Inverter or DC-to-DC for laptop, etc.? - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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  #11  
Old 10-27-2009
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I don't see electrically how a DC to C could increase voltage. You might just want to check that out with the manufacturer of the equipment your're using. I suspect that thie power supplies will work with a lower voltage input
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Old 10-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marujosortudo View Post
klem,

As far as running other stuff goes, I'm planning to keep my electrical needs minimal and will really only have laptop and fridge as major draws. Hopefully any weird AC equipment I have can be reserved for the rare shore power hookup.

Cheers, Colin
You think you are going to run a fridge minimally? Ok, now all bets are off. Do you have an iGo adapter for that thing?
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NautiG, Well, the ice box/fridge is a DC model and will be run near full time to be clear. This will be my primary large draw. Laptop will probably be second, and then house lights, GPS, etc. I can charge the house batteries from shore power or off the diesel with a big, dedicated alternator. I'll probably be adding solar at some point. Everything I need on the boat will be 12VDC except for my laptop and some other light electronic gear (camera, 3G modem, etc.)

CrazyRu, thanks for the feedback on reliability and efficiency. I know that inverters function much more efficiently near their maximum draw, so that's why I was looking at a 200W model (smallest I could find).

Waltthesalt, my understanding is that DC-to-DC converters that bring up voltage actually go to AC internally to go through a transformer. I'm guessing the improvement in efficiency (over a large inverter) here would just be that the converter is sized smaller and closer to its max load. Not sure, though.
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Old 10-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marujosortudo View Post
Actually, it looks like the iGo everywhereMAX might work very well for my needs (minus not resisting the marine environment especially well, I assume). Anyone using these? Any opinions?

-Colin
Great products I have a iGo charger that I use on three different lap tops, two cell phones plus my iPods..

As one who puts who puts on 70K+ miles per year in the car while running a laptop via a DC adapter, for work, I have yet to see even one failure in 13 years of running & charging laptops in my cars and boats.

I have had IBM DC adapters, Targus, HP, ASUS, iGo etc. etc. as my company changes computer hardware about once every two years and between my wife and I we have 4 laptops of our own plus work computers.

Just got a new work tablet last week and once again it takes a different DC adapter than the previous one. For my personal computers I mostly use my iGo but my NetBook requires a fixed 12V, not 14.2 so I had to buy the ASUS DC adapter. I have more DC adapters than even makes sense even though many of the computers are long gone.

I also use the same DC adapters on my boat and again have never once had a failure of a DC adapter. Boat voltage and car voltage have virtually identical ranges.

Go with the iGo you'll like it..
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 10-27-2009 at 11:08 PM.
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Great, sounds like I'll try an iGo and see if my experience is a match.

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Old 10-28-2009
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I remember a thread about this last year...DC to DC convetres were called switch gear by some in the know. and there was alot of numbers flying around. In the end I think it was well recieved that as you stated using a converter properly sized for the job does one well.
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Not all converters are alike. Some make a lot more radio frequency noise than others - check your radios (especially HF if you have one) with the converter plugged into 12V and not. If it's really noisy take it back and try another brand.
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Old 10-28-2009
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Inverters tend to be efficient only near full load (i.e. 90% of their rating) and using dc-ac-dc conversion with two bricks is doubly inefficient.

I'm using an older Igo, which can run directly off DC or AC (many contacts in the power cords, big brick, I suspect two separate "boxes" are in the box and I've seen much smaller slimmer newer designs) and it works for me.

Your best best is always dc-dc without the extra ac invertor, for efficiency and potential electrical noise problems, interference caused by two boxes instead of just one.
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An inverter or a dc to dc will work fine. Inverter might be a better solution because most of the batteries like charges to have some ripple. In any casre you do not need a pure sine inverter.
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If you REALLY want to be a power miser, check the voltage of your batteries over their full operating range, if they are less than 12v at any point during use, then make a DC-to-lower-voltage-DC converter and add some really heavy duty spike protection for during engine startup. Lowering DC voltage is very energy efficient, and the lowering circuitry will make sure no steady higher voltage will have an effect. Hot wire that straight into an old battery case with the actual battery cells removed. (You can't get better than that without breaking open the computer. And even doing that would have no benefit unless you are using golf cart batteries for your house bank and tap 6v off one of the batteries, and then feed that into select spots within your computer.)

I could say more about this method of using the battery case, or even design something that would work if there's enough interest.

For the money I think you'd be better off swapping all yor interior lights for LEDs. There are great threads here on the best kind to get - search for the comparison testing by Mainesail.
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Last edited by Bene505; 10-28-2009 at 11:03 AM.
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