Last year I used a 150W inverter
to keep my laptop
recharged. This cigarette lighter plug
drew about 4 amps DC while charging
But last week I got a netbook and wanted something a bit more compact and maybe more efficient to keep it charged while on the boat. So I ordered a $10 (including shipping) car charger
from a Hong Kong
based outfit. I found them on ebay at TOSHIBA NOTEBOOK LAPTOP CAR ADAPTER UNIVERSAL CHARGER - eBay (item 270611680890 end time Aug-21-10 22:56:57 PDT)
If that address is too intimidating, go to ebay and search on eleknuts laptop
The charger arrived today and it is a nice piece of stuff. CE rated, it has a sliding switch to select output voltage from 15 to 24 V. It comes with 6-8 adapters, one of which fit my Toshiba netbook. Unfortunately none of them fit my Dell laptop, but that isn't what I bought it for.
The netbook says it uses 1.6 amps at 19 V. I measured the converter draw at about 2 amps at 12 V, so that makes its efficiency better than 100% so the Toshiba spec is obvously conservative.
While powered by the converter the netbook's power indicator said it was charging
and after 5 minutes, the battery
capacity had increased about 5%, what I would expect from the wall adapter.
So, I am very happy with this new device and you can't beat the price
. I'll get a chance to try it out next week on a two week cruise
on a friend's boat.
FWIW all sorts of electronics
are available dirt cheap
from Hong Kong
. You have to search ebay to find them, but I have yet to be dissapointed.