Inverters & sensitive electronic equipment.

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Post  Narrawa on Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:33 pm

Thought id start a new thread rather then hijack the soldering iron one.

My laptop is only a few months old, it runs fine on both my older inverters, and id presume its power supply is a switch mode type.
My 3 camera chargers also work fine of the same 2 inverters.
We used the laptop to watch DVDs on till the supply battery gave up and the small 150W inverter that came with the Engel fridge sounded its low voltage alarm, there was no issues with the laptop to which im using now.
This is not the first time iv read about inverters and laptops having issues, id just like some real proof that there is an issue and not just speculation before i find out the hard way as others have mentioned.??

Modified sign wave inverters have been around a long time, and have been in use on solar powered homes for years, my inverter was an older style transformer type silver series which gave flawless operation for over ten years running all the appliances in my solar home. TVs, Video players, DVDs, microwaves, clock radios ect...and never an issue.
My neighbor and i at the time would always compare the running of our inverters, his the new quasi sign wave, mine the transformer type. I preferred the transformer type because of the lower noise operation on radio equipment i had in use at the time.
Its only of recent that iv heard of this problem with laptops and was wondering why.
Does anyone have a link or know of a site that can confirm that there is issues?
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Post  Guest on Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:32 am

Narrawa,

How about contacting the maker of your laptop and see what they say about inverters and if it affects the warranty if you don't use a pure sine wave inverter

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Post  Narrawa on Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:00 am

Sounds like a good idea, but if you can understand a word from the support mob at Acer, translate it to me. Laughing
These idiots ring me monthly to tell me about problems im having with my PC, in order for them to be able to help me, they need my bank card number. WTF??
Bang phone on table rapidly!! check to see if operator is still on the line, if so, then abuse. Ask to have phone number deleted from there files!! only to receive same problematic phone call a month latter warning of issues with PC. Rolling Eyes

I could be wrong, but were laptop PCs being used before pure sign wave inverters hit the market??

The laptop is acer, the power supply is Liton, the HDD is?? the DVD burner is? the motherboard is? ect ect.
Went through this crap with Packard Bell years ago when i was building the silly things. If it looks or sounds like it may cause a warranty issue, they are against it.

Im just waiting to hear a reasonable argument that has some beef to it, not saying its not possible.
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Post  sandy2010 on Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:14 pm


Talking of inverters and transformers, I got in strife with my WAECO fridge transformer....I had some electronic equipment with a 12volt cigarette- lighter plug and not thinking too clearly after a hard days prospecting, stuck the cigarette- lighter plug into the WAECO transformer outlet and watched the equipment go up in smoke..............then I realised the outlet is 12/24 volts......DUH !
So this might save somebody out there from getting into expensive strife......

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Post  Guest on Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:47 pm

ALWAYS spend the extra money if you can on a 'pure' sinewave inverter. The term 'modified sinewave' is really just a misleading name for a square-wave inverter and they don't play nice with lots of electronic appliances. It's virtually impossible to judge what will and what will not work with a modified sinewave inverter and that is why its best to get a pure sinewave type.

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Post  Narrawa on Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:15 pm

Finding a device to convert DC power to AC may seem like it should be a simple task, but when you start shopping for a power inverter for your RV or road trip vehicle, you'll soon find that many choices will confront you. With prices ranging from less than $40 to well into the thousands, it can be difficult to know what features are important and how to choose a unit appropriate to your needs. While wattage, features, and connections are obvious considerations, your final choice should take into account the inverters wave form output.

There are two general types of power inverters: true-sine wave or modified-sine wave (square wave). True-sine wave inverters produce power that is either identical or sometimes slightly better to power from the public utility power grid system. The power wave when viewed through an oscilloscope is a smooth sine wave.

Modified-sine wave and square wave inverters are the most common types of power inverters on the market. Modified-sine wave power inverters produce a power wave that is sufficient for most devices. The power wave is not exactly the same as electricity from the power grid. It has a wave form that appears as a choppy squared-off wave when viewed through an oscilloscope.

What does that mean to the everyday user? Not much. Most household electrical devices will run perfectly fine on either type of wave form. Most of our customers who are using a power inverter to run a laptop
, a/c cell phone charger, fan, or camera find that a modified-sine wave power inverter that operates through the cigarette lighter socket the easiest to use. We usually suggest choosing power inverters that are rated under 300 watts when using the 12-volt cigarette lighter socket found in most vehicles. We suggest this because after reaching 300 watts of draw on the inverter, the fuses in your car will begin to blow. The xPower 175 Micro (about $35.00) is a great choice for dashboarders who would like an easy solution to power their devices. It has only one outlet, but since plugging it into a 12-volt socket is all that is required for operation, it can't be beat for ease of use. This little inverter can supply 140 watts of continuous operation and has a built-in surge protector.

The problem with wave form only comes into play when specialized pieces of equipment need to be powered. Here are a few devices which could have problems when they are connected to an inverter producing a modified-sine wave signal: oxygen concentrators, fax machines, laser printers, high voltage cordless tool chargers, equipment with variable speed motors, electric shavers, and garage door openers.

