2014-05-21 Laptop AC Adapters

A friend of mine has taken on the task of finding replacement AC adapters for two laptops, and I thought that I could repair the broken cord on one. But I tried to take the brick apart and damaged it beyond economical repair, so I resorted to the ‘Net to find replacements.  He gave me the model number on one of the power adapters but I found out that this was not the original adapter.  The original adapter had worn out and then been replaced so this replacement is now broken or worn out!  So I had to get the computer model number and search for those original power adapters.  This blog has my observations and my opinions and does not represent anyone else’s opinion.

Replacing a computer or any other AC adapter is a deep and dangerous pit for the average consumer to get stuck in.  If the wrong replacement adapter is used, you can damage the equipment or computer.  If the wrong polarity adapter is used it can severely damage the equipment or even cause a fire.

A lady at work had a fire in her son’s bedroom caused by a defective power adapter.  The fire men came and put out the fire, then left.  But the fire then ‘rekindled’  and caught the rest of the house on fire.  They lost almost everything. Let’s hope the home insurance is paid.

Another problem is that from my experience with Dell laptops, the BIOS checks for the adapter, and will complain about the AC adapter and then ask you to hit the F1 key to continue. This can be another inconvenience that the user may have to put up with if the adapter isn’t from the original maker.

Exact laptop replacement adapters can sometimes be found on eBay and Amazon but they may be used. Sometimes the seller damages the laptop beyond repair and decides to sell the adapter. But you take your chances because the adapter may be used and just a few months away from falling apart. I have purchased used items on eBay and on occasion had to return it because it was not working or damaged or not what the seller claimed it was.

Regarding new adapters, my observation is that most of the sellers have no clue as to the actual AC adaptor specifications. They just pass on what they find on some manufacturer’s list. It seems that the manufacturer has the idea that “one size fits all.”

“One size fits all” might be somewhat applicable to the voltage and current rating of the adapter. Most laptops take between 65 watts and 90 watts of power. Most laptops have 6 cells in the battery which adds up to about 19 volts. So a common output voltage and current is 19 volts at between 3 and 4 amps. But if the replacement is underrated or incorrectly rated the BIOS may complain or the adapter may overheat and die prematurely.

This “one size fits all” is an especially big problem with the adapter plug. There are dozens of different sized plugs, and sockets on the back or side of the laptops. A common size is 5.5 mm OD by 2.5 mm ID. But not only do the plugs vary by the different manufacturers, they also vary from one model to another of the same manufacturer, and even from different years of the same model. It’s a real nightmare trying to find the correct plug. To compound the problem, most sellers don’t say what the dimensions of the plug are. If the only thing you have to make a decision is the laptop model and/or the adapter model, then you tend to buy the least expensive adapter. You end up with the one that is most likely to not work at all, or work poorly and will fail later. The more knowledge you have about it, the more informed and better decision you can make.

Because of the high current, all power adapters that put out 3 or more amps should have a plug with a hole with two contacts that clasp the pin tightly.
Like this: (-o-) If the hole has a smooth metal surface without these pins then it may become intermittent as it wears out.

The AC line cord isn’t that much of a problem. Some adapters have a two prong cord and some have a 3 prong cord. The 3 prong cord maybe a little bit safer, but some houses don’t have the three prong outlet so it’s more convenient to use the two prong cord.

I found some 5.5mm OD, 1.5mm ID plugs at MCM Electronics for a little more than a dollar apiece, so I ordered some and expect them in a week or so. I can then use any 19 volt, 3.5 amp adapter and put the connector on the end.

The following URLs are meant to be temporary since they may be changed by the seller at any time.



Every make or model seems to have the same boilerplate for description, etc.
Free Shipping on all orders

Acer plug should be 5.5 mm O.D. with a hole 1.5mm ID. 
Acer Aspire 5732Z series   price= $17

Tosh Satellite L355D-S7901  price= $17



Many of the reviews AKA complaints were that the adapter overheated or burned out after a short time.  BAD STUFF!  Only 3.5 stars!  Apparently cheap price and cheaply made. 




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© RustyBolt.Info/wordpress