A laptop power charger is essentially just a specialised AC Adapter. Computers and most other electronic devices use direct current, while wall outlets and appliances use alternating current. Alternating current (AC) is suitable for power that needs to travel long distances. Simply put, the AC adapter converts alternating current into direct current for the computer.
Battery chargers are devices that use wall outlets to recharge batteries. Since laptops use both AC adapters and batteries, a power cord can also be known as an AC adapter, a power charger, or power brick because some adapters tends to look like bricks. There is no need, however, to be confused by the terminology.
Basically, there are many differences in adapters and cords, including output, shape, length, and even material type. Some of these only affect efficiency and aesthetics, others are required. Selecting the proper combination for the lowest price can mean a lot of trade-offs. Buyers can find laptop chargers in electronics stores, through laptop manufacturers, in retail stores, on electronics websites, and online listing sites like eBay.
Tips to Choosing a Laptop Power Charger
Not all power chargers are the same, hence it is key to get exactly the one needed for a given computer. The important points of a power charger are the voltage output, the amplitude output, and the connector. Too much voltage and the computer is fried, too little and it does not work. Make sure to use the exact value.
Tip 1: Pay Attention to Amplitude, Voltage, and Polarity
The amplitude, sometimes called, amps, are the strength of the voltage. This is less important to get right, since it is much harder to damage a computer by getting it wrong. Rather, if adapters do not have high enough amps the laptop may have trouble running, as it does not have enough power. Try to have as close to the required amps as possible, erring on the side of more rather than less.
As already mentioned above, another term to be concerned about is the voltage, which is the energy that makes electricity flow from the outlet to the laptop. If the voltage is not the same as the voltage on the laptop, problems can develop. The laptop can end up blowing out because of too much voltage, or shutting down if there is not enough.
Polarity is the final technical issue to pay attention too. This is usually indicated by a small diagram of half circles and dots connected to one another by lines. It is generally placed on the bottom of the laptop and on the bottom of a laptop power charger. Make sure the two diagrams look exactly the same. Polarity indicates which direction electricity flows through each device, and where the positive and negative wiring is placed on a connector. If the polarity of the power charger connector and the laptop do not match, the laptop cannot absorb electricity through the connector.
Tip 2: Double Check the Connector Type
The connector type is required to plug an adapter into the laptop. While most laptops use the same type of connection, not all do. Macs, for instance, use a magnetic connector that can slide off without dragging the computer away. Not all adapters, however, are made for laptops and some have alternative connectors.
Tip 3: Check the Make and Model
Laptop chargers are usually created to work with specific models of laptops. Before shopping, write down the make and model of the laptop to ensure that the correct match is made. If possible, it is best to find the adapter model that came with the laptop originally. This avoids any unexpected effects and errors that may plague the replacement. There are also universal adaptors that can be used as a last resort. When purchasing these universal chargers, keep tip one in mind. Pay attention to the amplitude, and make sure it is the same as the amplitude used by the laptop.
Tip 4: Be Aware of Common Power Charger Problems
Laptop power chargers have a large overlap with other types of cabling. They share many of the same problems. Loose wires, connectors, and damaged covering can all cause the cord to be unreliable. More than that, a damaged power cable increases the risk of electrocution, and should be treated with great care.
A few additional problems that can arise with power chargers are related to the brick. Not all power chargers contain a power brick in the middle, but those that do can develop damage to the brick. Make sure to look at the device. Examine it. Anything worse than light nicks and scrapes should be treated with extreme caution, as a damaged brick can be highly dangerous.
Even a fully functional power charger can pose a danger, as they have tendency to heat up rapidly when in use. Unfortunately, there is not much the buyer can do to determine whether or not a charger heats up too quickly until actually purchasing the device. However, one can certainly ask the seller if he or she has had any problems with it in the past. The adapter should not get so hot as to burn someone. If it does, it means there could be a problem with the device.
Tip 5: Examine for Damage
A damaged laptop power charger has the same safety issues of any other malfunctioning electrical device. For instance, buyers should make certain to not buy any with broken cables or with wires poking through the cover. Even if the device works, it is possible to get shocked by exposed wiring. A damaged power brick, if the cable has one, should be avoided even if the cable is unplugged. Store the device in a safe non-flammable container for disposal. Preventing damage to a power cord is a much better option than attempting to repair one that is already damaged.
Some ways to avoid this are to store the power cord away from anything that might fall on it, sit on it, or otherwise. This includes static hazards, such as water, metal, or machinery. It also includes mobile hazards, such as moving chairs or people and pets walking through the room. Pets, in particular, have a nasty habit of biting through cables. Special precautions may need to be made to prevent pets from biting the adapter, such as wiping the cable with a cloth dampened with vinegar.
A power cord, or adapter cannot simply be thrown out when broken. If the cable is still functional many electronic stores may offer to buy the cable for a small amount of money or store credit. If the cable is damaged, however, they may dispose of it in the right manner. It may also be possible to take the cable to the recycler. Alternatively, check out local hazardous material disposal guidelines. Most cities have special rules for disposing of electronics.
Buying Laptop Power Chargers on eBay
You can find an abundance of laptop power chargers on eBay. These chargers can be obtained new or used, for Macs or Windows based computers. It is also possible to find a charger by the type of connection and, of course, set the preferred price range. All of these tools can be accessed through the eBay search engine. The simplest way to search for items online is to just enter a search term into the search engine bar at the top of any page on the website. This term can be anything related to computers and power chargers. For instance you can type in, "Acer power charger" to look for an adapter by brand name. You can also use "laptop charger 12 volt&" to search by product type.
Laptop power chargers are essential to using any laptop. Though these devices have batteries, the batteries quickly run out of power and need to be recharged. This means that they need a working charger to plug the laptop into the wall outlet. When shopping for laptop power chargers it is important to keep a few tips in mind. Buying chargers is more complicated than it seems, especially for those who are not technology minded. Make sure that the correct make and model are purchased. Look at the laptop amplitude and make sure that it matches the amplitude of the charger. Make sure you check out the charger in person or through pictures to see what it looks like and to ensure that it is not damaged. It is not really a good idea to purchase damaged electronics as they are difficult to repair without training. Buyers may end up causing more damage by attempting to repair a charger. A large variety of laptop power chargers can be found on eBay.