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View Full Version : Explosive tales of Apple power adaptors: dangerous by design...


MacBytes
Aug 29, 2006, 07:56 AM
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Category: Apple Hardware
Link: Explosive tales of Apple power adaptors: dangerous by design? (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060829085648)
Description:: Are Apple's notebook power supplies badly designed and dangerous? I have wondered about this since my own powerbrick sparked up and burnt out a few months ago. Then an article appeared on digg which seemed to explain it all. Or did it?

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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Scarlet Fever
Aug 29, 2006, 09:11 AM
i have 6 power bricks in my house now (2 iPod, one MB, one MBP, APE and TiBook) and the only one which has sparked was the TiBook one, and that was because the wire was breaking. The actual brick didn't spark. If the cable was replaceable, we would still have it. All the other ones have been perfect.

Some people just have the worst of luck...

dsnort
Aug 29, 2006, 09:43 AM
If you read the story, it seems to me that the electronics expert debunks the proposition of the title. Just another example of flaming Apple on very thin evidence.

Killyp
Aug 29, 2006, 09:52 AM
i have 6 power bricks in my house now (2 iPod, one MB, one MBP, APE and TiBook) and the only one which has sparked was the TiBook one, and that was because the wire was breaking. The actual brick didn't spark. If the cable was replaceable, we would still have it. All the other ones have been perfect.

Some people just have the worst of luck...

Oh that's alright, just a 1 in 6 chance of having your house burnt down when you buy an Apple product...:p

Seriously though, the only reason we see 'so many' reports of bricks exploding is that every time it happens, people go and post all over the internet...

mkrishnan
Aug 29, 2006, 10:21 AM
Seriously though, the only reason we see 'so many' reports of bricks exploding is that every time it happens, people go and post all over the internet...

Well...wouldn't you? It's fair to say that all electrical devices have a finite lifetime. I am in complete agreement. But from the consumer standpoint, no one has ever educated consumers that their power supply is good for X years, or that it needs to be on a preventative maintenance schedule, etc. Consumers know to look for frayed cabling and breakage at joints. And other visible signs of damage. But to the extent that the device can fail due to purely internal damage (e.g. the strands of the power-carrying wire in the cable break apart without damage to the external casing), the consumer has never been educated in accommodating their usage pattern for this. The only thing they know about this is that the device should be replaced if it stops working.

Which is fine as long as the device has a non-catastrophic failure mode. But starting a fire is not a non-catastrophic failure mode.

So from a consumer standpoint, even one in ten thousand power supplies that suddenly catch on fire is a big deal, because even educated consumers have no way of preventing themselves from being the one in ten thousand....

But all that aside, I don't see any particular evidence that this is an Apple-specific problem. The issue that has been discussed with the Yo-Yo generation of Apple adaptors is a separate issue, as is the issue purported with the MagSafe adaptors. But this issue really sounds like it's nothing unique to the Apple supplies.

As for me, disclaimerwise ;) I have two 45 Watt square-brick adaptors (iBook G4 era). One is usually plugged in at home with the long adaptor cable, so that I can plug my iBook into it at home, and is taken with me (with the short adaptor) when I travel. The other is a used one purchased from a local MR user :) that is usually plugged in with the short adaptor at work so I can use it with my iBook here. They are both approximately 2-3 years old and have ever had any issues of this kind.