I have done tons of research, work, and planning since my last post and have found a couple solid choices for rv's (lesharo's and rialta's, if anyone has another type of similarly sized and quality vehicle please let me know!)
I have a pretty powerful laptop its a ibuypower gaming laptop (8 gbs of ram 3.4 ghz quad core big video card etc etc) it dies in like 2 hours period ( not gaming just period. many times less) I need to be able to keep this charged all the time since I will be doing all my work from it (accounting) I could switch to a less powerful machine but I play games and I will make it possible in an rv. I have a big powerful cell phone as well ( note 2) with unlimited internet. But im sure I wont be able to use 50 + gb's a month like I usually use here on a land line.
so my questions are.
what exactly do you (or I) need to run these electronics? there isn't a middle ground for this like using it less I need it to work. What kind of batteries, what kind of solar panels? Is this even possible! It better be!
Internet wise. I have unlimited internet on my phone and can tether but at a certain point they will cut me. Ive looked into mobile hotspots and usb modems. all are capped
For verizon they range from 20 bucks a month to 160 (2 gb and 30 gb) then its like 5 or 10 bucks a gigabyte after that.
Ive looked into satellite it looks more expensive and less reliable but give me your thoughts and critiques and advice in general.
Also anyone in here a wrestler/ does bjj?
It's all about wire gauge and length.
I once ran a higher gauge (thinner) wire to a cheap 12 volt port replicator and my laptop would brown out when it started to pull some real amps.
My laptop sucks a lot of juice if the GPU/CPU are being utilized, 8-10 amps depending on the current battery voltage, but under normal load only draws 2-3.
My long run of 12 feet I used 8 awg from my splitting point and my shorter run I used 10 awg. It's important not to run them to cheap splitters, too. They'll internally use lower awg stuff and cause voltage drop or even brown outs.
My generally setup is to have one 12 volt plug for higher amperage (my laptop) then something for lower amperage stuff. For the higher amps I use marine style plugs where your wires run pretty damn close to direct to the metal pads.
Photos contain these 2 higher amp plugs:
And this is above and beyond the best USB/12volt port replicator I've found: http://amzn.com/B000PB8CQI
I installed one of those under my desk and replaced my ash tray with one (runs to my cabin batteries, just like my stereo)
thank you for the reply.
I have seriously considered sprint, I just love verizons network as shady and shitty as they can be. I think I might use my 4g unlimited phone until they cut me and then go to sprint if I have to.
what kind total usage are you putting on your data plan? and thanks for all the watt advice. are you in a rialta?
also I have read all of tys books Im just looking for more info. I want to be absolutely sure I want and can do this. Gotta follow your dreams sometime. Why not now?
I don't use tons of data; sorry, idk the numbers. You'll get Sprint coverage in all major cities, then it roams on Verizon at no charge. Yes, in a 95 Rialta, started a few threads around it already.
Hey, I'd suggest using an inverter to power your Laptop, assuming theres no hacks to run it off DC. You can look at the power supply and see how many watts it draws.
For reference, my 15" MacBook Pro laptop uses an 85 Watt charger. I also am planning on buying another monitor, that probably will use around 50W if I had to guess to be safe? So, that's a net total load of 135 Watts to run my laptop and monitor full time, off battery power. I have a 400W inverter that runs off of a 12v plug, so that's more than enough for those two devices.
I also have a Desktop gaming PC, which I plan on running off my '95 Rialta when I'm on generator/shore power. Found an awesome minimal case that should mount nicely in the RV: Lian Li PC-V650 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBdkLmA6YYU)
For the desktop, I know that PC power supplies exist with 12V input power if you're wanting to maximize efficiency.
Really? I've never heard of that! Just curious, are these power supplies ATX form factor? And, how many watts can they output? If you have any links, I'd love to check them out.
My Desktop is a beast with a killer graphics card, meant for high-end 3D gaming. That's why I was only planning on running it via shore power or generator, I figured that my custom built gaming PC would drain my battery too fast to make it usable while boondocking/stealth camping — if I have no external power source, I was just planning on using my Laptop (85W), occasionally paired with an external display (~50W) when I want a second monitor.
