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

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 
  #1  
Old 10-27-2009
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Maine Coast
Posts: 64
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 5
marujosortudo is on a distinguished road
Inverter or DC-to-DC for laptop, etc.?

Hello,

I'm in the process of figuring out what minimal addition to make to the electrical system of boat to support my mobile office . Essentially, I only need to run my laptop and a few other lower power devices, most of which can be charged via USB or 12V adapter. I'm trying to decide whether to get a simple pure sine wave inverter, or just a DC-to-DC converter (the laptop runs at 15V). Any thoughts out there? I'd like to be an energy miser. Which option would be more efficient? I was looking at a Sinergex PureSine II 200W inverter. Anyone have any opinion on these or Sinergex?

Thanks, Colin
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 10-27-2009
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Maine Coast
Posts: 64
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 5
marujosortudo is on a distinguished road
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
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 10-27-2009
NautiG's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 291
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
NautiG is on a distinguished road
Colin,

I think a lot of us would like to be using some sort of dc to dc power option. Nearly all the devices I use on my boat actually run on dc power (laptop, cellphone, camera, vhf), but have ac adapters to charge.

I don't have any experience with the products you are mentioning, and probably others don't either. That's why you aren't getting much response. If you use the iGo, I would love to hear about your experience. I think I have seen the adapters in radio shack. Personally, I use a cheapy 300 watt inverter from radio shack. It gets the job done, even if a little inefficiently.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 10-27-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Virginia
Posts: 722
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
badsanta is on a distinguished road
I just use a cheap inverter that plugs into the lighter plug and I plug the laptop into that. It charges the lap top batteries and the lap top runs off that. I know its not a pure sine wave but I have not noticed any problems.
__________________
That derelict boat was another dream for somebody else, don't let it be your nightmare and a waste of your life.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 10-27-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 515
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 11
merc2dogs is on a distinguished road
I would go with a dc-dc converter. There is a lot less 'loss' in the conversion. With an inverter, you step it up to 120v ac, then back down to 15vdc, experiencing losses with each conversion, going DC-DC you still experience loss, but only once.

Also, many laptops actually run internally on 12v, the charger/power supply is often larger for various reasons.
Should be able to determine the actual internal power requirements off the makers web page.

Ken.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 10-27-2009
T37Chef's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,169
Thanks: 65
Thanked 28 Times in 26 Posts
Rep Power: 8
T37Chef will become famous soon enough
I was able to find a DC to DC charger for my Compaq laptop, work fine with a lot less draw.

Have an inverter but rarely use it except to grind coffee
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 10-27-2009
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Maine Coast
Posts: 64
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 5
marujosortudo is on a distinguished road
Great! Sounds like DC-to-DC is the best bet for my needs. I won't be getting my boat (assuming the purchase goes through) into the water until spring, but if I get an iGo, I'll report back on it.

-Colin
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 10-27-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Gloucester, MA
Posts: 586
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 5
klem is on a distinguished road
As stated above, avoiding energy conversions is a lot more efficient. Many laptops have an optional 12V power source that you can purchase.

The major advantage of an inverter is that sooner or later, you will have something that you want to charge/run which you do not have a dc plug for.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 10-27-2009
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Maine Coast
Posts: 64
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 5
marujosortudo is on a distinguished road
klem,

My concern with 12V laptop power supplies is that they are made for cars usually and that boats tend to have wider voltage ranges. In any case, my laptop runs on 5A@15VDC. Not sure how lower voltages would effect it. The iGo apparently comes with $100,000 laptop replacement insurance (I'm betting they'll have a marine exclusion though )

The car supply for my laptop sold by Toshiba is simply the Targus Universal 90W AC/DC Power Adapter. Both this and the iGo have the ability to charge multiple devices which is key. I'd love to know which is more rugged/efficient/voltage flexible. The good thing is that with either one I might be able to leave a bunch of my factory original chargers at home and spare them the marine environment.

From a iGo review comment here by Reinhard:

iGo 130w Everywhere with magsafe

it would seem that the iGo is much more efficient than an inverter (lost electrical efficiency is usually obvious as heat.) No surprise there, I guess.

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
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 10-27-2009
CrazyRu's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 452
Thanks: 2
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
CrazyRu is on a distinguished road
I used both methods. I've never measured consumption one way or another, so my observations are strictly just observations

DC-AC-DC inverter burns a lot of energy. I have 600 wt inverter and powerful laptop and it can drain house battery very fast.

It seems like DC-to-DC converters are more gentle on power consumption. However they fail in marine environment. I had ran through 4 converters in about a year, two of them were brand names designed for my laptop, and two were cheap no-name. Actually one cheap one last longest time, about 3 months.

Now I charge my computer with DC-AC inverter, I have it for 4 years, it was cheaper than DC-DC chargers and it works...
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Inverter Installation MSam Gear & Maintenance 2 04-07-2002 04:14 PM
Inverter Installation Tom Wood Gear and Maintenance Articles 0 01-20-2001 07:00 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:41 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.