Greg Dolley’s Weblog

A Blog about Graphics Programming, Game Programming, Tips and Tricks

Archive for January 20th, 2008

Tip: What You Didn’t Know About Car Chargers

Posted by gregd1024 on January 20, 2008

What didn’t you know car chargers (i.e. iPod car charger, cell phone car charger, etc.)? Simple: you don’t need them! Yup, that’s right – don’t ever buy a “car” version of a charger for a device that comes with a regular wall A/C adapter. How come?

With a car charger you can only charge one device at a time and only the device it was made for. What if you could charge anything in your car with a device’s regular A/C adapter? Not only that, what if you could charge more than one device at a time?

There’s an easy way to do this: instead of buying a car charger, buy a DC/AC Inverter for your car! What this device does is convert your cigarette lighter socket into a standard wall outlet. Then you can plug the regular A/C adapter into the inverter – as if it was a wall in your house! Also, the cheapest inverters come with two outlets (others have four, six, etc.), so you can charge more than one device at a time.

Best of all, an inverter costs only about $25 dollars, not those rip-off prices you see for typical car chargers ($60 – $120 dollars). Since most people have no clue that an inverter will do the same thing, the OEM’s know they can charge more.

I’ve been using the same inverter for about a year and it works great! It has even survived amazingly hot summer temperatures when my car has been parked under the sun for an extended period (my car’s cabin thermometer would typically read 145 – 175 degrees). That’s what I call durability!

I’d recommend buying an inverter with a power rating of 150 watts. It’s probably more than you’ll ever need. You can charge a high powered laptop, cell phone, and a few other small devices all at the same time with that amount of power. Most laptops need 75 watts, but high powered one’s could require 90 or 120 watts. iPods, PDA’s and other small devices use almost nothing – about five watts max.

You can buy an inverter at any electronics store. I got mine at Fry’s Electronics, but Circuit City and Best Buy should have them too.

-Greg Dolley

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Posted in Miscellaneous, Tips and Tricks | 7 Comments »