W).

Check what the laptop power supply data label says.

BTW sine wave should be unnecessary, since laptop power supplies commonly deal with all sorts of bad power (and then DC voltage that goes to laptop is stabilized by battery)
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My 300w inverter powers my large laptop just fine, the 100w inverter will not.
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It is pretty unusual for a laptop power brick to require much more than 85 watts, with most being about 70-75 watts. The specifications for your machine say:

18.5 V dc to 19.0 V dc @ 4.9 A or 6.5 A

Worst case scenario, that's only 125 watts or so. Have you put an ammeter on the line when the laptop is charging and then one when it is powering up to see what the power draw really is?

Have you tried to power the laptop using a different power supply than the one you normally use? It could be a bad or flaky power brick.
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Xantrex Link 20 shows .5 amps with just inverter on. Goes to 5.1 amp draw when charging computer battery. Drops to 1.1 amps and screen flashes bright (AC) to dim (battery). Computer seems to be going back and forth between AC (inverter power) and DC (computer battery) power. Used 8 ga wire to inverter (5' run) so can't believe, like everyone else, that inadequate power is the problem. Forgot to mention--computer worked fine on a "cheap" modified sine wave 400W inverter???
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This is an easy one.
Bad new inverter.

Rick



Quote:
Originally Posted by tsingtao View Post
Xantrex Link 20 shows .5 amps with just inverter on. Goes to 5.1 amp draw when charging computer battery. Drops to 1.1 amps and screen flashes bright (AC) to dim (battery). Computer seems to be going back and forth between AC (inverter power) and DC (computer battery) power. Used 8 ga wire to inverter (5' run) so can't believe, like everyone else, that inadequate power is the problem. Forgot to mention--computer worked fine on a "cheap" modified sine wave 400W inverter???
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I'd have to agree that it sounds like your new inverter is junk.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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go back to cheap inverter then. buy two if you want backup. there is absolutely no need in any special expensive inverter to power a laptop, laptops already have those expensive complicated power supplies to deal with anything you can throw their way.
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