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How to Power/Charge Your Laptop in a Tesla using USB-C Power

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by Nick's Life, Jan 26, 2020.

  1. Nick's Life

    Nick's Life Tesla Life

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    I've wanted to power and charge my Thinkpad T480 laptop in my Tesla Model 3 using the enormous power of the Tesla batteries. I tried using a USB to USB-C cable from all the different USB connectors in the Tesla - NO LUCK; I tried charging a external battery pack and powering my laptop from it - NO LUCK; I tried a power inverter from the cigarette lighter to an AC plug and then plugged in my Thinkpad power adapter - NO LUCK; I finally found a solution, a DC to DC power adapter that converts the cigarette lighter 12 V power to the proper 20V USB-C power! #tesla, #teslamodel3 u/elonmusk Here is my video on how I did it: Here are the products I tried: USB-C CAR Charger for newer Lenovo ThinkPad laptops and other UCB-C powered devices - https://amzn.to/2TV9tw5 CAR Charger 90W 65W for older Lenovo ThinkPad X1 - https://amzn.to/2Gml4fF Car Power Inverter 12V DC to 110V AC Converter - https://amzn.to/2RPFXFy
     
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  2. cypho

    cypho Member

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  3. Nick's Life

    Nick's Life Tesla Life

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  4. cypho

    cypho Member

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    #4 cypho, Jan 26, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
    Google Chromebook Pixel (2015). The Google OEM charger label said output was 60w. I don't understand why but for some reason that little cigarette lighter charger works better than any of my AC chargers even though the AC chargers claim a higher output.
     
  5. PianoAl

    PianoAl Member

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    What was it that happened in the NO LUCK situations?
     
  6. Nick's Life

    Nick's Life Tesla Life

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    1 & 2) Nothing happened; 3) screen went black like something was wrong. Can't remember, but I don't think I got an error. Not sure if it would have worked with a larger Inverter, but I think I read somewhere Inverters aren't advised to be used in our Teslas.
     
  7. jkoya

    jkoya NA2 NSX

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    Thanks for sharing !!
     
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  8. SageBrush

    SageBrush 2020: Drain the Sewer

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    I think this is less a case of the car and more a case of picking charger that matches your device's DC voltage requirements or options.

    I charge our pixel phones and ACER Chromebooks from both the USB and 12v acc outlet without problem although the 12v is *much* faster since it can output up to 120 watts (12v, 10 Amps).

    One think to be aware of though is that not all USB-C cables are capable of power delivery and there is a definite gap between good and generic cables. When it comes to USB-C, I either buy Google or rely on Benson Leung's recommendations.
     
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  9. turns2stone

    turns2stone Member

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  10. EchoDelta

    EchoDelta Active Member

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    A PD laptop will negotiate the power it can from a PD source. If your laptop is 65W, it will still charge from 45W, just slower. If you are using it full power, it may just maintain charge, it will charge super slowly or maintain battery, and with the laptop off it will just charge slower than with the other charger, but still will.
    I also use a 45W charger on a 13” MBP and can sustain use with no problem; And I would rather have one single 12v thingie instead of a whole gaggle of dc Ac inverters chargers etc. That’s sad I hope future vehicles just have a strong (60W+ PD port built in, and at least 18W options. Even something simple like putting another 12 V lighter adapter next to the front console would have been great.
     
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  11. ALdawg

    ALdawg Member

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    I agree that this Anker product or similar is a cost effective way to charge a USB-C Power Delivery device including many laptops It will output 30 watts. Note that some laptops require more than this and will not charge at all.


    Also, do not confuse the required minimum wattage to charge your laptop with the nominal wattage on the charger that cames with the device. For instance, my 2016 15” MacBook Pro comes with a 87 watt charger. Even on that charger under normal use the laptop does not use that much power. It may slowly charge laptop battery at 30 watts and will significantly charge using 45-60 watts chargers. The built in Tesla USB ports are not Power delivery capable and charge less than 18 watts even if you have a cable with USB-C on one end.


    To troubleshoot your connections, consider a meter that measurements what charger is providing and what device is utilizing. Great little tool for $12 currently.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GQLYMR9/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
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  12. RayK

    RayK Active Member

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    A real ThinkPad user would consider a 600X (or maybe a T23) to be the epitome of laptop computing (in its day). This is coming from an admin at forum.thinkpads.com :) .

    edit: This is being typed on a W520.
     
  13. Eno Deb

    Eno Deb Active Member

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    I have a T480 as well (provided by work). It needs at least a 45W PD charger to charge while powered on. It also charges from my Anker 33W PD cigarette lighter adapter, but only when turned off.
     
  14. PianoAl

    PianoAl Member

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    Thanks for the tips.

    I tried my Macbook Air, and it worked fine plugging into the USB ports in the center console.
     
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  15. KaptKamp

    KaptKamp Member

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    Reviving this thread...
    I am road tripping next month and need to be able to maintain a charge for my 16" MacBook Pro. It looks like people have suggested Anker chargers, but has anyone tried the Satechi 72W USB-C Car Charger? It is the most powerful car charger on the market that I can find. I saw a YouTube review that seems promising but it wasn't specific about being used in Teslas. Would the 12V cigarette outlet support that much current safely?
     
  16. turok3000

    turok3000 Member

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    Yes, the 12V in the centre console is rated around 120W. I've been using the 90W USB PD charger linked below for a couple of months now and it's been great. Charges MacBook pro at 90W (faster than the 65W charger the laptop came with), works with all our chromebooks, it's pretty small and I haven't yet noticed it getting anything beyond warm:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003FOOY32/ref=cm_sw_r_em_apa_i_Bw0ZEb5REGACV
     
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  17. Watts_Up

    Watts_Up Active Member

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    But you can only charge when driving.

    When in Park, even if you stay inside the car, the car goes to sleep mode.

    There is a need to have an Auxiliary plug staying on even when park.
    (I wonder if you activate Sentry mode, then the 12 V Auxiliary will stay on?)
     
  18. KaptKamp

    KaptKamp Member

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    As long as the car is awake it will send power to the plug. So sentry mode, opening the app on your phone, sitting in it... all those things that keep it from going into deep sleep will keep the outlet powered.
     
  19. EV3_

    EV3_ Member

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    Camp mode?
     
  20. SDM44

    SDM44 Member

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    I can confirm that I also have this same 12V DC USB-C 65W charger, and have recommended it to a lot of our users at my company since we're all using Lenovo X1 Carbon laptops (G5, G6, and G7 models), and this works great with our laptops that require a 65W power source. It works well with any USB-C powered device that needs up to 65W of power.
     

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