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I have been asked directly and answered a couple of times on forums, as to what we recommend to be the best laptop charger. Some chargers on eBay seem to only work when the engine is running, and some the quality is iffy to say the least.
I used to use a cheap charger that was fairly low rated, and it used to get hot. Very hot. One day it actually blew up when we were in Spain which was a bit of a pain, but it almost took the laptop out too as it “shorted” live and neutral causing the laptop to “bang” and shut down making deathly beeps – but fortunaltey after I unpluggeed and removed the battery it recovered. Phew. So I do not reccomend cheap eBay type chargers.
So if your laptop needs 45W (e.g. a netbook) – I’d still highly recommend getting a beefier charger. Our 120W is fine, it charges our Samsung netbook; Asus Ultra-low voltage PC; and our Dell XPS power hungry laptop. (yes – I know, 3 laptops is a big extreme!) – but the single charger we have has attachments for all of the above. The Dell XPS takes all 120W as its more of a workstation and the charger copes fine.
I bought our charger in a shop in Spain, but can pop into Maplin to buy one, or of course buy one from Amazon. The one I show here is identical to the one I have.
ALWAYS check the DC voltage your laptop needs. This will be either on your laptop (as “input”) or on your power supply (as “output”). All our laptops are 19v. The recommended charger is variable voltage, and ours gives a tested 19v when connected to running engine or leisure batteries, so we’re quite happy with it. (always make sure you haven’t inadvertently moved the voltage selector switch though lol!)
120W is probably the biggest you want in the van. If your laptop needs more than 120W then you should consider a lower consumption laptop as it will suck you van batteries dry! Our Asus laptop (bought with van in mind) only needs 40W 🙂 Of course, the 120W charger can power lower power hungry devices and if you only plug in a 40W laptop then you only use 40W power. The number is just the “maximum”. In our experience too, the smaller units get so hot you waste a huge amount of power in heat. The recommended item, for us, never gets hot.
Hope this is useful to someone!