Laptop car charger - DC – DC converters
An efficient solution for powering a laptop off the grid is the DC-DC converter also known as Step-up / Step-down DC voltage converters, Car charger, Airplane charger, Air charger, or Auto charger. Input voltages vary from 12 – 24 to sometimes 36 - 48 volts. Consumer market laptop car chargers are usually small devices sold as a laptop accessory to power a laptop in a car, airplane, truck or mobile home.
|Powering a DELL Inspiron 4000 with an Amplus laptop car charger / DC-DC converter rated 24V - 2.2Amps
24 Volt laptop car chargers / DC step-down converters are quite popular in the Truckers world – since laptops have become a standard accessory for those on long hauls. They’re a bit more power efficient compared to 12 Volt step-up converters, simply because the voltage gap to bridge is less.
Quality laptop car charger for truck,mobile home & airplane
For A-brand laptops, LIND Electronics is the official manufacturer for quality laptop car chargers / DC-DC converters. Lind Electronics manufactures laptop car chargers for Panasonic Toughbook, HP, DELL and IBM laptops. There's no substitute for quality - the difference with cheap generic laptop car chargers is huge.
Important with generic laptop car chargers / DC-DC converters is to make VERY sure DC polarity is set right and NOT easily changed (ie: by flipping a switch). One mistake will fry your laptop irreversibly.
DC-DC converters are also used as solar battery chargers. Recently MPPT solar battery chargers have gained popularity extracting 30 % more power from the same solar panels.
Laptop car charger throttles CPU speed
Recent laptop models from brands like DELL, prevent laptop batteries to be recharged with a generic laptop car charger because the ID chip identifying the power source is missing. Though the laptop still works with the laptop car charger, laptop battery charging is shut down.
A more recent development is throttling CPU speed when the (AC) adapter can not be identified. This is especially the case for laptops with a fast CPU, requiring more power to operate. In the future more laptop brands might resort to laptop power adapter identification. Read more about CPU speed throttling in Laptop battery power.
Though CPU throttling can be perceived as a sales trick, (car) safety is the main issue. Powering a laptop in a car and expecting it to also charge the laptop battery can easily cause currents in the range of 7-10 Amps @ 12 volts. On top of that, summertime temperatures inside a car create the perfect condition for a thermal meltdown. Cheap laptop car chargers / DC-DC converters are not designed for extreme circumstances. At best they just shut down, worst case....
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