In-car power invertors

Rather than an actual review, this is more of a brief heads-up (oh, how I hate that phrase) about something many people might not be aware you can buy – a normal household plug socket for your car.
The truth of the matter is that I can’t pretend to be clever enough to fully understand the sorcery surrounding electrickery, so I don’t really want to (read: can’t) go in-depth.
So with that in mind, if you fancy buying an in-car power invertor, make sure you do enough info-gathering to be fully clued-up about which electrical equipment you can run from one, and what the different power ratings mean for the happiness and long life of your car battery.
Don’t go blaming me if you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere because you decided to fire up a million-watt arc lamp for an hour while you microwaved and nommed a jacket spud. Okay?

I’ve had a 300W Nikkai power invertor in the boot of my car for a few years now simply because I never quite know when technology is going to let me down during a camping trip in the wilds and I need juice in a hurry.
Using a standard cigarette lighter plug (or clamped direct to your battery) it feeds power from your car battery through a magic conversion interface box thing (I told you I had no idea what I was talking about) to a normal three-pin socket into which you can plug your standard household three-pin plugs.
I’ve used it quite few times during camping trips for just a couple of things – charging my mobile in a hurry and recharging my laptop’s battery, because every now and then Mrs Muz and I like to watch DVDs of Rainbow when we get bored of Travel Scrabble.
The last time I used it was when I got angry with my Solar Technology Freeloader Classic and I needed to call my mum to ask what she’d done with my comfort blanket. It came to the rescue like a good ‘un.

They’re not terribly cheap – the current version of mine is £40, but I’ve found it to be a very handy piece of equipment from time-to-time when more purpose-built tech just hasn’t been up-to-scratch.

SUMMARY: Not essential by any means, but for me it’s a little bit of home in the boot of my car, waiting like a coiled spring for when I need it to save my bacon.

Price: Varies, depending on what you want
From: All over the place, but mine came from Maplin
More info: Here’s a decent piece, although it’s a bit dated now.

  • Joe

    No mention of sparks and smoke?

  • Muz

    Er… I wrote this before it tried to blow me up. Just needs the old connectors at the back sorted out and it’ll be as good as new.