The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
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So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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From the posts it looks like a 300 to 600 W "cheap inverter is fine for charging cameras, laptops etc. Anything I should know about when installing or using such a gadget with a dual battery system (one normal the other one deep cycle)? I assume it needs to be linked up to the normal one ?
I am a bit concerned about the amps it would draw, don’t think it should run through the cigarette lighter.
Goeie more Meat,
Your inverter (and any other accessory for that matter) must be on your auxiliary(deep cycle) battery. Never put anything on your starter (cold cranking) battery, except a winch.
Thanks for the feedback. I looked at getting 12v changer/s but then I need to consider which connector types I need. With the inverter I though at least I can use a single device to "trickle charge" 240V items whilst we on the move.
I spent a bit of time gather 12v supplies for our electrical items. Laptop charger was the easiest, then get a few of those USB/12v cig lighter connectors or hardwire USB connectors into the dash. you can charge a lot of things off USB.
Hunt down 12v chargers for your phone, camera, videocamera etc. Ebay is a good place to start.
This way your not wasting anything from your batteries.
Just to charge laptops and simular devices all you need is a decent 200 watt square wave inverter, battery charging does not use much wattage, and square wave will not destroy battery's as stated above.(well at least I have never seen issue with cameras and laptops ) In some cases the circuitry in the charging system will burn itself up but in my experience (retired electrician) the only devices which do not like square wave are microwaves and hand held battery devices like drill motors. And larger inverters will not be drawing larger current as stated above unless device demands it (charging will not, but if you wanted to run a AC powered drill or something like that then of course a larger unit will want to draw more that your MC fuse will allow)
You can get a decent sq wave inverter for 20 US. (smaller units are not very big ). If you only wanted to charge Ipod or any USB then just a little cig lighter usp adapter will take no space at all and a lot of cameras can be charted by USB now.
One thing to consider with dual systems is the isolator, especially if using large inverters. Of the two types, electronic or manual, I prefer a large marine manual type (I mount in the engine bay and therefore a wet area) but my recommendation is electronic until you are disciplined in switching.
An alternative to the isolator is a battery that has four poles (two positive and two negative one dedicated to motor start) that would give you the peace of mind of never drawing too much power that you can't start your engine.
For the jobs the OP wants than a small (250W continuous / 500W surge) quasi sine wave (ie cheap) inverter powered from a cigarette lighter socket should be fine.
There'd be very little issue in charging from the starter battery when actually driving along as the alternator should easily cope. This way the item being charged could be kept in the cab and easily to hand - might be handy for the camera.
When not driving, the same inverter should be plugged into a cig socket connected to / otherwise powered from the leisure battery only, as a laptop - especially if actually booted and used whilst it's charging - could deplete enough from the starter battery to cause starting problems.
This assumes all the electrical hardware is in good condition and there is a split charging system on board that isolates the leisure battery from the starter either automatically or manually.
We used a 300W inverter on our last trip for exactly this reason. We would only run it when the engine was on and all the spare batteries would be plugged in and charging throughout the day.
However for our next trip I have invested in a series of 12v charges for each battery type (all less that £10 from amazon or ebay). We will be charging batteries for a GoPro and Kodak playsport video cameras and 2 different olympus still cameras. In addition there will be a netbook.
In contrast to all the technical issues discussed above our main reason for changing is space and tidiness.
The normal 240/220v chargers usually come with longer leads and large plugs in addition the laptop has a transformer in the line. To have all these plugged in it required a '4 gang' extension lead running to the inverter. This meant we had to mount that somewhere and have all the leads coiled up (not good) or secured somehow.
250W means at least 20A, I would say that's far more then most sockets (and wires) are designed for.
I see how the numbers might seem alarmist but nothing he suggested would actually pull anything like 20A (12V) - even though the inverter was capable of supplying it. The inverter will respond to demand, not just supply its maximum power all the time.
A laptop, even if drawing heavily on its processor etc would only pull a fraction of that current and wouldn't cause any issue for a standard vehicle's cig lighter / wiring, even taking into account the inefficiencies in the inverter itself. I've actually done it in several vehicles without any problem and reps up and down the country rely on the cig lighter / inverter / laptop solution. Camera's etc would draw even less.
Of course, if he were to try to plug in a travel kettle or some-such device the 'magic smoke' would quickly appear.
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