Have you ever been stuck on the brink of an online disaster trying to fix some problem at work over a VPN connection while your laptop battery keeps dropping to 0%? This is a situation that many hard-working mobile users often find themselves in, and the options available to keep a laptop battery charged are not as well known as you might think.

Yes, you need an outlet. If you are camping, you may be desperate to find a way out somewhere outside the home. If you are traveling, you can stop at a rest area and hope that the roadside facility is equipped to serve travelers like you. However, if you really want to be ready to run powerful computers when you’re on the go, there are certain things you can do to ensure that not only is your laptop powered anytime, anywhere, but also that power lasts as long as as long as possible.

There are several different aspects to consider when you want to extend battery life battery life battery life about your laptop when you use it on the go. Of course, there are settings you can change on the computer itself to extend its battery life. prolong battery life when the laptop is unplugged, but other than that, what about the process of charging that battery? What is the smartest and most efficient way to keep your laptop battery charged? without putting a huge strain on the charging system, like your car’s 12-volt battery?

In this article, I’m going to explain how the charging process works when your laptop is connected to your car’s battery (cigarette lighter) and how you can control this setting to reduce the amount of fuel you use to charge your battery. car battery and extend the time you can use your laptop using only the batteries you have available.

Ideal setting for mobile laptop charging

For my mobile purposes, I bought a 350 watt inverter from Radio Shack that can be plugged into my car’s cigarette lighter/electrical system. Power draw is the power draw of your laptop and some may also be referred to as Volt-Amps. It’s basically the voltage rating of a laptop power supply multiplied by its current rating. For example, a laptop power supply that requires 19 volts and draws a maximum of 4.75 amps requires about 90.25 watts of power.

It’s nice to have a 350W inverter that’s powerful enough to charge two laptops and then more. Keep in mind that when using your device, you will be drawing much more current from your car battery, reducing the time you have to recharge your devices before the car battery itself begins to discharge too low. Here is my 350 watt box with laptop connected and box turned on. This inverter has an LED on the front to indicate that it is currently on.

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As I said, I purchased this 350 watt inverter from Radio Shack. You can find them on Amazon for less than $40 or anywhere else that sells electronics. A good inverter unit will include both a switch and a fuse on the back, as well as a plug that goes straight from the back of the inverter into the car’s cigarette lighter/socket. A device like the 350 watt inverter also has its own cooling fan, so unfortunately it will also draw extra power from the car battery, but that’s not enough to worry about.

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To understand how such a mobile charging system works and how it works more efficiently, it is important to understand each component of the system and its role.

Automotive Charging System Components

A car’s electrical system isn’t really all that complicated, unless you’re talking about the engine’s valve timing or the computerized chip that runs it — it can all get a little more intense. However, the power system that powers the electrical outlets inside your vehicle is actually made up of a few basic components that you need to be aware of in order to fully utilize the system in your mobile office.

Here’s a very simple diagram of how to power a car with an inverter connected, like the one I’ve pictured above.


This is an extremely simplified layout, but the main thing here is to understand what the main components are and what they do. The alternator is the only key to maintaining a long-term charge in the system. Your alternator will be buried somewhere in your engine, usually recognizable by the copper coils visible in holes on the side of the case, and driven by the engine through a rubber belt.

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The alternator is connected to your battery, a 12-volt electrical source that powers all the systems in your vehicle through a fuse box (not shown in the diagram above). As long as your engine is running and turning the generator, this 12-volt car battery will continuously charge and stay charged.

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By working with the alternator, you can take some steps to cycle the recharge and discharge of the battery, using also your laptop battery life to reduce the time it takes to run your car and increase the time you can use your laptop without a running engine.

Playing with your generator

There are basically two modes of operation that we will play with when your laptop is connected to the inverter and the inverter is connected to the cigarette lighter socket. You will start your car first, so the ignition key will be in the «fully on» position.

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Let the whole system charge while you use your laptop. If you have drained the laptop battery before, then you will see the laptop battery. term charging at this stage.

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When your laptop’s charge level reaches 100%, go ahead and turn your car’s ignition to the halfway position so that the electronics in your car — like a walkie-talkie — are still working. It works everything, including the power connector (cigarette lighter port), directly from your vehicle’s battery. While you were driving or charging your car to charge your laptop battery, your car battery was also fully charged by the alternator.

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In this key position, the alternator is no longer spinning, so while you’re saving gas, you’re completely draining your car battery. You will see that when the key is in this halfway position and your inverter is connected to the vehicle’s power port, the power light on the inverter will still be on, indicating that it is still receiving power input from the vehicle.

If you have a smartphone that you use as part of your work in your mobile office, don’t forget that some cars have a second port in the center console between the two front seats. Some people can own a car for years before realizing they have a second source of energy. This is a convenient way to keep your smartphone charged, even if you use a different power connector to power your laptop.

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Thus, you could run the car for 20-30 minutes while the laptop battery was charging. That’s half an hour of good and reliable computer time. Then, once you switch the car to battery mode, nothing will change. You can use your laptop in this state by draining your car battery for an hour or more very safely.

Extending Battery Life

To extend your battery life, make sure the Battery Saver option is enabled on your laptop.


If you want to extend your car battery life, manually switch your laptop to power saving mode, even if it’s plugged in.

During this time, you will keep your laptop battery at 100%, but you will gradually drain your car’s battery. How long this can last depends on how old your battery is and what other systems you have running. If you have a radio and a fan, it can draw the juice a little faster.

A quick test of how much power is left on the battery is to quickly turn on the overhead light. Is it nice and bright, or do you notice that it is a little dimmer and not as bright as usual?

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When you notice a change in the power of this overhead light, it’s time to completely turn off the car’s ignition and switch completely to the laptop battery. Keep in mind that between running the machine for about 30 minutes and draining the car battery for 2-3 hours, you have already worked for almost 5 hours without even wasting a single charge on your laptop battery.

After you only use the laptop battery, you have reached the last reserves. It is important here that you use power-saving features such as dimming the screen, for example. Depending on how new your laptop battery is and how much power you have on your laptop, you can actually run between 1 and 5 hours in this state.

The interesting part is that after following this slow step by step procedure that allowed you to run for 6 to 8 hours before draining all available power, all you have to do is turn the car’s ignition back on, let the alternator do its magic, and recharge and your car battery and your laptop battery in less than 30 minutes, and then you can start the process all over again!

Are you a mobile worker? Have you developed any tricks to extend battery life? Share your mobile worker tips in the comments section below!

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