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Old 08-03-2017, 03:51 PM   #1
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electrical supply from inverter

I like to recharge my laptop and IPad from the 110 system on my boat.

While underway, this is supplied by a 1000 watt inverter.

Can I use them while plugged in?

Do I need something between the 110 outlet and computer to "clean up" the power?
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Old 08-03-2017, 03:58 PM   #2
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If you have a "pure" sine wave inverter, yes you can use it directly. Modified sine wave , maybe. Check your equipment operation manuals for prohibition. If none then try it out at the dock.
The only thing that will "cleanup " the output is a transformer.
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Old 08-03-2017, 04:02 PM   #3
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Yes you can use them while plugged in.

You do not neet anything between the outlet and the device.

Is your inverter pure sine wave or modified sine wave? Some electronics power supplies / chargers don't like modified sine wave power.

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Old 08-03-2017, 04:33 PM   #4
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The 110 goes though laptop/apple power supply, which are basically transformers, so its not a direct shot to either device.

If I am going to have a problem with the boat 110 blowing out my computer power supplies, is there a little 110v "clean-up" transformer that I can put between the outlet and the computer power supplies?
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Old 08-03-2017, 04:55 PM   #5
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I like to recharge my laptop and IPad from the 110 system on my boat.
Why?

Much more efficient, lower cost and safer to use the native DC they are designed for.

If you don't want to figure out the voltage, pin size polarity etc, just use the vendor's "car adapter", but personally I avoid ciggie ports like the plague.
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Old 08-03-2017, 05:07 PM   #6
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Yes I thought of the 12v adapter that goes with the particular unit, but like you I'm trying to avoid the cig port, and two, it's just another built in thing that would need to be installed (boat dollars) whereas I can pick up some type of unit(?) and just plug it in.

but what is that unit ? does it have a name so I can Google it?
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Old 08-03-2017, 06:21 PM   #7
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DC-DC converter, input 12V (range) output matching what the device needs.

There are "universal" units with a range of voltage outputs and collections of various tips.

Polarity (center positive?) is critical.

As I said, if this seems daunting, then just settle for a ciggie port. Blue sea makes good ones that are compatible with the standard, but also have special twist lock plugs to give a more secure connection.
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:24 PM   #8
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Just plug it in...no big deal.

Most laptops have the battery to deal with lousy power...even modified sinevwave inverters.

None of my laptops have suffered for over 20 years.
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:35 PM   #9
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Just plug it in...no big deal.

Most laptops have the battery to deal with lousy power...even modified sinevwave inverters.

None of my laptops have suffered for over 20 years.
Polarity is critical!
When I run my Navigation program on my laptop, which I have done for over 20 yrs, I get my GPS information from my Garmin GPS. The output from the GPS is serial, so on laptops that don't have a serial port, there has to be a serial to USB adapter.
Sounds easy.
I decided a few years ago to eliminate the 150 watt mini inverter that powered the laptop from a cig port by getting a connector for the laptop, directly to the cig port. Worked well, except the serial to USB adapter smoked. All of the insulation on one wire literally went up in smoke.
Turned out the polarity of the power fed to the laptop from the cig port and that supplied (who knew?) from the Garmin created a dead short along the serial to USB adapter, unprotected by any fuse.
That took a few beer to figure out.
Back to running the laptop from a 150 watt inverter that has powered it happily for years.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:45 AM   #10
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Running 19-20V devices off 11-13V won't always work.

If it says 15V ya likely OK
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:02 AM   #11
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" but personally I avoid ciggie ports like the plague."

The ports suck at any amperage load.

Simple and cheap is to install 15 or 20A 240 plugs and sockets.

These look similar to 120v stuff , but the plugs are polarized differently.

Usually $5.00 or less at box stores .

Also the cheap fittings make DC extension cords a snap.
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:23 AM   #12
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I meant just plug it into 110 like the vast majority of boaters and RVers do.

Worrying about that little bit of efficiency eill drive you nuts if you treat everything you do that way.

All he wanted to know is if he would damage his computer power supplies and the answer is no to maybe.

Not all laptop power suppliescare created equal and neither are inverters.

Some modified wave inverters have a closer wave pattern to pure and these seem fine with electronic devices.

Some power dupplies seem to burn out quick, probably manufacturing defects or substandard parts.

We gave had numerous laptops , pads and phones plugged into three different types of modified wave inverters for 6 years of living aboard and 2 of the laptop power cords have been replaced. I had just replaced one while still living ashore before moving aboard, so I cant say inverters are necessarily hard on power supplies. Maybe technically yes, but for practicality, not really.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:12 AM   #13
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" but personally I avoid ciggie ports like the plague."

The ports suck at any amperage load.

Simple and cheap is to install 15 or 20A 240 plugs and sockets.

These look similar to 120v stuff , but the plugs are polarized differently.

Usually $5.00 or less at box stores .

Also the cheap fittings make DC extension cords a snap.
The PO did that on this boat. The hot terminal on every one of them had the green goo of corrosion oozing out of them after sitting at the dock for years. The socket opening was plugged closed with the stuff.

The guy also used the old ungrounded 120 AC outlets and then placed them right next to the normal grounded 120 outlets. He never mentioned any issues with them so I guess he never mis-plugged anything in.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:25 AM   #14
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I too have run laptops, phone chargers and other various electronics off a relatively cheap modified wave inverter. Never had a problem.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:42 AM   #15
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Worrying about that little bit of efficiency will drive you nuts if you treat everything you do that way.
Not me, I enjoy the challenge.

But I am often in living situations where every AH counts; take care of the wH and the AH take care of themselves.

I concede most trawler owners aren't, don't care about the principle and aren't stimulated by that sort of exercise. No judgment. . .
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:47 AM   #16
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Man...you guys are waaaaaayyyyy overthinking all of this. Y'all sound like a bunch of sailboaters!!!...

Good question. And post #4 answered it. There is a buffer between the power supply and the computer in the form of a transformer/rectifier.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:49 PM   #17
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Plus the fact that the electronics are run from the battery, incoming charge current is filtered & well buffered there.
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:09 PM   #18
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The 120v charger for my Craftsman drill and other tools is destroyed immediately if plugged into a modified sine wave inverted. In an eight year period I wrecked three of them. Got rid of the MSW inverter.
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:15 PM   #19
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A very cost-effective approach is a bunch of smaller-sized units, maybe even one per device running on mains.

Cheap/larger ones where good enough, good quality and right-sized ones only where necessary.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:59 PM   #20
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Just get a Magnum and hook it up to house power and be done with it....
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