Complex Product Development Model

Constant Internet Connection

I am currently traveling around on vacation in Europe in our motorhome (a small lorry with a small house). However, I have a lot of obligations in my business network, such as board meetings and technology meetings, so the ultimate solution is to be constantly connected to the internet and participate in meetings whenever they happen.

Not only the connection to the internet must be maintained, but also the laptop must be constantly fully charged, which is more complicated than a constant internet connection. Yes, I know, the laptop has internal batteries, but they tend to get empty, typically when a long meeting becomes important.

For the connection to the internet, you need a mobile router, which is a router with good internal battery capacity. For example, our motorhome has an AC transformer, which charges a home battery when you connect the motorhome to an electricity post on a campsite. This is enough for the mobile router to be charged for several days, and as long as you now and then use electricity at campsites, it will be constantly charged and connected to the internet.

Charging the laptop is more complicated since it needs considerably more electricity than the mobile router. It would quickly discharge the mobile house’s internal battery when you are not connected to the electricity post but driving around. This circumstance gives rise to two operating modes, one is when you are connected to the electricity post on a campsite, and the other when somebody (my wife) is driving the motorhome during a teams meeting.

1) When you are at a campsite, the AC power from the electricity post is strong enough to power up and easily charge a laptop.

2) When driving, you need to use the power from the engine generator and battery of the motorhome. Then you need a 12-volt DC to 230-volt AC inverter to connect to the laptop adapter.

My laptop consumes approximately 65 watts, and it was not difficult to find a small inverter delivering 150 watts. However, there are three things to consider.

2a) Consumption of 150 watts on the 230-volt AC side is not hard. Still, on the 12-volt side, you need to obtain 12,5 amperes plus energy loss in the converter, which requires a (cigarette) connector to supply at least 16 amps without blowing any fuse.

2b) The AC on the 230-volt side is generated by semiconductors and is not guaranteed to be very sinus-like in its appearance, which might be a problem for the laptop adaptor to accept, also being a semiconductor thing.

2c) Connecting a laptop adaptor may cause a very short but high start-up current from its supply, which can cause the inverter to imagine it is connected to a short circuit and disconnect delivery, entering a permanent safe state.

In my case, I was lucky with my equipment, everything works fine, and I am just now sitting in my motorhome and writing this blog.

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