Inverter and apple imac (1 Viewer)

francisd

Free Member
Jan 13, 2023
5
7
Donegal, Ireland
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93,387
MH
rapido 886f
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Since 2021
Hi
We have a Rapido 886f and are thinking of adding solar panels and a 3000w scion inverter
Our worry is that our apple imac will run ok and not damage it or the power supply over time.
I read somewhere that apple were very sensitive to power fluctuations
Thanks
Francis
 
Jul 27, 2013
870
4,096
Wilts/Oxon border
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27,149
MH
Van Conversion
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Since childhood!
I carry a surge protector plug in my van for use with my MBP, but I’ve not had any issues.
 

irnbru

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Jun 27, 2013
13,519
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Benimar 264
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11 yrs
We have a MacBook Air and use a 12v lead to recharge the battery. Been doing this 6 years and all fine.
 
Feb 19, 2018
5,085
86,618
EAST ANGLIA
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52,484
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Murvi Morello
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Since 1975
I know little about electrics but I have always been to told that Pure Sine Inverters are the way to go with anything sensitive, not the other type which may work but cannot be guaranteed? :unsure:

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Sep 17, 2017
5,647
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In theory, it really shouldn't matter. Laptops use switch mode power supplies, which chops up whatever input it gets into capacitors and then drains it back at the appropriate voltage for output. They don't care if you plug them into a European socket at 230v/50Hz, or an American socket at 110v/60Hz.

Our local substation started to die and lost a phase (and caught fire a couple of hours later). Stuff like the vacuum and fridge did not like it, but my laptop didn't care. Even my main gaming PC was fine until I loaded a game and the power draw was too high. Switch mode power supplies should cope with all sorts of rubbish.

However... I have had an issue running a laptop on an inverter. It was a cheapo 150w inverter into a cheap laptop. Soon after I plugged it in, the touchpad would freeze. Unplugging it so it ran on battery, it worked fine. I don't know why. My work laptop and my wife's work laptop are fine on it.
 
Apr 27, 2016
6,950
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Manchester
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42,762
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A class Hymer
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Since the 80s
We have a Rapido 886f and are thinking of adding solar panels and a 3000w scion inverter
Be sure you know what you are doing when you add a 3000W inverter. I know 3000W is only about the amount of power you can get from a single 13A plug, but it's still an enormous load in an average motorhome. It's too much for a single 100Ah battery, and two 100Ah batteries will really struggle.

3000W is 3000/12 = 250A at 12V, and the recommended limit for an average 100Ah battery is 20A. Installing a big inverter like that should be done as part of an upgrade package, including multiple batteries, preferably lithium.
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
54,140
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658
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Since 2008 & many years tugging
:welco:

I wouldn't risk a cheap Chinese inverter if you need that much power get a Victron pure sine inverter their 3000va one is around £950.

For the mac it's more efficient to use a 12v charger.
If you want to use a 3000 W inverter at full power unless you have Lithium batteries you will need about 1200ah of batteries, i.e. 10 to 12 batteries to support it.
 
Feb 27, 2011
14,902
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In theory, it really shouldn't matter. Laptops use switch mode power supplies, which chops up whatever input it gets into capacitors and then drains it back at the appropriate voltage for output. They don't care if you plug them into a European socket at 230v/50Hz, or an American socket at 110v/60Hz.

Our local substation started to die and lost a phase (and caught fire a couple of hours later). Stuff like the vacuum and fridge did not like it, but my laptop didn't care. Even my main gaming PC was fine until I loaded a game and the power draw was too high. Switch mode power supplies should cope with all sorts of rubbish.

However... I have had an issue running a laptop on an inverter. It was a cheapo 150w inverter into a cheap laptop. Soon after I plugged it in, the touchpad would freeze. Unplugging it so it ran on battery, it worked fine. I don't know why. My work laptop and my wife's work laptop are fine on it.

The problem stems from a pseudo sine wave invertor actually being stepped. So the sharp(ish) edges cause harmonics. This is compounded by any of the high frequency used in the PWM circuit getting through. A switch mode PSU will have pre-filtering and smoothing circuits designed to operate on a pure sine wave. Having a noisy and choppy input will negatively affect it's performance.

