Charging my laptop in my Westy


bitmouse

New member
1980 Vanagon

Went to radio shack and bought one of those dew-hickies that plugs into the cigarette lighter, converting it into an AC Jack. The one i bought is rated at 150w.

When i plug in my laptop the whole electrical system starts to jitter, lights flickering etc. Computer doesn't seem to like it. and doesn't charge.

Is this a problem with the alternator? perhaps other electrical? or is my westy simply going to be unable to hand charging a computer unless it is plugged into the main?
 

bitmouse

New member
Well I think I figured it out, alternators in the 1980 Vanagon that I have won't pump out more than 80 or so watts... need to add another alternator if I can, anybody know the best thread for that?
 

scotsborn

New member
Before looking for an alternative alternator I would look at the one you have. Their output is in amps (not watts). I have a 1989 Bentley and see three different ones listed; 45A, 65A and 90A. It states that the 90A was from 1982 on so I am guessing you have either a 45A or 65A.(This would be a guess on my part but I would think the air cooled would have a 45A, early water cooled a 65A and from 1982-> a 90A).

Either way, your inverter would be needing around 15A of current to produce the 150W of advertised power. (Look at the fuse in line for the inverter and that will give you an idea of the maximum amperage that the device should draw but since there are mechanical inefficiencies in any conversion of power then the amperage going in will be more than that coming out.) That puts it well within the range of your alternator (depending on what other consumers are on at that time) if that is working as designed.

I would suggest you look on the alternator to see if there are any markings identifying what the output is. Then see if your local mechanic can check the output from your alternator and see if they are close. If they are close then the issue would be elsewhere other than the alternator. I would suggest looking at the battery wiring and the wiring to the cigar lighter (where I am guessing you are plugging your inverter into?) Wiring can deteriorate over time. If you have an infrared thermometer then you can use that on your battery terminals and main battery cables. If they are excessively hot then that would suggest that they have internal resistance and should be checked or replaced.

If the alternator is not putting out what it should then the issue may be in the brush pack / regulator at the rear. Bentley page 27.20 shows the procedure for replacing the brush pack. The brushes are in contact with the rotor and spins with the engine so after 21+ years they may be worn out.
 

bitmouse

New member
Cool thanks for the reply, might just return the cigarette adapter and try to put in an inverter, gutting the whole thing atm
 

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