There are a few other applications -- high-end audio video units, plasma displays, gaming systems, and certain scientific testing equipment -- for which true-sine wave is not usually required. Even so, these applications can usually benefit from the improved clarity of the electrical signal produced by a true-sine wave power inverter. Users of these particular items have usually spent a lot of money to achieve optimal results from their equipment, and it would be a shame to have a cheaper modified-sine wave signal cause inaccurate readings on a piece of scientific equipment. It would be equally disheartening to have small distortion lines appear on a $3000 plasma TV because the user saved $250.00 by buying a modified-sine wave power inverter.

Taken from
http://www.roadtripamerica.com/dashboarding/power-inverters.htm
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Post  Guest on Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:49 am

My laptop was $1700 three years ago. My pure sine wave inverter was $200 three years ago. My laptop is still working perfectly. To my way of thinking, it's a no-brainer really.
I'd rather be safe than sorry
Just my opinion

Robert

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Post  granite2 on Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:04 am

Robert, no one could ague with your logic. The trouble is many people are too tight and will buy the chearper modified sine wave inverter. Then the scream and wail when it doesn't do EVERYTHING. You get what you pay for.

Cheers, Jim cheers
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Post  Guest on Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:09 am

Q.E.D. Jim (no pun intended)

Robert

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Post  Narrawa on Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:15 pm

Having spent a few days now reading anything and every thing i can find on the subject from 4x4 forums, c/van forums to technical stuff, to the point of being bored with it. Im satisfied that it matters very little which inverter you use, be it a cheap modified sine wave or expensive pure sine wave. Both have their faults when it comes to certain loads. Its all BS, a myth, and came across only a few instances of the modified sine wave causing a buzz through some laptops.

If one is that worried about it, a DC/DC adapter that steps up the 12vDC to 19vDC, or whatever your laptop needs is a better alternative.
Inverters convert DC/AC and your power supply AC back to DC, a waste really unless used for 240v applications.
If you have a std inverter and it works, why buy a new one??

A few things worth mentioning, if you intend to run from your cig lighter socket power hungry appliances, keep an eye on the vehicles fuses.
If its a big inverter, best to wire it directly to the batt.
Many inverters will sound low voltage at 12.2v or thereabouts... it should be stated on your inverters documentation.
This voltage will be reached pretty quickly with engine switched off.

Remember, he who dies with the most toys....still dies. Laughing

ps, jim, Then the scream and wail when it doesn't do EVERYTHING. You get what you pay for .......not everything.The disadvantages are that they are more expensive (as much as 30% or more), they tend to be larger in physical size and in some cases they can be restricted in the types of load which can be connected.
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Post  Guest on Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:41 pm

To add are not the 240V power packs used to charge the laptops a transformer type, so no physcial connection of wires.
So realistly the only problem would be a drop or slight increase of the DC supplied to the laptop, as DC is direct current (no waves) it shouldnt be an issuse, as the internals for the laptop battery chargers would isolate a very high or low DC supply.
I have used my invertor geny to charge/use a laptop (wifes one) off the 240V and with no issuse, no not just for the laptop when i have to charge the main batteries have a lot of good behaved kids when the geny starts amazing how many Ipods mobile phones come outa the woodwork for charging Wink Rolling Eyes .
However as for stepping up power then stepping down, you would lose a fair bit of juice doing this so a cig lighter adaptor would be the best option (except if you own a ACER laptop Laughing ) because i havent seen one for them anywhere.
Found ones for ASUS Dell etc but no ACER ones.
Regards
John
PS and those cig chargers are not cheap either.

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Post  Narrawa on Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:57 pm

PS and those cig chargers are not cheap either.Get yourself a swallow advanced DC/DC charger, fit a DC plug to suit whatever and you can run near anything off it to 5Amps. Laughing

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Post  detecta2 on Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:37 pm

with the larger capacity inverters, do they dimminish the battery faster when using smaller watt items, was thinking about buying unit to run dig tv/vid player and laptop, was looking at 1000/2000wt pure sine wav invter on ebay for $159, item 280548208716.phill

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Post  GoldstalkerGPX on Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:57 pm


This one is cheap Laughing http://shop.ebay.com.au/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m570.l1313&_nkw=HP+Compaq+DC+65W+Auto+Adapter+261669-001+18.5V+3.5A&_sacat=See-All-Categories

I have just purchased a 150w inverter that plugs into the cig to run the lappy should do the job.

Phill, I have bought one of those (if not very similar) but have not hooked it up yet.
And yes the larger the draw the larger the drain, therefore quicker flattening of the battery.
You could run a small heater off that in winter....but not for long Very Happy

Cheers
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Post  Narrawa on Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:31 pm

detecta2 wrote:with the larger capacity inverters, do they dimminish the battery faster when using smaller watt items, was thinking about buying unit to run dig tv/vid player and laptop, was looking at 1000/2000wt pure sine wav invter on ebay for $159, item 280548208716.phill
Phill, google up the specs on the model your looking at, it should give you the stand by current. They may be slightly different between brands and models im not sure, or you can use a suitable ammeter to check the standby current.

This is the one i use in my c/van, if i can find the manual i'll list its standby current.
http://www.projecta.com.au/documents/item/60
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