Power inverter question

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by uplander, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. uplander

    uplander TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    S.E. WI.
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I'm headed to the Patagonia AZ area in a couple of days to work birddogs and do some photography for a couple of weeks. I'm looking to get power inverter to run a laptop and recharge camera batteries in my vehicle. Ant recomendations as to size and need I be concerned about the laptop electronics at all?

    Time to leave the winter grip of Wisconsin behind and make the trip a photo safari:lol:
     
  2. GTHill

    GTHill TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Searcy, AR
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

    It will depend a bit on the size of your laptop. I have a baby 100W inverter that won't power my large laptop. A 1000W inverter will power most microwaves and hair dryers so that gives you the high side. I would say in the 200-300 range will give you everything you are asking for.

    GT
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    37,405
    Likes Received:
    10,666
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If you're considering a larger one (>400 watts) check with your car dealer to see what your alternator can handle.
     
  4. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,527
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I run a laptop all the time off an inverter for work...no problems.

    The inverters are rated in Watts, so you need to do a little conversion. Look at your plugs for the laptop and battery charger, and they should have the power requirements printed on the stickers, but these are in Volts & Amps. You want to take the "input" requirements (this is what is being pulled from the inverter) and multiply volts x amps = watts. My computer has an input of 120v & 1.8A = 216W, and my camera battery charger is 120v x 1.2A = 144W. I would need a minimum of a 360W inverter. That would likely be a 400W inverter, but I would always go a step up, like maybe a 500W or 600W so you are not overworking it.
     
  5. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,527
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Most vehicles can handle up to a 500 - 600W cig-lighter plug-in inverter without a problem.....during daylight hours, but be careful if you are running it at night with the lights on. On a 12v vehicle system, your lights pull a LOT of juice. Any inverter bigger usually has to be hard-wird into the vehicle along with a high output alternator.
    A 100W light bulb in your house will pull .83amps (100W/120v=.83A), but if your car has two 55W headlights (110W), this is pulling 9.2Amps !!...not counting any other lights. Most alternators have roughly 15 - 20 Amps to spare, with everything running, but that is with the alternator in tip-top shape.
     
  6. uplander

    uplander TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    S.E. WI.
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks

    I was more worried about guarding against spikes and such, The conversion math I can handle.
     
  7. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,527
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I wouldn't worry about that. I've been running the laptop & AA charger for my company P&S for a few years now without problems.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    6,111
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I can power a large Toshiba laptop with a 400 watt inverter, but don't expect it to run with the car off... not enough juice.

    VERY good idea to hard-wire it directly to your battery with nice thick wire, that 22 gauge cigarette lighter is not going to help much at all.

    Good condition alternator and battery are essential for best performance. To power rechargers, almost any will do becuase that is very low drain, but laptops do pull a lot.

    I have 2 inverters wired into my car, one in the passenger side for the laptop (I do a lot of car monitoring and tuning of the engine/PCM, its another hobby), and one in the trunk.
     

Share This Page