I'm sure this isn't possible but I want to charge my laptop (a Dell) through my car's 12V cigarette lighter while I'm driving. Any suggestions on how to do this?
Yeah, get an inverter, RAND search result follows: http://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/power-a-laptop-or-tv-with-a-car-power-inverter/view-all
Completely doable. Unfortunately it's inefficient.
Now, most electronics actually run on DC, but have inverters in their power supplies. Now, you'd perhaps assume that one could therefore simply pass the power from the 12V outlet, but apparently a) thera are (or were when I was looking anyway) no "adapters" of any sort, and b) there may be a current issue causing a).
You can plug your laptop into an inverter and plug the inverter into your car's outlet. It'll work. You're just going to waste lots and lots of energy going from DC to AC to DC again. :P
Also, you can find them in many variations at any truck stop or well equipped gas station.
I was just looking around and yeah it looks like they're pretty inefficient. Fortunately, most of what I'll need in my vehicle will be while the engine is on because even though I'll almost always be in a parking lot, it is Texas, so the weather is always really cold or really hot so I wouldn't last long otherwise. And my cigarette lighters don't work when the engine isn't on anyways because it's a smaller car. I guess so I don't accidentally drain the battery and get stranded.