Hi
We have a Rapido 886f and are thinking of adding solar panels and a 3000w scion inverter
Our worry is that our apple imac will run ok and not damage it or the power supply over time.
I read somewhere that apple were very sensitive to power fluctuations
Thanks
Francis

I would strongly recommend not using an inverter as these are an inefficient way to power a laptop. You should look for a DC-DC converter. I am not sure what voltage Apple laptops use. But most modern laptops use around 19v. So a 12v to 19V DC to DC converter is the usual solution.

With an inverter you are converting from 12V to 240v to 19v. Each stage has losses. By going to a DC-DC converter you are doing 12v to 19v and in an efficient manner. I hope that makes sense?


EDIT: A pseudo or "modified" sine wave looks like this for comparison. (ignore the 1/60 second it is 1/50 in the UK/Europe)

modified-sine-wave-vs-pure-sine-wave.jpg

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Jim

Ringleader
Jul 19, 2007
36,697
132,735
Sutton on Sea, UK
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1
MH
Adria Panel Van.
Exp
Since 1988
I've been a user of Macbooks in vans for may years. The Cheap Option... I have used 12v ciggy lighter chargers like this one for a long time with no ill effects of battery or computer


However, these days everything works off a quality inverter (y)
 

Terry

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 27, 2007
11,964
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1,075
MH
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Exp
Can't remember ;)
I must be missing the point but an Apple Mac only needs a small inverter. 😉 Yes I would buy a PSW but no need for for a £900 inverter and hundreds on a massive battery bank
EDIT both Gromet and Jim posted while I was typing
 
Feb 27, 2011
14,902
77,429
UK
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15,452
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Self Build
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Since 2005
I've been a user of Macbooks in vans for may years. The Cheap Option... I have used 12v ciggy lighter chargers like this one for a long time with no ill effects of battery or computer


However, these days everything works off a quality inverter (y)
Yes, that link is for a DC-DC converter. Perfect solution especially if you don't want to be running an inverter all the time for something else.



I forgot to add the link to my post above. This is a pretty decent article on the difference and has some scope outputs.

 
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francisd

Free Member
Jan 13, 2023
5
7
Donegal, Ireland
Funster No
93,387
MH
rapido 886f
Exp
Since 2021
Hi folks... sorry for an misunderstandings but its not a laptop (Macbook) computer but a full desktop (iMac) with built in 21inch monitor I want to use.
Yea the invertor is pure sine wave and I have been quoted for is around £1000 so hopefully it should be fairly strong. Just need to get the power to work it through solar panels and batteries... and in Donegal, Ireland that could be a problem!
 
Apr 27, 2016
6,950
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Manchester
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42,762
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A class Hymer
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Since the 80s
Hi folks... sorry for an misunderstandings but its not a laptop (Macbook) computer but a full desktop (iMac) with built in 21inch monitor I want to use.
Yea the invertor is pure sine wave and I have been quoted for is around £1000 so hopefully it should be fairly strong. Just need to get the power to work it through solar panels and batteries... and in Donegal, Ireland that could be a problem!
I don't know about iMacs, I only ever use a standard PC-type laptop. But from reading the specs, even a 27" iMac only has a max power consumption of just less than 300W. So a 3000W inverter is definitely OTT for that.

I know it's tempting to go for the biggest inverter you are ever likely to want to use, but I think it's best to go for one that is just big enough for things you definitely want to use. The bigger the inverter, the higher the wasted power when it is switched on, even with no load. You may be better going for a lower power, say 1000W, and getting a higher quality one with a lower no-load drain. Or maybe a 1500W which will run a coffee machine.

Others use an inverter to power high-power, short burst loads, like a microwave, coffee machine or hairdryer, and switch the inverter off when not actually in use. The no-load drain mounts up over a period of hours, when used to run a desktop computer, so best to go for the most efficient one possible.

You'll need plenty of solar, and I think you'll also need lots of battery storage, it may be worth looking at lithium batteries which can give a much higher discharge current than lead-acid types (flooded, gel, AGM carbon etc). They are smaller and lighter than the equivalent lead-acid battery, but are more expensive.

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