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Portables Power Hardware

Working Toward a Universal Power Brick For Laptops 365

Posted by timothy
from the please-don't-base-it-on-micro-usb dept.
An anonymous reader links to PC Authority with some hopeful news about untangling a persistent annoyance for laptop users — namely, the myriad power supplies called for by laptop makers: "'On a PC, an ATX power supply for example will screw into certain mounting holes, have a maximum size and shape, and will take a standard 3-pin "kettle cord" for incoming power. If it complies with these standards, the PSU will be able to bolt into any manufacturer's ATX case.' Laptop design, on the other hand, involves cramming a PC into a tiny chassis, which usually has its own thermal design and power distribution requirements. This has led to the somewhat bizarre situation where every manufacturer has its own laptop power supply design. It now appears that some of the major players in laptops are getting together to work on a standardized laptop power supply design. Not only are big players involved, but the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) has created a team to work on the power supply standard."
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Working Toward a Universal Power Brick For Laptops

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  • good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by B5_geek (638928) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:31AM (#32811636)

    Its about fracking time.

    Hey industry (Sony I am looking at you) repeat after me:

    Open standards help EVERYBODY!

    • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rainmayun (842754) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:36AM (#32811736)
      Good luck getting Apple to play along. While I prefer their design, I doubt they'd even license out the spec to other manufacturers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TwiztidK (1723954)
        At present, Apple won't license their "MagSafe" connector to anyone.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Are you certain? I've seen similar tearaway connectors on deep fryers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Still, its not like Apple HAS to play along. Essentially if everyone else jumps on board, wouldn't it take away from Apple's value if its the ONLY laptop without the interchangable power brick?

        Who am I kidding, they'll tote it as an exclusive feature.

        • They will, and they'd be right to do so. The MagSafe connector is the first power connector I've used on a laptop or phone that didn't suck. The older Mac ones were terrible (really easy to deform or short by accident). The one on my ThinkPad fits so tightly that I managed to throw the laptop across the room when I tripped over it (in IBM's defence, it didn't suffer any ill effects as a result of this, and continued the compile job it was running with only a brief pause). The MagSafe connector is easy t

          • by Bert64 (520050)

            The connection between the cable and MagSafe was fragile, but the newer versions are a lot more sturdy...

          • My only complaint about the MagSafe connector is that it doesn't survive being plugged into an apple.

            When I say "apple", I mean the red delicious variety.

            My son has ruined several component power cords by plugging them into various types of fruit.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            I don't understand what aspects, exactly, of the "magsafe" connector Apple actually possess exclusive rights to.

            Deep fat fryers, possibly among other appliances, have been using magnetic breakaway cords for decades to avoid the hazards associated with people snagging cords and being rewarded with a hot oil bath. Surely, using this principle in DC cabling can't qualify as novel...

            Is it the palendromic, connect-either-way bit?
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by asifyoucare (302582)

              Surely, using this principle in DC cabling can't qualify as novel..

              I somehow admire your naive faith in the USPTO.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fermion (181285)
        I doubt others would want the Apple design as it provides a continuity that limits profits. For instance, the inputs to the brick are all the same. Therefore if I lose a power cord, I can just use one of the input adaptors from another apple product. This includes the iPad, the Airport express, most everything. For products that do no use this design, a simple two prong cord is used that can be picked up anywhere. Compare this to my HP power supply which uses this weird cord that means I will probably
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:32AM (#32811642) Homepage

    I want laptop internals to be standardized, which would help upgrades be much more bearable (and, in some cases, make them possible).

    • by Z00L00K (682162) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:35AM (#32811700) Homepage

      The power supply is a good start. Just hope that they also can take a bite at the batteries which are incredibly expensive related to what they actually contain.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      That would really restrict innovation if they did that.
      And let's be honest they pretty much have standardized the parts you tend to upgrade the most.
      1. Ram.
      2. Hard drives.
      3. wifi cards.
      What else do you want standardized?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bami (1376931)

        Graphic cards.

        Most laptops have stupid Intel graphic chips that bolt onto the motherboard, but some laptops connect the graphics card to the motherboard using a MXM connector (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_PCI_Express_Module).

