> TEOTWAWKI Blog: The Search for a Car Inverter



The Search for a Car Inverter

So, we've been on some road trips lately. We've got a young son, who lasts about two hours in the car before he starts to go ballistic and needs a break from his car seat. So we stop and let him stretch a bit. BUT, when he's zoned out watching a movie, he lasts much longer. We have a laptop and lots of movies...just needed some way to power it on long trips.

I do have my trusty Electromate 400, but it will only stretch the laptop's battery for 3-4 hours. We don't have an inverter, which is what we needed.

So I began my hunt.

First, Costco, to look for their Xantrex inverter, which I had heard good things about. None to be found. Blast.

Next to target, where I bought this Black and Decker 200W inverter. Figured hey-great--should be fine. Get it out of the box, and see that the cable terminals are basically exposed in the back. Since I'm going to be using this around a little kid, that's a no-go for me. I didn't even bother to test it, just returned it to Target post-haste.

The only other inverter that Target had was this one, a smaller 100W model. I think my laptop draws around 60-80W, so figured it should work fine. We were rushed packing and getting ready to leave, so I didn't test it out.

So, we're about 45 minutes down the road and the son is starting to get antsy. We get the laptop set up and a movie running and plug the inverter in and...red light. Doesn't want to work. Great.

Luckily, I had the trusty Electromate 400 along for the ride, which was able to keep the laptop running for a while. Love that thing.

We did eventually get the inverter to power the laptop, but only intermittently. So that inverter is going back to Target, and then the hunt begins anew.

So--does anyone have any recommendations for inverters? Preferably one that can be bought at a local-type store, as we're hitting the road again in a couple days. And around $30.

I think a decent inverter is  good thing to have stashed in the BOV, and they come in quite handy in normal everyday times as well.

Another lesson learned (yet again)--test your new gear out beforehand! Assume it will crap out on you within 5 minutes unless it's proved otherwise.