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Mod Squad
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I stumbled upon a cool little gadget that might be of interest to someone.

It's a 180w inverter that can plug into your car's cigarette lighter. It features one 120 VAC plug and 4 USB ports and can be used to charge a variety of laptops, phones, tablets, and other rechargeable stuff. You could also hook this directly to a deep cycle or regular car battery. The device is shaped to fit snugly into your car's cup holder, and is only like $35 bucks or so. Might be worth having, yanno?

ENERGIZER 180w Inverter
 

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For the usb charging part that would probably work OK but 180 watts for the 120 outlet is not much power at all. My first inverter was 300 watts and it wouldn't even budge my 20 inch box fan. You could probably run a table lamp with one of those 13 watt cfl bulbs or portable radio. I don't know, might be worth it just to use the usb ports.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The 180 w outlet is designed to run or charge a laptop. No, it wouldn't run much else, but the idea is to have a way to recharge your portable devices.
 
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I am giving the portable solar charger/battery packs a try, my thought are to shorten up the energy chain. I can still use the accessory adaptor (cig lighter) in the vehicle to charge up the battery pack and I can also use the power of the sun. I have inverters but use them mostly when camping and with a generator, I can run them off the vehicle which makes the vehicle a rather expensive generator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I ordered one of these little inverters, and it came today! Yay!

The main benefit to us is that it allows us to power the iPhone for gps and still be charging the laptop and tablets as we drive. It's also a backup way to charge handheld devices from any 12 VDC battery. For $32, it's worth having, I think.
 

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Cheap Chinese junk. The 180W is probably peak power. The continuous power is probably much lower, maybe even only half.

Beware that these type of cheap inverters generally put out a square wave. That type of AC waveform is really hard on the (cheap) electrolytic capacitors that are in almost all electronics with an AC input. It overheats them and dramatically shortens their life.

The power that comes out of the wall is a sinewave, basically a gentle rise from 0 volts to 115VAC. That dramatically reduces the in-rush current into the cheap Chinese capacitors on whatever thing electronic you are trying to power. A pure sinewave inverter is what you want if you want your stuff to last. They will, however, cost MUCH more. If you can't find or afford one of those then look for one that says it provides a "modified sine wave." Those type put out a square wave with steps, like a staircase. The more steps the better but good luck on finding that information. The cheaper ones will only have two steps from 0 to 115VAC.

And as a previous poster noted, it won't last to long so if it is for TEOTWAWKI prepping, be sure to buy at least two.
 
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