Laptop for use on boat

  widdy 15:23 05 Mar 05

My pal is considering buying a lap top for use on his boat which has a 12v supply
any recomendations, reasonably priced of course

  Gongoozler 15:26 05 Mar 05

If your friend gets a DC to AC inverter such as these click here, then any laptop can be used.

  wjrt 19:29 05 Mar 05

new ones are expensive but look at Pansonic Toughbook sometimes older ones on E-bay

  wjrt 19:58 05 Mar 05

sorry should be Panasonic Toughbook

  widdy 21:18 05 Mar 05

thanks for the help
specially gongoozler i will pass this on

  sinbad1 21:48 05 Mar 05

Only requirement for laptop or computer aboard is an inverter to tranform battery power to 240v.
Makes sense to buy a higher output wattage inverter since while floating the system you will need to run tv's hoovers hair driers etc, be sure to buy a good quality inverter that gives a simulated sign wave and not square wave as this may damage sensitive equipment.

I live on a boat and run computer with 2mb wireless connection,printer and tv,etc using 1kw inverter.(sterling Marine Product)

The other consideration is using an inverter he would need to have at least 3 domestic batteries (apart from the starter battery) preferably 100ah deep cycle.

hope this helps your friend

  Gongoozler 08:59 06 Mar 05

The comment from sinbad1 prompts me to mention the subject of power from a boat battery. 100W or even 1KW doesn't sound like much in a domestic environment with mains electricity coming from a hole in the wall. On a boat running from 12V batteries, 100W is nearly 10A (I know that V=IR puts it nearer 8A, but there are losses in the conversion process so 10A allows for conversion losses), whereas 1KW would take almost 100A from the batteries! If the boat has 3 batteries of 100A-H capacity 1KW would take them from fully charged to deep discharge in about 2hours.

  sinbad1 11:54 06 Mar 05

inverters only provide the power thats needed and up to its capacity. since we are talking about laptops the small amount of power required to run
from 3x100ah bateries would take a very long time to discharge the batteries.
if laptops needed 1kw to run then i would agree.

  Gongoozler 12:00 06 Mar 05

Hi sinbad1. I know that, but I thought it a good idea to point out potential pitfalls of using a large inverter. At home we casually plug things into the mains, but on a boat what looks like a huge amount of power in 300 a-h of battery is really only very small when using heavy load devices.

  OAP65 12:22 06 Mar 05

my son in law has a lap top that he uses for navigation whilst at sea. He runs this through a 150w inverter powered by 3 x 100amp/h batteries that also runs domestic systems on the boat and he has never had any problems. We have a narrowboat fitted with a combi sine wave inverter and 6 x 100 amp/h batteries. The whole boat is run on 240 volts through the inverter and we have had no problems at all. We did live on our boat for 2 years and our computer worked perfect.

  Gongoozler 12:37 06 Mar 05

Hi OAP65. You're right in that a properly fitted 240V installation will run with no problems. However tacking a large capacity inverter onto an existing system is a different matter. As long as the installation has a proper charge controller, the inverter is powered through adequate guage cables and the user is aware of the amount of charge being taken from the battery then yes all will be well. The fact remains, however, that 300 A-H at 12V equates to 3.6KW-H nominal, and nearer 2 KW-H in practice. This, of course, is of no importance for a laptop but if heavy usage equipment such as a microwave cooker, washing machine etc is added then the user should be aware of how quickly the batteries can run down.

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