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What is a Laptop DC Power Adapter?

Laptops are portable and that's why many consumers rely on them, but sometimes outlets aren't available. While the stored power of a laptop or notebook can support some use, it eventually becomes time to charge, but what happens when this occurs in a car? In these situations, a DC power adapter can convert the power supplied by a vehicle into AC power that a charger can use.

How can DC power be converted into AC power?

A power inverter takes the 12-volt DC (or direct current) power used by a vehicle and turns it into AC (or alternating current) power.

  • Vehicles derive their power from the 12-volt battery under the hood. This current is useful for starting a vehicle and for running auxiliary functions, but the voltage is too low to use for other purposes. Conversely, a home outlet supplies 120 volts or more, depending on your location. An inverter, including those in laptop chargers designed for use in vehicles, increases the voltage.
  • Appliances and technology that plug into wall outlets can use vehicle power once it's converted, and this includes everything from phone chargers to toasters.
  • A vehicle charges its battery when in use, after the vehicle has been started. If power is being drawn when the vehicle is not in use, the power drained may make it unable to start.

How does a laptop charger work?

From the outlet, through the cord, and into the laptop, a charger allows power to be restored into and then used from the battery.

  • The charger makes use of an AC adapter. The power required isn't exactly the same as the power being supplied by an outlet. The adapter itself actually is the box attached to the cord of the charger.
  • The adapter turns the outlet power into a lower alternating current that can be used by electronic devices. After the power is the right form, it is put through the connector. There are universal chargers that work with many laptops or specific brands can be used together, such as an HP Pavilion laptop with an HP charger, for example.
  • A charger can be left plugged in and connected when the device is charged, as well as when it is in use. With a full reserve of power, the laptop may draw from the supplied current instead, or it will not draw any current if not being used.

Which situations call for a car adapter?

An adapter allows the power used and supplied by a vehicle to be used by electronics.

  • Charging a notebook during a commute can mean the device is fully charged by the time the driver gets to work.
  • Road trips or long drives can allow time to get work done or to play games. Those in the backseat can enjoy their devices without running out of power.
  • The driver of the vehicle should never use any device while on the road but having a fully-charged device for use when stopped.

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