        I'd really hope that gets standardized, since it's being one of the most important components in a computer nowadays, with graphical acceleration not only for games but for example Photoshop, or all the nice CUDA things you can do with it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by couchslug (175151)

        "That would really restrict innovation if they did that."

        Well-designed form factors did the opposite for desktops.

        The standard PC form-factors fostered component innovation because development could be devoted to specific components with the assurance that they would have a standard "home" and a large potential market.

        That FREED them to compete on performance, which reinforced the value of standard form factors, and is why you can select from any number of standard PC cases today.

    • by Shin-LaC (1333529)

      Who cares about the power brick

      I do. Well, not for laptops, since I use Macs, but for cell phones and the like, sure.

      I want laptop internals to be standardized, which would help upgrades be much more bearable (and, in some cases, make them possible).

      They're already standardized. SATA HDs, SODIMM RAM, etc.. If you want to upgrade your CPU or your GPU, just find something that's compatible with the bus/chipset your motherboard is using, desolder/rip out the old one, and solder the new one in. Replace the BIOS as needed. I don't want my laptop to be 1 cm thicker just because you need a slot or a socket to do upgrades.

  • Magsafe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:32AM (#32811650)

    It would be nice if they all standardized on a magsafe interface. Although I doubt it would happen, too expensive.

    Regardless, this is great news. It would be very nice to have just 1 power brick for multiple devices.

    • by tepples (727027)

      It would be nice if they all standardized on a magsafe interface. Although I doubt it would happen, too expensive.

      If this comment [slashdot.org] is anything to go by, getting MagSafe on any non-Apple hardware before 2026 would cost half the market capitalization of Apple Inc.

    • by langelgjm (860756)

      It would be nice if they all standardized on a magsafe interface.

      I hope not, at least not the earlier incarnations of it. Apple forums are full of people complaining about problems with their MagSafe failing to charge, not working at all, etc. I had problems with mine - power brick wouldn't charge the machine after about two years. It was going to be $60 for a new one, but I cajoled the guy at the "genius bar" into letting me have one for free.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      I'm sure Apple would come out ahead if they licensed it, like they did with IEEE1394 for 3-5 bucks a connector. The precursor of a magnetically held connector was used in existing products (Japanese hot pots), but how Apple revised it for a laptop, it is very useful.

      However, unlike IEEE1394, every MagSafe connector sold to a competitor may mean one less laptop sold to them, so I can see why Apple is not licensing it.

  • About time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kent_eh (543303) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:33AM (#32811664)
    At work we have a fleet of assorted laptops, and regularly have to go on a scrounge to find a power brick for someone who is visiting from another location who either left their brick at the other office/hotel/home/car and is running low on power

    Or someone is issued a new laptop, and it only comes with one brick (which is semi-permanently tied to the docking station) and they need another for portable use. Why can't we use the one from their old laptop?
    Even if it's the same manufacturer, the voltage or connector don't match. WTF?
    If we need a second power brick, we don't reward the OEM with extra money. It's 3rd party for that (and usually cheaper too)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let's hope they come up with a connector that is robust yet small, tugs out under pressure, doesn't limit the minimum height of the laptop, and so on.

    I doubt Apple will sign up, their connector already does all of the above. Now this Dell one here which meets none of them on the other hand is a good candidate for such a scheme.

    Also - kill off the large bulky power supplies, and give us smaller, more convenient supplies. Oh, look, Apple are already doing that too.

    I think the power supply on my netbook is nea

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:36AM (#32811724) Homepage Journal
    If every PC laptop uses the same plug, I would jump for joy. If it was an Apple style "magsafe" style connector I would get down on my knees and fellate each and every member of the standards committee. I've been griping for years now how the connector conspiracy is still going strong in the laptop space and what a pain it is to keep matching power cords to laptops.

    Also, a standardized connector would let third parties come in and start making accessories and replacement bricks for a lot less than the highway robbery prices that the brand names charge.

