Doesn't Apple's PB Power Supply Suck?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by themadchemist, Jun 27, 2004.

  1. macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Chi Town
    #1
    Hey all. I'm here to complain about Apple, the industry leader in industrial design.

    Apple's had some of the most innovative, utilitarian designs ever seen in the arena of personal computing.

    However, has anyone seen a Powerbook power supply? Of course you have, and if you're like me, you've wept.

    It's bulky in all the wrong places. When you plug it in, it sags under its own weight. Every time I plug it in, it sparks. In the past, I've also had mixed results with various outlets. I have to plug it in a couple of times, jiggle it around, and whatnot to get it to actually transmit the current to my Powerbook. And often, it will eventually spontaneously stop charging. Usually, it ends up losing the contact, begins sparking, and then stops carrying the current.

    "Fortunately," the sparking is usually not visible, but rather that loud and foreboding sparking noise. It still doesn't make me feel too comfortable, of course.

    Now, my power supply won't even charge the Powerbook if simply plugged into a wall. It can only make a loose contact. Therefore, I have plugged into the wall and jammed it tightly between the wall and a big amplifier I have, just to force it to stay in place. This has been quite successful, but it kind of defeats the purpose of having a mobile device. I'm planning to go to the Apple Store and getting them to replace it. It might be that mine is more defective than most, but I can't help thinking that this is chiefly the result of some critical design flaws.

    1) As I alluded to above, the region near the plug is too heavy. Apple should have just put a plug there followed by wire that led to the heavier component. This way, the plug wouldn't sag as a result of the weight of the other component. If you'll notice, almost every other power supply is made in this fashion. All it requires is a simple translocation.

    2) Taking my suggestion in one would fix this other problem, but it too is a flaw. That the plug swivels so that it can be returned to a position "within" the square when not being used seems ok, but it actually complicates matters. After regular use, that joint becomes loose. This only exacerbates the problem of losing contact under heavy weight.

    Has anyone else had problems? Does anyone know of third-party makers of compatible power supplies? Apple has this proprietary input that precludes using any old equal-voltage power supply.

    Plus, I kind of wanted to rant.
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    javabear90

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2003
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #2
    the clips that your supposed to wrap the wire around fell off and broke, so that sucks, I also have the sparking problem, and it is visible from an angle. However I think it is better than most other laptop chargers
     
  3. macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #3
    im sorry to hear that you are having problems, and i hope apple can fix them for you, i have not had any problems with mine and nor has my gf we both have had our books for a year now.....you could always use the cord that came with the power adapter instead of always plugging it into the wall since this seems to be what you want anyways, i like the fact that i can change from a moble adapter to a longer stay-at-home cord
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    titaniumducky

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    #4
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Chi Town
    #5
    which cord do you mean? I'm going to go check my box in the morning. I don't quite know to which cord you are referring. Thanks for the suggestion, though. Hopefully, this cord that you refer to will work.

    titaniumducky: I notice your sig expresses your desire to get an avatar. Just quoting the first post (especially when it's so long) and then not even actually posting anything isn't the way to boost post count. ;)
     
  6. macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #6
    with my powerbook (rev a 12") i got a cord that can be attached to the powerbrick, and is removable so that the moble adapter can be put on instead they talk about it here

    i hope this helps clarify what cord i was talking about, and i think its what you would want because then the brick wont be directly connected to the wall

    good luck
     
  7. macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #7
    All Powerbooks come with that extension cable, maybe iBooks too?
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    #8
    Yea I just have mine plugged in with the extension cord. The white box thing has never actually been plugged into the outlet.
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #9
    my ibook came with it.....some people don't realize that the wall plug thing is removable from the power block. Replace it with the extension cord and you wont have the power block hanging off the wall outlet
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Chi Town
    #10
    awesome, folks. thanks for being so responsive to my rant, and so rapidly at that. This why I love this site. :D
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #11
    Australian PowerBook adapters use a completely different design for the plug-in head which connects directly to the wall socket, and don't suffer from the problem you described. They are also packaged with an extension cord plug-in.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Location:
    Australia
    #12
    I have noticed the sparking sound when I plug my iBook's Power adapter into the powerboard.

    I don't like it but I have to ignore it as it is something that always happens with power supply's (especalliy phone and laptop power supplies) due to the power being always on.
     
  13. Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #13
    when i was on holiday in chicago, i took my powerbook and a UK -> US adaptor, and noticed that my powerbook adaptor did this aslo, it looks like its just the design of the US power outlets, the two spade connections are not very heavy duty.

    In the uk, the adaptor that plugs into the brick then into the wall is almost as big as the adaptor itself, but because ALL sockets/plugs must be 3 pin (you cannot plug a 2 pin plug into ANY outlet) and must be fused at the plug, the earth pin tends to take the weight of the adaptor.

    Also another design flaw with the adaptors, the plug that goes into the powerbook, mine is going, its been showing bare wires for some time now and am just waiting for it to fall off the plug completely and blow the fuse in the plug. and at £60+ a pop this isn't good.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Éire
    #14
    I'm on my fourth (!) power adapter. They've all worn out and the wire snapped with a combination of 240V sockets and crappy wiring.

