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Car power for a MacBook Pro?

Message #1 - Posted 2008/02/02 - Robert Peirce

I had a device for my PowerBook that plugged into the car's accessory outlet. The MacBook Pro has a different connector. Is there a car power device for it?

Robert B. Peirce, Venetia, PA 724-941-6883
bob AT peirce-family.com [Mac]
rbp AT cooksonpeirce.com [Office]

Message #2 - Posted 2008/02/02 - nospam

Previously, Robert Peirce wrote:

I had a device for my PowerBook that plugged into the car's accessory outlet. The MacBook Pro has a different connector. Is there a car power device for it?

apple, for some stupid reason, refuses to license the magsafe connector so the only option is either apple's airline adapter (which they say won't work in a car) or an ac inverter.

the airline adapter does include a cigarette lighter plug for airlines that use that type of receptacle, but the voltage on the plane is higher and i don't know if it really won't work in a car or if apple is just saying don't do that. and another stupid thing about the airline adapter is that it will only run the computer; it will *not* recharge the battery.

your best bet is to get an ac inverter and use the normal ac adapter. the small ones are very inexpensive ($20ish) and they should be capable of providing 85 watts for the adapter without a problem.

Message #3 - Posted 2008/02/02 - Bill

Previously, nospam wrote:

Previously, Robert Peirce wrote:

I had a device for my PowerBook that plugged into the car's accessory outlet. The MacBook Pro has a different connector. Is there a car power device for it?

apple, for some stupid reason, refuses to license the magsafe connector so the only option is either apple's airline adapter (which they say won't work in a car) or an ac inverter.

the airline adapter does include a cigarette lighter plug for airlines that use that type of receptacle, but the voltage on the plane is higher and i don't know if it really won't work in a car or if apple is just saying don't do that. and another stupid thing about the airline adapter is that it will only run the computer; it will *not* recharge the battery.

your best bet is to get an ac inverter and use the normal ac adapter. the small ones are very inexpensive ($20ish) and they should be capable of providing 85 watts for the adapter without a problem.

I looked at an AC inverter a while ago, and the accompanying literature advised against running a computer on it because it does not generate a real sine wave, but rather a stepped wave, and that could cause damage to the computer. I don't know if this is really a concern, but it is something to be aware of.

Bill Collins
For email, change "fake" to "earthlink"

Message #4 - Posted 2008/02/02 - Shawn Hirn

Previously, Robert Peirce wrote:

I had a device for my PowerBook that plugged into the car's accessory outlet. The MacBook Pro has a different connector. Is there a car power device for it?

I googled for "MacBook automobile power" and I got some promising hits. This one looks very promising ...

http://mikegyver.com/IdeasnProducts/airline-car/index.html

Message #5 - Posted 2008/02/02 - TaliesinSoft

On Sat, 2 Feb 2008 17:26:17 -0600, nospam wrote (in a previous article):

the airline adapter does include a cigarette lighter plug for airlines that use that type of receptacle, but the voltage on the plane is higher and i don't know if it really won't work in a car or if apple is just saying don't do that. and another stupid thing about the airline adapter is that it will only run the computer; it will *not* recharge the battery.

Considering that literally every car manufactured in the last 30 years has a 12 volt electrical system it only strikes me as incredible bozo (and unbelievably inconsiderate) on the part of the airlines to select a different voltage, especially given that the plug-in connector is the same as the car's lighter socket. There are times one can only wonder!

James Leo Ryan ..... Austin, Texas ..... taliesinsoft@mac.com

Message #6 - Posted 2008/02/02 - nospam

Previously, TaliesinSoft wrote:

On Sat, 2 Feb 2008 17:26:17 -0600, nospam wrote (in a previous article):

the airline adapter does include a cigarette lighter plug for airlines that use that type of receptacle, but the voltage on the plane is higher and i don't know if it really won't work in a car or if apple is just saying don't do that. and another stupid thing about the airline adapter is that it will only run the computer; it will *not* recharge the battery.

