Power Inverter for in-vehicle laptop charging?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by videoed, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. videoed macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2009

    Going to be doing a fair amount of travel by car(suburban) and want to be able to charge laptop/dvdplayer/tv/etc.

    Looking for recommendations for power inverter that plays nicely with mac.

  2. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    An inverter is so stupidly simple, there is no such thing as "play nice."

    The only thing that should matter to you is which Mac you'll be using and its power draw vs what the inverter is rated to handle. Also, you should be sure about the electrical system of your vehicle. Most vehicles are 12VDC but if your Suburban is the 2500HD, you may have the 24VDC. Technically, it shouldn't matter, but I've seen inverters do some strange things.
  3. ikermalli macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2008
    So didn't you just contradict yourself there? Saying that there is no such thing as it "playing nice" but you've seen them do some strange things (not "playing nice").
  4. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    No, but I see how confused the issue for you.

    Just buy a simple, one-function, one-plug inverter that matches all your specs on both the input and the output. At this level of tech, any problems you have will come come from the power supply side.

    Forget I mentioned anything about inverters acting funny.
  5. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    i have run my MacBook (and girlfriend MBP) off of a single power inverter for the last while.

    whenever we go on trips (from ATL to South FL, or South FL to NC so... 10 hours+)

    we do this and tether with my iPhone.

    just make sure you are running of a power strip that is fused right below the max peak your Mac can handle.

    i have never popped a fuse doing this, but i do recommend to let the car get started going (on a highway or whatever).

    this is great for charging USB devices too.

    Power inverter->MacBook->iPhone.

    you shouldn't have a problem.
  6. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    Always plug in your inverter after you start the vehicle. If a surge is going to happen, its when the car turns over. This advice also applies to power adapters that go in cigarette lighter ports. When you shop, just look for one with a fuse, and you'll be good to go............
  7. minicoop503 macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2008
    Like others said, you shouldn't have any problems.

    I have a 175 watt inverter that I have loaded so much stuff on it (tv, ps2, speakers, etc.) at the same time and somehow it didn't blow :p

    I've also used the one that is built into my hyundai santa fe, and that works perfectly. It's a 115 watt I believe.
  8. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Get one with a cooling fan. I have a 400 watt one that have no problem running 3 laptops off of it (iBook = 45 watt PowerBook = 65 watt thinkpad = 120 watt) laptops usually do not draw max power they are rated for. a 100 watt will run any mac. a 200 watt will run any two macs. a 300 watt will run 3 and a 400 watt will run 4-5. Make sure they have a fuse and overheat protection and a fan
  9. lakaiordie macrumors 65816

    Jun 17, 2008
    the only thing for me is i dont leave it plugged in when i turn on the car. theres always a little surge in power
  10. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    yeah that's what i said, and then 2 others said above you. make sure you get goin first so the inverter has a solid, flowing power source.

    plus if you leave it plugged in it drains from the battery and the alternator won't recharge - which could leave you dead on the side of the road, requiring a jump to start up.

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