What and How Guide

How to Charge a Laptop in a Car?

Different Ways to Charge a Laptop without a Charger

Imagine you’re heading out of town for a long weekend. Perhaps you’re going to a wedding or a vacation at a friend’s house, or maybe it’s camping with your buddies. You decide to bring a laptop with you because it will be nice to stream movies or get some work done during your downtime. A laptop can help make you feel at home when away from home.

Oops! You realize that you’ve forgotten your laptop charger when you unpack in your hotel room. You only have a 10% battery life left on your laptop, so you’re going to have no choice but to go without it for this trip. That important email to the boss has to wait.

Wait! You don’t have to live that way. You don’t need a standard laptop charger to charge your laptop. It’s really quite simple to do, and you might want to learn how to do it even if you’re not a fellow 21st-Century dweller who feels compelled by nature to carry your laptop with you everywhere you go.

Decide between the Laptop and a Chromebook?

Here are three different ways to charge your computer when your laptop charger is missing.

How to charge a laptop without a charger

Every laptop has an internal battery. To charge the battery, you need to provide it with some electricity. Most of the time we plug our laptop into an electrical socket in our home, and electricity travels from the socket to the battery.

Can you charge a laptop with a USB?

One of the most commonly asked questions I get is ‘Can I charge my laptop using a USB connector?’ It actually depends on the type (or kind) of USB port you have.

How to charge a laptop with USBC?

If your laptop has built-in USB-A ports, then you’ll be able to charge your computer via a USB-A cable – you just have to make sure the cable has an adapter (the box-like plug at the end of the charging cable that plugs into an outlet). Some laptops actually use a USB-C port as their primary charging port.

How to charge your laptop in a car?

A car has electricity. Regardless of whether you’re driving in your own vehicle or renting a car when you land at an airport, you can use the power produced by electric cars. It’s fairly straightforward for you to use it to charge a laptop. You’ll need two things:

  • USB car charger
  • Use a power inverter

A power inverter will work in any car and any laptop. Most power inverters are relatively affordable.

A model like the betek 300-watt power inverters plugs into the car’s electrical outlet and includes two ordinary 3 prong plugs and a pair USB ports to plug your computer’s power adapter directly into it. You’ll also have two USB ports for your other devices.

Power inverters have some downsides, but they’re not too bad. For example, they could be bulky, and cheap models may not generate pure sine waves. These waves could damage sensitive electronic devices.

A power inverter converts your car’s power outlet to a three-prong one you can use to charge a laptop.

Use a laptop charger

Another approach is to buy a laptop car charger that has a built-in power adapter for your specific laptop. Laptop chargers can be found online for most laptop models. They’re usually quite affordable. Plug the charger into the wall socket, plug the other end into your laptop, and start recharging.

You can use a charger for your specific type of laptop to charge it in the car. Chromebook can also be charged in the same way. Review some Chromebooks Guides.

Use a power bank

If you have a newer laptop with a USB- C or Thunderbolt charging port, then you can charge your computer from the car without involving the vehicle at all. You’ll need a PD power bank. Power Delivery power banks are able to deliver enough power to charge an external device via a USB-C connector. Unfortunately, this solution won’t work if your laptop uses a non-standard charging port.

ZMI’s power delivery power bank is an excellent case of a product with enough power to charge a laptop.

If your laptop has either a Thunderbolt or USB- C charging port, you can charge it using a power bank.

How to Charge Your Laptop in A Car? 

There are many ways to charge a laptop while you drive a car. However, it’s worth remembering that not all of these techniques are safe and effective.

We’ll cover the four best ways for charging your laptop while you’re riding in your car.

1. You can use a USB charger if you don’t have access to the cigarette lighter. This is the easiest method for charging your laptop while you’re driving. The key here is not to plug the USB cable into your computer when you’re driving.

You’ll need a USB charger that works with your car. You can buy it at any electronic store, or you can get it online. The best part is it’s completely safe to use while driving!

You can use your car battery if you don’t have access a cigarette lighter. However, this is quite dangerous, especially if you’re driving on a bumpy highway. It won’t take long to charge your laptop using a USB charger.

You can leave your computer plugged into an outlet in your car even if you aren’t using it.

2. You can also buy a universal USB charger so you can charge your phone while driving. With the universal charger you can easily charge your computer by plugging the USB cord into the power outlet and the cigarette lighter. For this, you need to ensure that your laptop supports charging via USB ports.

Some laptops do not take charging inputs through their USB Type-A ports. Some, on the other hand, do not support charging via those USB type-C ports, like Macbooks and Dell XPS series laptops.

3. A power bank is a portable battery charger that you can use to charge your laptop. To charge your laptop using a power bank, you’ll need to make sure that it supports charging via a power bank.

Because some laptops do not have USB Type-C ports, they do have USB Type-A ports. Most, or most modern laptops take in charging via those Type-C ports, including MacBooks and Dell Xps series of laptops.

4. Another way to charge your laptop in your car is to use a car laptop charger. It plugs right into your laptop’s power jack, so you can charge it just like any other charger that comes with your computer.