    Also, while they're at it, why not spec out a standarized battery compartment? Not everybody has to use it, but if all "regular size" laptops did, that would be a huge win. A standardized modular bay connector would be nice too. Not to mention a standardized docking adapter. It's like laptop manufacturers stopped caring about standardization after PCMCIA/PC-Card/Expresscard and have been more than willing to custom engineer everything every time. It's really annoying and the standardization efforts are long long overdue.
    • I half agree (Score:4, Interesting)

      by name_already_taken (540581) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:43AM (#32811854)

      If every PC laptop uses the same plug, I would jump for joy. If it was an Apple style "magsafe" style connector I would get down on my knees and fellate each and every member of the standards committee. I've been griping for years now how the connector conspiracy is still going strong in the laptop space and what a pain it is to keep matching power cords to laptops.

      Ok, no on the blowjob thing; you don't know where those committee members have been.

      The "magsafe" connector is better than anyone who hasn't used it realizes. Not only does it "break away" nicely and easily, but it also means you don't have to use any effort to plug the thing in. I just get the connector within an inch or so and the magnet pulls it into place. I've just dangled the cord near my MacBook Pro and it will snap into place by itself.

      The strain relief on the Apple connectors sucks - it's basically nonexistent, so they can fail there, but if they fixed that (pretty easy) then it would be perfect.

      Also, while they're at it, why not spec out a standarized battery compartment?

      Because it's a silly idea. Even cars don't have standardized batteries. Ok, they do, but there are something like 20-30 different standardized car battery types.

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "Even cars don't have standardized batteries. Ok, they do, but there are something like 20-30 different standardized car battery types."

        That's another way to sell overpriced batteries, and wasn't so pronounced until the last couple of decades. IAAM (I Am A Mechanic).

        They DO have standard connections (side post, top post, etc) and voltages, facilitating much wider interchange than is listed in vendor literature.

    • by diamondsw (685967)

      Don't stop at standardizing the connector - you need to specify wattage as well. Perhaps multiple classes so as not to burden netbooks and low power systems with adapters designed for 17" desktop replacements.

      I found out the hard way that you can't use Apple's older 60W adapters with the new Core i5/i7 MacBook Pro's, which come with 85W adapters (the reverse works fine and is fully supported). It used to be it would work, but charge very slowly - a fine tradeoff. Now with the new i5/i7's it confuses the hel

      • AFAIK, as long as the voltages are the same, you can use a higher wattage power supply on a smaller device without problems. The device will only take what amperage it needs.
    • by Krahar (1655029)

      Also, a standardized connector would let third parties come in and start making accessories and replacement bricks for a lot less than the highway robbery prices that the brand names charge.

      That's exactly the problem. The brand names are both in charge of choosing the connector design and of earning the income from selling their proprietary power bricks.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      The modular bay should be doable. A power connector, SATA, and USB on a connector would do it for just about anything that I can imagine in a docking bay outside of something super exotic.

    • by jemenake (595948)

      If it was an Apple style "magsafe" style connector I would get down on my knees and fellate each and every member of the standards committee.

      Hear, hear. And, as a bonus, I'd cook them breakfast for a year if the brick actually was designed to have the cords easily wrap around it (like the Dell's did, although not so well lately, even better than the Apple ones). Granted, it isn't something that needs to be in the spec (like voltage, current rating, and connector dimensions), but it's still on my wishlist.

      • by jemenake (595948)

        If it was an Apple style "magsafe" style connector I would get down on my knees and fellate each and every member of the standards committee.

        Hear, hear. And, as a bonus, I'd cook them breakfast for a year if the brick actually was designed to have the cords easily wrap around it (like the Dell's did, although not so well lately, even better than the Apple ones). Granted, it isn't something that needs to be in the spec (like voltage, current rating, and connector dimensions), but it's still on my wishlist.

        Oh, and one more thing: Some kind of light or indicator on the connector to indicate that the brick is plugged in (like the little dot on MagSafe connectors or the new "blue ring" on the Dells).

    • by MBCook (132727)

      Also, a standardized connector would let third parties come in and start making accessories and replacement bricks for a lot less than the highway robbery prices that the brand names charge.

      That's exactly why I don't think it will happen on name brand PCs (Dell/HP/Lenovo). It's a great way to increase margins when someone wants an extra power brick and has to pay $80 for it. The fact you can't rely on your ability to buy a 3rd party brick that will work only helps that fact.

