2013-06-21 Warning – AC Adapter For Brother P-Touch Labeler

There seem to be a zillion pitfalls out there just waiting to entrap the unwary buyer.  Take for instance my dilemma.

The bozo at work borrowed the Brother P-Touch labeler and brought it back without the AC adapter – apparently he lost it.  So we put eight AA cells in the battery holder and it has been running on those for a short while.  But they got a whole big box full of fiber optic patch cords, probably more than a hundred, and these had to be labeled sequentially, 1 through 100 or more, with the same number on a label on each end.  We got through most of the job, but then the AA cells were giving out, they were just about dead.  Well, I’m not going to go out and buy 8 AA cells, probably for more than ten dollars U.S., because I can buy a new AC adapter for less than ten dollars on eBay.  So I found a P-Touch labeler in another department, and got the information from its AC adapter.  It said, in part:

Brother Switching Adapter Model AD-24

9VDC 1.6 Amps Output, 100 – 240 VAC input

Polarity:  Center contact is Negative (this is important!!)

So I got on eBay and searched or Brother AD-24 Adapter and came up with many sellers, some selling it for less than 6 dollars, many with free shipping.  One of them looked promising, even though it didn’t look like the original.  I examined the pictures, and found that it was center contact positive, backwards from the original.  If this one was used in the labeler, it would most likely damage the labeler, and would not work in any case.

I started looking through others, and found that either they didn’t show the polarity, or the polarity was wrong, which obviously is unacceptable, because the wrong polarity could damage the labeler.  I did find a few that looked exactly like  the original, and had the Brother name on the label, but generally these were twenty dollars or more with shipping.

Right now, the clueless sellers who are representing that their adapters are suitable as substitutes are creating a dangerous situation where the uninformed buyer is almost certain to damage their equipment.  I think that eBay should require the AC adapter sellers to have a link in their web page that warns the seller about this dangerous situation.  This should apply to all adapters, not just those for labelers.  This warning should also apply to any replacement device that may have a potential to damage the equipment.  This is VERY IMPORTANT: The damage could be so severe that the equipment might not be repairable and the equipment could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Another piece of information that the buyers should be made aware of is the “Efficiency Level” that is also on the adapter’s label.  I did a web search and came up with this document.  I will have to do a lot more reading about this before I get a good understanding of what it means.  But from the articles I have read, I can say this much: if the replacement power supply is lower efficiency than the original, it could cost you more for your electric bill.  These “wall warts” are usually left plugged in 24/7, so if they waste power even though the equipment is not turned on, then this can add up to a substantial amount and affect your electric bill.  It would be helpful if the consumer chose a replacement that is at least as efficient as the original.

There is one other point that may be unimportant in a low power device such as a labeler or battery charger, but gets more important as  the power get higher.  Most of the power that is wasted in the AC adapter appears as heat that escapes out to the ambient air.  This heat may have to be removed from the ambient air by an air conditioner, so you pay more than once for the wasted heat.


2 Responses

  1. Rod says:

    Just spent hours trying to get this polarity info.

    Your blog is the only place I could get a definitive answer to the polarity question. Most images I’ve found were just sufficiently out of focus to make the power symbols + and – indistinguishable.

    I’ve got a 9V/1.6A power adapter but it’s centre-positive. For the labeller, I’ll get a dc extension lead and put the reversal in that.

    You’ve probably saved me many more hours of searching. Many thanks.


    • admin says:

      It takes more than one click to see the image full size in my blog, for some reason. Hope that helps.

      Also it’s a good idea to tape up the pigtail adapter so it can’t be removed from the AC adapter. Else, someone might remove it and damage the equipment.

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