Power Adapter Amps Jacked!!

January 5, 2014 at 22:57:20
Specs: Windows 7
I just noticed I have been powering my Toshiba latitude laptop with a 3.42a adapter, which the computer label states 3.95a. The adapter was borrowed from my wifes latitude (slidghtly smaller) laptop.
Will this damage the computer, or more importantly, be a fire hazard?
Noticed after being plugged in an hour the adapter box was very hot.
Thanks. Mike C.

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January 6, 2014 at 01:38:42
I'm, surprised the adaptor plugs fitted both Dell and Toshiba laptops. They're usually different sizes. You're lucky. ;o)

I doubt there's anything to worry about.
The power difference is marginal. You may find this mains adaptor unit runs just as hot when used on your wife's laptop - unless hers is a small netbook, or of a newer design which requires less power. Try it.
Manufacturer-supplied adaptors are pretty robust and will happily meet the requirements for most conventional laptops, regardless of make.
(cheap Chinese replacements are another matter)

However, a dedicated netbook adaptor would struggle to power a conventional laptop. Many netbook PSUs are only rated around the 40W/2.5A range, and would be heavily overloaded if attempting to power something that required a beefier PSU capable of around 65w to 90W at say, 3.5A to 4.0A.

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January 6, 2014 at 05:13:28
Are you sure the voltages are the same? It is OK to use an AC adapter that has a higher rated output but not a good idea to use one with a lower rated output.

Rarely, but not unheard of, the polarity can be reversed on the AC adapter.

You can check that with a meter. The output is DC current so the meter should register when the outside of the connector is connected to the negative (black) meter lead.

Personally, I would get the correct adapter for the laptop.

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January 7, 2014 at 00:15:21
The charging circuitry will try to pull the current it needs. So if you are using a charger with a higher amperge rating than what is recommended you should be OK because the adapter isn't 'forcing' more current in than is required.

You however are using an adapter with a lower amperage rating than what is recommended. It may still be OK as the circuitry should be pulling less than its maximum 3.95 rating but it's possible the 3.42 amp charger is very close to its maximum and that might be one reason it's getting hot. (It's not unusual for a charger to be warm to the touch when in use but it being 'hot' may indicate a problem.) As already mentioned, it's probably best to get a charger with the amperage rating your laptop specs recommends.

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