      In fact, my friend in the cubicl

  • Not for my laptop (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davebarnes (158106) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:37AM (#32811740) Homepage

    "a standard 3-pin "kettle cord" for incoming power."

    Not for my Apple MacBook.
    I understand the desire for a standard brick, but I do not want to give the magnetic connector on my MacBook.

    • by thue (121682)

      Nobody is going to force Apple to follow the standard.

      On the other hand, nowhere does it say that the standard could not be MagSafe.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851)
      You can blame Apple's "Think Different" approach to things. (Though oddly ironic in that it's misspelled) It's been their brand for sometime to do things differently even if it's not a good idea. Think hockey puck mouses and single button at that. Fortunately they've ditched that, but Apple does seem to have an at times pathological need to be different.

      I don't think that completely standardizing the plug is a great idea, what I'd like to see is for them to decide on how the polarity is expressed, sort o
      • Re:Not for my laptop (Score:4, Informative)

        by pauljlucas (529435) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @01:35PM (#32813708) Homepage Journal

        You can blame Apple's "Think Different" approach to things. (Though oddly ironic in that it's misspelled)

        Actually, it's not misspelled. It's intentionally not "Think Differently" because they're not telling you how to think. They're telling you what to think.

        Analogy: For a car ad campaign, I might say things like, "When you think of this car, think sleek, think bold, think power." Just as "think sleek" is short-hand for "think [about something that is] sleek," "Think Different" is short-hand for "think [about something that is] different."

    • He was referring to the cord that plugs into the wall receptacle and delivers AC power to the power brick, not the DC output from the brick to the laptop.

    • It does not have to be the Apple one, but I do hope that its a magnetic connector. Anyone who has tripped on their power cord* will likely hope so too.

      *The power cord is really the only cord left and the only one I have tripped on; luckily I have never brought my laptop to the floor.
    • by MBCook (132727)
      Your MacBook isn't an ATX desktop.
    • by lxs (131946)

      I think nobody suggests using that particular connector on a laptop (although the AC side of the brick will probably sport that one or the two prong figure eight version)

      Slight nitpick in the writeup, the plug that fits into an ATX PSU won't fit on a kettle. That one has a slightly different shape (even though the prongs are the same) and is made from heat resistant material.

  • by zmollusc (763634) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:38AM (#32811754)

    Then we can just connect straight to car batteries.
    Easy peasy charging in the car.
    12V sealed lead acid motorcycle battery in your pocket for when the li-ion is failing after a year.
    The broken-screen laptops we use as headless servers could have UPS for cheapness using old car batteries.

    It would be awesome!

    PleasePleasePlease!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wowbagger (69688)

      12VDC - Not gonna happen.

      Modern (beefy) laptops want about 70W when running, about 100-120W when running and charging. Pulling more than about 80W from a 12V lighter socket won't happen - most lighter sockets now-a-days are about 8 amps, and because the lighter socket is such an atrocious interface you really get about 11V at that current if the engine is running, so you are looking at about 80-90W.

      Even if you do as I have done and use manly power connectors (e.g. Anderson PowerPole) pulling more than 10A m

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110)

      Please, electrical gods, make it 12V

      Not going to happen. Laptops use 12V internally, which means the battery will be higher voltage than that (much higher in fact) and you need a supply voltage that is several volts higher than the battery to charge it, and higher still to be able to charge it while powered-on and running, too.

      The standard is ~20V, which isn't bad. Connect two car batteries in series and you get 24V. Throw in a handful of diodes to clean-up the power a bit, and they'll also drop a few vo

  • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:42AM (#32811822)

    Laptop makers have NO REASON to standardize.
    The ideal consumer product is shitcanned at point of purchase by a delighted customer (toilet paper comes to mind).

    Desktop PC form-factors made maintenance, part sourcing, and upgrading easy, but didn't help kill off old PCs.

    Notebook makers OTOH can count on the failure of key components such as batteries to render their products "beyond economical repair". Combine that with low prices and crap build quality, and you have the recipe for repeat sales. (Good to foster performance upgrades, not so good for economy and ease of maintenance.)

