It’s a good idea to use as many 12 volt appliances when travelling as you can, especially when free camping because it means you don’t need to use an inverter to run 240V ones. Some appliances of course don’t have a low voltage equivalent – kettles and toasters for example, but of course there’s usually another way to boil water and cook toast – gas!

One thing we wanted to do when on the road was to use our laptops but they needed around 19V and so I installed a small inverter for this purpose. However, we found that when the laptop batteries were completely flat often the inverter would complain and sometimes overheat. I had installed a 300W model so this was surprising.

After a few months of getting told in no uncertain terms by Carolyne that ‘this is ridiculous, you’re the geek – fix it!’ I searched for a solution.

This is what I came up with – to view the eBay advert see the search suggestion below for the device. Note: There are often cheaper ads for the same item, I tend to look for a seller with a high feedback score, responds promptly and sensibly to questions and is based in Australia! 

It was a great success. Just plug the unit into the 12V outlet, set the voltage (our laptops were both 19.5V so it could be left set to that) and plug in the laptop. Brilliant idea. Note that the unit comes with a good range of plugs to suit most laptops so there will probably be one that suits yours. This seller lists laptop models that it will connect to, so look down the bottom of the listing for the chart.

EBay listing : Search for ’80W Universal Laptop charger DC12V’