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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently using a Whistler 1200W inverter. Works fine for small appliances. I'm no electrician, so I've been researching online, but I'm getting mixed information concerning the safety of using a modified sine wave inverter for rechargeable items, like laptops, phones, etc. Some say it will damage or shorten battery life, some say it's fine. But to be safe I've been told a pure sine wave inverter is required.

Has anyone found this to be the case?
 

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2014-159 HR in CT
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Some electronics devices are fussy, like a microwave.

My microwave is happy with the Harbor Freight 2000W (not pure sine wave) inverter and 2 100Ah batteries. OTOH, I tried an induction cooktop and the display kept showing error messages.

For charging, using a wall wart or power supply to convert 120VAC to a DC voltage for the laptop shouldn't matter.

Better scenario, use a 12V USB charging device for your phone... you know the ones that plug in the cigarette lighter socket. Your laptop may have an optional 12V adapter/charger, so an inverter wouldn't be needed.

ed
 

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Good advice Ed,
For all our battery chargers, phones, iPad and even my Bluetooth keyboard I use USB outlets I installed in the van.
By using the butane cooktop and not having any desire for a microwave I have only used my inverter a couple times.
 

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Laptops are charged with DC current. The stock power supplies use a transformer to convert 120v to DC. It's a waste of energy to go from the 12V DC your battery puts out, invert it with a sine wave inverter to AC and then back again to DC. I use a direct DC charger that plugs into the laptop, if I remember correctly I bought it on Amazon for under $10 and it has worked well for over 2 years now.
 

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I had trouble with digital TV stations using a modifies sine wave invert. Tried it with a PSW and it worked perfectly. Since moved to direct 12V TV with no problems. If u don't watch TV this is not helpful.
 
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I can't comment on modified sine wave limitations but I can confirm that with a pure sine wave inverter the following work as expected: 110v mini-fridge, computer monitor, hdtv digital tuner, bluray player, microwave, hot-plate, elec water heater, usb device chargers, & 110v inflator.
 

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If you need to power a laptop - voltage varies 15-24V - your best bet is to get a vehicle laptop power supply. It is direct DC to DC conversion (just a voltage change). They are less than $20 - Amazon, Ebay... Run everything you can off of 12V if that is your power supply (batteries).

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I can use the USB ports in the van for the phone and will probably get an AC adapter for charging the computer while driving. My main concern is using the inverter for charging while not running the engine. I'll probably just break down and get a pure sine wave inverter at some point.

I have no plans on running a microwave and only cook with propane at the moment. Right now I have the compressor fridge, LED lights and fan hooked directly up to the battery. So only things like my electrical kettle, blender, and assorted power tools will be connected to the inverter as needed.



Some electronics devices are fussy, like a microwave.

My microwave is happy with the Harbor Freight 2000W (not pure sine wave) inverter and 2 100Ah batteries. OTOH, I tried an induction cooktop and the display kept showing error messages.

For charging, using a wall wart or power supply to convert 120VAC to a DC voltage for the laptop shouldn't matter.

Better scenario, use a 12V USB charging device for your phone... you know the ones that plug in the cigarette lighter socket. Your laptop may have an optional 12V adapter/charger, so an inverter wouldn't be needed.

ed
 

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2014 136” HR
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As others have mentioned, there's probably a 12v charger for the laptop, and of course the phones charge from 12v. MW worked OK with MSW, just a bit noisy and maybe slower. I've read that tools with solid state power or variable speed control, and some battery chargers for cordless tools don't play well with MSW. Considering the cost differential, you must ask how important the tools are.

I use the Bosch cordless. Couple extra batteries charged at home.
 

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"My main concern is using the inverter for charging while not running the engine"

Just to clarify...

An Inverter cannot be used to charge your aux batteries. It is used to convert 12V DC from the batteries to 120VAC.

A converter/charger used in many RVs, is used to take shore power 120VAC and convert it to 12VDC to charge your aux batteries and at the same time provide 12VDC to the 12V stuff in the van while plugged in.

There are inverter/converter/charger all-in-one units that will do both, but they are $$$$ and IMHO are not needed for what you're doing. A 2000W HF Inverter is about $129 and a 35Amp (400W) converter charger is about $129.

Or, for charging, consider solar! (that's like the magic word around here! :D)
 

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I used a small modified sine wave unit to charge my laptop for years and it worked fine. It was a one piece unit that plugged into a 12v receptacle and had a 110v receptacle on it.
 
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