    • One thing that happens to my parents is that the connector gets wiggled so that the plugin disconnects from the motherboard. The motherboard is layered so that it cannot be soldered. Basically, the laptop is toast because the connector won't consistently provide power to the motherboard. It would be SO easy for manufacturers to solder the connector to a tiny inexpensive and easily replacable seperate board and then have internal wires that lead to the motherboard inside, but they rightly figure that the

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumRiff (120817)

      You know.. Cell phone manufacturers were in the exact same camp. Until China decided no Cell phone could be sold in China without a Mini or Micro USB power adapter. Suddenly, darn near every cell phone now has one..

  • Fuck the power brick, those are easily and cheaply replaced and rarely ware out. Laptop batteries are constantly needed for the machine to function away from a desk, and lose their capacity very quickly. How about a common housing and voltage for those? You could have like 5 standard shapes and sizes, ranging from small to large for different sized laptops. Every dell 15 inch is about the same size, shape, and colour (black) as a toshiba 15 inch, an asus 15 inch etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by confused one (671304)
      That article says nothing about standardization. It indicates the power supplies have to meet certain efficiency standards. That's all.
  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:48AM (#32811944)

    Here's a huge grain of salt:

    According to Taiwanese industry news site Digitimes these kinds of solutions may soon be superseded. It now appears that some of the major players in laptops are getting together to work on a standardized laptop power supply design. This includes the big branded players ASUS and Acer as well as the OEM manufacturers like Quanta and Compal, which are responsible for a lot of the non-brand name laptops available on the market.

    Basically it's just four Taiwanese OEM manufacturers (Yes ASUS is just as much an OEM as a brand name) trying to lessen the cost of manufacture by making the laptop power supply a commodity item. While this would be a good thing for all involved, I wouldn't start rejoicing until Foxconn expresses an interest and of course Dell, Apple, Lenovo, etc.

    • by Marcika (1003625) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:22PM (#32812582)

      Here's a huge grain of salt:

      According to Taiwanese industry news site Digitimes these kinds of solutions may soon be superseded. It now appears that some of the major players in laptops are getting together to work on a standardized laptop power supply design. This includes the big branded players ASUS and Acer as well as the OEM manufacturers like Quanta and Compal, which are responsible for a lot of the non-brand name laptops available on the market.

      Basically it's just four Taiwanese OEM manufacturers (Yes ASUS is just as much an OEM as a brand name) trying to lessen the cost of manufacture by making the laptop power supply a commodity item. While this would be a good thing for all involved, I wouldn't start rejoicing until Foxconn expresses an interest and of course Dell, Apple, Lenovo, etc.

      Yea right, just some OEM manufacturers... LMGIFY:

      "Quanta Computer Incorporated (TWSE: 2382) is a Taiwan-based manufacturer of notebook computers and other electronic hardware. It is the largest manufacturer of notebook computers in the world. Its customers include ACER, Alienware, Apple Inc., Cisco, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, Gericom, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Maxdata, MPC, Sharp Corporation, Siemens AG, Sony, Sun Microsystems, and Toshiba.[...] It is estimated that Quanta had a 33% worldwide market share of notebook computers in 2005."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by darkmeridian (119044)

      Asus and Quanta make laptops for Dell, Compaq, Apple, and Sony. These OEMs basically make most of the laptop computers out there on the market today. When they get behind an initiative, it's a big step because they are the ones making all of the little laptops. Of course, Dell, Apple, etc. don't have to follow but it's a big step anyway.

  • Given the broad power requirements for laptops (netbooks to pimped out gaming machines), how could it be standardized? If there were some kind of variable transformer, would it have to manually set when switching systems?
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Apple currently has two for all of their laptops. A higher power slightly older one, and the current lower powered ones.

      Its not hard to do and considering the cost to manufacture difference between the lowest power output requirements and the highest are almost undetectable, running one production line makes more money for everyone, even if they're putting over powered PSUs out with little low usage laptops.

      • by tepples (727027)

        considering the cost to manufacture difference between the lowest power output requirements and the highest are almost undetectable, running one production line makes more money for everyone

        The transformers designed for 17" desktop replacements are also physically bigger to carry with your 10" netbook.

