2. Use a car Battery
If you are the kind of traveller who spend most of the time on the road than in the office, then you can use the car battery to charge your laptop.
Wiring the laptop directly to the battery can be tricky since most modern laptops have battery voltages ranging from 8V and above, while most car batteries are rated at 12V.
Even so, there are ways that you can ‘hotwire’ a laptop to a car battery even if the voltage is less than 12V. However, it’s important to be cautious as you could wind up with a dead car battery or damage the laptop in the process.
The most efficient way to adapt the power from a car battery to power or charge a laptop is by use of an inverter. Various inverters exist and are capable of generating AC current from a DC source with output power ranging from 12-24V.
When you have the inverter, you can certainly use your car’s cigarette lighter to charge your laptop. To do so, follow these 3 simple steps:
- Step 1: Plug the inverter right into your car’s cigarette lighter socket.
- Step 2: Now plug the laptop’s AC adapter into the inverter.
- Step 3: Connect the AC adapter to the laptop.
3. Use an external laptop battery charger
An external laptop battery charger is a standalone device that doesn’t plug into your laptop. Instead, you remove the battery of your laptop, mount it on the charger, and then plug the charger into an electrical outlet.
Most external laptop chargers have indicator lights that flash when the battery is charging, then remain steady when the battery is fully charged.
Note that external laptop chargers are usually brand-specific, so choose one that matches your laptop’s specs.
4. USB-C charging
If you’re one of the lucky ones that have a USB type C on your laptop, then you don’t have to worry anymore.
USB type-A port only allows for data transfer and power output, but not input. With the introduction of USB type B and, most importantly, type C, not only fast data transfers are allowed but also power input and output.
So, if you lost your laptop charger, you have a couple of options. The first one is to charge your USB C laptop from a power-bank. Remember that the power bank needs to be rated 18v or higher to have the desired effect.
Also, a big power-bank can supply a lot of juice to your laptop and it is also portable, so you can take it with you everywhere you go.
Another solution is to use a USB C power adapter. Modern laptops come with those in the box, but if you don’t have one, buy it along with a good USB C to USB C cable.
The last solution, as silly as it may sound, is to use your phone to charge the laptop. Yes, you won’t get much of anything and yes, it won’t last too long, but in the urgent case when you need just 10 more minutes to save a document or send an email, this works.
You just need a phone with USB C and a USB C to USB C cable. Connect your phone and the laptop with the cable and in the USB options on your phone choose ‘supply power to the other connected device’.
That’s it. Your phone should now, for a very limited time, charge your laptop.
While the methods described above might provide a solution for charging your laptop when you don’t have a charger, keep in mind that they cost money, and require an advance purchase.
In all cases, it is economical and safer to buy a laptop charger.
Hope that these solutions opened some new doors for you. If you have any more questions, drop them in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to take a look.
FAQ: Read more on how to charge your laptop
- Can you charge a laptop with USB?
You need to use a USB-C cable. Here’s an expert guide on how to charge your laptop with USB.
- How do I charge my laptop with a 12 volt battery?
You can charge it with your car battery that delivers 12 V. Here’s the solution on how to do that.
- Can you charge a laptop with portable charger?
There are many ways of charging your laptop without its original charger. Here’s an excellent guide on how to perform that.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2020 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in November 2020.