Laptop car charging

  boon_intheuk 21:39 30 Jul 2008

Hi guys and gals! recently got a dell vostro 1510, I want to charge it in the car but dont want to part with £50 or £60 for a dell 12v charger! I have a auto-xs 150w inverter (from aldi), so I have plugged the laptop through the mains charger into the inverter and seems to charge fine with a steady battery light when the laptop is switched off, however when the laptop is on and I try to charge it through the inverter the battery charging light blinks on and off, each blink lasting about 2 seconds, also the screen brightens when the charging light is on and dims when the light is off. Obviously the laptop is not getting a smooth charge when the laptop is on, can this cause damage? I read somewhere that you can change the power settings in control panel so that the screen brightness does not change when the power is plugged in (this also happens when the mains charger is plugged in or unplugged from the mains in the house, but not the blinking charge light) Shouldnt it run off a 150w inverter ok when in use? Just found out tonight I may have a dodgy car battery, would this make a difference?
Thanks for any help, cheers. Oh yeah, anyone know where I could get a more modestly priced universal charger for the vostro?

  Strawballs 22:14 30 Jul 2008

My laptop is 19v and 120w I got an adapter from my local computer shop that plugs into the car socket adjustable voltage with a selection on plugs for different laptops works fine and was £30.

Or click here

  boon_intheuk 22:50 30 Jul 2008

But i'm not sure any of those has the right adapter for the new dell vostro?

  woodchip 00:01 31 Jul 2008

Mine seems OK on a 300watt, Then I got one like Strawballs above from Lidl some time back cost about £18 also charges Mobil phone at the same time. Maplins have one in also

  ashdav 00:09 31 Jul 2008

Got to your local Maplins.
They sell various types (universal connectors).
The only thing that you need to know is the power drain, 100W,150W,200W,etc.

  woodchip 00:15 31 Jul 2008

Expensive click here

But been in today and thought I saw one cheaper

  ashdav 00:26 31 Jul 2008

Seen them cheaper than that on the website only last week.
Maplins needs a good trawl around to get the best price.
Lowest I've seen these things is £25.00 but on Maplins site I saw ~£30.00 depending on wattage.

  boon_intheuk 07:29 31 Jul 2008

thanks, can using my inverter do any damage though?

  woodchip 10:04 31 Jul 2008

Would not think it could, but computers being what they are!!!!!its any bodys guess

  woodchip 10:41 31 Jul 2008

I also run mine of a Car Jumps start with 300watt inverter on the back of it

  Arnie 11:16 31 Jul 2008

I would be very surprised if any low cost converter could supply a sinusoidal a.c. waveform.

The input to the laptop computer, may be fussy about the a.c. input waveform shaping under its operating conditions. When in the battery charging only mode, the circuitry may not be so fussy about the output quality of the converter.

I have never had the opportunity to examine the output waveform of these cheap modern converters.
However, I built a homemade one of these many years ago and the scoped output was very ragged to say the least. A bit like a poor quality square wave.

In view of the manufacturer's laptop to car charger cost ratio, I wouldn't risk using a non propriety product.

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