ONE OF THE MOST expensive parts to replace for your notebook besides the battery is the humble power brick. If you’ve ever had to buy a replacement power adapter for your notebook, you’ll know that replacement units from the manufacturers can cost in excess of $100 if you’re unlucky, especially if your notebook isn’t a current model. However, it looks like the notebook manufacturers – well at least the ones in Taiwan – are looking at making a standard for power adapters.
Digitimes is reporting that Acer, Asus, Quanta, Compal, Wistron, Pegatron and Inventec are all interested in developing a standard for notebook power adapters together with IEEE. We’re of course quite some ways away from that standard becoming reality, but the fact that something like this is even being considered is a great step forward.
Today pretty much every notebook manufacturer has at least two or three different types of power adapters for its current range of notebook products and the various models have different power ratings and different connectors. Most modern notebooks can draw more power from a more powerful power adapter which means that they can charge quicker. The problem is that a more powerful power adapter not only costs more to make, but it’s usually also larger and heavier than a less powerful adapter, although the latter is slowly changing.
There’s no word on what’s being standardised, but we’d presume the Voltage would be one of the things and hopefully the connectors used as well. There’s nothing more frustrating than when you “forget” your power brick at home, as you know your mate has the same brand notebook, to later find out that your mate’s power adapter has a different plug on the end that goes into the notebook. The same problem applies when you buy a new notebook when your old one died and you figured you could keep the old power adapter in the office, only to find out that it doesn’t actually work with the new notebook.
The solution so far by third party power adapter manufacturers has been to produce solutions with either removable tips or cables which allows for a fairly universal approach, albeit not an entirely foolproof solution. If a standard is indeed developed, then the losers are likely to be the manufacturers of the power adapters, for the original product as well as the third parties. The reason for this is that standardisation brings down costs and as such the actual power adapter manufacturers can’t charge as much for their products. The winners will of course be the landfill and the consumers that no longer will have the hassle of incompatible power adapters.S|A
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