AC Adapters

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As is the case with most folks, I suppose, I have an assortment of AC adapters left over from a variety of now defunct electronic gizmos. The adapters vary in terms of output voltage and current, but I'm wondering if they can be used for other than the cell phone, radio, whatever they were intended for, or are they now just items for the junkpile? I'd guess that they can't be used for items that are rated for higher voltage and current, but can they be used if the item's requirements are less than, or close to, the rated output for the adapter?
Thanks.
Lynn Willis Indianapolis
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wrote:

Check the output ratings that are marked on each adapter. You might find AC or DC outs and voltages 3v 6v 9v 12v and others. There is also typically a maximum current rating in mA.
You can use like voltage and AC or DC rated adapters with appliances that require similar power. Some equipment is more sensitive to tight voltage tolerance (ex. cell phone chargers) than others.
Also be aware that DC adapters are either regulated or un-regulated with respect to voltage. A regulated 9V. adapter will put out 9V, no matter what the load up to and including its max rating.
An unregulated 9v adapter may put out 12 volts with no-load and still be high with a light load.
It helps to have a good voltmeter to check these things.
Also, there is no standard on the polarity plug for the DC adapters. The center conductor might be negative or positive. Usually it is marked with a diagram on the adapter. Or you can check polarity with a voltmeter set to DC volts.
Most DC devices will not operate unless the incoming DC polarity is correct and some may be damaged by inverted polarity.
Beachcomber.
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In the modern generation, charge plugs known as "wall warts" are like coat hangers of the last generation. I've taken to labelling mine with a sticker and some writing.
The odds of finding similar voltage and plug design is very slight. If the new device is the same voltage, you can use a charge plug with a higher available amperage, in most situaitons.
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It's not quite "very slight", but it isn't great ;-)
That said, I've become quite annoyed with the whole thing, and am seriously thinking of building a desk wiring harness that has a single (possibly 20VAC) supply, with plug in (eg: 1/4" phone jacks or somesuch) adapters that contain the different voltage/AC-DC/plug converters.
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Well, if you want to diddle up and down, we can henpeck and quibble over the choice of words. But, mostly, I'd think that the odds of reusing a wall wart rate between "no effing way" and "who do you think you're kidding!".
Exceptions are based on purchasing the same brand and type of equipment. Many Nokia or Motorola cell phones use the same charger. As also with some answering machines.
At the moment, I've got wall warts for
- Battery Manager Ultra, battery charger - battery charger for AA and AAA only - Answering machine - Motorola cell phone - Nokia cell phone - Last cell phone, can't remember what it was. - NEC cell phone, still have the old analog phone. - Panasonic 9.6 volt drills (don't any of them hold a good charge, and you can't get that model at Home Depot any more). - Tape recorder
And several other chargers. Like old keys, they don't fit anything any more, but too good to throw out.
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I buy wall warts all the time for gadgets I get at thrift shops or garage sales. It is not that difficult to find a wart with the correct voltage and connector/polarity and sufficient current capacity. Most thrift shops have boxes of them. No problem re-using them at all.
Bob
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wrote:

Also, you can buy switchable voltage DC wall-warts with interchangeable plugs that let you use either polarity.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Odd, I mix and match wall warts all the time. I find I have oodles of 12V ones that are all interchangeable.
Pete C.
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I keep a box of orphan wall warts for recycled electronic items that lack same. I find mates for 2 or 3 items a year, easily. It doesn't take much space, and the wall warts cost me nothing, so what the hell....
aem sends...
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On Tue, 31 Oct 2006 21:41:44 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"

I often look through old power wall-warts when I need one, succeeding about 75% of the time (if the voltage is common, 6V 9V or 12V).

And if you do, THAT will be the one you need.

You can combine DC supplies, but be sure to consider which side is grounded.
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i'd go as far as fairly good, on my desk I have 3 devices that operate from 12V DC , one from 9.3V AC and one 6VDC

watch out for earth loops between interconnected devices, especially when the other end of the loop isn't ground.
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On Tue, 31 Oct 2006 21:04:16 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"

They make multi-tap transformers with a slide-switch in increments of 1.5 volts, and a set of round plug-adapters in 3-4 sizes. Those will work for most things.
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wrote:

I picked one up one of thise at WalMart (about $16) for an old flatbed scanner I have. Works fine. Regulated? I dunno. A good thing was that it has the ability of when you put the round adapter on, you can set the center pin as + or -.
OP: If you get one of these just get one with a high mA rating. That way it will be able to run many different things. If you get one that has the proper voltage and say is rated at 600mA and you try to run something that requires that voltage but 1000 mA, it may not work/will burn out adapter/damage device or any combo of that.
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This is workable in a home with a technically minded user. And no folks who like to play with things. Hate to see the 3.5 volt cell phone go up in smoke when someone slides the volts over to 12.5 or so.
Radio Shack has a multiple tap gadget for charging cell phones. $30, plus $10 for the specific tip for the phone. I politely declined. Remembering I'd seen cell phone chargers across the street at Home Depot. 5.97 later, I had my charger. Incidentally, phone chargers also available on Ebay, for about as cheap.
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a bit of superglue, hot-melt, or sticky tape, would stop that.
Bye. Jasen
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I have 3 of those things, each somewhwat different from the other, that I use to see if something I got used or in the trash will work.
If it does, I keep my eyes open for a simple adapter that will only fit the new thing, so the multi-thing will be available for the next new thing.
Radio Shack used to be iirc a decent place to buy these things, but now they are very expensive. There is a guy who shows up once a year at the bigger Timonium hamfest who had them at a reasonable price. Otherwise, I'm still using the ones I bought in NYC more than 23 years ago.

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wrote:

I have a lot of those.

Also check if it's AC or DC.

In most cases, you can.

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I have done a lot of this, changed plugs oon them too.
What the government should do is mandate a standard, 12 volts AC with standard plug
have the device convert it to DC if necessary, change the voltage whatever.
since AC has no polarity and a standard plugwe would cut down n the amount of trash, and simplify things.
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wrote:

What gets me are all the small transformers running all the time using a little bit of current each. Even when the transformer is inside the radio, etc, and the on/off swtich could turn off the whole thing, it never does. Only the secondary.
They should have everything run on 12 volts or whatever, and have one 12 volt transformer at the fuse box that runs everything, with outlets in every room for 12 volts AC and whatever DC. Heck, they should use the doorbell transformer for all of this.
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wrote:

Power-over-ethernet, 24V, 12Watts. (thus 1/2 amp?)
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