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Old 26 Jun 2007
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Inverters on a motorbike?


On a recent trip through France & Spain I found myself carrying too many chargers for all sorts of stuff: mobile, AA batteries for the flashgun, camera battery,... you know the game. Most of them were useless on the bike and I needed 220V mains anyway. This is fine in towns, but not out in the sticks.

In my old camper-van I used to have an inverter fitted, which could run a laptop, external hard-drive and chargers for at least 6-7 hours no probs.
So I had this mad thought of fitting an inverter into my F650 Dakar's boot. I know the bike's battery is nothing compared to a full blown diesel-car battery. But better than nothing, and obviously I could run a cable and charge a laptop whilst riding.

Now, apart from being a boy who likes his toys: Why would I want to do that? Well, here's a few excuses. I could...

...fit the laptop-charger into the boot and leave all other chargers at home and charge all devices through USB via the laptop, meaning: at the most, I'll only carry a few USB cables or "USB-2-device" adaptors

...avoid buying those expensive 12v-chargers for non-standard/lithium batteries (ever seen how much Nikon/Canon want for a 12v-charger? Daylight robbery that is!)

...(being a photographer): I could download/edit/work on images on the laptop completely independently & out in the sticks, without the need for hotels

I'm not totally convinced how practical an inverter is on a bike – on the other hand: what else would I use the bike's boot for anyway? (In case you're wondering about size: this inverter is 5 x 5 x 2.3 inches (VOLTAGECONVERTERS.COM - Item Description Page - PBI200E-12)

What's your thoughts on this one? Am I going mad, or have you seen/though of this yourself before? How long do you think onoe could power a 50W laptop before the bike's battery goes down?
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Old 26 Jun 2007
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I don't think it's going to be very practical .
You really need a deep cycle battery to power electrical equipment .
Automotive batteries will fail very quickly if they are fully discharged regularly .
I don't imagine your F650 has a permanent magnet alternator and a kickstart , so you really need a good charged automotive battery to start the thing .

You could mount a small deep cycle battery in a pannier for your laptop etc and rig up a split charging system .
Folding or flexible solar panels would also assist the charging and could take over when you are camping.

What you are trying to do ,as I see it , is to use your alternator ,to charge a battery ,to power an inverter ,to charge another battery .

Sometimes cheap inverters and plug in battery chargers are incompatible and your small batteries will be fried .
Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light. - Spike Milligan
"When you come to a fork in the road ,take it ! When you come to a spoon in the road ,take that also ."

Last edited by Dodger; 26 Jun 2007 at 22:48. Reason: I got nuggeted again
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Old 27 Jun 2007
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I think it's quite practical. You only need a tiny inverter. I know you need 220v, but here's an example of what I was thinking of that runs on 110:

Amazon.com: Recoton PI75 Direct Plug DC-AC Power Inverter 75 watt: Electronics

Look at your devices- you don't need a *ton* of wattage for any of them, right?

I've always thought about running one temporarily to power an ice cream maker while traveling near home, but it would just be for fun :-)
Ted, DL650, wanderer.
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Old 27 Jun 2007
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Maybe ,it all depends on how much usage you envisage for the computer .
A fairly simple way to find out would be to leave on the lights , assuming you have a 55watt headlamp which is about equivalent to your 50watt computer , and see if the battery has any charge left after say a couple of hours .
If it won't start the bike ,then you have your answer .

But bear in mind the effects of drawing down regular automotive batteries , they simply aren't able to hold out .

If you could get some NiCad cells to use as an auxilliary they would be ideal as they can be left discharged , handle extremes of temps and abuse that would kill lead acid batteries .
Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light. - Spike Milligan
"When you come to a fork in the road ,take it ! When you come to a spoon in the road ,take that also ."
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Old 27 Jun 2007
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Gadgets such as computers can be recharged while riding. Some camera batteries will do the same off the 12v system.
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Old 27 Jun 2007
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Wink More on topic from another thread

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