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Thread: Square wave or sine wave inverter? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-04-2008 10:06 AM
wingNwing Thanks, everyone. I've been skeptical of those DC/DC converters too, but am not sure if our $99 special inverter from Radio Shack is a whole lot better. Will do a little more searching then make VERY sure all our data is backed up before we try to run the laptop from it.
05-02-2008 12:39 PM
Originally Posted by Idiens View Post
I've taken to running my PCs off DC/DC converters.

Mainly because I can't make up my mind what size and type of inverter is the best choice.
I have had big problems with these. The universal plugs don't fit well, and I generally shy away from anything using a conventional cigarette lighter plug on boats. Also, HUGE amount of RF noise even with a ferrite. With the DC/DC I could not use the laptop for wefax, and had to turn it off when using the SSB. I could do both with a cheap inverter and the stock laptop power cord. Currently looking for a good, relatively inexpensive inverter as my cheapo inverter has died.
05-02-2008 11:52 AM
nightwatch I have ran my Mac laptop and my very old 9 volt Makita for years without a problem. Currently using a Xantrex 1800 inverter. It also runs my Sears refrig.
05-02-2008 06:22 AM
Fareast Thanks for the information, I will try and contact Ryobi and see what they say.
05-02-2008 04:27 AM
arghhh Square wave will power most computers just fine as the power supply will regulate it. It might draw a bit more power, buzz or get warmer but nothing to really worry about unless it is excessive. Cordless tools are a different story, some of the chargers are very cheap and basic and can toast on a square wave inverter. Usually you can find information about it in the manual where it will say you shouldn't use it on a inverter or not.
05-01-2008 06:16 PM
Idiens I've taken to running my PCs off DC/DC converters.

Mainly because I can't make up my mind what size and type of inverter is the best choice.
05-01-2008 04:51 PM
hellosailor The answer is "it all depends". On precisely what circuitry is inside whatever you are trying to run. Some things, like light bulbs, are a purely resistive load and they don't care about sine-vs-square waves. Other devices with motors or inductors canget terribly upset about square wave.

And laptop batteries these days--including Compaq--are not batteries at all. The battery pack has a fairly complex charge control circuit board in it, with more electronics than the typical 'transistor' radio or other small appliance.

If you can't contact whoever makes your power adapter (brick, etc.) and you can't find out if square wave is safe for it, assume it isn't, unless you know exactly what is inside.
05-01-2008 11:27 AM
camaraderie I used a MSW inverter for years to power my on board laptops and charge my cordless screwdriver with no issues. The PC's AC/DC "brick" takes care of any concerns about power.
Of course, I'd use a decent inverter and not some cheesy auto store model, but the computer stores would not be selling these inverters if they didn't work and were blowing up the PC's they this one from TigerDirect:
05-01-2008 11:26 AM
Fareast Other than Dan, has anyone had any expierence with charging tool batteries, for drills, saws etc?

Mike & Paula
S/V Tivoli
05-01-2008 11:23 AM
artbyjody I have used both types - you'll be fine either way. Most laptop power bricks have wide tolerances for input as they do their own cleaning and conversion for the dc. However, the Sine Wave will be more efficient and therefore theoretically require less draw from your batteries. Other than that go for it...
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