Considering that literally every car manufactured in the last 30 years has a 12 volt electrical system it only strikes me as incredible bozo (and unbelievably inconsiderate) on the part of the airlines to select a different voltage, especially given that the plug-in connector is the same as the car's lighter socket. There are times one can only wonder!

actually, the most common plug type on airplanes is the empower connector and not the cigarette lighter plug. however, some airlines, such as american airlines, use the cigarette plug adapter, so apple provides both plug types. also, a few airlines are now offering 110vac so ordinary ac power adapters can be used.

i don't know why the airlines chose 15v instead of 12v, but i'm sure it had more to do with being most economical voltage to supply given the electrical requirements of the rest of the aircraft.

what's actually 'incredible bozo and unbelievably inconsiderate' is for apple to make an airline adapter that won't work in a car in addition to not charging the battery.

Message #7 - Posted 2008/02/02 - Steve Hix

Previously, TaliesinSoft wrote:

On Sat, 2 Feb 2008 17:26:17 -0600, nospam wrote (in a previous article):

the airline adapter does include a cigarette lighter plug for airlines that use that type of receptacle, but the voltage on the plane is higher and i don't know if it really won't work in a car or if apple is just saying don't do that. and another stupid thing about the airline adapter is that it will only run the computer; it will *not* recharge the battery.

Considering that literally every car manufactured in the last 30 years has a 12 volt electrical system it only strikes me as incredible bozo (and unbelievably inconsiderate) on the part of the airlines to select a different voltage, especially given that the plug-in connector is the same as the car's lighter socket. There are times one can only wonder!

Maybe it's because aircraft electrical systems over the past 80 years have used other voltages than auto systems. Ones that I've worked with have sometimes used several different voltages, both AC and DC, for different systems. (Granted that one in particular was French, but still..)

Using the same connector as that used in automobiles, on the other hand, wasn't exactly a great idea.

Message #8 - Posted 2008/02/03 - TaliesinSoft

On Sat, 2 Feb 2008 23:28:21 -0600, nospam wrote (in a previous article):

actually, the most common plug type on airplanes is the empower connector and not the cigarette lighter plug. however, some airlines, such as american airlines, use the cigarette plug adapter, so apple provides both plug types. also, a few airlines are now offering 110vac so ordinary ac power adapters can be used.

i don't know why the airlines chose 15v instead of 12v, but i'm sure it had more to do with being most economical voltage to supply given the electrical requirements of the rest of the aircraft.

what's actually 'incredible bozo and unbelievably inconsiderate' is for apple to make an airline adapter that won't work in a car in addition to not charging the battery.

Many thanks for the clarifications. My recollection is that Amtrak trains, at least on their newer equipment, tend to be equipped with standard "household" AC plugs, so that one can connect their computer with a "regular" power brick.

James Leo Ryan ..... Austin, Texas ..... taliesinsoft@mac.com

Message #9 - Posted 2008/02/03 - Charles

Previously, TaliesinSoft wrote:

Many thanks for the clarifications. My recollection is that Amtrak trains, at least on their newer equipment, tend to be equipped with standard "household" AC plugs, so that one can connect their computer with a "regular" power brick.

Acela has standard 120 AC outlets at every seat. Acela equipment was built that way. Most of the coaches used on other Amtrak equipment used in the northeast has been retrofitted with standard outlets at every seat. (I would say about 90 per cent of them). I don't know about the rest of the US since I have not been on those trains. If you happen to be in a coach without outlets in the northeast US just move to another coach you will probably find outlets.

Charles

Message #10 - Posted 2008/02/03 - TaliesinSoft

On Sun, 3 Feb 2008 09:57:55 -0600, Charles wrote (in a previous article):

[commenting on Amtrak trains]

Acela has standard 120 AC outlets at every seat. Acela equipment was built that way. Most of the coaches used on other Amtrak equipment used in the northeast has been retrofitted with standard outlets at every seat. (I would say about 90 per cent of them). I don't know about the rest of the US since I have not been on those trains. If you happen to be in a coach without outlets in the northeast US just move to another coach you will probably find outlets.

