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Power supply for Liveaboards?

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#1 bobjarman


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Posted 06 April 2002 - 05:17 AM

I realize that most liveaboards have a pretty decent charging station with somewhat reliable power to charge strobes and digital camera batteries.

On the five trips that I have been on, I think every one of them suggested not to use power outlets other than the ones at the charging station due to some fluctuations.

The station is ok for charging the camera and the strobes, but what If I want to use a laptop on the boat? Should I be concerned about plugging into the ships power in the lounge. Is there any special surge protection/convertor I should use?

Specifically, I will be on the Coco's Aggressor,. I was thinking that the trip back would be a nice time to start doing some editing, but I hate to plug into a source that might damage my laptop?

What, if anything are you all doing?


#2 wetpixel



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Posted 06 April 2002 - 08:16 PM

On the Kona Aggressor II, we had daisy-chained powerstrips off of our in-room outlets, the salon outlets, and the camera table outlets. See http://www.wetpixel.com/kona/day1/ for a picture of the dining table. :)

No problems to report. Had strobe chargers, AA battery chargers, computer power supplies, cell phone chargers all attached. :)
Eric Cheng - Administrator, Wetpixel -

#3 scubapearce


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Posted 07 April 2002 - 01:12 PM

I just returned from a Liveaboard in the Red Sea using my c4040Z, DS125, Toshiba Portege 4000 notebook, and NiMH AA bateries. I had no problem with the 220v using the Ikelite battery charger, Toshiba's charger, and an Ansmann Power line charger for AA batteries.

There are 3 big issues for liveaboards:
1. Voltage 220V or 110V, most use 220V because it is consistant with the boat's needs and with most countries other than in North America.
2. Plug types can vary from 3 Flat pin, 2 round pin, NA 110 style, etc
3. Current production; if the boat uses a Voltage converter then the current is in a 50 cycle squared off power curve while the power curve from a generator is 60 cycle with a smooth curve. The power curve variables effect the effectiveness of low end chargers.

If you use 100 - 240v and 50 to 60 cycle chargers then the resultant charge will be correct and of maximum effect. The chargers I listed all have those characteristics as do most quality chargers for Laptop computers. In addtion I simply carry a set of plugs with multiple 220 male tips and all with 110V female input. This guarantees that whichever Voltage, current, or plug type I end up with I can handle it.

Hope this helps,

#4 bobjarman


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Posted 07 April 2002 - 01:20 PM

Thanks to both for the responses. I should have no problems as well than :)

On a sadder note, imagine this one if you can.......

Was running out of drive space, so I copied all of my uw photos onto a cd for archiving........made two copies, tested them...and then deleted the files. So far so good......

.......now no one can find the cd's OUCH!!!

Thankfully, they are all from slides, so I have originals, but oh lord all that scanning!!!!!

Moral.......when you burn your cd's put them in your safe storage area immediately!


#5 Tio Loco

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Posted 07 April 2002 - 02:16 PM

Just got back off of the Bay Islands Aggressor, and the only wierd thing I noticed was when I left my nicad batteries charging overnite. Occasionally one charger (out of three) seemed to loose it's way and would show to be in charge mode in the a.m. when it should have been (and the other two were) fully charged. I suspect it was due to the generator swapping that goes on overnite.

Nothing seemed to get damaged, and unplugging the charger and starting it over fixed the problem.

As for my laptop, I left it plugged in for the entire week with no ill effects.


#6 RogerCarlson



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Posted 21 April 2002 - 10:40 AM

consider bringing along a surge suppressor or even a line filter. They make some really small surge suppressors now for laptop travel. I have one about the size of 2 rolls of film (interex, I think) and the plugs retract into it, so it stays small. It has 2 outlets, led's to let you know it is happy with ground and surge supression, and $10k of equipment replacement insurance. I don't care what kind of equipment you have or what kind of international power supply, there is no point in making it deal with spikes and surges. These tiny suppressors are easy to take along.

If you are dealing with more than spikes, if you have power that is constantly low or high, you might consider a line conditioner. The smallest of these I've seen are around the size of half a brick, from tripp-lite.

#7 snoack


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Posted 21 April 2002 - 02:47 PM

That's what we do on liveaboards:

1. Ask whether they change the power supply during the day or night and during that time plug everything off and stop charging.

2. Shut down your notebook when you don't need it (and store it in a save place if the sea gets rough).

3. Burn safety cd's of your pictures.
We are using several rw cds, for example:
burn CD 1
burn CD 2 (including the contents of CD 1)
burn CD 3 (including CD 2)
rewrite CD 1 (including CD 3)

4. Burn CDs for your fellow divers but don't forget to write down their adress.
It makes them happy, you'll never have to worry about sending the promised picures afterwards and if something happens to your own cds, you can always ask them to help you out.

Regards - Sabine

#8 bobjarman


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Posted 21 April 2002 - 02:53 PM

Cool Ideas!

Thanks to Everyone.