  • Although they could standardize on a laptop connector (size, shape, polarity) and brick connector (the mains), and even voltage, the one thing they won't be able to do is standardize on a size. Laptops/netbooks vary greatly in their power requirements. I, for one, don't want to have to carry around a huge 80+ watt brick, simply because that is the standard and my netbook only needs a tiny 30 watts.

    Still, I welcome ANY type of standardization... right now it is really crazy. At least most of the phones (a

  • We do NOT like those stupid replaceable tips. Those things come off and get misplaced. Instead, I would rather see replaceable DC power cords. Even if they are more expensive, I would much prefer to see a solid cord as they tend to be more durable and contain nice features like lights at the end of the cable. (Have you seen the new Dell E series power supplies? The blue light at the end not only looks nicer but gives clear indication that power is likely working at that end of the wire!)

    Like most peopl

  • Considering that the internal components of laptops are largely standardised, its pretty alarming that manufacturers still use all kinds of different connectors and voltages...

    On the other hand, the Apple magsafe connectors are pretty neat (and has saved me a few times) and noone else seems to have copied them yet...

    Even on desktops you quite often get non standard power supplies on pre-assembled machines, they tend to be the lowest quality units too so you can't just buy a normal ATX replacement once the p

  • Yeh, and how did that go? Cell phones were going to centralize around mini-usb, a bunch did, but to retain the market in power supplies, and to keep their customers aggravated and maintain their image as sadistic bastards, there are still plenty being made with proprietary connectors. Even Blackberry has decided it missed its power supply revenue, switching (for no reason) to micro usb instead of mini usb, forcing existing BB owners that upgraded to newer phones to get yet another type of USB cable, and mor
    • by langelgjm (860756)
      I actually don't have a problem with Micro USB... it's a standard, and you can get cheap cables from Hong Kong off of eBay for less than $3 including shipping. My Kindle uses one, and I wanted an extra cable, so that was easy enough. But most Blackberries are pretty thick, makes you wonder why they went to Micro, which is primarily to save on device width.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Morty (32057)

        Micro-USB is not just about size, it's actually the official replacement for mini-USB. micro-USB is designed to handle more disconnect/reconnect cycles than mini-USB, so it's better even if your devices are large enough to not need micro-USB. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Serial_Bus#Mini_and_Micro [wikipedia.org]

        I also grumbled about replacing my mini-USB chargers, but at least it's standard-for-standard. I now have two connectors to deal with (some devices still on mini-USB, some devices on micro-USB) as

  • by sirwired (27582) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @12:36PM (#32812778)

    Twice now I've had IBM/Lenovo laptops that use the same connectors as their predecessors, yet have increased wattage requirements that make the old supplies risky to use. I remember when our office transitioned from 600's to T20's. So many people were re-using the plug-and-voltage-compatible supplies and burning out the power regulators on the system board that IT started putting bright green stickers on every machine warning you that you should only use the higher-power supplies.

    Again, from T60 -> W500's... increased wattage requirements, same voltage and connector. While this one isn't burning out laptops, the older bricks run HOT.

    SirWired

  • by Twinbee (767046) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @01:09PM (#32813246) Homepage

    There was an episode of the Simpsons called "Itchy and Scratchy Land", and from that episode, there was a map with an attraction named "Unnecessary Surgery Land".

    Hence I coined the phrase UWS or "Unnecessary Work Syndrome" for things exactly like this, where every manufacturer spends thousands or even millions of dollars to come up with their own special version of say... the power brick.

    I'm not sure if open source is appropriate all the time, but open standards are such a no-brainer, it hurts.

  • Not a kettle lead. (Score:3, Informative)

    by ZERO1ZERO (948669) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @01:22PM (#32813482)
    I see lots of people refer to the IEC C14 connector as a 'kettle lead' For one, it won't plug into a kettle - there is a notch. Secondly the kettle lead is likely to have a 13amp fuse in the plug, and computer should have a 5 amp in the plug. The proper name for a kettle plug is the IEC C14.

    The kettle leads are also rated to work at higher temperatures, which is one of the reasons you can got from kettle to pc, but not from pc to kettle.

    Also, do you guys in the US have kettles? I'm sure I've read many times that your electricity is too weak to power a kettle , here in the UK we can get 3KW kettles which will boil a couple of litres of water in a minute or so.

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