Some years back, when I was still living in southern New Jersey and often taking Amtrak from Wilmington to New York City, I needed to have some power for my Mac Laptop, and in those days such was available only at the tables in the club car. There were probably about a dozen persons with laptops, about two-thirds using PCs and the remainder using Macs. It was then that I noted that the Mac users were all busy at work on spreadsheets and such and the PC users were, perhaps all of them as I didn't notice otherwise, playing solitaire!

James Leo Ryan ..... Austin, Texas ..... taliesinsoft@mac.com

Message #11 - Posted 2008/02/03 - Abbott

Actually, in my experience, the most common plugs in today's airlines are either the car-type cigarette outlet or a standard AC outlet. United and (I believe) Delta are about the only ones I've found who use Empower. The European airlines I've flown tend to have US-style AC outlets (which also take European 2-prong plugs).

The only real workable solution I'd found was from guys like iGo, which create virtually an any-to-any plug environment. I got notified by them last week that they've finally got an adapter for the MBP, but Apple isn't working with them on a license so they can sell it. Real bummer. I'm now trying to find out how to contact someone useful at Apple to encourage them to license the technology.

Previously, nospam wrote:

actually, the most common plug type on airplanes is the empower connector and not the cigarette lighter plug. however, some airlines, such as american airlines, use the cigarette plug adapter, so apple provides both plug types. also, a few airlines are now offering 110vac so ordinary ac power adapters can be used.

i don't know why the airlines chose 15v instead of 12v, but i'm sure it had more to do with being most economical voltage to supply given the electrical requirements of the rest of the aircraft.

what's actually 'incredible bozo and unbelievably inconsiderate' is for apple to make an airline adapter that won't work in a car in addition to not charging the battery.

Message #12 - Posted 2008/02/03 - nospam

Previously, Abbott wrote:

The only real workable solution I'd found was from guys like iGo, which create virtually an any-to-any plug environment. I got notified by them last week that they've finally got an adapter for the MBP, but Apple isn't working with them on a license so they can sell it. Real bummer. I'm now trying to find out how to contact someone useful at Apple to encourage them to license the technology.

i hope they can manage to license it. the lack of third party alternatives for the magsafe is a very serious drawback, and i really don't understand why apple is so protective over it.

Message #13 - Posted 2008/02/03 - Charles

Previously, TaliesinSoft wrote:

Some years back, when I was still living in southern New Jersey and often taking Amtrak from Wilmington to New York City, I needed to have some power for my Mac Laptop, and in those days such was available only at the tables in the club car. There were probably about a dozen persons with laptops, about two-thirds using PCs and the remainder using Macs. It was then that I noted that the Mac users were all busy at work on spreadsheets and such and the PC users were, perhaps all of them as I didn't notice otherwise, playing solitaire!

I take the train often on the NEC and I have noticed a substantial increase of MacBook Pro's and MacBooks users. They seem to be everywhere.

Charles

Message #14 - Posted 2008/02/04 - Abbott

Hopefully you and other concerned individuals/organizations are sending notes and letters to sjobs@apple.com and/or stevejobs@apple.com asking/encouraging them to license the technology.

I've sent my notes asking them to either license MagSafe or outright re-brand the iGo or similar product.

Apple really needs to hear from us on this. Right now it's looking like I'll be keeping my PB G4 as my "road warrior" machine, and my nice new MBP will be used only when I know I can be near a standard U.S. wall outlet. This is not the solution I want, but it sure beats carrying extra bricks.

Previously, nospam wrote:

Previously, Abbott wrote:

The only real workable solution I'd found was from guys like iGo, which create virtually an any-to-any plug environment. I got notified by them last week that they've finally got an adapter for the MBP, but Apple isn't working with them on a license so they can sell it. Real bummer. I'm now trying to find out how to contact someone useful at Apple to encourage them to license the technology.

i hope they can manage to license it. the lack of third party alternatives for the magsafe is a very serious drawback, and i really don't understand why apple is so protective over it.

Message #15 - Posted 2008/02/05 - Clark Martin

Previously, Charles wrote:

Previously, TaliesinSoft wrote:

Many thanks for the clarifications. My recollection is that Amtrak trains, at
least on their newer equipment, tend to be equipped with standard "household"
AC plugs, so that one can connect their computer with a "regular" power brick.

