I am going to take off to travel the USA soon in my Chevy Astro Van. While on this trip, I want to be able to lie down on my twin bed mattress in the rear of the Van, watch movies surf the Internet, and have enough light to read. I am making a small Hotel room inside the van, and i need to have sufficient electricity to power this endeavor.
Now, I have traveled the world already to a few off the grid electricity locations --- I want to Breu, Peru and was nosing around looking for un-contacted tribes, and my trip to Uganda was full of times with no electricity. To go off the electrical grid, with only what I could or can carry in a backpack is 10 times more complicated than a USA road trip in a van with tons of space.
Dwelling on these prior travel problems, I finally decided that for the backpack trips, I must convert all my electronic gear to 12 volt. I would then buy motorcycle batteries, with the option of recharging them from a motorcycle. They would still be light enough for the backpack, but too heavy for an airplane.
I already have converted my mind to 12 volts, it feels to be the best power source.
12 Volt Power Supply - Only Charger with 110
I will buy if possible, only 12 volt gear for the van, that mean, fans, lights, chargers and all the other equipment will be 12 volts.
Example: I am going to buy for around 20 USD, that 12 volt power supply cord for my HP Pavilion DV4 computer, probably today with Amazon.com.
The question that arises, does for some reason a 110 to 12 volt inverter use less power from the car battery, is there something I am missing? And, I am taking 19 volts to run the computer, the car generates 12 volts, this is also inefficient
I do not own any 110 devices, so although more difficult to purchase 12 volt ones, I am finding on Amazon.com most of the 12 volt things I need. Because, I do not own 110 device, I am not tempted to try to make 110 work...
Goals of USA Road Trip:
1. To nomadic ally travel in the USA, this will be modulated a little by my desire to avoid too hot or too cold, but still no plans travel.
2. Use the 12 Volt Power of van to power my laptop 24 hours per day. If I fall asleep with a movie playing, if I leave on the LED lights, I do not want to wake and discover my battery is dead.
3. Charge the van battery, or batteries, maybe I need to have two or three car batteries by using only the alternator.
4. Stay warm, probably done with propane heater.
5. Stay cool, probably done with 12 volt fans, and tent shade above van, plus traveling in hot climates at wrong time of year. There is no part of the USA that appears to be too hot for 12 months.
Batteries for Laptop
I already have an extra laptop battery, and when the electricity is questionable, I often only charge the computer. I leave it off, then turn it on while not plugged in to the direct current. I would rather use my computer on battery power, then on direct power, it is safer.
The world has yet to come up with a cheap enough way to charge batteries while not in the computer for a laptop. I can do this for cell phone batteries, AA batteries, but the computer battery is an enigma.
All ideas are welcome, but please do not recommend any ideas that cost more than about 50 USD. If they cost more than that, I would just go live in a Hotel room and avoid the van.
Andy Graham - Fort Wayne, Indiana April 10, 2012
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