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ASUS Eee Car Charger
Building a 12v car charger for the ASUS Eee
The ASUS Eee is a fantastic ultra-portable notebook with almost everything required for geeks (and nothing that isn’t). Plus it features fantastic build quality and is very well priced. If you live in New Zealand you can get them from DSE; at the time of writing they are the exclusive supplier. I worked out it’s the same cost as importing one once you include all the duties and tax, plus you get the advantage of a proper NZ-style mains charger.
Anyway, being so small I thought it would be nice to be able to carry this around in the car. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a car charger available anywhere at the time so I decided to tackle the problem myself. As a bonus this provides an opportunity for an external high-capacity battery.
I thought at this stage it would be worth noting that a commercial car charger is now available for less than it cost me to build this from Expansys and is available in most countries (select your location on their site). It outputs 9.5v from 10-18v in at up to 2.5A
I’d actually recommend it over the design here is it seems to perform better at lower voltages (that one works down to 10V). However I have kept this page up as a reference for those who enjoy tinkering.
The charger included with the Eee is rated at 9.5v, 2.315A. There isn’t a fixed voltage regulator available for this exact voltage, so the circuit needed to be designed around an adjustable regulator.
I decided to design the charger around the LM2576 “Simple Switcher” IC from National Semiconductor. There are tons of ICs like this available, many of which are a bit more efficient, however I selected this one because it is readily available and relatively cheap. It also has a lower drop-out voltage (~2V) than many other chips I looked at which is important when powering the device from a car or 12v SLA battery.
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