charging with car's AC - how many devices can be charged

Started Jan 31, 2014 | Discussions thread
scorrpio Veteran Member • Posts: 3,595
Re: charging with car's AC - how many devices can be charged

A typical car alternator puts out 50-65 amps at 14V, or about 700-900W.    Bigger car (i.e. a truck) might have a 100 amp alternator.  An RV will have even more.   Every connected electrical device is rated for a certain power draw, protected by a fuse.    A 10 amp fuse on a 12V accessory socket will blow if you pull more than 120W.   If you want more power, you need direct wiring.   I.e. when I installed a 250W RMS sub amp in my car, I ran a 6AWG wire straight to the battery with an inline 30A fuse.    In retrospect, 6AWG was an overkill.

The fuse is there mainly to protect the wiring.    If you overdraw a wire can overheat and catch fire.    You want that happening inside the fuse, not in a wire harness next to the fuel line.

Anyways, a 150W inverter can be safely plugged into the typical 'lighter' outlet without much capacity loss.   A 400W inverter needs to be wired directly if you want all its power.

Then again, how much you need?    A typical laptop power brick is about 75W.    A tablet charger usually wants about 15W, and most  phones charge fine on 10W or less.    A DSLR battery charger might take 15-20.    In other words, I think you can plug a laptop, a phone, a tablet and a DSLR charger into a single 150W inverter plugged into a lighter socket and still have some leftover headroom.

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