Thanks for the link, I appreciate you helping me look into this! I apologize for my lack of knowledge on the subject, I'm completely new to 12V electronics as I just got my Rialta recently; I'm way more experienced with software than hardware when it comes to electronics =)
I checked out the link provided, as well as did some other research for a couple of hours to find other similar DC-DC ATX power supplies. It seems that most DC-DC power supplies are suited to smaller applications such as Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX, and older barebones ATX machines rather than full blown gaming PCs.
Based on what I've found during my research, I'm not sure if any of these DC-DC power supplies I've come across would work in my situation. The highest wattage DC-DC ATX PSU I found so far is 500W (450W Max power/250W continuous) [http://www.powerstream.com/DC-PC-12V-500.htm], and my Radeon HD 7970 graphics card requires a power supply with a minimum of 500W. The current PSU that I have is 750W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139010).
Also, powerful graphics cards like the Radeon 7970 require a 6-pin PCI-E connector from the PSU directly to the graphics card, and I can't find any DC-DC ATX power supplies that advertise PCI-E connectors anywhere at all on the net. Looks like somebody else has been looking for the same thing, but has come up short as well: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?p=1039404913; the only other thing I've found that could possibly work is some how-to guides on how to completely gut and rewire a regular power supply, but I don't feel comfortable doing that as I'm not an electrical engineer.
However, even if I were to find a DC-DC PSU with PCI-E connectors for my graphics card that is ATX12V2.0+ compatible, a 500W load would drain my battery quite fast I'm sure (not to mention the monitor's draw as well). So in that case, if it took too much energy and I could only realistically run it off shore power/generator, the only benefit in that case would just be less energy being wasted from AC/DC conversion through a more effective PSU, correct?
Anywho, thanks again for the help, and any additional thoughts would be appreciated :)
In that case, I might just use an inverter. I'm going to guess the power lost in conversions isn't going to be too substantially more, but do your own research. This way, you can take the PC out to play it elsewhere without switching power supplies.
p.s., post pics of your new Rialta in the thread I started ;-)
Great, thanks for the input. Yeah, I figured if I'm running on shore power or generator, energy conservation wouldn't really be a high priority then (especially given that I probably won't be paying for the electricity I use while I'm hooked up to Shore power), and the ability to take the PC out and hook it up to a monitor at family or friends house would really come in handy!
OK, I'll definitely take some pics of my new RV this weekend and post em up in the thread; I've been meaning to take some pictures sooner but haven't had a chance yet...just got my Rialta back from the shop where it's been for a couple of weeks — had to get the transmission completely rebuilt, cost me a pretty penny *eek*!
Thanks man and are you sure you can use a gaming desktop? What kind of inverter is best
Stats from my setup:
laptop plugged in: 1.2amps draw
Laptop plugged in via DC and charging (higher draw than ‘charged’): 3.7amps drawing
Laptop plugged in via pure sinewave AC and charging: 12.9amps
My system could never handle that sort of added load and I have 2x129ah batteries, http://www.sunxtender.com/solarbattery.php?id=36
Using an inverter on computer equipment is taking DC, converting it to AC, then converting it directly back to DC.
Definately, inverters are not efficient, that's for sure; I just run a small wattage one at the moment for my laptop, and it seems to work fine, though I think a 2000W inverter would drain the batteries quite fast.
However, I haven't found a way to power my Macbook Pro or any good 24"+ computer monitor directly off 12V, so I'm not aware of any other options.
You may need to go custom. I'd try and find a third party laptop charger that does the same voltage and at least the number of amps needed and cut the cords.
There's a lot of low cost voltage regulators but they wont handle the sort of amperage you need.
Looks like there's mac chargers out there: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002U242WI/?tag=svpply01-20
Hey Joe, thanks for helping me look into this.
I had tried to look for Macbook car chargers in the past on Amazon, but never found one that compatible with my model (MC723LL/A, Early 2011 MBP). However, I gave it another search today and happened to come across this model from GPK Systems (http://www.amazon.com/GPK-Systems-Charger-Portable-Notebook/dp/B0056QBQNI/ref=dp_return_2?ie=UTF8&n=541966&s=pc), which looks like it should be compatible with the MagSafe power adapter on my laptop. Here's the specs on it:
Now, if I could only find a good way to run a nice quality 24"+ HD monitor directly off 12v...
Tynan has a 23" Vizio that he converted to 12v. Maybe he'll tell you how?
