Adapt or Die

Okay, I lied. There’s a new comic up today.

Today’s toon was partially inspired by CES – but largely inspired by the frustration I experience when it comes to identifying power adapters. I’m sure most folks have a box of adapters lying around their computer area, just like I do. I’m afraid to toss this box, because I may need one of those adapters at a later date.

At the very least, I suppose I could have labeled my adapters – but isn’t that something that manufacturers can do to make things a little easier for consumers? Some manufacturers do a reasonable job with this, but I feel that the vast majority of companies don’t even bother (to keep their costs down).

I’m all for standardizing power adapters – just to make life easier for the average consumer (read: me). What say you, on the subject? Sound off below!


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These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • hariReply
    January 9, 2010 at 11:06 am

    How about returning to the good old standard cylindrical AA and AAA battery cells. Lots of small gadgets these days cannot even be charged without a live USB connection! :)

  • ZReply
    January 9, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Of course they do not standardize. If anyone could make a compatible power brick, then they couldn’t sell theirs at the current price.
    So the customer may be the important, but the profit is more important.

    (Heck, even the customer is important only because (s)he will pay for the products…)

  • qkaReply
    January 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Silver Sharpie. They write permanently on black plastic, like most power bricks are made of.

    When I’m more with it, I label the bricks when I unpack them. Otherwise I suffer Bob’s fate.

  • TulleReply
    January 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I usually just check the voltage on the battery and the brick. Charge for 5-8 hours, and everything is all right again.

  • SeamusReply
    January 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I do know Bob’s pain….We just got a new family cell phone plan and of course all got new phones….Thankfully my daughters and mine are from the same manufacture and use the same chargers & so forth……Now I get to put into perm. storage all the old bricks for the old phones.

  • PaldasanReply
    January 9, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    It’s not so much an issue when you know how to read them. Just compare Voltage, Current, plug size and Polarity. (please, please check the polarity)

  • Barry BuchananReply
    January 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Standarizing would be nice. The good news is these days I have several devices that can be powered/charged via USB. I have a USB adapter for the lighter port in my car now. So yeah not exactly a standard but closer than anything else. Now if they would just standardize the USB cable instead of the unique plugs some use on the device end.

  • DaveReply
    January 10, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Standardization is actually on the way. Micro-USB is being adopted as the universal plug for devices that require modest amounts of power, and some countries are going to pass laws making it illegal to sell cell phones that don’t use that form factor for charging.

    Other form factors should eventually follow (contrary to public opinion, manufacturers do want to standardize, it reduces costs – they just can’t agree on what to standardize on!), but at least for devices you carry around in your pocket (kindle, cellphone), in a few years you will be able to reasonably expect finding a compatible charging cord whereever you go.

  • Kevin RubinReply
    January 10, 2010 at 2:29 am

    It gets even worse here in India where we have some Indian electronics, some American ones I’ve brought over and some U.K. ones I’ve picked up on business trips… The U.K. ones are fine, since they’re 220v. The American ones are trouble, some are 110v & 220v, but need a non-transformer plug adapter, some are 110v only and need both a transformer and plug adapter.

    Worst are the 110v only ones that someone (hasn’t been me yet!) has plugged in without a transformer… They get taken to the local electronics shop that repairs them, sometimes keeping the American plug but putting in a 220v transformer inside, sometimes putting a 110v transformer and at least one with a 110v transformer but the repairman put an Indian plug!

  • BartimaeusReply
    January 11, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Technically, most device transformers are standardized– at least the ones that use the small, ‘traditional’ jack size. I’ve had good luck buying replacements from Radio Shack.

    Of course, this doesn’t solve the issue of, say, laptop power cords… though, when my PowerBook’s cord went out, I got a replacement for $25 from a repair guy I know. He said if that one ever broke, he’d sell my old one back to me (repaired) for $10.

    I guess it is all in who you know.

  • Garrett WilliamsReply
    January 14, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Seeing that first panel makes me wonder if I’d see 3D if I put some 3D glasses on. Wish I had some around to test with. It doesn’t look like it uses the right colors for that, although I AM slightly colorblind anyway.

Tell me what you think!