I've had some considerable difficulty with my in cab laptop inverter

Finding a reliable laptop inverter to power my laptop, in the cab, has been a continuing difficulty for me.

I've burned up two of the little suckers that plug into the power outlets provided by the truck builder. Although the ones I cooked were recommended by the kids at the electronics toy store, they didn't get the job done.

That's what I get for not looking closely at the numbers my own self.

Finally pulled my head out of that dark place where it shouldn't have been and realized, that the big Toshiba laptop I use draws too much power to use the outlets in the cab. It also draws to much juice for the little plug in inverters to handle.

Turns out, even though some of those little inverters are claiming 140 watts, the outlets in the cab apparently will only allow something like 80 watts through.

The Toshiba, near as I can tell wants 140 - 180 watts. Since I was trying to use a 140 watt unit, and plugging in to the outlets limits you to around 80 watts, I guess the reason I was cooking laptop inverters is explained huh ?

Too little on both counts ! Power supply and output ........ Duh !

This time, I bought a 400 watt laptop inverter at the Best Buy store. It's built by Vector Manufacturing and I hard wired it straight to the battery. That circuit's protected by a 60 amp inline fuse at the battery.

10 gauge wire got run through the firewall, under the carpet and center console area to a spot under the drivers seat.

***********Safety Update***********

Recieved an e-mail today from a friend of mine. He's an old zoomy (U.S. Air Force) but I don't hold that against him much.

According to him, considering the potential amperage that could be pulled by the inverter I installed, the 10ga. wire is insufficient.

His recommendation is to use 6 ga. wire for proper safety and performance.

I didn't think the laptop inverter would ever pull high enough to cause trouble, but with the inverter there and ABLE to pull more, figuring in unintended consequences and all, I thought it best to adhere to his counsel!

So I am replacing the apparently improper, 10 ga. with 6 ga. wire for safety.

Hate to have to do that too. .................I'll never hear the end of it now! How he "kept me from goin' under in a blazing inferno......"

Oh well, life in the west I guess. I'll take the hit ................ just use the heavier, 6 ga. wire on any setups of your own ...............play it safe!


I stuck the inverter to a small piece of baltic birch plywood (just to get it off the floor) with a bit of self adhesive, heavy duty, velcro.

in cab laptop inverter

The power switch on the laptop inverter is easily accessible to fire it up and with 400 watts available I should have plenty of power this time.

I don't know that I have to, but I shut the inverter off whenever I start or shutoff the truck. Don't know for sure if there is any liklihood of damaging power spikes starting and shutting down the rig but doing it this way is an easy way to not find out the expensive way!

Neat, clean and quick. Best of all, so far it works ! If that changes, I'll let you know !

Now I can fire up my Copilot GPS navigation system and find out the answer to that question that haunts most all men:

"Where in the @#**!!% am I ?"

See you out there, RV Boondocking !

Return from In Cab Laptop Inverter to Goin' RV Boondocking