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Old 01-05-2012, 05:46 PM   #1
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Wink DC to DC converters? Laptop/Cell not charging on DC

Today, my AC went out, and my laptop stopped charging, as did all other chargers (cell phone, 3G/4G Hotspot) which were plugged into the wall socket.

I'm still a newbie at the RV lifestyle, and I assumed that stuff like that would just go on the battery, but when you think about it, the chargers are AC to DC converters, which might not work when the trailer is on DC? Am I right? And is there an easy fix? Like a special extension cord or some type of wall plug converter?

Thanks ahead of time for your wisdom!

Jane

P.S. I finally bought a 2012 Springdale, not an Airstream, so don't hold it against me LOL. A matter of $$$ and financing.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:29 PM   #2
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Things such as your cell phone and hotspot are relatively easy. These devices are typically charged with a 5V "wall wart" that connects to the device with a mini or micro USB connector. Many stores sell a lighter plug with 1 or 2 5V USB ports with either attached or detachable charging cables. Laptops are a breed apart. The manufacturer of the laptop would be the most probable source for a 12V DC power brick for it.

Aside from buying specific 12V chargers for each device, you could buy a small inverter. They are rated in watts so a 100W inverter might be adequate to charge your laptop (check laptop requirements) but you would likely have to charge things one at a time. It has a lighter plug on one end and 1 or more 110V outlets on the other. The good news it will plug into your 12V socket on the TV antenna switch. A larger inverter would have more capacity, but would need to be wired to your 12V fuse block or battery and be preferably switched. More common ones are rated at 400 or 600 watts, most have a fan as they draw so much power, they need cooling and the fan on bargain units may be noisy. BTW, inverters convert 12V DC to 110 AC. Converters on the other hand convert 110V AC to 12V DC and you have one of them to charge your battery and provide 12V for your radio, furnace, etc.

Everything here has its inefficiencies. More is taken out of your battery than what is put into each device. Understand that using your battery to charge these things will shorten the time before you have to recharge the battery... Some folks like the solar option. Or if you drive and sight see, rig up something to charge them from the car while you're driving about.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:35 PM   #3
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We got a Targus device which plugs into a lighter to charge our laptop. Different laptops run on different voltages ranging from 12v-20v, and, the plugs are different sizes. You will need to know the voltage needs of your laptop. Take it with you when you go for an adapter. I checked the voltage output of the adapter we bought before I plugged it into my laptop. My laptop wants 18v. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #4
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Um, what's wrong with the AC circuits? Is there a breaker to check, a fusebox external to the trailer to reset? A cord that is your trailer's power supply that came unplugged?

Colour me olde-fashioned, but I like to fix things at the problem's source...
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:10 PM   #5
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I think she meant a power failure, not an AS power issue?????
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
I think she meant a power failure, not an AS power issue?????
Well, she didn't say, and seeing as how it's not an Airstream she has, you just never know...
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:37 PM   #7
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A small inverter used to plug a wall wart into is a pretty good idea - this will serve all of your small electronic creatures that need feeding. Just be careful of the inverter you get. Some of the cheaper (read chinese) inverters put out a 120 volt 60 Hz square wave which can be hard on your electronics. Next step up is a "modified sine wave" inverter that approximates a sine wave with a kind of stair-step sine wave - pretty common and relatively cheap - not bad for wall warts. Best (and most expensive) is a "pure sine wave" inverter - not really necessary for wall wart chargers.
I have used my modified sine inverter for everything from computer battery charger to cordless drill battery charger.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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Yes, it was just a brief, general area power outage. I didn't even realize it, cuz the radio and lights were still going, but I noticed my laptop was on battery, even though it was plugged in. (And the battery only holds a charge for maybe an hour these days) I do have a solar panel, but haven't needed to use it yet.

OK Jim, I see the "lighter plug" by the TV area, didn't know what that was! I don't have a TV, I'm using it for an office space, so putting in one of those adapters would be perfect, it's right near my dinette were I work. I saw one on the Camping World website. I work online and spend all day at my laptop.

Thanks guys, I'm still new to this RV thing. I'm actually living full time, but parked; now I need a truck! (And when did 10 year old trucks with 80,000+ miles get to be worth $10,000+ ??!!)
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:12 AM   #9
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Yeah, we have several 12 volt chargers for our phones. In the B190, with its limited outlet space, we always used the 12 volt chargers for our phones. We bought 120 volt chargers when we bought the trailer, but we still have the 12 volt chargers in the camper for those days when we do not have 120 volt power available.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:22 AM   #10
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I have 12v chargers for the phones and the laptop. They stay in the Airstream; the 120v ones stay in the stick house.

We only use the 120v outlets for the toaster and the electric beater.
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