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Cigarette lighter to AC 3 prong plug converter?

I know nothing about electricity except that the car battery provides different power than the plugs in my house. I need to take a looooong car trip with my 4 year old and was wondering whether purchasing a general cigarette lighter to AC 3 prong plug converter was worthwhile. I want to run/charge our lap top off of it so I can work, and my 4 year old can take video breaks. I like the idea that I could plug anything into it, but suspect there are drawbacks I don’t yet understand. Should I just fork over the bucks and get the lap-top power converter from my computer manufacturer or is this relatively cheap DC adapter a good idea? Thanks!

I’ve used an ‘inverter’ from Radio Shack for years to power video games and other low-power items in my cars. The only issue is not to use it except when the car’s running, and not to hook up any high-power devices to it.

An inverter should work fine. Just make sure that you don’t overload the inverter with the equipment that you plug into it and make sure that you don’t overload the circuit that you use in your car. (I’d suggest having an extra fuse on hand just in case.)

When you go on your trip, stop at the first truck stop you see. Any inverter (which is the proper name for this device) that plugs into the cigarette lighter will work fine for your laptop. The demands of a laptop computer’s power supply are pretty small, and a 100 or 125 watt inverter will do the job. Just don’t plug anything into it that requires more than 125 watts.

Yep. I used to do that all the time before smart phones came along and replaced the in-vehicle laptop for GPS and parked websurfing. They even make one that fits in the cupholder, which is handy because otherwise some of the ones that are 1 piece units don’t fit in some cars due to clearance issues, and the ones with long power cords have to be stuck somewhere and tend to shift around as the driver steers.

I will look for an inverter, then. Much thanks, everyone!

A 150 watt inverter will work fine…You might also try eBay for a “car adapter” or “travel adapter” for your specific laptop. Sometimes you can find one for a few bucks…

Alternating current or AC at 120 volts is used in your house and direct current or DC at 12 volts is used in your car. A converter would convert the AC to DC and an inverter would change it from DC to AC. Just may need to know the terms when looking at the box anyway.

I’ve had a Husky 175 watt inverter in my work truck for 5 years. It runs 8 to 12 hours a day powering my cordless drill charger. It also works for charging my I-phone and coffee cup warmer. Just not all at the same time. I bought it at Home Depot for about $25. It is also shaped like a pop can and fits snugly in a cup holder.