Acela has standard 120 AC outlets at every seat. Acela equipment was built that way. Most of the coaches used on other Amtrak equipment used in the northeast has been retrofitted with standard outlets at every seat. (I would say about 90 per cent of them). I don't know about the rest of the US since I have not been on those trains. If you happen to be in a coach without outlets in the northeast US just move to another coach you will probably find outlets.

The Coast Starlight I rode on had a single 120VAC three wire outlet in our sleeper. I had brought along a three way adapter to power both the laptop and my scanner. I would recommend a short AC extension cord (1 ft) or a real compact power strip. The way the outlet is set into the wall the three way adapter with power adapters in it tended to fall out of the outlet (it couldn't quite plug in fully).

Clark Martin
Redwood City, CA, USA Macintosh / Internet Consulting

"I'm a designated driver on the Information Super Highway"

Message #16 - Posted 2008/02/06 - Shawn Hirn

Previously, Charles wrote:

Previously, TaliesinSoft wrote:

Some years back, when I was still living in southern New Jersey and often taking Amtrak from Wilmington to New York City, I needed to have some power for my Mac Laptop, and in those days such was available only at the tables in
the club car. There were probably about a dozen persons with laptops, about two-thirds using PCs and the remainder using Macs. It was then that I noted that the Mac users were all busy at work on spreadsheets and such and the PC
users were, perhaps all of them as I didn't notice otherwise, playing solitaire!

I take the train often on the NEC and I have noticed a substantial increase of MacBook Pro's and MacBooks users. They seem to be everywhere.

I work at a large university and I have noticed more and more Apple laptops over the past few years. At the start of each fall semester, I volunteer to help the help desk set up students' computers in their door rooms and I see more and more people there with Apple laptops. Its a great sign and it matches with the reports Apple has made about increased market share in the laptop area.

Message #17 - Posted 2008/02/08 - C J Campbell

On 2008-02-02 19:26:05 -0800, TaliesinSoft said:

On Sat, 2 Feb 2008 17:26:17 -0600, nospam wrote (in a previous article):

the airline adapter does include a cigarette lighter plug for airlines that use that type of receptacle, but the voltage on the plane is higher and i don't know if it really won't work in a car or if apple is just saying don't do that. and another stupid thing about the airline adapter is that it will only run the computer; it will *not* recharge the battery.

Considering that literally every car manufactured in the last 30 years has a 12 volt electrical system it only strikes me as incredible bozo (and unbelievably inconsiderate) on the part of the airlines to select a different voltage, especially given that the plug-in connector is the same as the car's lighter socket. There are times one can only wonder!

You get another problem in small planes. They mostly use car lighter socket type adaptors, but most planes manufactured in the last 35 years or so have 24 volt systems instead of 12 volt systems (all those additional radios and avionics in modern planes forced the change). Some step the voltage back down to 12 volts at the plug-ins. Some even allow you to select the voltage. So you have to read the manual carefully. The airline type adaptors have become much more common in small planes, though, especially since the manufacturers stopped putting ash trays and cigarette lighters in them.

Waddling Eagle
World Famous Flight Instructor

Message #18 - Posted 2008/02/09 - Jd Lyall

Bill wrote:

your best bet is to get an ac inverter and use the normal ac adapter. the small ones are very inexpensive ($20ish) and they should be capable of providing 85 watts for the adapter without a problem.

I looked at an AC inverter a while ago, and the accompanying literature advised against running a computer on it because it does not generate a real sine wave, but rather a stepped wave, and that could cause damage to the computer. I don't know if this is really a concern, but it is something to be aware of.

I do not think that this is a concern. the laptop adapter converts AC back into DC, probably just by stripping off half the sine wave, giving a pulsed DC. Whether it is a semi-square wave being stripped or a curve should make no difference. Running AC motors off square waves is the problem, like CD players or VCRs.

Resist the so-called quantum paradigm..
God does not play dice.
http://www.lyalls.net/

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