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Power adapter problems

Power adapter problems

Image of new vs. old power adapter Yesterday we noted that some of the newest replacement adapters seem to be constructed slightly differently from older 65 watt adapters, specifically with a thicker wire or with thicker rubber backing at the connection point. We've now received a picture comparing the old adapter to the new version:

[New on left, old on right]

The image clearly shows a thicker wire relief, eliminating (based on a number of reader reports) some of the strain problems that have caused 65 watt adapters to fail prematurely.

Types of problems Users have reported an array of less severe problems - aside from complete failure - occuring in both old and new power adapters. Some of these problems may be due to wire strain, and others may be attributed to as of yet unknown causes in the adapter housing itself.

Intermittedly stops charging One problem that we've experienced in-house with older adapters (Pismo and Lombard-supplied) is an intermittent cessation of charging, usually when the system is left untouched overnight or for several hours.

Andrew Rodney writes "I have had problems with two AC adapter on my new Powerbook 15? Aluminum. I have the power adapter plugged into my desk area so it?s not getting any kind of movement or handling. What basically happens is I'll come back from working on the PB and it?s put itself into a 'Sleep' condition as the power must stop going to the unit and the battery runs down. All I have to do is switch off and back on the surge suppressor the AC adapter is hooked to and I see the yellow light back on the end of the unit (green when charged). This is totally intermittent. Apple replaced one but the second unit still does this from time to time."

Tips for prolonging life of the adapter Justin Miller suggests using only the thicker, wall-connected cord unraveled to avoid wire strain on the thinner, PowerBook-connected cord: "With my latest cord, I have taken to using the thick, swappable wall cord and keeping the thin, wind-up cord wound up on the square part in an effort to prolong its life."

Glenn Perez offers a "wrapping" technique that he says has resulted in no further adapter failures: "Here is how you take the strain off of your Powerbook power adapter cable. On your PowerBook power adapter loop the the thin power cable that you plug into you PowerBook around the main body of your PowerBook power adapter . Then wrap this same cable at least three times around the cable that you have already looped around the power adapter body. This will take the pressure off of where this cable enter the main power adapter and where this cable usually is damaged or breaks. Since applying this simple modification I have not lost one PowerBook power adapter."

Replacement adapters Some users have had success replacing the Apple-supplied adapter with a more rugged, third-party model.

For travel users, the Kensington Universal Car/Air Adapter seems to hold up well, and it offers two adapter tips to fit various Apple portables. The unit is priced at US$70 to US$100 depending on the retailer.

The "G4 Series Replacement Laptop AC Adapter" from LaptopSaver has also been noted by a few readers. At less than US $50, it is certainly cheaper than an Apple replacement, but not quite as stylish or convenient.

Phono plug cords as laptop connection cable MacFixIt reader Eric suggests that the laptop connection cable of the standard Apple adapter can function as a viable replacement, though this procedure is not recommended as it may void Apple's warranty and cause unknown electrical problems:

"I have twice now replaced the laptop end connector of a 45W "Yo-Yo" power adapter for my iBook Clamshell. Unable to find a connector that matched Apple's, I found that a standard 8th inch phono plug will work in a pinch. But more importantly, for those that are considering going the manual fixit road, it should be known that the Apple connector had a component embedded in the plastic within the connector itself that replacement parts may lack. The purpose of the diode is somewhat of a mystery to me (perhaps for FCC compliance?) but replacements do seem to function without it."

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