    Now on this one the plastic (rubber) has worn out and broken at the end you plug into the laptop and it's only being held together by its own wires. I need superglue or something...
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    One crazy thing about my iBooks power adapter is that the plug that connects straight onto the power adapter, it has no earth, just the standard Australian (as I am Australian) / \ type plug.

    The extension lead has an earth with and the
    / \
    .|

    Plug style (I did the text illiustrations for those who don't know what the Australian power plugs look like).

    Interesting that Apple only added the earth on the extension lead.

    BTW. The sparking sound doesn't always exist when I plug the adapter in, it usually happens when the iBook is on.
     
  16. macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    Old York
    #16
    you know you can just use any fig 8 plug as long as it has the right fuse i just made one out of an old one i had i cut it down to about 30cm so the plug can sit on the floor and not have a nest of wire next to it and it is easy to pack into my bag
     
  17. Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #17
    I never use the extension cord cuz I don't want to carry the extra thing around and it ruins the compactness of the adaptor. :eek: I haven't had trouble with it falling off the wall, though I could see it with really loose power plugs.

    As far as sparking, I have a lot of wall warts that spark, usually what I do to be on the safe side is plug the adaptor into the wall first and then plug the computer / phone / whatever side into the phone, so that at least if there's a surge, it doesn't get to the device.

    Does the spark damage the power adaptor? Granted that its not a nice thing in any event. ;)
     
  18. Yuh
    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #18
    I hate the compact adaptor, because it makes the fat "adaptor" bit sit below the level of the plug.... and at my uni, most of the powerpoints are on the wall at ground level... so i can't even plug it in.... i hope you kinda get what i mean... so i have to carry around the extension cable just to get around that problem.
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    jacg

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #19
    idea for improvement

    I'd like to see a springloaded protector that slides down over the connector for when it's not plugged into the portable. So that when I've frogotten to put the cap on, then tread on it, it doesn't get damaged. I've seen this happen a lot. Yes I know they provide a beautifully fitting cap... who knows where mine is!
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Kingsnapped

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #20
    I live in an older house, and some of the outlets that haven't been updated are very "loose." My power adapter falls out a lot, so I can only charge up in my room. I have more problems with the computer end of the cable though. I've found that when I'm using it in bed (on a pillow, for example) if anything touches the little power guy, it stops sending power to the book. I've never understood why Apple couldn't impliment a little lock-in kind of thing to keep the juices flowing.
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    Savage Henry

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    in a one horse, two house, three pub town.
    #21
    iBook rather than PB

    The only problem I have encountered is that I no longer get The Green Light of Goodness after it has filled itself to the brim with power.
    It now just means I have to remember that it's still plugged in when there's no light.

    Sadly that is about the only problem I have encounted with an Apple-portable power supply.
     
  22. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    #22
    I can't speak to the problems associated with the power brick style cord, but I am currently on my 5th power cord (yo-yo style) for my Pismo. Two were replaced by applecare (and those both involved sparking inside the cord sheath due to wear), and two I was able to scrounge from my brother, who has replaced his pismo with a 17 inch PB. The power cord has certainly been the weak link in my recent Apple experience.
     
  23. Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #23
    The end that fits into the computer or the end that fits into the wall? The wall end of the US model folds back into the body of the adaptor so that its flush to the side of the body. On the computer side, the little thing that looks kinda like a headphone plug doesn't come with a cover at all, but I guess unless you step on it in shoes....

    But maybe the UK one is quite different?

    EDIT: I am always scared of applying pressure to the plug while its plugged into the computer, on the computer side, and either bending it, damaging the (female) connector on the computer or stressing the wire coming out of the plug body. I wish it were an elbow jack....
     
  24. macrumors regular

    the.snitch

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Location:
    Auckland, NZ
    #24
    Yea i have no probs with it here, i have the NZ adaptor (same as australia), and it seems to be the perfect balance between size and function. I had a UK one cos i brought th eibook in hong kong (they use UK plugs), but that was pretty darn big and looked ugly (its upside down!). Th eNZ one looks good when pluged in, but i have none of this sagging problem that the US-style gets. i also dont get any sparking :)
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    #25
    I'm not sure what your issues are with your power supply but I have none of the problems you mention. To speak to your first suggestion, my power supply came with an extra cord that easily swaps out with the wall plug transforming the power supply into the design you seem to want. Its plugs into the wall like any cord, the power supply ends up in the middle. No hanging from the wall problems, no sparking, none of that.

    I have never had any problems with the wall mount plug and it falling out of the wall or the prongs becoming loose and exacerbating the problem. In fact I've often used the power supply completely upside down it hasn't fallen out.

    No sparking problems here either. Have you tried plugging it in before you have it connected to the PB? I've never heard nor seen a spark from my power supply. Do you have old outlets in your house?

    Sorry if I seem a little heavy handed here, but the suggestions you are making are already in existence. I'll take a picture of my power supply tonight so you can see the extension cable.
     

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