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Old 04-18-2005, 03:07 AM   #21
Iowafan
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This is probably a silly question, but when you go to a retail place, Books-a-million, Starbucks, etc., that has WIFI is there a power source available? My battery doesn't seem to have a long life. Or do you sit in the truck connected with an inverter?
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Old 04-18-2005, 04:48 AM   #22
CountryGuy
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Glen,

I HATE BATTERIES! But, I will say, that the newer ones seem to be a bit better than the older ones. Example: prior cell phone, battery lasted about a year, and from then on it was discharging fast and we kept it connected to the charger and inverter while traveling. A pain in the, you know. HAHA

Got a new phone November 2003. Oooo, wow! This one is still acting like it is brand new. Don't treat it any different, it just holds the charge much better.

I am hoping that will be the story on the new laptop VS the old laptop. That the battery lasts a LOT longer. Battery on old laptop barely made 6 months.

We have an inverter purchased for old laptop, plugs into cig lighter in truck, barely ran it. He thinks that that inverter will not run the new laptop. Means purchasing a new inverter, and he thinks it will need to be wired directly to the truck battery. So far, he is not jumping hoops to do this, so I am praying that the battery on the new laptop stays good for a long time. However, that said, I can get a newone, purchased the extended warranty, which allows me a new battery once a year if I need it! Laptop is about the only thing we own with extended warranty. Had one on the prior laptop, sure glad we did, that thing had more frequent flyer miles than Al and I do!

So, I guess I need to drive near a Starbucks and see if I can get online!

Carol
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Old 04-18-2005, 04:54 AM   #23
Iowafan
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I'm with you, Carol....hate batteries, love that inverter in the truck! It keeps me busy on the 'puter while he's driving. I've heard rumblings about buying a new laptop which make my heart flutter! He teases me about it being for him! Well, Glen just came back with news that there is a brand new Camping World open here in Dothan so I gotta run. He said it's like a candy store.
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Old 04-18-2005, 05:18 AM   #24
sreigle
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Glen, Dlink is a good brand, very similar to Linksys. I've heard of situations where having the same brand that the park uses can make for a better connection but I've never really had a problem I'd consider brand related. I think you'll be fine with dlink. Can't answer your other question about the electrical outlets, though. In airports I've found chairs near an outlet so I could use the laptop.

Kalamity, glad it helped you.

OntMont, I made a Walmart run yesterday and bought Vicki the same adapter you mentioned above. Her laptop was previously frequently dropping the wifi connection (while naturally mine stayed connected perfectly). I installed the adapter about 22 hours ago and she's not dropped the signal even once. Life inside this Montana is now much more pleasant! Thank you.

Carol, laptops don't use nearly as much power as desktops. I run a laptop in the truck for the gps on a 75w inverter. It runs all day without problem. The gps unit is usb so is also drawing power from the laptop as is the wifi card, mouse, etc. I haven't tried my new laptop on it but don't think it would be a problem.

Also, your old cell phone may have used one of the older type / cheaper batteries that can't really handle frequent charging when not fully or nearly fully rundown. We had one of those and periodicaly had to leave the phone on until the battery was fully discharged. Then we'd charge it and it was fine. This was how Cingular told us to do it with that battery. I think that was ni-cad? Not sure if that's right. Our later one is about 18 months old and has an Li-On battery (Lithium Ion, I think). It supposedly can be recharged without being fully discharged and seems to be doing very well.

My Sony laptop never would go more than 20 minutes on the battery. I let it go too long, until after warranty, and then wasn't willing to spen $150 for a battery. So I carried the AC cord to the central modem hookups in the rv parks. This HP will go a few hours so I don't have to worry about that any more.
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Old 04-18-2005, 06:13 AM   #25
tbhd
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Al and Carol

I don't know if it is the same in your area of Michigan but around here Starbucks charges for wi-fi but if you have a Panera Bread they have wi-fi for free (hooray something for free) don't see that to often. Also they have really good bagels and the hazelnut cream cheese is to die for.

http://www.panerabread.com/wifi.aspx
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Old 04-18-2005, 06:38 AM   #26
adelmoll
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Tbhb- Everything at Panera Bread is to die for
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:39 AM   #27
CountryGuy
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Steve,

I think my inverter is a 75 watt, it barely ran my old HP laptop. If my memory will work, I will say it was the start up that was questionable. I know we had a smaller wattage inverter before, and the HP would not start, period! I asked him about the new Gateway the other day, and he mumbled about the checking the numbers but did not think it would.

The old cell phone had the batteries you were supposed to run down (had a LOT of cell phones with those batteries). So, that is what we did, ran em down, recharge, ran em down again. They just did not last like the new cell phone batteries. Whatever kind the new ones are, I LOVE IT!

For now the Gateway is running great, 2 to 3 hours on the battery. I can do some serious email during 3 hours!

