Sunday, October 04, 2009

WHAT WORKS ON BOARD: Powerstar DC Converter

Before I bought BIANKA I had a 24 foot Bristol. A fine boat of which I still have fond memories cruising with. When I bought BIANKA there were not many things I took from the Bristol. One of the things I did take was this:

A Powerstar DC converter. It plugged into the single 12 volt cigarette lighter jack on board the Bristol and put out 120 volts on it's AC jack. It was a simple device you plugged it in to the 12 volt socket and a red light came on the showed the 120 volt outlet had voltage on it and you plugged in whatever AC device you wanted to use as long as it was rated 200 watts or lower and not too fussy about pure sine waves.

The reason I bought it was to power my new 1986 Toshiba 1100+ laptop.

It had two three and a half inch disk drives used MS-DOS and had NO hard drive and a monochrome LCD screen to boot. And to think it only cost about $1500 dollars in 1986!. Real whiz bang technology at the time. I try not to think to much that my current computer. You know the one with all the USB ports, Hundreds of giga bites hard drive and DVD burner only cost about a third of what I paid for that Toshiba. Of course the Toshiba still works but, like the other seven or eight computers I have bought in my lifetime it is never used today.
But, the DC converter still functions on board BIANKA. It can not be used to power my new laptop because the AC voltage put out by the Powerstar converter is a rather crude approximation of a pure AC sine wave and will fry most modern switching power supplies used in electronic devices. But, the Powerstar will power a Braun hand blender with no problems. So that means yummy Banana pancakes for breakfast as well as other treats from the galley. It has also come in useful many times to power things like the Dremel tool which is used for many projects on board. It's one of the things that really works on board. Even twenty years plus years after I bought it.

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