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Old 01-24-2012, 03:57 PM   #1
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12v inverter recommendations?

Hi all,

Two very exciting events coming up for us ... first, our 17B will arrive in late February. Second, we are actually leaving next week for a Frequent Flier Funded (aka seriously budget) trip to New Zealand, during which we've rented a tiny Escape-esque campervan. It's sort of like a final fling before we have our first "child," our Escape back here in the US.

I realized this morning that we're going to need a 12V inverter for both "events" -- we plan to boondock in NZ and here whenever possible, and we'll need to plug in various and sundry things. We do have car adaptors for our phones and iPad, but not for our computer or camera battery charger. It's the latter -- the camera battery charger -- that we need to deal with in NZ.

Can you guys recommend inverters? I'm not sure what to think about buying, say, a 400 watt vs an 1100 watt ... not sure how much juice a laptop and say a battery charger might take.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:28 PM   #2
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Re: 12v inverter recommendations?

Hi, Liz,

I can't give you good advice on inverters as I never had much luck with them but someone here can.
I was in New Zealand in recent years and it is pretty inexpensive as far as foreign travel goes. New Zealand has many beautiful spots. I did one of the best one-day treks in NZ--- or in the world--- there called the Tongariro Crossing. I don't know which island you will be on. That should be a wonderful trip and a good place for camping.
Cathy
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:29 PM   #3
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Re: 12v inverter recommendations?

I have a 300 watt in the company car and a 200 watt in my RAV.

I have an adapter that allows me to plug three devices into the inverter. It easily handles the laptop and cell phone or whatever.

The 200 watt is probably enough for lap top and camera battery charging even charging them together. Mine is from Can Tire, called Eliminator. It irritates me because every time you turn the car off and restart you have to restart the inverter. That I would try to avoid.

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Old 01-24-2012, 08:09 PM   #4
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Re: 12v inverter recommendations?

I use a 100 watt I got from Amazon, didn't cost much as I recall. The brand name on it is "Super Start" model 44101. It's mainly for recharging the cell, camera batteries, and laptop when we're dry camping, which is most of the time. I don't know much about electricity, but I was worried about battery draw-down, so I got one with just enough capacity to recharge one thing at a time.

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Old 02-24-2012, 08:17 PM   #5
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Re: 12v inverter recommendations?

Does anyone know what the max wattage is that you can safely go with one of these, if you're plugging in to one of the trailer 6v outlets? 300v?
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:54 PM   #6
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Re: 12v inverter recommendations?

About 75/100 watts on a 12 Volt outlet would be safe. Those 12 V out lets are along way from the power source and will heat up with a heavy draw of power over a long time. The gauge and length of the wire is the deciding factor. A long Light gauge (thin) wire will not handle a heavy load. But a shorter heavy gauge (thick) will. Use the out let that's closest to the battery.Check the wires behind the out let inside the cabinet if they are warm it's normal. But if there hot I would not leave it unattended.
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:04 PM   #7
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Re: 12v inverter recommendations?

I'm not sure what you are attempting to do. The more amps you draw, the faster your battery goes dead.
The inverter isn't a miracle drug. All it does is convert DC to AC. Good for charging laptops, phones etc.

You might be able to make one piece of toast with an electric toaster ( but I doubt it ), before you melt your electrics and suck every ounce of energy out of your battery.

That's why you have AC plugs and power trees in campgrounds.

If you're boondocking, you can't take it all with you.

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Old 02-24-2012, 11:17 PM   #8
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Re: 12v inverter recommendations?

Glenn, it would be nice to charge, say, a camera battery and an iPad You said earlier in the thread you're using a 300V inverter but I wasn't sure if that was in the trailer or in your car -- and what the difference in capability may be between a car outlet versus one in the trailer.

Others above have suggested inverters with less firepower -- for use IN the trailer. Thus my wish to clarify.

I'm aware that loading an inverter up will drain the battery -- but seriously, the thought of bringing a toaster never occurred to me. I doubt what I want to do is much different than what you are doing.

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Old 02-24-2012, 11:35 PM   #9
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Re: 12v inverter recommendations?

In that case, I think you should buy any wattage inverter with two outlets, that's on sale ( 100 or 200 should do it ). The iPad and phone aren't going to draw very much at all. I'm no electrician, but the only time I ran in to trouble was trying to run a very low wattage one-cup coffee maker from the inverter. That melted the cigarette lighter plug.
I must add that I almost always use the inverter in the RAV4 while moving from one place to another. I have DC chargers for everything, but the MacBook Pro ( DVD player, TV, Sirius radio and dock, portable speakers, cell phone all run on DC or AC ).

baglo


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Old 02-24-2012, 11:42 PM   #10
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Re: 12v inverter recommendations?

I just looked up the info ( under the Apple - "About this Mac" ) on this MacBook Pro with 17 inch screen and it uses 85 watts AC.

I don't know iPads, but you can likely find the system info on your iPad. I suspect it requires a whole lot less.

baglo

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