Dora - Inverter

Looking towards Fulltime travel with more and longer boondocking I found I couldn't change my laptop using the 12V system. All the other stuff, cell phones, kindles, etc. can be changed via 12V. But the laptops need either a special (unidentified) power supply running off 12V or an inverter to make 120V AC from 12V DC. In the later case the 120V laptop charger is used.

I opted to install a small, 700 watt, inverter specifically for changing the laptops. I mounted it under the small shelf under the dinette.

It seems very inefficient converting 12V DC to 120V AC then back to DC using the laptop charger. It's the easiest to implement though and it does work fine.

Now the remaining question is whether the solar panel and charging system can keep the batteries charged when boondocking. Or alternately, how much can we use the laptops while boondocking?


I started having trouble with the inverter, it wouldn't come on to charge my laptop. Or even not come on at all, just beep once then quit. I could find no information on what the beeps or lights meant for troubleshooting. So, I purchased another inverter similar to the first. It seemed to work for awhile then likewise started to give trouble. Bummer.

However, I did notice the charging voltage to the 12v system was very high, like 16.5 to 17v. Would explain the loss of battery water also. Must be the converter or the solar controller. Unplugged from 120v, no change. Covered the solar panel, voltage dropped to a normal changing value. AhHa, the solar controller.

That explains why the inverters didn't work, intermitantly. They gave trouble when the sun shines. I tried them with the solar panel covered and they worked fine. Ordered a new solar controller, installed it, and the inverter now works well.

Would do me good to go about troubleshooting with a little more discipline. But it's all worked out in the end.