This one started as a funny but turned out to be practical at times…
Major Parts Needed:
Some common sense and electrical KnowHow – $Priceless
Sealed Lead Acid Battery – $15.00
Standard outlet and wall plate – $5.00
12v – 110v AC power inverter – $25
Wire – $5.00
Connectors – $2.00
Suitcase – $Depends
Drill and Holesaw
Soldering iron & solder
First, figure out how you’re going to fit everything inside your case. Figure out placement of your laptop and AC adapter, the inverter and the GelCell. My particular design is based on what junk I had laying around. There are newer inverters which are smaller, such as the palm sized one now at RadioShack. The smaller the inverter, the bigger the GelCell you can fit in there and the longer you’ll have power on the go.
Next, figure out where you want your outlet. I decided to put mine on the right side at the top. Take your holesaw and make a set of holes like in the picture so that your outlet fits just right.
Open your inverter and solder wires to the outlet. I did this because space is at a premium and it wouldn’t fit with a regular plug plugged into the front because of the size of my battery. To avoid the soldering and inverter modifying step, buy a cord with a plug already on it. If you decide to modify for compactness, solder wires to the outlet in the inverter and run them out some holes.
Get a standard AC outlet at Home Depot or Lowes. I got mine from a junk box
Hook wires up to the outlet and install it on your case. The screw between the outlet and plate is all that is needed so don’t bother making two other holes for the outlet itself. Place connectors like those above onto your wires coming from the Inverter and outlet. Mark one to keep the wide spade on your case outlet matched to the Inverter’s. Before you electricians start thinking “Where’s the grounding wire”…stop. There isn’t one. The ground prong of the outlet in the inverter isn’t connected at all…so neither is mine It is self contained and not connected to a land-line, so it probably doesn’t matter much.
There is mine all set up inside the case….
And there it is with a nightlight in it…the small frame in the lower right corner shows it lit up in the dark…
Well there you have it. Not only will you catch public attention and look nerdy, you have a truly useful backup power source for those times when you need it. And at $15 for each GelCell, it’s much cheaper than using my Sony Laptop’s $200 battery all the time…between the laptop battery and this, I can get over 8 hours of runtime. As an extra benefit, you can charge your PDA anywhere! Not bad I must say