Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fun With Power Inverters

12V Power inverters are great for camping, long car trips and power outages. They let you plug in most smaller gadgets like computers, TVs and chargers. I've had a small inverter for my computer bag for several years, but it was a little too small (75W) to charge the gaggle of devices I now carry. So I bought a 200/400 power inverter from Amazon.

Powerline 200/400 Watt Mobile Inverter plugged into 12V power supply to test with
Charging my laptop from a pretend car
I bought this one because it is powerful and compact, and also got pretty good reviews. It seems like the perfect balance for my needs, which will usually be charging a phone/tablet/laptop. A more powerful one would've been nice, but they were a little bulky to live in my backpack.  My plan is to be able to carry this one with all my electronics bag and bust it out when needed. It's a little more bulky than my last one, but my new Bluetooth headphones are much less bulky, so my upgrades pretty much cancel each other out with my total backpack weight.

When I took it out the box, of course I wanted to test it. And then dawned on me that it was 33 degrees outside, my cars were cold, and I had a better and much nerdier way of testing it; an old 12V power supply I've had for ages, which has a cigarette lighter attachment built in.

I put the new inverter through its paces in my test environment and it worked like a champ. My only grip with it so far is that it's a little loud. Running cars are normally noisy environments, but if you wanted to watch a movie with the engine turned off, the fan noise from the inverter might be a little distracting. Other than that, it seems to work great. It already has a niche in my electronics backpack.

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