Power to the people

An inverter can be used to charge cellphones and laptop computers using your car’s cigarette lighter.

Photo by Jennifer Reynolds

Staying connected on the road means having to charge phone and laptop computer batteries, and one simple device can keep you in the loop.

An inverter converts direct current — the kind that your car produces — to alternating current — the kind that comes out of wall outlets.

During Hurricane Ike’s landfall, Daily News staffers used inverters to power laptops and recharge camera and cellphone batteries in order to stay connected.

Most stores with an electronics department offer inverters, some as cheap as $30.

An inverter also will replace all those car-charger adapters that aren’t included with cellphone purchases.

Maybe the most important feature of an inverter, however, is a power interruption switch, which will ensure your car battery doesn’t become too weak.

An inverter without this technology, used without operating the car’s motor and alternator, could leave you with a dead car battery.

There are also other options to charge cellphones on the go, such as the Turbo Charge.

This charger uses one AA battery as its power source and comes with a variety of cables that fit most phone-charging slots.

It can found online for about $20.

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