Power and Batteries Rugged Guide

Choosing the correct power accessories is an important aspect of ensuring you have the right solution for your mobile computing requirements. Below we have listed the various choices and considerations:

AC Adapter

All portable computers come standard with an ac adapter for plugging into a wall outlet. Some users buy an additional AC adapter in order to have one at work and one at home. Also, desktop docks often do not come with an AC adapter as the manufacturer assumes you will use the AC adapter that came with your computer. Make sure you order an extra AC adapter with your desktop dock if you need more than one.

Vehicle Power Adapter

All portable computers can operate from the power provided by a vehicle's battery. Usually this is accomplished by a 12V vehicle power adapter, also known as a cigarette lighter adapter. The computer can also be connected directly to the vehicle's battery via a hot wire, but it is highly recommended that a power protection device is used in between the computer and battery to avoid hard-shut downs and other issues. Also, keep in mind that larger trucks, forklifts, boats and other vehicles can have a 24V, 30V, 36V or some other voltage battery which would impact the version of vehicle adapter to be ordered.


All portable computers come with a battery. The battery is normally a Lithium-Ion type and can be recharged 200+ times before it can no longer hold a charge. Therefore batteries need to be replaced every 1-3 years, depending on usage. The length of time that a charge will last varies greatly. The range is 2 hours to 10 hours depending on the battery, the computer and the usage.

Many users will purchase an additional battery with their computer. In many cases, an external battery charger is available to keep the additional battery charged up. Some of the ruggedized computers carried by Group Mobile offer an upgrade to a higher-capacity battery. And finally, some computers offer a media bay battery to allow the user to have two connected batteries at once.

One other battery consideration is whether a hot or warm swappable battery is required. This feature allows the user to swap batteries without powering off the computer and closing the application. This is normally accomplished by the computer having a small watch battery which will keep the computer running for a few minutes while the battery is being replaced.

Group Mobile Comment: Battery life varies greatly by usage. A computer with a powerful microprocessor, a backlit keyboard and a daylight-viewable display, for example, will use more power than a computer with a slower chip, a non-lit keyboard and an indoor display. Also, a user that is powering several peripherals off of the USB ports and running heavy number-crunching applications will run out of juice faster than someone that is simply writing a report using MS Word.