The conversation on this page has been archived and is no longer active.

12-volt car power adapter

Message #1 - Posted 2008/01/12 - JohnOK

I'm seriously considering replacing my Windoze based Dell laptop with a MacBook. One of the things I do with my laptop is use it as a navigation device while driving my RV back and forth across the country. I have a 12- volt adapter that I plug into the 12-volt accessory socket to keep the laptop perking along for the 8 to 10 hours I'm on the road each day.

I see that Apple offers a product, Magsafe-Airline-Adapter, for powering the Macbook while flying but Apple warns against using this product in a car.

So, are there third-party 12-volt car power adapters for the Macbook?

Message #2 - Posted 2008/01/12 - David Lesher

JohnOK <jmhufford@gmail.com> writes:

I see that Apple offers a product, Magsafe-Airline-Adapter, for powering the Macbook while flying but Apple warns against using this product in a car.

So, are there third-party 12-volt car power adapters for the Macbook?

AFAIK, no. Apple has refused to license the Magsafe design to anyone that makes such adapters.

Also, that Apple unit does NOT charge the battery; it only powers the box. I suspect it produces only one of the two outputs the usual "elephant ears" 120V adapter/charger has.

A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@nrk.com & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433 is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433

Message #3 - Posted 2008/01/12 - Mike Rosenberg

David Lesher wrote:

So, are there third-party 12-volt car power adapters for the Macbook?

AFAIK, no. Apple has refused to license the Magsafe design to anyone that makes such adapters.

I don't know, either, whether any such adapters exist, but there's a legal way around the licensing issue:

http://www.macworld.com/article/58446/2007/06/mctmagsafe.html

<http://designsbymike.net/shop/mac.cgi> Mac and geek T-shirts & gifts <http://designsbymike.net/shop/musings.cgi> Muckraking T-shirts <http://designsbymike.net/shop/prius.cgi> Prius shirts/bumper stickers <http://bogart-tribute.net> Tribute to Humphrey Bogart

Message #4 - Posted 2008/01/12 - Ben

David Lesher wrote:

JohnOK <jmhufford@gmail.com> writes:

I see that Apple offers a product, Magsafe-Airline-Adapter, for powering the Macbook while flying but Apple warns against using this product in a car.

So, are there third-party 12-volt car power adapters for the Macbook?

AFAIK, no. Apple has refused to license the Magsafe design to anyone that makes such adapters.

Also, that Apple unit does NOT charge the battery; it only powers the box. I suspect it produces only one of the two outputs the usual "elephant ears" 120V adapter/charger has.

Why not get a 12V inverter to give you 240V (or 120V if you are in the US). then you can use the Apple power supply as if you were at home, one with a 100W or 150W output should do fine and will probably cost less than a 3rd party adapter if anyone ever makes one.
Ben.

Message #5 - Posted 2008/01/13 - David Lesher

Ben <ben.dot.smith@ntlworld.dot.com> writes:

Why not get a 12V inverter to give you 240V (or 120V if you are in the US). then you can use the Apple power supply as if you were at home, one with a 100W or 150W output should do fine and will probably cost less than a 3rd party adapter if anyone ever makes one.

Because that's an ugly solution. Every conversion stage adds loss and noise & weight. It may work, but...

DC->DC converters are not rocket science; what's inside the Apple supply is first a rectifier, then a DC->DC converter.

It's really short-sighted of Apple [but not surprising, alas] that they don't license the jack design. It's rather like Firewire, where their asking price drove people over to USB2.

A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@nrk.com & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433 is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433

Message #6 - Posted 2008/01/13 - Ben

David Lesher wrote:

Ben <ben.dot.smith@ntlworld.dot.com> writes:

Why not get a 12V inverter to give you 240V (or 120V if you are in the US). then you can use the Apple power supply as if you were at home, one with a 100W or 150W output should do fine and will probably cost less than a 3rd party adapter if anyone ever makes one.

Because that's an ugly solution. Every conversion stage adds loss and noise & weight. It may work, but...

DC->DC converters are not rocket science; what's inside the Apple supply is first a rectifier, then a DC->DC converter.

