Cigarette Ligher Power Inverter with 4 Cylender car

I am interested in getting a 100W - 150W power inverter for the car.
I figured rather than buy every single ligher adapter for every cell phone/laptop/digital camera, the power inverter would do the trick.
My concern is based on the fact that both cars i have are small 4 cyln engines.
Assuming i remove the lighter adapter if while i drive throught the mountains of West Virigina (once a year), what are the pro's and con's of such a solution.
(NOTE: I do see the irony of plugging a transformer into an inverter, but it seems like a workable solution).
Thanks in Advance,
Robert Fenster
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The number or cylinders has nothing to do with it. The capacity of the alternator has everything to do with it.

No need to take it out when you are otherwise putting out plenty of current in the alternator. It is when the engine it turned off th at you'd have a potential problem of discharging the battery.
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A word of caution with cheap inverters, they deliver a square wave that has the same RMS as a 120V outlet, but not always the same peak. They are fine for heating but may give problem with rectifiers like battery chargers.
I would measure and compare the charging current to make sure is roughly the same with inverter or 120V house current. Need to measure the current because the voltage is determined by the battery and is fairly independent of the current.
As far as the 4 cylinders, I would not worry. A 150W inverter is more than adequate for charging and it will only take what it needs from the battery.
A phone charger may use 2W and the inverter efficiency at such low load may be only 10% so you may have a 20W drain on the battery, that is less than one head light. You can measure the No Load current to the inverter and expect that to be a baseline, small loads will add little to it a full 150W may add 15Amps at 12V. Running the inverter at full load is probably more taxing for the inverter for the battery and the engine, even uphill. The figures above are only ball park not knowing the specifics.
If you can find a 20W sine wave inverter than all concerns disappear.
Mauro
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there are universal chargers that take 12 volts in and output whatever you need, with adapters to fit the specific use.
the feds should set a standard for a couple formats and clear the clutter and waste of a gazillion different adapters
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Get a cigarette lighter multi-plug adapter. Every auto parts store sells them. Then you can keep several plugged in at the same time. Just make sure your vehicle's cigarette lighter is wired through your ignition switch, so you don't drain the battery when the engine isn't running.
http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-4-in-1-DC-Power-Cigarette-Lighter-Outlet-Adapter_W0QQitemZ5851462800QQcategoryZ60208QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

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Normally, I just accept the premises of the poster, but this was my reaction too. This would be a lot simpler, take up much less space, and I don't see any drawbacks. Each item would draw only what it needs and there would be no conversion losses either.

Used to be, all cigarette lighters were on all the time. Not so much in later model cars. If he wanted the op could move the power from an always on place to Accessorty place, although I'm not sure I would want to do that. I might want to charge the cell phone while sleeping, if I were hiking all day for example, or otherwise out of the car.
What I think is great is Battery Buddy (there is a competitor I haven't tried) I used BB for a couple years, a year of which I had an almost dead battery. BB tripped 100% reliably if I let the car sit for more than 36 hours. Just push the button and there was always more than enough power to start the car again. The radio lost its pre-sets (and supposedly the engine computer lost its best settings, but I couldn't tell the difference).

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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Most alternators output in a high range , your car type has little to do with it. Yes many especialy trucks have bigger alternators. It really depends on what you power , how much power you pull and make, because you can dramatcly shorten the alternators life from the load . Its total load you must figure, your alternator is running hard when AC and lights are on, added high load is not usualy in its design and can over tax the alternator. Learn about amp draw of everything used now on the car and extra needed, and alternator output and be conservative. Run anything at its limit and life expectancy is dramaticly shortened. Even charging dead batteries is not recommended for most vehicles, battery chargers are. Even high power stereos will kill an alternator.
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m Ransley wrote:

Yes, some can put out 5,000 watts or more (I hear them every time I pull up to a red light)!
A charger for a cell phone might draw ten watts, an insignificant amount - way less than an ordinary car radio.
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Robert Fenster wrote:

With a 150 watt inverter the size of your engine is not a problem. The real issue with a larger inverter would be the size of your alternator. Make sure that the inverter is always disconnected prior to shutting off the engine so that it never runs on the battery alone. Standard automotive batteries are not intended to be discharged very deeply so only run the inverter when the engine is running.
--
Tom Horne

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150W is 0.2hp. Still worried?
Mike
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wrote:

and how much power is that inverter (with 150W out) taking from the car's electrical system?

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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150w is enough to load and cause a system not to charge the battery. If I have AC on, all lights and radio and 2 sets of auxilary lights-220w often the next day my very good battery has lost its "green Eye" My alternator wont keep up with demand.
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Robert Fenster wrote:

of stuff comes with both a 120 charger and a DC charger that plugs into the cigar lighter, but my stuff didn't.
First, the size of the inverter is largely irrelevant, you determine the minimum size you need by the draw (the stuff you plug in). But, smaller may be more efficient. I bought a really nice 350 watt inverter from Costco for $25 that has a fan in it and a digital read out of the car voltage the output voltage and the watts output. And it has all the safety features, turns off when car voltage drops below a certain point, etc.
Charging my 7.4V camera battery (NiMH) or charging four AA NiMH batteries (different charger) draws so little current that the inverter won't even indicate watts out, the fan never comes on, and the inverter is the same temperature as the car air.
So, to answer you question, get a good inverter, that includes protection for the car battery and the inverter. Get one with a voltage and power read out with a maximum power of 300 watts. Note that most battery chargers are under 10 watts. If you auto battery is in good shape, using an inverter to charge a camera or phone battery for 1 hour would have little effect on the battery. If the engine were is running, you would never notice any effect; the heater fan on low probably use way more power.
It is a non-problem.
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On Sun, 8 Jan 2006 09:47:17 -0500, "Robert Fenster"

When I was working for IBM that was their recomendation for powering our (really their) laptops. We all got some cheap inverters to plug the AC charger into. I am running p166 class desktop machines in my cars as MP3 players as we speak. No problem 7 years later.
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