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Car-tricity 100W Inverter - Just Some Fun Notes

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Hi All,

I have an off-grid camp in Oxford County, Maine. It now runs off 220W worth of panels with a 2000W pure-sine inverter. However, I recently found my very first "inverter" I ever used up there, back when my battery bank was made from new-old-stock laptop batteries bought off eBay. It's called "Car-tricity" and originally was designed to plug into a cigarette lighter so you could have 120VAC wherever you drove to. Campers would use it to run blenders and battery chargers or whatever.

Anyway, I found mine half-disassembled with two of the transistors changed and some blown traces repaired. I guess I had been working on it 15 or more years ago when I put it away for whatever reason. Apparently I'd got it going, which I realized after doing some testing today.

It claims to be able to supply 100W continuous, which I kind of laughed at because it's barely bigger than two Bic lighters. However, after doing some testing on it today with my 'scope and multi-meter, I'm fairly impressed with the results and may just start using it again for smaller appliances.

I could find *nothing* on it. Only thing I found on the company itself was its registered trademark, now listed as "abandoned."

After verifying that it generated a pretty decent modified square wave, I ran some tests with my 120V .65A oscillating fan, which has 3 settings.

Here are my findings:

Fan Setting / Battery Current / Output (RMS)
1 / 3.25A / 118 vac
2 / 3.87A / 123 vac
3 / 3.92A / 129 vac

I had expected the voltage to bog as current drain went up, but this little guy surprised me.

At my camp, I sometimes shut the inverter off an night, mainly so I don't have to hear the fridge running (small camp, fridge loud at night). But sometimes I want to run the fan so I end up kicking the inverter back on. I'm thinking I could wire this little inverter to the battery bank just to run the fan at night without having to turn on the big inverter.

Does anybody remember these little devices? The company applied for the trademark in 1994. I probably bought mine in 2001 -- and I think that was from AllElectronics.com, which trades in buyouts and surplus. So that's probably about when they went out of business.

Anyway, just food for thought!
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