Plug the charger into your carâs cigarette lighter socket, and charge your laptop by connecting the other end to its power jack.

Make sure your car has an engine running before doing this process. Otherwise, it could damage your charger or your computer if you start the engine after charging it.

These laptop car charg­ers are not really expensive; they’re available at most electronics stores near you, or you can order them online.

Make sure you use the right connector for your laptop’s power jack. Otherwise, you might damage the charger or your computer’s power jack if you try to force it in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to charge a laptop in your car?

As long as you use an adapter, it is perfectly safe for you to charge your laptop in the car. Make sure that you take all the necessary precautions for safety (like having dry hands), and make sure that you charge the laptop using a high quality inverter (such as the one recommended above).

Can you charge your laptop in your car without an inverter?

Our recommended power adapter.

You can’t charge your laptop from the cigarette lighter in your car. You need to use an inverter, because it converts the 12V from your batteries to the required values for laptops, which are around 20 V.

Will charging a laptop in a car drain battery?

Yes, if you use your laptop in the car while driving, the battery can drain. However, in order for you to avoid this, make certain that the vehicle is moving, and not parked, when you charge the laptop. So that the battery won’t get drained, the battery itself gets charged when the vehicle is moving.

If you leave the laptop plugged in overnight or for longer periods when the engine is not running, the battery will drain faster and possibly get completely drained.

Since the battery is responsible for providing power to the electrical system of your car and the engine isn’t running to charge it, it will drain at different rates, depending on how much power is used.

If you’re charging a laptop, a smartphone, and a tablet at the same time, the battery will drain much faster, possibly rendering it impossible for you to turn the ignition key.

This is why it is recommended to only charge your computer in the car when the engine is running and ideally when your car is moving because that is when the most electricity is produced and your car’s battery will charge easily (and faster).

How long can you charge a laptop on a car battery?

If you really need your laptop to be charged while the engine is off (for example, if you’re going to use it later), you can usually do it for around 1-2 hrs. This will provide your laptop with enough power to run smoothly, leaving some juice in the vehicle’s battery to start the engine again.

However, if you keep doing this repeatedly, your battery will wear out faster. This is why you shouldn’t use your laptop while driving; rather, you should charge it when the car is running so that you don’t lose any battery power.

As long as you follow the tips in this article, charging your laptop using your vehicle’s ciga­rette lighter is easy to do, and it’s safe.

Make sure that you buy a high-quality power inverter made specifically for cars, like ours. This will turn the car battery into the amount of power needed by the laptop and recharge it without any problems. If you really need to charge your laptop when the engine is turned off, don’t charge it for longer than 2 hours at a time and only charge one laptop at a time so that you don’t kill your car’s battery.

However, if the engine is running and you’re driving, it’s perfectly safe for you to charge your laptop without worrying about draining your battery.

Charge your laptop using an Inverter

If you have an old laptop without USB-C ports, then you’ll need to use a USB-C to USB adapter with the original laptop charger.

First, buy a power inverter for your car. This device converts 120V AC from the outlet to 110 VAC current. Now you can plug in your laptop charger and charge your laptop on the go.

How long can a car battery power a laptop?

The real answer depends on a couple of things including:

  • Battery capacity / AMPs
  • How much power you’re using
  • The general condition of the battery

It’s also worth noting that SLI batteries are rated in CCA (cold cranking amps) while Deep Cycle batteries are rated in AH (Amp Hours).

But there’s a way to simplify this:

Look for the reserve power, which is rated in AHP. Using an AH would make it easier for us to determine how long a computer can run on a car battery.

Using this formula, we can get a rough estimate of how long we can use a laptop using Deep Cycle batteries.

10 x (100 amp hours) / (45 watts) / 2 If your car battery has a 100-amp-hour reserve capacity and you have a 45 watt laptop, then 10 x (100 amp-hours) / (45 watts). You’d get about eleven hours of run/charge.

At this point, your car battery will probably be almost dead or too weak to start the engine. We like to divide the total number of hours by two. You can still start your car even if you use your laptop.

A 45 watt laptop could theoretically use a 100 AH deep cycle battery for about 5.4 hours.

But if you have an even more powerful 65-watts laptop, the figures change dramatically.

(10 x 100 AH / 65 watts / 2 = 7.5 hours 7.5 hours / 2 = 3 hours Using a 65-Watt laptop, you can run it for around 3 hours before running out of power to start the motor in just one click.)

If you’re using an average laptop and a 100 AH (or larger) deep cycle marine battery, then you can expect to get between 3-5 hours of use or run time on your computer.

Charge Your Laptop Using a Super Battery

A super battery is like a second or spare battery for your laptop. They have different charging cords and they replace your laptop’s original battery.

Make sure when you buy one, it fits your computer and is the right size for your computer. These devices are device-specific and may not be compatible with your laptop if it was specifically designed for it.

It’s not that efficient, so it’s only used for emergency situations.

Review the best laptops for egpu.

About the author

Jane Jackson

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