Power Inverters

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Ninovan, May 9, 2014.

  1. Ninovan

    Ninovan Funster

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    I bought one of the 300w inverters from Lidl with the intention of using it to charge phones, laptops, etc. when off EHU. I've wired in a cigarette lighter socket direct off the battery which is fine for the phones and to run the inverter from. Problem I have is with the laptop. :cry: On normal 240v, i have a green charge indicator light and message saying battery xx% charging. With the inverter, the light is red, but same message. Don't want to risk damaging the lap top. Should I fork out for a pure or modified sine wave inverter? I am sure there is someone on here that can come up with the answer :thumb: Thanks.
     
  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  3. OddSocks

    OddSocks Read Only Funster

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    I also looked at these but none that I have found have a tip to fit my laptop.
    :Sad:

    As long as the battery in the laptop is being charged then I can't see that you have a problem, Ninovan.

    The green/red charging light - is that on the laptop itself, or is it on the charger? What is the make and model of your laptop? I will look up the charging light indicator statuses for you if you like?
     
  4. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I disagree.. if he has a red light it is not charging and it may cause damage..

    I've used 12v adapters for several laptops, Dell, Sony and Apple.. I certainly wouldn't use a quasi sine wave for an expensive bit of electronic kit ..
     
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  5. Ninovan

    Ninovan Funster

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    Hi OddSocks. Many thanks for that. The green/red light is on the laptop itself. It's a Samsung Ultrabook NP530. I dont want to risk blowing it as it's herselfs! I'd never hear the last of it. :Blush:
     
  6. Ninovan

    Ninovan Funster

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    If you hover the curser over the battery icon, it sows remaining charge as a percentage and time, and says "charging". it's the red light that is confusing me. :Doh:
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  7. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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  8. Ninovan

    Ninovan Funster

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  9. OddSocks

    OddSocks Read Only Funster

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    You are fine mate, no need to buy anything else. Details from the product manual state the following:

    This shows the power source and the battery charge status.
    Green: When the battery is fully charged or the battery is not installed.
    Red or orange: When the battery is being charged.
    Off: When the computer is running on battery power without being connected to
    AC adapter.

    Your Manual

    You are welcome


    PS - Those 12v adapters are still not use to me as they I can't find a single once which fits my laptop!!! Arse!
     
  10. OddSocks

    OddSocks Read Only Funster

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    IF!!!!! the battery is charging. I said IF.

    If it is charging there is no problem.

    I worked for over 25 years in corporate computer systems, I know what I am talking about.

    The battery is charging there is no problem. He just misunderstood what the lights meant.
     
  11. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    still doesnt explain why, when on mains it shows charging while the green fully charged light is lit and shows charging while on inverter but shows a red light

    It cant work both ways...green is fully charged and red is charging
     
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  12. OddSocks

    OddSocks Read Only Funster

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    That's because the OP has made a mistake and misunderstood the lights on his computer.

    It does not show green while charging when he is at home. I will bet you wen he tests this he sees that I am right. Either that, or the product manual is wrong. Which is very very unlikely.

    I have been doing this work for over 25 years. When charging the light is red. I know this - this is why I asked for the make and model so I could check the manual for him.

    Don't forget, when at home it is probably plugged in most of the time and therefore rarely charging.

    Let him test this - you will see. There is no problem. It is working as it should.
     
  13. Gizmouk

    Gizmouk Funster

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    On my Samsung Ultrabook the led is green when the battery is fully charged (even with power supply plugged in), and red when it's charging
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  14. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    as is my Kindle fire (amber charging/green charged) but my samsung tab 3 doesnt have any leds....just an onscreen battery status meter when turned on or a momentary 'charging' symbol when first plugged in.
     
  15. OddSocks

    OddSocks Read Only Funster

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    This is a very typical behaviour.

    People make the mistake of thinking their computer is charging because it is plugged in. It is therefore easy to think that green light = charging. However, it does not. I didn't wan to tell the OP this before I had checked it in his user manual though, as it is always possible that an organisation has decided to change the way they program the lights. Having checked it was the standard lighting, I posted the good news here.
     
  16. OddSocks

    OddSocks Read Only Funster

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    Here is a screen-shot from the product manual.

    Capture.jpg

    The full product manual is available by clicking here
     
  17. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Ok, here's my take just to confuse you some more......
    I've been motorhoming for 9 years with various laptops as most of that time have been motorhoming with gaming kids....

    1) 12v charger, have tried these and if you get the correct one it is the simplest way to go, however I've had serious problems with them on at least two of the 6 laptops we have used over the years. Beware of cheap eBay Chinese crap.

    2) regardless of what info you are being given, from whatever manual. If you plug your laptop in too the mains at home and it comes up with a green light, when plugged in on the inverter it should still have a green light to indicate charging, anything else and it ain't doing as it should.
    Reason, your inverter is NOT adequate for what ever reason. The elecies might offer a reason but the facts are for some reason laptops take some charging current, I know not why only that they do.



    You and nobody has to agree with me, I can only tell you what I know is right having had the situation with so many laptops over the years. Either find an appropriate 12v or buy a better inverter :thumb:
     
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  18. OddSocks

    OddSocks Read Only Funster

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    I am sorry but this is technically wrong, in fact it is technically impossible.

    The important point that you are missing is that when plugged in at home it is only green when it is not charging the battery. When plugged in at home it is red when it is charging the battery. I have explained this error already. I have seen it dozens of times over the years.

    It is not technically possible for the laptop to somehow "know" that the power supply is plugged in to an inverter rather than the mains. If the laptop senses +5.5 or +9 or +20 volts coming in from the charging unit (Or however many volts it uses) It will start to charge the battery, and it will light it's charging light.

    If the inverter is not up to the job, the power supply will not produce the correct voltage, and the laptop will not charge. It will therefore not put it's charging light on. As it IS doing, there is no problem with the inverter. If the OP leaves it plugged in to the inverter long enough for the battery to become fully charged that light will go green, just like it is when it is plugged in at home.
     
  19. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    It's not though and your answering your own question...

    1) the op says when being charged on 240 it shows a green light. When being charged on the inverter it shows a red light.
    You then say the laptop would not know what source it was plugged in to so therefore as I said should still be a green light regardless of what the manual says...

    So the Op should plug it in to the mains at home, if the light is green, nip outside and plug it in to the inverter, light should still be green no if of buts as the power from the inverter should be mimicked the same as the mains power.

    As said, I have nothing to base my knowledge on other than the years of experience of running various laptops on various charging systems over many years...I know little about electrics other than what I know for experience. The simple facts in this matter is the inverter is not up to the job, as said the cleanest and simplistic way is a good proper 12v charger :Cool:
     
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  20. OddSocks

    OddSocks Read Only Funster

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    You still have not twigged the mistake. Did you read all the thread?

    It is only green at home because the battery is fully charged because it is plugged in all the time. Just because it is plugged in does not mean it is charging. It could be plugged in and the battery full. When this is the case the light is green. People make the mistake of thinking that the green light means it is charging, BECAUSE IT IS PLUGGED IN. It does not. As described already!

    I have had this very same conversation dozens of times. I spent 25 years running computers systems for some prety big companies. 17 of those years as IT manager, running help desks for over 500 staff. I know what I am talking about.

    I will bet you a fiver that the when tested the laptop behaves exactly the same plugged in to the inverter as it does when plugged in to 240 outlet at home. Technically, nothing else is possible.
     
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