Yeah John, I think you're correct; I looked into that 23" Vizio that Tynan talked about. However, that Vizio model is no longer being manufactured, I couldn't find any new units online.
I looked for info on any other monitors and how to convert them to run via 12 volt, and I've had no luck so far; nor could I find any information for whether any models had a 12v power adapter I can cut into, the specs on most sites listing power consumption tends to just list total watts, but not whether it's a DC or AC power adapter. Most information I've found online for how to run a TV/Monitor off 12V brings me to really bad 1024x768 13" TVs meant for Marine usage, I'm surprised I haven't found more info on the subject.
I really want a nice 24-27" monitor (rather than just a HDTV if possible, I really enjoyed the 2560x1440 (1440p) resolution of my 27" iMac, but just recently sold it because it draws 300W which is too much just to use as a monitor). If I could figure out how to run a quality display off 12 volt in my Rialta, that would be a godsend — if anybody can help me figure out, I'd be eternally grateful!
I went to newegg expecting the DC specs to be listed there... nothing. I figured googling them would reveal this... nothing. I figured finding replacement power supplies would... couldn't find them!
Well then :) I would say as long as there's an external power brick (it's not a straight cord running into the monitor) then you're A'OK to assume it can be converted to run directly from DC. You may want to go to a bestbuy where they have them on display and look at the bricks that way, or ask nicely on a forum. The bricks will always have their output printed on them. Find the DC numbers out and we can help you easily find a cord on Amazon for less than 20 bucks you could cut to make work. If it's 12volts you can basically go straight into the batteries (but battery voltage does vary, donno if a monitor requires it to be regulated at a steady 12?)
I've thought about in the past doing a tiny desktop setup (I don't really play games), a keyboard arm, and mounting a monitor on the back of the passenger chair. That would be a pretty damn slick setup. But a laptop on a desk works, too :) It's also nice for all the times I work from some place else. My setup moves with me.
Yeah, that's the same issue I was running into Joe — couldn't find detailed power specs, anywhere!
That is a good idea, though. I'm finishing up some other things on the RV first, but when I'm ready for a new project, I'll stop by best buy and manually inspect the power bricks, and take some pictures to figure out which monitor models might work for comparison. I plan on using the external monitor both with the Laptop on battery power, and PC on shore/generator power, so it will be nice to figure out a solution to this.
Thanks so much for the information, I feel blessed to be part of a community comprised of helpful and knowledagble folks such as yourself :)
Is a pure sine wave inverter the answer you wanting? Like Joe said, inverters aren't efficient. I don't think anyone has shared this here before, but if you must have an PSW inverter, the cheapest way is to get an old UPS that you know uses a 12V battery... lots of times tech companies simply throw these away when the batteries die. I'm looking at a 2000 watt server UPS for under $100 on craigslist. Simply toss out the old battery and run to those leads from your battery bank.
So... I have a problem. I was thinking today and I realized that I am in front of my computer WAY more than I should be. This occured to me when I woke up from one of my naps and made a beeline for the computer. I then realized that I repeat this behaviour every single time I wake up!
Further, there's no reason for me to be in front of this giant box 'o fun. Well, right now there is because I'm writing a post, but for most of the day I DEFAULT to sitting in front of the computer. I scan through the 30 or so sites I have on my toolbar, even though most of them only update once or twice a day at most.
This is sick! Think about it - none of my interesting stories start of with "So, I sat in front of the computer all day...". Every hour I spend in front of this thing is an hour that my life is NOT getting more interesting. I spend a lot of time online chatting with my friends, which I enjoy, but is that really the best use of my time? Probably not.
Well, here we are. You, me, and a big fat desire to not write right now.
I should have napped more. I should have slept even. In the end, a nap turned into a sleep , and I missed the night.
I also missed meeting up with Pedro and that crew. I've got a meeting in Ubud at 12. Farmers yard is a half hour away. They wake around 730
So I leave here at 7, I can be there by 730. I can stay till 930, then head for Ubud.
Yesterday began well enough. Did my morning ritual. Then, somehow, I got derailed. I did some email, as I wanted to, but told myself I'd be working through the night and so didn't have to work so hard today. What wound up happening is that I didn't work much of the day, then fell asleep. Whoops.