Carol

Is there a Panera Bread in Ann Arbor?? I have to admit I know nothing about that store, but from the sounds of it I need to learn and QUICK!
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Old 04-18-2005, 12:33 PM   #28
CountryGuy
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Ok, I am trying to have Al explain this to me, and I am gonna have brain melt down first.

He says the new inverter is NOT 75 Watts but 175 Watts. I went down down and got the literature, we have 175 watt with 300 watt peak inverter.

My HP (old computer) needs about 165 watts to run, this is an average and does not account for any extra that MIGHT be needed for start up. The inverter would "beep" at us in disgust, aka, it was running right at the limits of the inverter.

My Gateway (new computer) needs 264 watts to run, same parameters, this is the average and does not account for any extra that MIGHT be needed for start up.

The 175 watt inverter just does not have the guts to run the new Gateway!

Any inverter we have seen that is more than 175 watts MUST be hardwired to the battery. The thing is, the 175 watt inverter plugs into the cig lighter and the limitation, according to my electrician friend here, is that the wires on the cig plugs are too small to handle more.

NOW, that said, if anyone has or has seen a inverter that is LARGER than 175 watts and plugs into the cig lighter, PLEASE let us know where and how much and all the details! We want one!

Carol
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:11 PM   #29
tbhd
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Carol

If you follow the link at the bottom of my post it will take you to a list of all the stores in the United States. It says Ann Arbor has three. Hope one is close to you.

Sharon
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:18 PM   #30
CountryGuy
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tbhd,

I know where most of the locations are, will have to look one up. Don't live that close, but my kids do!

How fun!
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:23 PM   #31
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Somebody told me that St. Louis Bread Company is the same company so maybe in some areas that is the name to look for. One of ours here in Omaha is about a mile away and about a half mile from the Super WalMart (not far from the interstate). Stop and see us sometime and I will show you where the panara Bread store is. There soups are Wonderful!!!!!!
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Old 04-18-2005, 04:58 PM   #32
sreigle
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I don't know what to tell you Carol other than you may be correct about the 175 watter being too much for the cig lighter. All I can say is my HP that I use with the GPS always runs just fine on the 75 watt inverter. Normally I just run the gps software but I've been known to do a quick wifi connect when we stop somewhere and I notice we have a free signal. The gps software is running at the same time. Startup has not been a problem. I'm surprised your laptop draws that much but apparently it does. So, I guess I can't help. Good luck getting it figured out.
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Old 04-18-2005, 05:25 PM   #33
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Carol,

I run my Dell from a 175 Watt Inverter with no problem. I think the rated wattage is the maximum draw if everything is running flat out at the same time, but ours seems quite happy on 175 watts although I know the name plate rating is much higher. It may help to start with a full battery.

I noticed that Flying J did not provide power outlets in their restraunts.

Flying J may be a good place to pick up the hardware. I imagine they picked something pretty rugged for their trucker customers, and I did notice that their laptop card has a place to plug in an external antenna if needed (which they also sell). They have a brochure that explains how to get on line and I found their system worked quite well even though it is not free. (I wonder if they can maintain their pay system in the long term, there are so many free sites around now).
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Old 04-18-2005, 05:35 PM   #34
William H. Collier
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Carol, Iam not sure what Gateway you have, I have new M320X and I was told that it runs on 19 volts, the ac you use only charges the battery. I use a 140 watt inverter in the dash plug in and it works fine.
Bill
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Old 04-19-2005, 07:01 AM   #35
sreigle
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John, what does Flying J's wifi cost?
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Old 04-19-2005, 08:00 AM   #36
CountryGuy
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I will let Al comment on all this power stuff at a later time, he is with his mother, not sure how long he will be gone. He is my electrician, and I have to go with his numbers, his knowledge and his suggestions on what will work and what will not. I wonder if a weak battery in the HP made a differenc? It surely made that 175 Watt inverter beep and talk to me.

Carol

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Old 04-19-2005, 06:21 PM   #37
Iowafan
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Yeah, we just ordered a Dell Inspiron 6000 with built in WIFI and a 5 hour battery. Supposed to be for Glen but we both know better. Now I'll really be looking for those wireless connections. Yeah!
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Old 04-20-2005, 05:54 PM   #38
OntMont
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by sreigle

John, what does Flying J's wifi cost?
I think the card was about $70 and the service varies with the length, I just got 24 hours for $5.00 which I spread over two evenings (i.e late the first and early the second). I think all the details are on their web site.
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Old 04-20-2005, 11:54 PM   #39
jrgwdenner
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That sounds like a reasonable fee, Ontmont, but I think I'd be up all night trying to make the most of my money. Judy
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Old 04-21-2005, 03:01 PM   #40
sreigle
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Thanks, John. I'll check their website. I want to be aware of my options while on the road in case we need or want to use it.

Just checked the Flying J site. 4.95/24 hrs, 19.95/month. May have been a weekly rate, too, but I forgot already.

I emailed them asking if that 24 hours I paid for is good in multiple Flying J locations or just the one. I suspect it's system wide since a monthly rate wouldn't make much sense otherwise.
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