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Ask Max: How to charge a MacBook on Mount Everest.

Asked on 04/11/2007:

I am a mountain guide working on Mount Everest this spring and just bought a MacBook. I also have a Brunton Solaris 26 solar panel to charge it up. But I can't find an adaptor that will work that is a 12 volt vehicle adaptor. Any ideas?


This Magsafe 12V issue has been a big problem for Intel Mac owners. Apple makes a Magsafe Airline Adapter that will connect to the lighter plug on cars and planes. However, the Airline Adapter will not charge a MacBook from the 12 V current that all cars put out. The MacBooks need more power than what a car's lighter can produce. Those same low power concerns apply to your solar charger. The Brunton Solaris 26 can only put out 26 Watts, and the MacBook Power adapter is rated at 60 Watts. The power adapter just will not be getting enough juice. A work-around could be to use a power inverter (like a Targus Inverter) with the Solaris 26 and charge the MacBook via its own adapter when it is powered off. Charging the battery when the MacBook is off should have a much lower power draw. You could try the same procedure without a power inverter but you will want to test it before you head up the mountain.

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