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Which power inverter for Microsoft Surface Pro tablet?
Richard in South Carolina
I need expert help.

I. I want to take my new Microsoft Surface Pro tablet on my cross country trip and use Streets & Trips as my GPS.
II. Because of the magnetic connection for the power supply to the computer no manufacturer has made an auto 12 volt adaptor.
III. I know that an inverter can serve this purpose. BUT.
IV. My Surface Pro manual states not to plug it into any 110 outlet other than a home outlet. Iím assuming they donít want me to use an inverter because of the different level of outputs that is found coming from inverters.
V. What I found is, Sine Wave, Modified Sine Wave, Square Sine Wave, Pure Sine Wave and Pure Sine Wave Low Frequency Inverters.

I talked to I think it was the Aims Inverter factory tech support asking what I need to power my Surface Pro in my car. He said he was somewhat familiar with the new Surface Pro computer and that the only Inverter he would suggest is a Pure Sine Low Frequency. The smallest and least expensive they have is 1000 watt and cost $650.00. He said that a Modified Sine Wave would work but he feared possible damage to the computer down the road.

That is way more cost than I can justify for using my new tablet in my car.

Is there any real experts out there that can tell me what is going on with this new tablet technology and if it is correct that I need a special inverter or is everyone just covering their butt?
Boyd
I had the same kind of problem with my HP Slate 500 (Windows 7 tablet) - no available auto adaptors. When connected to my existing inverter, the touchscreen freaked out - like it was posessed, randomly clicking on things, choosing menus, starting programs all by itself. I started a thread about this a couple years ago.

I didn't use this tablet in the car for a long time but have recently started again. I picked up one of these just as a shot in the dark - regular price is $40 but it was on sale for $30 when I got it. The guy in the store assured me that I could exchange if it didn't work for me http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3812863 (OT: not a huge Radio Shack fan, but one nice thing about their products is that they come in packaging that can easily be opened and re-sealed, making exchanges more practical).

It seems to cause the touchscreen to be slightly less responsive than normal, but it isn't a big problem. Frankly, the touchscreen on the HP Slate is pretty terrible to start with (combination fingertip or pressure-sensitive stylus screen). I really doubt that the inverter could damage the tablet, since it's connected through the official power "brick". But it could cause screen problems of some sort.

I see what appears to be the same inverter being sold by various places under their own brands, I'm sure it's just a Chinese import. If you can find one for $30 like I did, you don't stand a whole lot to lose and it may come in handy for other things. Or at least, that's how I convinced myself to buy one.
Richard in South Carolina
I found a (DC converter) for the Surface Pro with the magnetic connector. With this there is no need for an inverter.

http://mikegyver.com/Surface-Battery-Car/
tcassidy
Make sure to pre-order the Pro version. I don't know the difference but the one they have now appears to be RT only.

Terry
Richard in South Carolina
Thanks Terry, They are taking pre-orders for the Pro version. They expect delivery before I take my X country trip the last week in May.
tcassidy
Sounds like good timing. I prefer a dedicated convertor even though they are often more expensive as it means less wires and power bricks to deal with in the vehicle. I hope you are successful with it.

Terry
Boyd
I believe the Pro version has been available here in the US for some time now. I just looked and all the Best Buy stores in my area have them in stock, including the smaller stores. The RT version will not run regular Windows software, just special "apps".

Please post your impressions of it when it comes, I have been curious how well it would work as a GPS. Personally, the lukewarm reviews I've read and the price tag are enough to scare me away though.
Richard in South Carolina
Sorry I was not clear. I have the Surface Pro tablet computer and I love it. It can be used as a tablet or with the detachable keyboard that is held in place with magnets or on my desk connected to an external monitor. It runs Word, Excel etc.

In my post yesterday I was stating that the company I found that makes a car voltage converter for the Apple products has one available now for the Surface RT and they are taking orders for the converter for the Surface Pro.

I have run my Surface Pro using S&T as a GPS in my car using the battery in the Surface Pro. It works great. The only problem is that I need continuous power and this new converter will do the trick. I hope I did a better job of explaining this time. Thanks for the feedback.
tcassidy
I think Boyd just lost track of the thread!! We are looking forward to your report after your upcoming trip.

Terry
Boyd
Haha, sorry, now I see that I was taking your post out of context! Just got home from a long flight (from your part of the world where I was working for Vancouver Opera in fact) late last night and have lost track of a variety of things.

Glad to hear that the Surface is working out. I wonder if anyone has tried running MobilePC on it? Perhaps in a year or so the price will be more attractive and it could be of interest.

I will have to play around with one next time I'm in Best Buy. The HP Slate is an interesting machine but Windows 7 is awkward on a tablet (for system stuff like using the various control panels, not to mention programs that weren't written for touchscreens).

Does the current version of S&T have any better touchscreen support? I have the 2009 version and find it virtually useless as a navigation program on a tablet in the car.
tcassidy
I was surprised that S&T 2013 didn't improve on its finger support particularly considering what Microsoft is doing right now. I guess there wasn't the funding for that. I find it one step above DOS on a touch screen!!

However, touch screens have improved too so maybe a Surface Pro would ameliorate that impression somewhat.

Terry
Richard in South Carolina
I'm sorry to say that it sucks as far as the touch screen is concerned. I don't understand why. My 5 or 6 inch Garmin has touch screen buttons that work great.
Richard in South Carolina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
Haha, sorry, now I see that I was taking your post out of context! Just got home from a long flight (from your part of the world where I was working for Vancouver Opera in fact) late last night and have lost track of a variety of things.

Glad to hear that the Surface is working out. I wonder if anyone has tried running MobilePC on it? Perhaps in a year or so the price will be more attractive and it could be of interest.

I will have to play around with one next time I'm in Best Buy. The HP Slate is an interesting machine but Windows 7 is awkward on a tablet (for system stuff like using the various control panels, not to mention programs that weren't written for touchscreens).

Does the current version of S&T have any better touchscreen support? I have the 2009 version and find it virtually useless as a navigation program on a tablet in the car.
What is MobilePC?
Boyd
It turns a Windows Computer into a big Nuvi (more or less) although it has some advanced features not found on the Nuvi line. Too bad Garmin discontinued it.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the-go/discontinued/garmin-mobile-pc/prod13484.html

http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/5090-garmin-mobile-pc-hp-slate-homebrew-car-mount
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