I agree that it may be an 'ugly' solution, but it has many advantages, it will work with any future laptop, and also many other mains powered devices so providing you with a degree of future proofing, it is also quite cheap.
I do not consider weight and loss to be much of a problem in a car, you can always bung it in the glove compartment or even mount it permanently in the boot or engine compartment.
As far as noise goes, many of the lower powered ones are silent, but even fan cooled ones are not going to be much problem in a car, you can use it to charge the laptop while you drive, then the noise of the car would drown out any slight noise, even when you are stopped the noise from other cars would probably render it inaudible.
Ben.
NB this is just my personal view!!

Message #7 - Posted 2008/01/14 - Fred McKenzie

Previously, Ben wrote:

Why not get a 12V inverter to give you 240V (or 120V if you are in the US). then you can use the Apple power supply as if you were at home, one with a 100W or 150W output should do fine and will probably cost less than a 3rd party adapter if anyone ever makes one.

Ben-

I have used an inverter with the power adapter for my G4 PowerBook. It appeared to work quite well until I noticed that the power adapter was noticeably hotter than when used at home.

It seems that most inverters do not produce a perfect sine wave voltage. The harmonics in the waveform interact with the power adapter circuit, causing it to generate more heat than when using commercial power.

Perhaps it would be OK, but maybe not. I found a 3rd party DC adapter in a local Macintosh store (Connecting Point), that plugs into either a cigarette lighter socket or an airplane outlet, and provides the power needed by the PowerBook.

Apparently the Intel MacBooks use a different power connection, so a 12 volt adapter may not be an option. If you try an inverter, take note of how hot the MacBook power adapter gets.

Fred

Message #8 - Posted 2008/01/17 - David Lesher

There's a further insanity in the picture. The airline outlets are limited to 75 watts. Since that's not enough to both charge a dead battery and run a MacBook full out [as insane as that sounds...], Apple won't charge the battery with one.

They COULD just design the adapter to never draw more than {say} 70 watts; and if the MacBook is loafing/asleep whatever, THEN charge the battery. But nope.

Further, a car cigarette light plug delivers 10-15 amps [ie 138+ watts..] so the supply COULD do both at once in a car...

A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@nrk.com & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433 is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433

Message #9 - Posted 2008/01/19 - Fred A Stair

I read something from QuickerTek about new chargers coming out for all Apple laptops. It could be what you're looking for?

Previously, JohnOK wrote:

I'm seriously considering replacing my Windoze based Dell laptop with a MacBook. One of the things I do with my laptop is use it as a navigation device while driving my RV back and forth across the country. I have a 12- volt adapter that I plug into the 12-volt accessory socket to keep the laptop perking along for the 8 to 10 hours I'm on the road each day.

I see that Apple offers a product, Magsafe-Airline-Adapter, for powering the Macbook while flying but Apple warns against using this product in a car.

So, are there third-party 12-volt car power adapters for the Macbook?

Message #10 - Posted 2008/02/09 - Dunc_F

On Jan 19, 8:10 pm, Fred A Stair wrote:

I read something from QuickerTek about new chargers coming out for all Apple laptops. It could be what you're looking for?

QuickerTek does have a solution for this. They call it the Apple Juicz and it works with the MacBook Pro and MacBook.

I have not tried these but I sure like their 802.11n antenna amplifyers.

Dunc

Previously, JohnOK

<jmhuff... wrote:

I'm seriously considering replacing my Windoze based Dell laptop with a MacBook. One of the things I do with my laptop is use it as a navigation device while driving my RV back and forth across the country. I have a 12- volt adapter that I plug into the 12-volt accessory socket to keep the laptop perking along for the 8 to 10 hours I'm on the road each day.

I see that Apple offers a product, Magsafe-Airline-Adapter, for powering the Macbook while flying but Apple warns against using this product in a car.

So, are there third-party 12-volt car power adapters for the Macbook?

Need Help? Have a Question?

Looking for more help, comments, and answers?

Ask your questions on Ask Different. Ask Different is a community of Apple users ready to help.